A Coaching Model Created by Lene Brendstrup
(Executive Coach, DENMARK)
I believe that a person can be viewed as consisting of three components: Family, Work and Self – symbolized by three circles. I believe that for a person to feel complete and to be truly happy he/she needs to have balance between the three areas in life. When one area becomes too big it suppresses one or both of the other areas. Often the suppressed area is ‘Self’. The circle of ‘Self’ can become very small and sometimes even not be connected to the other two areas of life (Work and Family). Sometimes without even being conscious about it, you find yourself in a situation where you are giving yourself the lowest priority in life, and suddenly you realize that you are not truly happy and your life is not in balance.
My coaching approach allows you to re-connect with ‘Self’ and discover what is needed in your life to be truly happy and feel complete. As the coach I am the compasses that help you shape your three circles of life, and ensure they are connected. It is like a self-contained Train with ‘Self‘ as the engine, and ‘Family‘ & ‘Work‘ as compartments, which also carry fuel to keep the engine going. Hence to have life in full momentum, it’s important that not only ‘Self‘ if fully charged but also stays connected with the other 2
Sizes of Circles
Ideally a person will allocate resources evenly to all three areas in life and all three circles will be about the same size. When one circle becomes bigger, one or two of the circles will decrease to free resources to the bigger circle.
During a life time you will encounter periods where one part of your life will be more in focus and take up more resources than the other two parts. For example when you get your first child, the circle of ‘Family’ will be enlarged and suddenly taking up much more resources than earlier in life. Another example is at a time in life where you are fully devoted to your career and e.g. climbing the corporate ladder, where the ‘Work’ circle will be larger than the other two. It is only natural to have different sizes of circles in different phases of life, but it is important that the unbalance does not become a permanent situation.
To have all three circles represented is the basis, but it is most important that all three areas have intersections. The intersections illustrate that the areas are connected and that everything is related. The ideal situation is illustrated as the middle intersection, which includes something from all three areas of your life and represents your values. Living like this will create harmony and balance in your life and you will feel complete.
I have lived in several countries and what I have experienced is that often the suppressed circle is ‘Self’. You try your best to allocate enough resources to the two circles where other people are involved (Work and Family), but this is at the expense of your own needs. I have experienced the situation with and suppressed ‘Self’ in cultures both in Europe and Asia. In Europe I often see this with people climbing the ladder in their career. And in Asia I have often seen this with women prioritizing ‘Family’ at the expense of ‘Self’. A suppressed ‘Self’ leads to an unbalanced life where your life does not feel complete. First of all it is important that you at all times make sure that at least the ‘Self’ is interacting with ‘Work’ and ‘Family’. Secondly it is important to make sure that the ‘Self’ circle is not too small for a longer period of time.
Coaching Approach to Shape Self-Circle
To increase the size of the ‘Self-circle’ and ensure the interaction with ‘Work’ and ‘Family’, it is important to align with your values. Below is my coaching process to help you make it happen.
This is the center of the model because everything needs to be fully aligned with your values for you to feel harmony. The coach will support you to identify your values and use a value-finder-tool if needed.
This is where you will identify your goals. To know the destination is very motivating and will give a sense of directing helping to steer the way going forward. It is very important that the goal is aligned with the values to ensure that achieving the goal will result in feeling complete and in harmony.
Elaboration & Reflection
This step is about holding the space so that you can fully elaborate and reflect on the topic in question. Reframing of your perspective may also occur. During this step it may be needed to go back and make corrections to the goal if needed.
Exploring options & opportunities
Now it is time to look into how to move forward. Before making the decisions we will explore what are the options and opportunities. Here you will also be encouraged to take a different look at any obstacles which the client may be worried about.
Decision & Action
Making actions give a feeling of being in control, making progress and achieving something. Normally this is very exciting, and will energize you. You are encouraged to make decisions and create actions steps to move towards the goal. The coach will help celebrate progress and also hold you accountable to previous agreed actions.