T stands for Topic, in other words it is the broad area that your coachee wants to address. It would make 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 you may uncover issues which are different to those that the coachee came to the table 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 you may be asking at this 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 TGROW coaching model follows the traditional GROW structure so in summary:
Coaching for Performance, 4th Edition: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose (People Skills for Professionals) by Sir John Whitmore (Paperback - 12 Mar 2002)
Effective Coaching: Lessons from the Coach's Coach by Myles Downey (Paperback - 15 Nov 2003)
Co-Active Coaching, 2nd Edition: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and, Life by Laura Whitworth, (Paperback - 15 Feb 2007)