GROW into GROUP rocking the world of coaching!

Over the years, our teaching has been focused on helping our students coach individuals, but now we are realising that group coaching has enormous benefits and opportunities to reach many people and help them achieve their goals. We can draw on organisational coaching which has been delivered in a group format for many years.

The GROUP model can be used to shake things up in the field of health and wellness coaching as we become more open to adopting this delivery format.
Using GROUP can make coaching multiple people even more effective and is designed to replace the former GROW model that we have all been taught in Coaching 101!

But first let’s do a refresher on the GROW model. This was created by Sir John Whitmore and stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Will. It’s a road map to help someone get from where they are to where they want to be and can be used effectively in many types of coaching including health and wellness coaching, usually only if the session is a stand-alone session.

GOAL: work out what you want to achieve or talk about in the session
REALITY: take a look at where you’re at right now and what’s going on
OPTIONS: explore different ways to get to your goal
WILL: make a plan and commit to taking action

The GROW model works and is a fantastic framework for one on one coaching however when it comes to coaching groups the GROUP model works in a different way. The GROUP model takes the best bits of GROW and add some new elements to make it work for multiple people.

What does GROUP stand for?

GOALS: just as in grow we start with setting goals these goals may be for the individual but they may also be for the whole group. (We usually refer to this as a “vision” or a “group vision”.) There may be elements of each person’s individual vision that cross over to the rest of the group and this can create a collective motivation and sense of cohesion to strive towards reaching those goals.

REALITY: reality in a group is not just about your individual idea of what’s going on but what’s going on in the group as a whole. What challenges are we facing together?

OPTIONS: when brainstorming ideas it’s a group effort. Everyone throws in their suggestions and thoughts without forcing their ideas on anyone else. It’s like a creativity explosion

UNDERSTANDING (OTHERS): The ability to truly understand fellow members is a key factor in successful group coaching. A sense of humility and openness characterises this phase of the group model. The dialogue becomes a flow of meaning when people think together. The understanding others phase can create a shift in individual and group awareness and enable solutions at a systemic level. It requires skilled coaching and can create new possibilities and solutions.

PERFORMING: the group comes together and figures out the path or the plan to achieve those shared goals. The learning that can take place in group coaching can be extraordinary and transformative. It requires the coach to encourage members to examine their underlying assumptions and identify areas where personal change or transformation may have occurred.

  1. There are many reasons why the GROUP model is so exciting.
  2. It taps into the group’s collective brainpower with everyone pitching in ideas and perspectives.
  3. Because the goals are shared and everyone’s been heard the motivation can be much greater.
  4. Understanding each other ‘s viewpoints is key in any group.
  5. The group model can be used in all sorts of groups for many different outcomes.

If you are thinking of running a group and coaching multiple people it would be worth spending time really working out how to apply GROUP as opposed to GROW.

If you would like to know more about our training program to prepare you to work with groups, go to


Grant, A. (2010) From GROW to GROUP: Theoretical issues and a practical model for group coaching in organisations. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory Research and Practice March.