GROW and SCAN Compared

In this blog I would like to compare GROW to another model I saw on the web for problem solving. It is called SCAN and found at

Firstly let me say that I really like the fact that this model exists on the web and it is free to use for school students. The philosophy which is written on the website espouses that students should learn to think for themselves and solve problems by using questions rather than being given answers is very laudable.

I think it is designed more as a collaborative problem-solving tool, rather than just one on one, as GROW is often used for. Also the scenarios that the students work through, all predefined with the possible points of view built in. In that way it is different from GROW where any situation can be dealt with.

Let’s have a look at it and compare it to GROW. SCAN stands for stop, clarify, ask, and now. Each of the stages as questions built in and an opportunity to summarise and others to add in a very similar way to GROW.

Where it differs is that it does not start out with the end result in mind. With GROW the first step is always to decide what you want is the end result both to solve the problem and for the session. With SCAN there is a more open agenda which is more about exploring the issues.

I have to say I prefer GROW in this respect because there is a big danger in problem solving that if you do not define in the first instance what you want is an end result you can head off in a lot of wrong directions.

In addition with SCAN there is no specific part of the process which addresses what obstacles there might be to potential solutions. This means that any ideas or action steps that might come out of the process could flounder if the obstacles have not been thought out and addressed.

Where I think SCAN could have an advantage over GROW, is a section where students are asked to think of an issue from another person’s perspective. I think this is very good training in a number of ways. Not only does it help with mental agility but it could also bring to light solutions which would not be developed otherwise. GROW comes a little close to this in the options section where the client is asked to consider how another person, who could solve this issue well, would go about it.

So they are not exactly the same and perhaps are designed for slightly different purposes. I would certainly like at some stage to produce a free version of CoachMaster my online coach training tool which uses GROW for the use of school students.