A Coaching Model Created by Rajesh Vaidya
(Transformational Coaching, ROMANIA)
“Authenticity” is being true to one’s own personality, character, deeper values and beliefs, despite external pressures. It is referred to as complete alignment of one’s beliefs, values emotions and actions.
There are forces like social norms, perceived or real rewards or reprimand, hierarchy of external validation etc. which shape one’s behavior and actions in the society. The way an individual behaves and act may not be congruent with one’s inner world. And this in-congruence or lack of alignment invariably puts conflict in one’s mind. And as this inner conflict persists and grows in strength and size, it stars feeding on energy of the individual, which otherwise could be channelized for other creative and developmental pursuits.
Authenticity Anchored Coaching Model” primarily deals with the following:
(i) It creates a safe space for the client to look at one’s life issues ‘as they are’
(ii) It encourages client to stay in the space of exploration and discovery as opposed to putting undue pressure of achievement and outcome in the sense of problem solving or solution finding. It believes that solution and subsequent action plan is an outcome of a comprehensive exploration and diagnosis.
(iii) It encourages client’s journey in one’s own awareness in the shining light of his/her own authenticity.
(iv) Authenticity anchored coaching believes that coaching journey carried within the space and spirit of Authenticity opens up deeper transformational possibilities. Authenticity enhances self- awareness, strengthens ownership/accountability and accelerates client’s ‘move-forward’ journey. It brings about a different degree of self-acceptance, confidence and character – unique to Client’s own individuality- and that can be incredibly powerful.
Right at the beginning i.e. at pre-contracting, discovery session coach states and clarifies above characteristics of the model in terms of beliefs and process, upfront with the client.
Some clients may not be comfortable with the idea of stepping into one’s authenticity, as they may be apprehensive about what they might see or feels. Coach acknowledges such or similar concern if expressed by the client and states that coaching journey is about expanding awareness, growth and evolution. Client may make a conscious choice of not making certain areas accessible, even to self. Coach would bring to the awareness of the client that it would continue to block client’s energies and limit the process of reaching one’s fullest potential. Coach assures that as a coach, he would act in the best interest of the client.
If an agreement is reached to take the coaching relationship forward, the process begins.
Authenticity acts as a substratum as well as space pervading the coaching process. It encourages client to see things as they are, establishes connects with the deeper values and brings about clarity in client’s thinking process and subsequent actions.
Authenticity is consciously invoked through Powerful Questions and Visualization.
Illustrative questions/techniques as below:
- In your complete authenticity, would you make the same decision? (Situation- Client is contemplating a certain decision, but lacks conviction)
- What would be different if you make a choice with your complete authenticity?
- Do you see yourself completely aligned with your actions, thoughts, actions, values and beliefs?
- How is it different when you are being your authentic self as compared to when you are not?
- What do you need to experience in order to be free to be yourself?
Visualization- Imagine a circle of Energy. This is the Energy of your True Authenticity. I invite you to step inside- it is the circle of your Authentic Self- This is the space of your Personal Power- what decision would you make here? It is different than the one you’d make outside of it? What is different? Which decision would you rather choose?
Authenticity is specifically emphasized or referred to in the situations of doubt, value conflict, making choices, choosing between two important values etc.
In terms of outcome and learning, coaching journey is innately positive, energizing and creative.
For greater awareness, clarity and insights, client may need to work at deeper, fundamental levels. And it is not an easy process. Client may encounter strong feelings of fear, anger, denial, question marks, uneasiness, confusion- and these are inevitable phases of the journey.
There is a powerful metaphorical story in Hindu Mythology on exploring depths of one’s consciousness.
As the story of churning the ocean goes- Once upon a time, Demi Gods and Demons churned the ocean of primordial existence to get precious jewels and nectar of immortality. The task was gigantic, involved extraordinary labor and the process of churning brought out deadly poison before jewels and nectar surfaced. Having committed themselves to the task of finding unprecedented riches and nectar of immortality, they also had to endure the unpleasant and toxic poison, which they were never prepared for.
In the coaching situation, when client is exploring one’s conscious and subconscious mind, pulls and pushes, courage and fears, it is likely that one encounters some uncomfortable aspects about oneself.
Authenticity provides safety anchor during such turbulent phases.
It also guides the process to move forward with renewed strength and learning.
Client brings agenda to coaching session in the form of personal vision, aspirations or goals.
Coach honors Client’s agenda, contracts the Long Term or Short Term-session specific objectives and starts working with the Client.
Coach shares the central belief of Authenticity in every step of the coaching journey.
Clarification of the agenda, building greater awareness around what it means to the Client , what would be of greater value to the Client in future are the primary focus areas of Agenda stage.
Agenda stating questions- some are illustrated as below:
- What would you like to achieve through this coaching journey?
- What is the success of this coaching engagement from your perspective?
- What would you like to achieve by end of the session?
- What is your agenda for the session?
- What makes this agenda important for you?
- Who you would be once you achieve your objectives of the coaching session?
- What would you like to clarify to yourself?
Exploration is a fascinating process which gets into clarification of Feelings, Values, Awareness, and Beliefs in context of the agenda brought into the coaching session.
Exploration can go very deep within client’s conscious/subconscious awareness. At times, there could be uncomfortable or even scary moments. Coach creates and reminds the Client that it is a safe space to explore and reassures of Coach’s presence with the Client.
Exploration often means venturing into unchartered territories. Faith in the spirit of authenticity, allowing ‘Purpose’ , ‘Goal’ or ‘Agenda’ to lead the way, respecting In-tuition and reflecting on what one ‘sees’, ‘feels’, and ‘hears’ during the exploration are the hallmarks of this stage
Illustrative Exploration questions:
- Would you like to further explore this assumption/decision/emotion/relationship?
- How clear are you about this? (Situation/relationship/emotion/decision)
- How clear do you want to be?
- How does this thought/decision/situation make you feel?
- What is your relationship with the situation?
- How does your proposed choice appear to the logical part of your thinking? What does it make you feel?
- May I invite you to brainstorm it some more?
- What are the dimensions/angles of this decision/choice? Financial, moral, time, emotions, relations- what else? What other angles can you think of?
- What are the options?
- What is the potential?
- What are the opportunities?
- What scenarios can you think of?
Visualization- Imagine that you are moving through the situation/people. What do you see? Supposing that you do not have any stake in the situation, what would be the most appropriate decision/choice in your opinion?
Discovery is the phase when something important is found. It can be a flash of insight, coming face to face with a deep rooted belief, finding some causal relationship, some path getting clearer, new perspective getting added which suddenly completes the jig-saw-puzzle.
Discovery could also mean knowing about one’s ignorance, coming in touch with one’s deeper calling, suppressed values or desires.
Discovery could be in term of some hidden talent; it could be in terms of some unfulfilled relationship which needs to be responded to.
Discovery phase could be emotionally charged or intellectually stimulating. Coach acknowledges and respects its ‘electric’ nature and facilitates client converting this energy into Learning and Action.
Questions /statements during Discovery phase:
- I acknowledge you for this important insight/awareness!
- Having discovered the (root) cause/cause and effect, what is that you are going to do next?
- What are the key take away from this discovery?
- How would use this discovery to your growth/success/coaching objective?
- How would you use these insights in a manner which is empowering to you?
- What would be different after this discovery?
Learning is about reflection, contemplation, assimilation of ‘that-something-valuable’, discovered in the earlier stages.
Coach keenly understands the preferred learning style of the Client and facilitates learning process to be more effective.
At this stage, Learning and Action goes hand-in-hand. Learning happens through adherence that Client displays to one’s committed action plan. It involves reflecting on gaps between desired versus what really happened.
Learning and Action often work as testing new hypothesis in terms of new habit or behavior, checking its success, going back to drawing board if need be, acting again and validating. Learning and Action stages become more of cyclical for a brief period of time.
- What have you learnt?
- What is that you still are not clear about?
- How would you embed/anchor this learning?
- If you had to do it all over again, what would you do?
- What is the most effective way of learning?
- Do you have all the resources?
- What resources would you need?
- What are you willing to give away?
- What are you willing to add?
Action is where the Commitment is tested and Accountability comes to the fore with prominence.
Coach facilitates creation of clarifying goals, action plans and strategies, supporting structure that Client designs for oneself to internalize new learning and behavior.
Compliance or adherence to the action plan may not be easy. Routine rut of life, competing pressures on time, some unplanned event …there could myriads of reason to take client’s focus away from action.
In such situations, Coach Keeps bringing back Client’s awareness and focus on action. Coach holds Client vision and accountability that Client promised to one-self.
Discarding of dysfunctional/dis-empowering structures, creation of new structures, testing their effectiveness redesigning/modification, follow up on the actions, ‘Say-Do’ ratio assessment, feedback are some of the highlights of this phase.
- What action will you take?
- What are your goals? Are your actions congruent with your goals?
- What is the time frame to achieve your goals?
- What resources would you need to meet your goals within the timelines?
- What would you be when you meet these goals?
- Are your goals in alignment with your values?
- Do you get energy by working on these goals? If ‘no’, then what does it tell you about your goals?
- What is the structure you’d develop to keep you focused on the action plan?
- I acknowledge you for making a commitment through action plan
- I acknowledge you for achieving milestones as per the action plan
- I see that you are not honoring your commitments that you made to yourself- what is there?
- What support do you need?
- What will keep you on track?
Transformation is the stage where Client has fully internalized the change at deeper levels. New beliefs, values and perceptions have become and integrated part of personality.
There is congruence between new beliefs, values, images and actions and Client is comfortable with this renewal.
Coach facilitates anchoring this shift in awareness.
Questions at Transformation stage:
- What is it to be complete?
- What have you built?
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What has changed inside?
- How does that ‘change inside’ reflect outside?
- What will it take to maintain?
- What are your essential commitments to yourself?
- How would your honor these essential commitments to yourself?
- What values would you keep under constant focus?
- How does it feel to be your-self?
- What did it take to reach here?
- What acknowledgements would you like to give yourself?
- How are you celebrating?
This is the stage of celebration.
And this is the stage where coaching relationship comes to an end.
This is the time when Client and Coach part ways.
Client walks away as a fulfilled individual.
As Client’s success is the very reason and purpose of Coaching process, Coach’s fulfillment, learning and transformation is an inevitable and inseparable outcome.
Date: 29-March-14, Bucharest, Romania
Coaching Conversations for Transformational Change- L. Michael Hall with Michelle Duval & Robert Dilts
Create a World that Works- Alan Seale
Co-Active Coaching- Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl