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An epic framework, for solving problems.

What is iGROW?

  • A powerful, five step, sequential process/framework for problem-solving, and goal setting

  • Used for facilitating individual (personal) coaching, and group (team) coaching

  • Designed for situations in which you already know what the problem is you are trying to solve (if you don’t have clarity on what the problem is yet, I have other tools for defining this first)

  • First developed as GROW in the late 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore (and I added the ‘I’ to the model recently, as an important first step).

iGROW model

Why use iGROW?

As an Agile Coach, I use iGROW as an integral part of the iterative reflection and learning process, with teams, leaders, and organisations.

iGROW helps to strengthen an individual (or group’s) capacity to:

  • Solve problems

  • Adapt quickly to change

  • Assume ownership of their problems

  • Take action.

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How to use iGROW?

  • iGROW is best used by a coach or facilitator, to support anyone through any problem

  • You can use it as a structure/outline for a coaching session, with either an individual or group/team

  • There are five sequential steps to take a person (or group) through, and each step, includes asking a series of questions to the individual/group

  • The goal is to support a person (or group) to move from having a problem, to having a set of actions they can take to try and solve the problem

  • The number of questions to ask for each step is for the coach/facilitator to decide, but I recommend using at least three for each step (so that the person/people can dive into each step, fully).

NOTE: A full set of facilitator guidelines will be available soon, to support everyone using the iGROW model (watch this space!)

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Defining the issue (or problem) is the most important first step to solving a problem.

Questions to ask:

  • What is the problem that we’re trying to solve?

  • What is the biggest issue we’re facing right now?

  • What is a problem that I would like to change?


  • You don’t need to know how to change it yet, just pick a problem and take it through the process.

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STep 2: Goal

A well formed goal is key to solving a problem & understanding the motivation to take action.

Questions to ask:

  • If this problem was solved, what would that look like?

  • How would you know, you’d solved the problem?

  • What would be happening, how would you be feeling?

  • What difference would this make on your life?


  • The key to tapping in to a person’s motivation is to make the goal very real and tangible - use this step to really explore that new reality

  • Guided visualisations can be a powerful tool during this step.

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step 3: Reality

Unpacking a solid reality can tap into to some great (often unrealised) insight and awareness of what’s currently going on, and creating this problem.

Questions to ask:

  • Where are you now, in solving this problem?

  • What have you done so far?

  • What obstacles are you facing?

  • What strengths have you have used in the past that could help you now?

  • What resources do you have to help you?

  • What will be the impact of things staying the same?

  • Think of a time when you’ve solved a similar problem. What did you learn?


  • It can be easy for the person to come up with a solution during this stage, as they have realisations, and they may not feel they need to continue the rest of the steps - encourage them to keep going as there could be an unexplored option hiding in there.

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step 4: options

Time to get creative. Let’s capture all the 'obvious' options & dig deep to explore some of the wilder ones.

Questions to ask:

  • What are some ideas you have come up with to solve this problem?

  • What else?

  • If you secretly knew the answer to solving this, what would it be?

  • What would you do if wasn't an issue? E.g. money

  • What if time wasn't an issue, what could you do?


  • Once the person has come up with all of the ideas they can think of, ask for at least one more (those hidden options can often be little gold nuggets)

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step 5: Way Forward

Let’s pick one of the options, and make it happen. Momentum. Action time!

Questions to ask:

  • Which option feels right for you?

  • What is the most important action you can take?

  • When will you do this?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to taking these actions?

  • What could stop you from taking these actions?


  • Ensure either you or the person writes down the actions, and dates are assigned to them (even if they believe they will remember, encourage them to write them down).