T-Coach: The Coaching Integration Model
Most people know about the GROW model of coaching. But from my experience, I have discovered that when handling the coaching process, there are even more steps to ensure the complete process, especially for a relatively new coach.
The T-COACH model is a more complete model, following the ICF Core Competencies. Here are the steps of the process.
T – Trust
One of the most important factors to create a partnership is trust. Coaches who show trust in their client’s abilities and skills, as well as the whole being of the client, will receive trust in return. Creating this trust can start with:
- Showing signs of respect. Prepare yourself to show respect to the client in everything from grooming to punctuality and tone of voice.
- Showing signs of integrity. Ensure that you have explained to the client what coaching is and assure them that all conversations will be secure and private.
Creating trust makes for a positive atmosphere because it helps the client decrease feelings of nervousness, discomfort and fear while preparing them for the next step in the coaching process.
C – Clarify
It’s common that a client may start with many issues or goals that can make it difficult for a coach to understand the real issue or goal. Clarify these goals with the client by:
- Helping the client clearly understand the situation and goal. In this stage, be present and use powerful questioning as tools.
- Checking to see that both you and client have a mutual understanding of the issue. Some coaches may use a closed question to reconfirm.
O – Objective
Most coaches may be familiar with the “goal” step in the GROW model. In my view, objective is similar to this step, but it’s more client–friendly, especially for those clients who are new to coaching. The client first needs to witness the value of the coaching session and be willing to cooperate. Completing the objective step should happen in the following ways:
- Establishing an agreement. Here, the coach clarifies the coaching contract to ensure mutual understanding.
- Setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. By using this type of goal setting, the coach supports the client to summarize their objective in a concrete, attainable and measurable way.
- Checking in. At the end of the session, the coach checks to see if the client achieved the objective or not.
A – Analysis and Actual
In this stage, the coach uses coaching skills to help the client understand the situation clearly. Here are the key steps:
- Invite the client to describe the situation. This will help them analyze the situation at hand and be present.
- Remember to think: “What is the most important and impactful to the client now?” This will help the client identify the “actual” reality of the situation without being influenced by emotions, comments or thoughts.
C – Communication – Listening, asking, storytelling and reflection
Communication is an important skill in every coaching session. The key concepts are active listening and powerful questioning. Coaches may also use storytelling and reflection to help the client explore, expand or shift their perspective. Here’s more on those concepts:
- Active Listening. The coach listens to both verbal and nonverbal communication to understand a client. They listen for keywords, which might carry insight, and also look for blind spots, which are angles that the client may be overlooking. They do this while observing the client’s body language, which can also convey a message during conversation.
- Powerful Questioning. These are questions that create awareness and help clients think. A powerful question should show empathy that will lead to positive emotion, open perspective and options. The coach can pick a keyword to emphasize and then ask the client to define it. The question should be short and concise, without too many messages in one question. Avoid using the closed question. Using the right question will show the coach’s curiosity to the client’s challenge.
- Storytelling. The coach may ask the client to share their story, after which the coach can ask about the missing piece or other aspect of the story. A coach might ask for permission to share their own story for additional context. But if you choose to do so, be careful not to put any of your own comments or opinions in the story, and don’t forget to ask your client’s opinion.
- Reflection. This can be paraphrasing what the client has just said to you. Doing so will help the client “hear” their own thoughts and create space for them to share more. It is also essential to reflect the client’s feelings and emotions in order to help them understand the message.
H – Have and How to
Often times, after the client gains self–awareness and has understood more about the situation, they discover that they have the solution. However, the coach may continue to support client by:
- Helping the client to identify using these “have” questions:
What resources or skills does the client have?
What options or choices does the client have?
- Being a partner with the client to answer these “how” questions:
How to select the right option?
How to achieve the objective?
How to start the action with confidence?
By following the T-COACH model, the coach ensures they stay within the process and bring the result to the client.