Introducing the GROWS Model (Preview)

Part 1: Introduction & Objectives

This lesson introduces a framework for mentoring called the GROWS model. The framework is based reflective thinking and problem-solving. It puts an emphasis on the mentor’s role for facilitating and asking the right questions, rather than giving answers.

After completing this lesson you will be able to:

  • Develop a positive professional relationship based on trust;
  • Identify parts of the GROWS Model; and
  • Provide a process for problem solving.

Part 2: Video Demonstrations

Before viewing the video:

What does trust look and sound like? Think of a person from either your professional or personal life that embodied advocacy and trust.  What did he/she say or do to show this trustworthiness?

Think of a person that you have encountered that did not embody advocacy and trustworthiness?  Did either of these people affect you? If so, how?

What types of previous on-the-job experiences might inhibit trust for the beginning principal?

You will be also introduced to the GROWS model for mentoring. As you watch, try to catch what acronym GROWS stands for.

  • What does GROWS stand for?
  • What does Mike do to set Deanna at ease and begin to build a trusting relationship?

Deanna Thompson meets her mentor, Mike Thompson for their first face-to-face meeting.  During the meeting, Mike and Deanna get to know each other.  Mike explains the mentoring process and shares how the GROWS Model will be used to structure their future discussions.

Part 3: Resources & Activities


Due to copyright law, several readings cannot be hosted on this site. However, we encourage you to ask for assistance locating materials from your library media specialist. Many library services are freely available to educators.

Trust and Relationship Building Article and Checklist

Trust and relationship-building are essential components for developing a strong mentoring relationship between you and the beginning principal.  Read this article and share with the beginning principal the importance of relationship building for ensuring their success as a new principal. Complete the Trust and Relationship Building Checklist to record your thoughts about what behaviors and words do and do not support trusting relationships. Use the Trust and Relationship-Building Checklist to observe the mentor in the video again.

Goodwin, B. (2013). Research says: A principal’s success requires people skills. Educational Leadership, 70(7), 79-80.

View Article

GROWS Model for Mentoring

Download GROWS_PPT

This PowerPoint presentation reviews the GROWS model and provides an explanation for each part of the process. The GROWS problem-solving facilitation process is one that is guided by a mentor. A useful list of prompts for each step of GROWS could be helpful. Use this Prompts for GROWS Model for Facilitative Mentoring as a start for developing your own list.

Download GROWS Prompts List

Using the GROWS Model

Select a problem from the “Card Deck of Beginning Principal Situations“.

To address the problem, plan a session with a beginning principal  in which you guide problem solving by moving through each step in the GROWS model. Use the GROWS model to describe how you would guide progress through each of the five steps:

  1. Goal
  2. Reality
  3. Options
  4. Way forward
  5. Summary

Download Card Deck of Beginning Principal Situations

Four Elements of Trust

Trust and relationship building are very important skills not only for mentoring relationships but also necessary for new administrators. Discuss the “Questions for Teachers” detailed in the article. Identify ways to use this type of survey to support improving school climate and culture with the beginning principal while also promoting an open, trusting relationship.

Vodicka, D. (2006). The Four Elements of Trust. Principal Leadership, 7(3), 27-30.

View Article

Mentoring the Entry Process

Every school leader has to go through an initial entry process when starting to work at a school, and this can be daunting for new principals. One way a mentor can help is to facilitate that entry process. A new administrator would benefit from an entry plan. Read this article and develop a mentoring session to discuss the dynamics of developing an action plan. How could you use the GROWS model for facilitation to help develop an entry plan? Use the “GROWS Mentoring Session Plan Worksheet” worksheet here to make your plan.

Jentz, B. (2009). First Time in a Position of Authority. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(1), 56-60.

View Article

Part 4: Review & Reflect

As you complete this lesson, consider how building trust contributes to the GROWS model.

  • What are some of the ways that you can build trust?
  • What are the five main steps of the GROWS model?
  • How will you take this knowledge into your job?
  • What will you do differently now that you know this?

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