How does Goal-focused Coaching Work?

Understanding the Coaching Process

“Empowering Personal Best

For those of you who are considering coaching, understanding the coaching process is important in deciding if it’s the right intervention for you at this time. Many coaches use a goal-focused approach with their clients, and these often use the GROW or T-GROW MODEL to underpin their coaching process. This model provides structure and focus and ensures that a clear achievable goal is what drives the process. Other techniques and tools are used as part of the coaching session to stimulate different thoughts and perspectives. For example, ‘Wisdom with Hindsight’ allows the client to experience how success will feel and provide advice to themselves on how to achieve that success.

The T-GROW coaching model is a variation of the GROW model, originally identified by Sir John Whitmore and adapted by Myles Downey.

T stands for Topic, in other words it is the broad area that the coachee wants to address. It makes sense, at the start of the conversation, to understand and clarify the topic and its scale, understanding the bigger picture in terms of why this is important to the coachee and perhaps their longer term vision. At this stage other issues may be uncovered which are different to those that the coachee initially came with and the focus of the conversation may be re-prioritised.

By having this Topic stage before, and separate from the Goal stage, it helps to differentiate the bigger picture from the specific goals that may arise from it. It also helps to form a solid foundation and ensure that goals are not set prematurely before the bigger picture is clarified. For example setting goals before the motivation behind it is checked, can lead to irrelevant goals which the coachee may not be committed to.

Some of the questions the coach will be asking at the TOPIC stage are:

  • What would you like to talk about?
  • What is important to you?
  • What areas do you want to address?
  • What is behind this?
  • What would this mean to you?

The rest of the T-GROW coaching model follows the traditional GROW structure; so in summary:

  • Topic – clarification and exploration of the topic
  • Goal – setting of specific goals – long/medium/short term and for the session itself
  • Reality – understanding where the coachee is now in relation to their goals
  • Options – exploring options for moving forward
  • Wrap Up/ Will/Way Forward – identifying and agreeing specific action & commitment to the action(s)