A Coaching Model Created by Miki Stephens Foster
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
A person new to recovery is very much like a diamond in the rough. The fear of creating a new life completely different from anything that person has known is intimidating and creates a ton of fear around moving forward in recovery. Living a life in recovery from substance abuse can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life; it can also be one of the most challenging. Beginning to live a life without drugs and alcohol takes a myriad of new skills that can often times be easy to understand in theory and extremely difficult to implement leaving a person feeling confused, fearful and stuck in recovery.
Coaching provides the client with the support and structure to begin moving forward from a place of immobilization and stagnation. The possibilities are endless; this is a path to creativity not previously explored. A recovery coach can walk with a client through the process of new habit design allowing the client to tap into their potential and create an amazing life. The mnemonic ROUGH is used as a model through the coaching process as follows:
Once a client becomes free from drugs and alcohol, the question I hear time and time again is, “Now what?” I have worked with people new to recovery as well as people with many years free from substance abuse who tell me they feel stuck and have become complacent in recovery. There is a lot of fear associated with being in this place due to not knowing how to fully embrace life in recovery. The combination of confusion, complacency and fear leaves the client feeling raw emotionally. Sometimes it is almost impossible for a person to identify the life they want in recovery because the concept is so new to them, in these cases many people know what it is they do not want in their lives, which can be the perfect place to start. Begin to explore the desired outcome for coaching and what it is the client is seeking.
- What brings you to coaching?
- What do you want for yourself in recovery?
- When do you feel most satisfied with life?
- Who do you want to become in recovery?
Listening to a client talk about the confusion, fear, change, and what they want for themselves often takes more than one session. This stage of coaching can be incredibly difficult for the client to push through. For many Diamonds in the Rough By Miki Stephens Foster 2 clients, they’ve spent years identifying with their life’s story from a perspective of their past. Looking at what they want their lives to look and feel like in recovery is often something they have not spent much time thinking about. Introducing techniques such as mindfulness, awareness and visualization provide the client with insight into the process of gaining insight forward focused momentum.
- What areas in your life are being stifled because of fear?
- What’s your worst-case scenario here? What’s the fear behind that?
- Who would you be without your fear?
- What would you accomplish if you knew you would succeed?
- If you had unlimited resources and couldn’t fail, what would you do then?
Asking powerful questions about the life the client wants to live, engaging in active listening, and walking a client through meditation and visualization exercises helps the client to create a better understanding of who they are in recovery as well as what they want for themselves moving forward. Identifying and shifting the client’s values and beliefs about themselves and the world they live in helps the client to begin moving into a new story of empowerment and living. Journaling is a powerful tool to use, for those client’s less inclined to journal outside of the coaching session, asking them to write for a few minutes each session can help spark deeper conversations about what it is they are seeking.
- Who do you admire most?
- What is most important to you?
- Who do you love?
- What activities do you get lost in?
As the client begins incorporating new structures and utilizing the tools they acquire in coaching in their day-to-day living celebrating the journey is key to maintaining momentum. Having the client reflect on where they were when first engaging with coaching helps the client identify takeaways and articulate their own successes.
- What is the most rewarding part of your day?
- What are five things you are grateful for?
- Where do you see yourself in three years?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
As the client begins to feel more comfortable learning to develop their potential by gaining clarity around who they are without the baggage of the past they begin to heal and are allowed to move forward in life. The coaching focus is on how the client creates their life experience and how it relates to shaping their future as they desire. A recovery coach inspires clients to explore, plan and implement the next stage of their lives and careers through understanding, compassion and empathy.
This ROUGH process may continue many times throughout the coaching relationship or be a single cycle lasting the duration of the relationship. Driven by the client and guided by the coach this process can unleash potential and creativity not previously experienced by a person in recovery. A recovery coach provides the platform for self-actualization the client needs as they blossom into their experience of the world without the bondage of their past.