These open-ended questions are designed to be used at each of the different stages of the GROW coaching framework.


Coaching starts with establishing a goal. It could be a performance goal, a development goal, a problem to solve, a decision to make, or a goal for the coaching session.

  1. What do you want to achieve from this coaching session?
  2. What goal do you want to achieve?
  3. What would you like to happen with ______?
  4. What do you really want?
  5. What would you like to accomplish?
  6. What result are you trying to achieve?
  7. What outcome would be ideal?
  8. What do you want to change?
  9. Why are you hoping to achieve this goal?
  10. What would the benefits be if you achieved this goal?
  11. How would achieving that goal make you feel?
  12. What would that goal look like if you achieved it?

Don’t know what area to focus on?

  1. What keeps you up at night?
  2. What frustrates you at work?
  3. What things take more time than they should?

Current Reality

This step in the GROW model helps you and the employee gain awareness of the current situation – what’s going on, the context and the magnitude of the situation, for example.

  1. What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)?
  2. What is the effect or result of this?
  3. Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  4. How would you describe what you did?
  5. Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  6. On a scale of one to ten, where are you?
  7. What has contributed to your success so far?
  8. What progress have you made so far?
  9. What is working well right now?
  10. What is required of you?
  11. Why haven't you reached that goal already?
  12. What do you think is stopping you?
  13. What do you think was really happening?
  14. Do you know other people who have achieved that goal?
  15. What did you learn from _____?
  16. What have you already tried?
  17. How could you turn this around this time?
  18. What could you do better this time?
  19. If you asked ____, what would they say about you?
  20. On a scale of one to ten how severe/serious/urgent is the situation?
  21. If someone said/did that to you, what would you think/feel/do?


Once you both have a clear understanding of the situation, the next step is to explore what the employee can do to reach their goal.

  1. What are your options?
  2. What do you think you need to do next?
  3. What could be your first step?
  4. What do you think you need to do to get a better result (or closer to your goal)?
  5. What else could you do?
  6. Who else might be able to help?
  7. What would happen if you did nothing?
  8. What has worked for you already? How could you do more of that?
  9. What would happen if you did that?
  10. What is the hardest/most challenging part of that for you?
  11. What advice would you give to a friend about that?
  12. What would you gain/lose by doing/saying that?
  13. If someone did/said that to you what do you think would happen?
  14. What's the best/worst thing about that option?
  15. Which option do you feel ready to act on?
  16. How have you tacked this/a similar situation before?
  17. What could you do differently?
  18. Who do you know who has encountered a similar situation?
  19. If anything was possible, what would you do?
  20. What else?

What next

This is the last step in the GROW model. These questions are designed to help check that your employee is committed to the goal and to help them establish a clear action plan.

  1. How are you going to go about it?
  2. What do you think you need to do right now?
  3. Tell me how you’re going to do that.
  4. How will you know when you have done it?
  5. Is there anything else you can do?
  6. On a scale of one to ten, what is the likelihood of your plan succeeding?
  7. What would it take to make it a ten?
  8. What obstacles are getting in the way of success?
  9. What roadblocks do you expect or require planning?
  10. What resources can help you?
  11. Is there anything missing?
  12. What will one small step you take now?
  13. When are you going to start?
  14. How will you know you have been successful?
  15. What support do you need to get that done?
  16. What will happen (or, what is the cost) of you NOT doing this?
  17. What do you need from me/others to help you achieve this?
  18. What are three actions you can take that would make sense this week?
  19. On a scale of one to ten, how committed/motivated are you to doing it?
  20. What would it take to make it a ten?

Career plan questions

If you’re using the Grow framework to coach an employee through making a career plan, here are some extra questions that might be useful.

The first thing to do is to explore existing career plans: do they have a career or a final destination in mind?

1. What career do you see yourself in, in 5 years? 10 years?

a. If they’re not sure, explore interests, values, strengths, etc. to help them come to a better understanding of what career paths suit them.

2. What role do you see yourself in, in 5 years? 10 years?

a. If they’re not sure, explore possible roles within their suggested career: management? Technical expert? Mentor? Then explore career paths.

3. What career steps do you think are necessary in the next 5 years (in order to achieve your long-term goals)?

a. Start breaking down the steps into the required skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications.

4. What skills would you like to develop?

Article: Tips for giving useful feedback
Article: Receiving and reflecting on feedback
Article: Coaching with the GROW framework

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