The essence of an effective and successful coaching relationship lies hugely on a productive coaching session. The use of a model helps in structuring a coaching session. TGROW is a coaching model which embraces all the core elements of an effective coaching session. TGROW is an acronym for Topic, Goal, Reality, Option and Way Forward/Wrap Up. In this model, the coach adopts use of effective questioning to better understand the focal needs of the client to devise the right means for progress and action.
As Noble Manhattan Coaching and most other leading coach training organizations recommend an intuitive and non-directive coaching style which implies that intuition matters most in any coaching relationship, TGROW as a coaching model is a good starting point particularly for new coaches as it will help them gain confidence and also serves as an eye-opener for them as they dive into the world of coaching.
In fact this is a model that is used not only by Olympic coaches and teams worldwide but also by many police forces and military organizations.
The Core Elements of TGROW Model
This is the first stage in a coaching session. The topic/subject of discussion should be established. The ideas presented for discussion should be taken note of and in a situation whereby the client does not have ideas of what to discuss or is reluctant to open up, the coach through the use of judicious questioning techniques and active listening can aid the process towards clarifying and exploring the topic. Ahead of the client’s disclosure of major facts, the coach assumes the role of a good listener and cleanses his mind of any preconception as to become preemptive in addressing the issues being put forward by the client. A coach assumes the position of an unconditional and non-judgmental umpire.
The ultimate objective in coaching is to see a client reach some specific goals. At least, that is one reason clients come to us as coaches. It could be either a long, medium or short term goal. The main fact that coaches help the clients raise awareness and take responsibility for the outcomes in their lives makes coaching a highly effective and sought after service. Certainly, one of the major distinctions between coaching and counseling is that coaching gives priority to goals ahead of reality. A coach sets goals before examining the reality. Although this may sound strange, in the coaching world, goal-setting based on present reality will likely bring about a negative influence. Goal setting provides a focus through which the client is able to know what has so far been achieved in the coaching session. It also enables the client to take a cue from the results and use them as guiding principles in every other endeavor outside the coaching relationship.
At this stage, the coach examines the reality to know how this can help in reaching the set goals. Probing the reality simply means ‘understanding where the coachee is now in relation to their goals?’ And as earlier mentioned, a coach pursues the goal by using their coaching skills to explore the current situation in order to see how such impacts on the progress and success of the goal. The reality section is also used to actualize the time frame for achieving the set goal. It should be pointed out however that reality must be pursued with utmost objectivity in order to achieve the aims and objectives of a coaching relationship. A coach must come to a coaching session with an open mind; a mind devoid of prejudices, judgments, opinions and fears. Create awareness in the clients about the things discussed in the session. Usually clients like to explore reality from a new perspective; the perspective in which they will be able to see things more as they are rather than as they appear to be. The coach is then saddled with the responsibility of exercising an effective reality questioning approach that will bring about consequential results.
Upon ascertaining the proper understanding of the topic discussed, this is the juncture at which the coachee explores every option available for them to move forward in life. Through the earlier stages, the client has established their goals and has been able to look inward on the reality of their present state. The coach uses their questioning and listening skills to identify basic options open to the client and if possible encourage the client to discover other options that the coach has not even thought of.
Wrap Up/ Will/Way Forward
This is the final stage in TGROW model. It is the point at which the coach and the client identify and agree on specific action or way forward. The client ascertains the subsequent action to be taken after all plausible options have been considered. It is now the duty of the coach to support the client to make their choice with all honesty, trust and confidence.
From the foregoing, it can be said that TGROW as a coaching model helps the coach structure their coaching session with the possibility of achieving the desired goals and objectives within their coaching relationships. It is therefore believed that new coaches will find this model a good starting point for their coaching career with a view to garnering suitable skills and experience and for building confidence in their approach to coaching session.