A Coaching Model By Olga Kurek, Transformational Coach, NETHERLANDS
7-D: Finding the Balance Between Exploring “What” and “Who”
The 7-D coaching model enables the coach and the client to explore the underlying issue more structurally. Also, it supports with identification and execution of the most effective solution for the client. The model translates the coaching process into a language understandable for the client. It works well with clients who tend to worry, ruminate and fall into unuseful thinking patterns. The crucial steps of the model are goal setting, identification of obstacles, and action plan development. It also aims to challenge how the client thinks about the solutions and their availability.
The model explores the “What” of the client while not losing the “Who” out of sight throughout the process. The coach is responsible for finding the balance between exploring “What” and “Who” while ensuring the most comprehensive support possible.
The 7-D Coaching Model
The 7-D coaching model consists of seven steps (see below).
The steps are subsequent. Important to mention that the self-reflection underlies the entire coaching trajectory. In the last step, however, the client reflects explicitly on the goal set at the beginning. This step is a prerequisite for the completion of the coaching trajectory. Difficulties during execution (step six) might indicate the existence of some additional blind spots not addressed at the beginning of the process. In this case, the coach invites the client to get a better look at what might stop the client from moving forward.
The 7-D coaching model does not reflect other significant steps of the coaching trajectory:
- The decision of the client to seek help;
- Clarification of the expectations regarding the responsibility for the successful outcome of coaching;
- Definition of overarching goals;
- Establishing initial contact between the coach and the client;
- Building rapport and creating an open and trustful relationship.
These steps are essential for the success of every engagement without exceptions. The first four require completion before the first step of the 7-D coaching model. Maintaining rapport and trust continues throughout the coaching process.
Step 1 – Draw Your Situation
This step allows for building rapport. The coach establishes a connection with a client and makes the client feel comfortable and trustful. The coach provides enough space for the client to share the details of the troubling situation. The task here is to listen carefully and to collect more information about the importance of the issue brought into the coaching space.
Step 2 – Define Your Obstacles
In this step, the coach aims to help the client to gain more clarity on the underlying issue. The coach stimulates and supports the client in sharing his thoughts, emotions, and feelings while not being afraid of “going deeper” and awakening an awareness of the client. The coach continues to ask clarifying questions until the client and the coach gain the same clarity on the underlying issue. Getting on the same page about what is causing the difficulty brings clarity on the root cause and sometimes might already indicate some potential ways of solving it.
Step 3 – Determine Your Goal
In this step, the coach helps the client to get clarity on what the client wants to achieve and what needs to change to make it happen. Having a clear goal will motivate, energize and inspire the client. It will also help the client to challenge the current way of thinking and activate the readiness to act.
Step 4 – Discover Your Options
During this step, the coach helps the client to ditch the “black and white” and other unhelpful ways of thinking. As a result, the client starts seeing multiple (and not one or two) potential solutions. Once the client identifies solution options, the client summarizes them into a list that creates the basis for the next step of the coaching process.
Step 5 – Develop Your Plan
Here the client reviews how realistic and executable are identified solution options are by applying newly gained awareness. The coach helps the client discover the level of readiness to change. If the client is not ready to change, none of the potential solutions will seem realistic and executable. There will always be a “but” or another sort of excuse. But when the client makes a decision, the coach supports the client in developing an actionable plan. Actionable planning comprises a description of the step, its duration, timing, priority, resources, accountability, and commitment. The coach makes the client aware of what is available and required to make any of the steps.
Step 6 – Deliver Your Actions
The coach supports the client during the execution of the action plan concerning the client’s circumstances, resources, and emotional condition. The coach supports the client in gaining a new perspective on the failures and partial successes and helps the client to maintain a clear vision of the final goal. The coach might act as an accountability partner, but only if the client has requested and agreed on this support. If the client struggles with the execution, the coach might resume exploring the obstacles and redefine the underlying issue.
Step 7 – Do Your Self-Reflection and Evaluation
The coach invites the client to loop back to the initial goal to assess progress. The client summarizes the progress and shares thoughts and emotions associated with it. Shall not the goal be reached fully, the coach might help the client to refine the action plan (returning to step five). Shall the goal not be achieved, or shall the client not be satisfied with the outcome – the client returns to step two. If the results are satisfying, the coach suggests finishing the collaboration unless the client has other requests.
Final Considerations for the Coach
- The success of the coaching engagement with the 7-D coaching model depends on the time and energy the client invests into the process.
- Shall the client experience or demonstrate some resistance at any stage of the process, the coach inquires about the reasons behind the struggle and might propose slowing down the process.
- The coach might propose to the client some additional self-reflection exercises, shall the client find it helpful and express eagerness to do so.
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