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THE TGROW MODEL

CONTENTS

PAGE

Introduction

The TGROW Model

Topic

Goal

Reality

Options

11

Way Forward/Wrap-up

12

Uses of a model in the coaching process

13

Advantages/Disadvantages of using a model

14

Conclusion

15

Bibliography

16

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

17

Post Modular Assignments

18

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THE TGROW MODEL

INTRODUCTION
The essence of an effective and successful coaching relationship relies on the coaching
sessions being productive both for the client and the Coach. The use of a model can help
to structure a coaching session, hence the reason that it is introduced in the initial training
of Coaches by Coaching & Mentoring International. This model uses a tried and tested
approach that has a proven success rate.
During the initial training you will have learned about the essence of the TGROW coaching
model and observed demonstrations of its use as well as practised for yourself some of the
coaching techniques employed.
This module explores further the areas of TGROW and is designed to increase your
knowledge through general reading and develop your coaching skills through a series of
interactive elements which are designed for you to complete as you progress through it.

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THE TGROW MODEL

THE TGROW MODEL


The TGROW model comprises the core elements of an effective coaching session, namely
Topic, Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward/Wrap Up. Using effective questions in each
of these sections focuses the session and provides the vehicle for progress and action.
However, it also needs to be said that Coaching & Mentoring International advocates a
non-directive, intuitive style of coaching. The TGROW model is offered as a starting point to
give confidence to the new Coach, akin to stabilizers on a bike. Not all coaching sessions
will suit the overlaying of the TGROW model and as you gain experience and confidence in
your own style of coaching, your own intuition will serve you very well indeed. TGROW is
therefore offered as one of the valuable tools that you will accumulate in your approach to
coaching.
Below is a representation of the TGROW model that you will find in Effective Coaching by
Myles Downey.
TOPIC:
Initial
understanding

WRAP-UP:
Clarity/
commitment,
support

OPTIONS:
Whats
possible?

GOAL:
For session

REALITY:
Who/what/
where/how
much?

This differs from the model Coaching & Mentoring International uses where way forward is
used in preference to wrap up.

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THE TGROW MODEL

A Coach brings the following skills to the coaching relationship:

Listening skills
Questioning techniques
Values and beliefs clarification
Rapport and self esteem building
Goal setting and taking action

Each of these has an important part to play in the delivery of the TGROW model. For
example, listening accurately to the flow of the conversation enables us as Coaches to trust
our intuition regarding the next question to ask. This serves us well in knowing when to
move from one section of the model to the next seamlessly so that the client does not feel
that a mechanical process is being imprinted on the session. We all have our own coaching
style and although newly qualified Coaches can feel apprehensive at the start regarding their
ability to ask the right questions, it is important to trust the process.
Questioning skills is an on-going area of learning for all of us. When we become Coaches,
we start to collect effective questions. Although a few suggestions have been included in
each section here, the possibilities are endless. The Questioning Techniques Module goes
into this whole area in a great deal more depth.

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THE TGROW MODEL

TOPIC
The first stage for any coaching session is to establish the topic to be discussed. It may be
that the client has very firm ideas about what they want to discuss and, therefore, the client
can quickly focus on the specifics of the topic, particularly if the topic is one that is ongoing and has formed the basis of previous sessions. A Coach never enters a session with
pre-conceived ideas about the topic to be discussed. Just because the client has spent the
last two sessions dealing with a particular topic does not mean that the next session will be
the same. Coaches focus on ensuring that the session is centred on the clients agenda at
the time of the call. The role of the Coach is to engage the client with effective questioning
and active listening. Of paramount importance is the unconditional and non-judgemental
position that the Coach occupies.
For those clients who come to a session unsure as to what they want to discuss or hesitant
about sharing the topic they would like to discuss, then once again the use of good
questioning techniques and listening skills offers them the opportunity to gain clarity.
However, as a Coach you may decide that you will use a pre coaching session form which a
client fills in and faxes to you prior to each session. E-mail is also an excellent tool to use to
keep in regular contact between calls with clients, if this is appropriate. When we consider
the length of a coaching call which can vary from as little as twenty minutes to up to an
hour, then maximising the use of our clients, as well as our time is important. Preparation
prior to a call can greatly assist clients who begin their coaching relationship coming to a
call unprepared. At the end of the day, it is also a clients responsibility to gain something
positive from a coaching session.

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THE TGROW MODEL

In order to assist a client in identifying an area that they might start to be coached in,
another useful tool is the wheel of life (see diagram below). Here a client is encouraged
to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 on how happy or how satisfied they are in each sector
of their life, and fill in the results on the diagram. A wheel that looks like a flat tyre gives a
clear indication of where it might be most useful to start coaching!

WHEEL OF LIFE
Physical
Environment

Fun and
Recreation
9
8
7
6
5

Career

Money

4
3
2
1

Health

Personal
Growth

Friends
and Family

Significant
Other/Romance

Useful questions to use in this section include:

What would you like to talk about?


What is uppermost in your mind today?
What area would you like to work on today?
Whats the topic for today?

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GOAL
The fact that coaching deals with the goal prior to the reality is one aspect that differentiates
coaching from counselling or therapy. Setting goals before examining reality may seem
strange to begin with. However, goals based on the present reality, as someone perceives
it, may indeed have a negative influence. Past performance may have a strong influence
bringing with it a lack of creativity due to simple extrapolation. Such goals may also end
up as being merely a response to a problem or short term, fixed goals that do not explore
the unlimited potential of the client. Goals formed by viewing a longer term outcome, and
then determining realistic steps toward that ideal, are generally more inspiring, creative and
motivating.
The ultimate satisfaction in being a Coach is to see a client reach their goal. To know that
we have played a part in this by helping a client to raise awareness and take responsibility
for the outcomes in their lives makes coaching a very worthwhile activity. Goal achievement
is one reason why clients come to us in the first place. They look for a place where they
feel safe, where there are no pre-conceived ideas or pre-judgements made about them and
a place where they can truly unlock their potential and achieve the goals that they have only
dreamed about in the past.
Setting a goal for each coaching session is the key to realising the ultimate goal of the client.
It gives the coaching session focus and provides a tangible outcome enabling the client to
see what has been achieved during the session. As the client becomes familiar with goal
setting for each coaching session so they will see how they can apply the principles to their
own goal achievement outside of the coaching relationship.
All goal setting, whether it is for a coaching session or for overall goal achievement, can
use a clearly defined process of application. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Appealing,
Realistic, Time phased) principle is one you will have explored during the initial training
session. It is a proven method of setting goals and achieving them and it is dealt with in
more detail in the Goal Achievement Module.

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THE TGROW MODEL

Useful questions to use in this section include:

What is the goal that you want to achieve in relation to the topic?

What outcome are you seeking by the end of this session?

How far do you want to get in this session?

What is your long term goal here?

What intermediate steps can you identify towards your ultimate goal, and what are
the time scales?

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THE TGROW MODEL

REALITY
To be able to successfully achieve the goal, whether it be for a coaching session or any other
goal set by the client, the Coach uses all of their skills to explore the current situation to see
how it impacts on the progress and success of the goal. The time frame given to the goal
can also be viewed from the reality section.
The important aspect when examining reality is to be objective. As Coaches, we come
to the coaching relationship with an open mind, completely free of prejudices, opinions,
judgements, concerns and fears. The client can explore reality from a new perspective so
that they can perhaps see things more as they are, more as they want them to be rather than
how they appear to be. Awareness is perceiving things as they really are; self-awareness
is recognising those internal factors that distort ones own perception of reality. Although
we may like to consider ourselves objective, absolute objectivity does not exist. The
best we can achieve is degrees of it, but the closer that we manage to get to it the better.
Coaching is very much about encouraging and supporting people to achieve goals, enhance
performance and move forwards to greater success. A delicate balance is required to do a
reality check that does not limit a client due to our own limited thinking.
The reality element of the TGROW model becomes an integral part of the equation at
this point. Looking at the reality of the situation provides a practical and common sense
approach to the here and now. It asks the client to consider the thoughts and actions that
directly affect the realising of the goal and allows them to explore those areas around them
that directly impact on and influence the outcomes.
As with all coaching success the key to answering the reality questions is the questions
you ask as a Coach. Effective reality questions are structured to gain precise and honest
answers.
Reality questions require answers that:

inspires the client to think, to examine, to look, to feel, to be engaged

are focused with specific detail

are descriptive and non-judgemental to ensure honesty and accuracy

are of quality and frequency which ensure forward momentum

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THE TGROW MODEL

The reality section is also important because it is here that a defining or limiting belief can
be brought to the surface with a client. You will see below a question that can start this
process - what has stopped you from achieving more? Any question that challenges the
client to look at what is holding them back can be of tremendous value, since it is at this
point that the Coach is acting as a mirror. Feedback is only ever offered to a client with
permission. When taken, however, in this section, it can raise awareness for a client of some
self-talk or a defining belief that does not help them to move forward in life. People can
be so accustomed to the way that they talk to themselves or the evidence that they seek to
show that they cannot succeed, they are no longer aware that this is what they do. Once a
Coach has assisted in bringing this back to the conscious level, then choices can be made to
change and move on.

Here again is a clearly defined area between coaching and counselling or therapy. If a
client is not at the point where they can choose to change what they say or believe about
themselves with the assistance of a Coach because of deeper underlying issues, then a
counsellor may be more appropriate. The coaching process can help the client to make that
decision. Limiting beliefs and how to deal with them from a coaching perspective are dealt
with in more depth in the Beliefs Module.
Reality questions could include:

What is the present situation in more detail?

What have you done so far towards your goals?


What has stopped you from achieving more?
What resources do you have?

Again this last question starts to feed into the Options section.

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THE TGROW MODEL

OPTIONS
Once the clearest possible understanding of the topic has been achieved, then we can
encourage our clients on to the next stage. During this stage the client is ready to explore
the options open to them for moving forward. The client has already established their goal
and looked constructively at the reality of the present state. The purpose of looking at
options is not to find the right answer but to create as many different courses of action
as possible that could open up to the client. The quality of the ideas is not as important
at this stage as the quantity of ideas. This is one area where, with permission, it may be
appropriate for the Coach to think creatively with the client, especially if the client is a bit
stuck. However, as soon as there are a number of options on the table, then the focus is
back on the client to select which option(s) appeals most so that the session can move on
non-directively into the Way Forward.
The coaching relationship gives the client the safe environment they need to explore all of
the options open to them without the fear of failure, ridicule or censorship. An environment
where the client can empty out all of the ideas and choices they have before they need to
make a decision on the best option to take.
A coachs listening and questioning skills help a client identify the different options available
to them. A Coach with the highest standards of these skills will not only establish the
options the client sees as being available now but may also encourage the client to discover
other options that they have not even thought of.
Option questions are designed to draw out from the client all the possible alternatives,
choices and possibilities which will enable the goal to be achieved. They include questions
such as:

What could you do?


If you knew you could do anything, what would you do?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of each of these in turn?
Which one would you choose?
Which one inspires you most?

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THE TGROW MODEL

WAY FORWARD/WRAP-UP
The final stage of the TGROW model is for the client to establish the way forward and then
to agree the subsequent action to be taken. In other words, a discussion is now converted
into a decision. Here is where the success of using the TGROW model becomes apparent.
By following the TGROW model through its stages the Coach can support the client to make
decisions based on truth, honesty and confidence.
The client has by now considered all of the options open to them and is ready to make a
choice. This is the time when the client is encouraged to summarise the session, making
sure that they have clarity, and are fully committed to the chosen option, by stating exactly
what their intended actions are, the time-scale for completion and the means of evaluating
success.
Once you have completed the entire training, you will have covered not only listening and
questioning skills, but also values and beliefs among other topics. Here is where it is
important to reiterate that if people start to plan towards a goal, to discover further down
the line that they are discovering a core value for them, then the result is stress. The way
forward or the tasks that are going to be carried out need to get a reality check all along the
way so that success is guaranteed.

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THE TGROW MODEL

USES OF A MODEL IN THE COACHING PROCESS


Using a model to support your coaching may have a variety of benefits. It can provide a
common aim to the coaching session, which is clearly understood by both parties. A powerful collaboration is created that grows in strength and stature as it develops.
Let us explore this in more detail. Using a coaching model can:

Illuminate the place at which the coaching process has arrived if a discussion has
gone off track or become less clear as to the direction it is taking

Support both the client and the Coach in gaining clarity about what is to be worked
upon

Encourage a client to focus on a specific issue or topic

Support both the client and the Coach to use a session efficiently to gain maximum
benefit

An important point to emphasise here is that using a coaching model is not the coaching
process per se. A coaching model can be used to support a coaching session if the Coach
feels that this would benefit the outcome. It is equally important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using any particular model.

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THE TGROW MODEL

ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF USING A COACHING


MODEL
Advantages to the Coach of choosing to work within a coaching model may include:

Having a structure within which to operate as the Coach

Maintaining focus with and for the client

Making each session as productive as possible

Giving confidence to the Coach

Advantages to the client can also include some of the points above with the added advantage that they can understand how the coaching process can work in order to support themselves in the future.
However, it is important to be aware of the potential disadvantages also. Using a model
could:

Inhibit spontaneity

limit what could be achieved or discovered in the session

Diminish intuition

Become directive

The pre-determined use of a model by a Coach prior to a session risks losing the non-directive nature of our coaching philosophy, particularly if pre-prepared questions are implemented. As a student Coach, it is perfectly normal to feel more confidence in the early
coaching sessions when you have question cards propped up in front you! However, most
students abandon these quickly and trust themselves to formulate appropriate questions
from actively listening to their client.

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THE TGROW MODEL

CONCLUSION
With this understanding of the use of a model. Lets look at the Miles Downey diagram of the
TGROW model again:
TOPIC:
Initial
understanding

WRAP-UP:
Clarity/
commitment,
support

OPTIONS:
Whats
possible?

GOAL:
For session

REALITY:
Who/what/
where/how
much?

It is shown as a circle because in most coaching sessions you will follow the route of Topic,
Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward and continue in this way from session to session
until the client has satisfied all of their coaching needs. However, the arrows shown between
the stages indicate that there may be times when the client takes you in a different direction
or revisits parts of the model. It may be that as they begin to explore the options open to
them, new realities are brought to light that impact on the way forward. When this happens
simply return to the relevant part of the model and work through the sequence again.
Remember successful Coaches are those who are flexible, who can adapt and instill
confidence in their client and satisfy their clients coaching needs by demonstrating excellent
coaching skills. The TGROW model is designed to enable you to do just that. Use it with
confidence and competence and your coaching skills will begin to develop from today.

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THE TGROW MODEL

BIBLIOGRAPHY
DOWNEY M, 1999, Effective Coaching, Orion Business Books, London
LANDSBERG M, 1997, The Tao of coaching, Harper Collins, New York
WHITMORE J, 1998, Coaching for Performance, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, USA

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THE TGROW MODEL

LEARNING OUTCOMES & ASSESSMENT CRITERIA


Unit Title: Coaching - TGROW
Level: Three
Credit Value: 6
Learning Outcomes
The Learner should be able to:

Assessment Criteria
The Learner has achieved this outcome because
s/he can:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the use of models for


constructing a coaching session.

1.1 Explain three uses of a model in the coaching process.

2. Demonstrate knowledge
of the components of the
TGROW coaching model.

2.1 Explain the contribution made by each


stage of the TGROW model to the coaching
process.

3. Design questions that can be


asked through the TGROW
model in the coaching process.

3.1 Devise 3 appropriate questions for each


section of the TGROW coaching model,
explaining the effect they are intended to
have.

1.2 Evaluate three advantages/disadvantages


of working within a model.

3.2 Reflect on the responses to these questions and assess their effectiveness in
moving on the coaching process.
3.3 Complete the coaching process successfully within the appointment time.
4. Reflect on the contribution
of the TGROW model of the
coaching process.

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4.1 Assess the strengths and limitations of


the TGROW model for the Coach and for
the client.

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THE TGROW MODEL

POST MODULAR ASSIGNMENTS

Explain three uses of models in the coaching process. Evaluate


three advantages and three disadvantages that you perceive of
working within a coaching model.

The TGROW Model


1.1
1.2

(250 words maximum)

Explain the contribution made by each stage of the TGROW


model to the coaching process then devise three questions you
could ask at each stage, explaining the effect they are intended
to have:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

The TGROW Model


2.1
3.1
3.2

Topic
Goal
Reality
Options
Way Forward

(500 words maximum)

Assess the strengths and limitations of using a coaching model


such as TGROW in coaching sessions for:

The TGROW Model


4.1

a) the Coach
b) the client
(300 words maximum)

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