A Coaching Model Created by Amir Iqbal
(Executive Coach, PAKISTAN)
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. Helen Keller
Coaching is all about being open to unleash your inner potential. It’s about looking for opportunities to find our true inner self and live life to the fullest.
The OPEN model is based on the premise and belief that every situation has a hidden opportunity for us to grow and fulfill our dreams, if only we seek. It’s how we look at it and how we channelize our energies for optimum outcome. Positivity plays a very important role in this model, the confidence and belief that the client has all the resources and strengths to leverage all the opportunities. The coach is there as a partner to question, to encourage, to appreciate and to be a cheerleader in this journey of self discovery and fulfillment.
In order to OPEN ourselves, it is important that the client is in a positive space and a gratitude mode. I always start by asking:
- What is one blessing/thing which you are extremely grateful and happy about right now?
The client can share it with the coach or just think and visualize. Then I would ask the client to just silently thank for this blessing to the Superior Being (Allah, God…). This helps create positive space, it also helps open up the client and establish an open link between the client and the coach.
Sometimes only change of view point is needed to convert a tiresome duty into an interesting opportunity. Alberta Flanders
If we look carefully, there is an opportunity in every situation, in every problem, in every issue. We have to look at it with the lens of affirmation and self belief. A problem (issue, deficiency) is a problem when you look at it as a problem, but has an opportunity too, a new beginning if we look at it as an opportunity to grow and unleash our inner potential (creating awareness). It’s about reframing perspectives, is the door half open or half closed? It’s up to you!
At the start of coaching session, 9 out of 10 times client’s agenda is something which is a problem or an issue statement. “I am unable to finish my tasks and manage time”; “I am unable to cope with the stress in office”, “I don’t give enough time to my family”; “I don’t have time to do something fulfilling”….
With this agenda and mindset you are chasing behind a problem and full of negative energy. Now just for a moment take a deep breath and disconnect with the past………. How can we translate the issue to an opportunity? All of a sudden you see positive energy seeping in, a smile coming through. Once the client articulates with an opportunity, the mindset has changed, the perspective has been reframed. Now the client is not running after to resolve an issue (reactive), now he is empowered to leverage an opportunity (response).
- How would you describe your situation right now?
- How do you see this affecting your life?
- How do you see this evolving in the future?
- How can it impact your life in the future?
- In the current situation/issue, what opportunity/ies do you see?
- How can you convert this into an opportunity?
- How do you feel about this opportunity?
- Once you achieve this, how will it improve your life?
Once the client rephrases the agenda as an opportunity, acknowledge and appreciate the client and reinforce the positivity. Reassure that you are with him in this journey of self discovery and unleashing the potential.
- How do you feel now?
Reframing Perspectives, Powerful Questioning, Power Listening, Creating Awareness, Positivity, Visualization
I am now OPEN to infinite POSSIBILITIES; I welcome them with open arms as I am ready to now receive. Trudy Vesotsky
Once the client has identified the opportunity, open up for all the possibilities. At this stage as a coach you have to encourage that the client remains open and mindful to come up with all the possibilities irrespective of the fear if that is doable or not (Release Judgment). Give time and explore deeper to list all the possibilities. No “if’s and “buts, only possibilities.
- To leverage the opportunity what are the possibilities?
- You have a blank sheet, what could be done?
- If you have all what it takes, what will you do?
- What are your strengths which you can leverage?
- Can you think of any other possibility?
- How do you feel about this?
- Can you draw some parallels from your past successes which you can leverage?
Once the client is in an open state of mind and as a coach you have explored enough, now help the client to bring some structure and focus what possibilities can be perused.
Powerful Question, Power listening, Openness, Empowerment, Release Judgment,
Engagement goes beyond just taking actions. Engagement is to commit, to pledge to own and act on your words. It is 100% engagement – Emotional, Intellectual and Physical. This level of engagement can only be achieved when the client fully appreciates and owns the opportunity and believes that opportunity will help improve his life, also believes that he has the resources and the will to achieve his objectives. In most cases it is the self doubt which is the biggest barrier in getting fully engaged. That inner voice says “I cannot do it”. As a coach you have to build confidence and affirmation and through AI (appreciative inquiry) and positive affirmations help the client in realizing his inner strength.
- Visualize what will achieving the opportunity (state the opportunity) look like?
- What is the picture of success?
- How do you feel right now?
- Are you fully committed to engage yourself?
- Of all the possibilities that you have identified, which are the ones which you believe will take you closer to your objective?
- What are your strengths that you can leverage?
- What is your action plan to achieve the objective?
- What support system/network would you require for this action plan?
- What action you would take immediately after the session (or first thing)?
- What are the barriers or problems that you see in this plan?
- How will you overcome these barriers?
- What fears do you have?
- How you do feel about your plan?
Visualization, Appreciative Inquiry, (SMART) Goal Setting, Emotional Intelligence, Underlying Belief, Positivity, Creating Action
Once the engagement is done and action plan created, it is important that the client monitors the progress. Like any other journey, one has to be watchful if going in the right direction, due to any reasons if you have deviated, what needs to be done to come back on the course.
When you have hit a barrier, what is your course of action? Are you achieving your milestones on time?As a coach you have to be a partner in helping the client navigates- you have to be a partner not a policeman. Being non judgmental is important. Celebrating each progress and milestone is crucial.Don’t forget to “Stop, Revive and Survive”. Very important to stop and reflect on the journey.
- How are you progressing?
- What have been your achievements in this journey?
- How do you feel about your progress?
- What have been your wins in this journey?
- What new strengths have you developed or identified?
- Describe your journey
- How do you feel about the wins?
- How are you celebrating?
- From the start of this journey how would you rate your level of self confidence?
- What is preventing you from sticking on the track?
- What are the actions which will bring you back on track?
- What will you do now?
- What is the new action plan?
At this stage the coach has to be extra supportive and ensure acknowledgement and celebration. Another very important point here is to appreciate and encourage the client to focus and enjoy the journey. Don’t worry too much on the destination. When we focus too much on the destination we lose out on the real learning and development.
Problem solving mindset, Futuristic, Self Belief, Self Management, Confidence, Accountability, Acknowledgement, Trust , Responsibility , Persistence, Celebrations
Linkages with the ICF Competencies
|ICF Core Competencies||O.P.E.N Coaching Model|
|Ethics and Standards||This model revolves around the needs and development of the client with client in the driving seat and the coach is there to support and as a partner in the journey. This model also focuses on the future and developed on the positive and optimistic outcome.|
|Establishing the Coaching Agreement||The starting point is to identify the “Opportunity” which the client believes exists and will help improve his life.|
|Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client||From the start of the model the coach brings and emits positive energy in the relationship which helps the client to bask and energize. The strength of this model is when the client’s perspective reframes from “issue” to an “opportunity”; the moment of truth creates strong intimacy and trust as the client realizes that the coach is there to help him fulfill his potential.The “Navigation” phase also helps develop long term relationship and trust.|
|Coaching Presence||Even though the client is driving the process but the coach is always present there through active listening, powerful questioning, Appreciative Inquiry, acknowledgement. Due to his positive presence, the coach is a partner in the client’s journey to a better life.|
|Active Listening||Active listening starts when the coach asks the client what is positive in life and it extends till the end.|
|Powerful Questioning||One of the positive powerful and often used skills in this model is powerful questioning as with PQ the coach will not be able to open the client fully and also explore deeply. One of the fundamental conditions of this model is to be positive and remain positive; this can only be achieved through PQ.|
|Direct Communication||During the entire coaching process the language (both verbal and non verbal) used is positive and inspirational with acknowledgement, appreciation and celebration. The communication is all about the future and what can be achieved. Another important skill is the mirroring and articulating to help the client get clarity.|
|Creating Awareness||OPEN coaching model is all about creating awareness. Awareness regarding the blessings, the untapped opportunities, and the inner strengths and the immense potential we have in our life. Awareness about what options we have and where are we in the journey all of this is integrated in this model|
|Designing Actions||Creating actions and engaging the client at all 3 levels helps develop strong ownership. Explore all the options in an open and non judgmental manner. Focuses on what matters and what resources and structures are required. Encourages and celebrates as the client progresses.|
|Planning and Goal Setting||The Engage phase is about creating ownership, planning and goal setting. With high level of engagement the client takes full control of goal setting. At this phase we also set clear landmarks and a Picture of success.|
|Managing Progress and Accountability||The Navigation phase is managing progress and accountability. It’s about moving towards the destination but focusing and enjoying the journey. And when the road block comes, how do we overcome those.|