A Coaching Model Created by Pankaj Dixit
(Executive & Life Coach, INDIA)
More and more organisations are now accepting executive coaching is an impactful intervention for leadership development.
In executive coaching, there are usually 3 stakeholders: The organisation, the coach and the executive. For a coach one of the unique challenges, compared to other niches of coaching, is the client who pays the fees is the organisation – usually the HR department of the organisation. But the real client to be coached is an executive in the organisation. The organisation has its own goals and expectations and outcomes of the coaching sessions. The coach’s job is to align the coachee’s goals to that of organisation. Sometimes organisation has specific gaps in capabilities pointed for the executives which are expected to be addressed through coaching.
Hence the two factors which always distinguish executive coaching from these other types are:
- It always involves a partnership among executive, coach, and the organisation.
- The individual goals of an executive must always link back and be subordinated to strategic organizational objectives.
The DEVELOP model is designed around a 7 step process:
These phases need not run in a sequence and in separate sessions and they often overlap. Some times more than one phase are covered in the same session and often run in a cycle for different issues.
This is the initial phase where all the three stakeholders namely, the organisation, the coach and the executive understand each other and agree on the objective of this intervention. The organisation has to do some preparatory work before this phase to define its objectives and a process to select a panel of coaches.
There are two aspects to the Discover phase. One is the discovery between the organisation and the coach and the second between the coach and the executive.
The coach should understand the organisation’s objectives behind this initiative clearly. The coach should also describe his/her methodology and should explain to the stakeholders how will be achieve the organisational goals. The reporting mechanism and confidentiality agreement should be agreed in this phase.
The discovery session between the coach and the executive is more of a chemistry session. Both should feel comfortable with each other. The coach describes his and executives responsibilities and set expectations. The executive must be willing and interested to go through this exercise.
In the next phase called Elaborate, the details of the strengths and weaknesses of the executives are discussed. Often a formal methodology like Strength Finder TM or DISC TM or a 360 degree feedback is used. The coach asks the executive to describe his value and belief system, his career and departmental goals, his views about himself, his colleagues, his teams, his management etc. The coach’s expertise lies in picking up the real issues behind these descriptions. Once the issues to be addressed are identified, various options are considered and the coach helps the executive to select the most appropriate option/s. Then and action plan to achieve this goals/objectives is agreed.
The Venture phase is the execution phase for the action plans agreed in the previous phase. The mechanism to track the progress is agreed among the coach, the executive and the organisation. If the executive is not able to go as per the plan, the coach helps the executive to understand the reasons behind the delay or non performance and correct the course if required. Sometimes a redrawing of the action plan may be necessary. The coach pushes the executive and the organization to be specific about desired accomplishments and how results will be measured. Each session is structured with a results-driven agenda, following up on previous meetings and the actions taken between sessions. The progress made in this phase reinforces the confidence of all the stakeholders in the coaching process.
For the executive to continue on an agreed plan, a continuous flow of energy is required else the initial enthusiasm dies down. It is here the alignment of the goals with value system is required. Each person has his own motivations and the coach’s job is to identify them and make the executive aware of them. The success of the process will depend upon weather the executive feels energised about the whole thing on a continuous basis. The executive should be feeling pulled towards his goals rather than being pushed from behind. In this phase, often it is necessary to look at executive’s life holistically to understand if any other aspect of his life is dragging and consuming his energy. The coach may decide to use wheel of life approach to make the executive aware of his satisfaction level from all aspects of his life.
Leap is the transformation phase, when the executive realises transformational changes in his attitude and behaviour and other people are also able to notice it. In this phase the entire perspective changes for the executive and he is able to relate his goals and actions to the bigger picture. The coach facilitates this transformation, by way of asking powerful questions and enabling insights. The coach tries to help the executive to discover any underlying limiting beliefs and past experiences. The executive is encouraged to look forward and start afresh. When the executive is able to tap into his true self and experience vibrant aliveness, he taps into his highest self. This opens up the flow of resourcefulness, power, creativity and productivity. This transformation usually enables the executive to focuses on the greater good, weigh all perspective, ask for help, be flexible and try new approaches.
Operationalise is the phase where the newly attained skills and expertise move into unconscious competence level. They become a habit for the executive and he doesn’t have to draw special attention to them. They become part of his attitude and normal way of working. The need of coach starts reducing from this point. The executive starts feeling confident of himselfof running the process. The executive transfers learning gained through coaching to his day-to-day work. The quality of the coaching relationship is a key element of success for this phase. The coach enables a safe environment in which the executive can feel comfortable taking the risks necessary to learn and develop. Drawing from a broad knowledge base and a gamut of learning tools, the coach offers guidance and activities that help the executive meet her learning goals. Learning tools and activities may include, but are not limited to, purposeful conversation, rehearsal and role-plays, videotaping, supportive confrontation and inquiry, relevant reading, work analysis and planning, and strategic planning
Upon completing the coaching sessions, the executive and his coach take steps necessary to ensure that the executive will be able to continue his development. Applying the results of the coaching within the context of the executive’s long-term development is an important part of this process. It usually includes the joint preparation of a long-term development plan identifying future areas of focus and action steps. The coach may also recommend a range of internal and external resources relevant to the executive’s long-term development needs.
The success of the coaching process lies when the executive feels confident to be on his own without the need of the coach. The executive learns how to learn and is ready to face new challenges on his own. He becomes his self coach. He learns to be vulnerable and take risks. The coach transitions the process to the executive and exists. The executive becomes his own coach and is on a path of continuous learning.