Ever felt frustrated that your message isn't understood? Ever felt nervous about speaking up?


Coaching is a process of assisting people to achieve their goals and fulfil their responsibilities. In this sense, it has much to offer within the context of learning and teaching. The GROW model, originally developed by Graham Alexander in 1984, is one of the most widely used frameworks for coaching. The model is a simple yet powerful framework for enhancing performance and can be applied to many different aspects of teaching and learning, including clinical education. Read our Hints and Tips Sheet on applying the GROW model to clinical learning and teaching

Applying the GROW model to clinical teaching and learning

  • Goal: work together to define and agree the goal or outcome to be achieved. It’s important that the goal is specific, measurable and realistic, eg. "By the end of today I/you will be able to give a hand-over about two patients correctly pronouncing their medical diagnoses and treatment strategies"
  • Reality: ask the student to describe his/her current reality, eg. their pre-existing experience, knowledge, skills, attitudes etc. When we try to solve a problem, or progress a situation, without fully considering the relevant starting point it’s easy to make assumptions that are not correct and/or miss some of the necessary information. In the context of clinical education, this is similar to supervisors assessing students’ learning needs and/or students assessing their own learning needs.
  • Options: work together to generate possible options for solving the problem. Typical questions might include:
    • "How do you/I learn best?"
    • "What has worked well in other learning situations you/I have been in?"
    • "What has not worked well in other learning situations you/I have you have been in?"
    • "I’ve seen ... work well with others. Do you think it might help you too?"
  • Will: both people agree to the specific action that will be taken. Commitment to specific action also helps establish the will and motivation for engaging in the activity. Useful questions might include:
    • "So what will you do now .. and when?"
    • "What could stop you achieving this goal?"
    • "And how will you/we overcome it?"

For best outcomes, important points to remember include:

  • the importance of a shared approach to structuring the coaching/learning activity
  • remaining solution focussed rather than problem driven
  • asking open questions and listening effectively