A Coaching Model Created by Anne Prieur
(ADHD Coach, SWITZERLAND)
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. ― Joseph Campbell
This model came to me as an evidence during my yoga teacher training in July 2014 when we started discussing the myth of the Hero’s Journey in a spirituality class. I immediately made a connection with coaching and thought it would be a wonderful base for my coaching model. Joseph Campbell identified this process of the “Hero’s Journey” and wrote a book called “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”. Many legends and stories, around the world, have been built on that pattern since the old ages. Nowadays most adventure movies follow the same pattern as companies like Disney have made it the “recipe” for the perfect movie. This process can be observed in Star Wars (where the coach/mentor is Master Yoda), Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo, and as a matter of fact in most movies! I cannot watch a movie now without referring to that pattern.
I love the idea that came to my mind in that moment, the idea that we are all heroes. We all have calls for adventure, needs or obligations for change, ordeals to overcome, goals to set….
I recently realised that it was time for me to answer my call: the making of my coaching model. I gathered all the energy I could to face the obstacles and discouragement that could prevent me from sharing this model with you today.
Although based on the myth of the “hero’s journey”, my coaching model is a simplified version and obviously adapted to the needs of coaching. One of the main concepts I observed in this journey is that each step needs to be accomplished before moving to the next one, and this is what I have made clear in my model. It is important for me to express that once the decision is taken to move forward, the movement forward will begin, whether big or small.
I also find this model very universal, as I am not sure about my niche. One of my options would be to coach elder TCKs (Third Culture Kids) teenagers, and I believe it is a model that can resonate with them.
Above all, what really appeals to me based on how I see coaching is that this model is very solution focused. When you are facing a “bump in the road” you do not have much time to go back to your past to find a solution, but have to consider what is available to you at this very moment and how you can best use it.
The journey is divided into 4 main parts:
Hear the call
Engage in your journey
Own the new settings
I – Hear the call
This is what Joseph Campbell names the “Call to Adventure”. The Hero is in the ordinary world where he “knows”. He realises that his life is undergoing changes, or that he needs to address situations that he feels are no longer adequate or adapted. He knows that he has to take action. He needs the help of someone (the coach) to help him to consider the validity of the changes, plan the actions to get to his destination and support him along the way. Like in Pinocchio, we all need our “Jiminy Cricket” at some point in our life.
By specific questioning, the coach will support the hero in preparing his journey:
- Can you describe what it is exactly that you want to reach?
- What are the reasons for this need to change?
- How will you know you have reached the destination?
- What makes this goal/change meaningful?
- How important is it to you?
- Is anybody else involved?
- Are you ready to learn about yourself?
- Are you aware that you might face difficult times during this journey?
- What will it look like when you reach your goal?
- What are you putting up with today?
- How can your coach best help you?
Only once the purpose is clearly defined then the coachee can move on to the second step.
II – Engage in your journey
Campbell labels this step “Crossing of the Threshold”. This is when the protagonist enters what Campbell calls the “special world”, a world where he does not “know”. The role of the coach is to support the client along his journey of discovery.
In this second step, time will be spent thoroughly analysing what specific areas need attention. What is not working, and what is working. This is the time to brainstorm on the possible solutions. It is the time to think out of the box in order to change perspectives and outline solutions. Now is the time to explore the unknown.
Exactly as we see in adventure movies, we might sometimes experiment the wrong solution. However, this is the beauty of the hero; he has to win, and although victory is not gained from the first battle, he must be alive at the end of the movie, and win! There is no going back once the decision is taken to move forward. I like this aspect of the coaching process that there must be results at the end of the intervention.
Questions to help define the potential solutions:
- What can you do today?
- What are the 3 things that would make an immediate difference?
- How is that action related to your goal?
- What will happen if you take/do not take this decision?
- What is the value of your current attitude?
- What would it be like without fear?
- What have you already tried?
- What is the next step?
- What else can you do?
- Is anybody else involved?
- Can you change perspective on that issue?
- What do you have to let go of?
- Have you ever put yourself in “X”’s shoes?
- What if…?
At the end of this step, the coachee has identified one or a number of solutions that will be tested outside the coaching sessions, and then reviewed with the coach during the next step. This step can be repeated as many times as is necessary to ensure thorough investigation of potential solutions.
I see coaching as testing new solutions before implementing them, as this part is very important to ensure success. The hero is still in the lower part of the circle, in the “Special World”, fighting and testing to find the best way to the “new me”.
This will be the beginning of the transformation, a long journey, where nemesis like underlying beliefs, doubt, procrastination, weaknesses, temptations, challenges, and discouragement will get in the way. Fortunately, friends like commitment, action, perspectives, improvement, new skills and willpower will help the client defeat the “dark side of the force”.
The questioning will aim to investigate what solutions the client has tested and what were the consequences. This part is very important and should be reiterated as many times as necessary until the client tests “the” solution(s) that will work. Only then can the process move to part IV.
- What have you tried since we last met?
- What is the reason for not taking action?
- What happened when you did…?
- What else did you do?
- Any wins to share?
- What is your greatest achievement since we last met?
- Can you explain the reasons as to why “X” did not work as expected?
- What have you observed when you did…?
IV Own the new settings
This is the return “home”. The Hero goes back to his normal life in the normal world.
After going through this journey of questioning, fighting, giving up, learning, growing sharing and testing, the hero has undergone changes and is ready to start fresh. So he goes back up the last quarter of the “wheel”, to his ordinary life. However, he will never be the same, and nor will his life.
Now is the time to implement the learning that will make the journey worthwhile. The necessary changes that have been identified and tested as adequate must now be made sustainable. In this last part the coach will gently challenge the client in order to make sure that the conditions ahead are beneficial to the implementation of the changes.
- What will you put in place to ensure that you keep up with your decision?
- Who can support you?
- What resources will be necessary?
- Is it realistic?
- When will you do “X”?
- Are there any obstacles?
- Is something missing?
- Is there something in the way that might stop you?
- What else could prevent you from doing “X” ?
Do not let anybody be the hero of your own life, take charge, experiment, fail, succeed, be alive, and get the help of a coach! Anne Prieur
“The hero with a thousand faces” – Joseph Campbell