A Coaching Model By Andrea Lynett, Transformational Coach, CANADA
C – Connect to the self and return to self-compassion
L – Listen to the heart and unlearn old belief systems
A – Assess the core value system
R – Re-Evaluatelifeplans and goals to align with one’s truth
I – Imagine a soul-filled future and shift into a growth mindset
T – Take action and practice trusting your inner-wisdom
Y – Say YES to new experiences and embrace new possibilities
Life is complicated. Plain and simple. That’s why there isn’t a rule book that you can order and pass down for generations to come. Life is really “yours to discover,” as the saying goes.
And although that sounds intriguing; it can often feel overwhelming when you realize that the plans you originally had for your life no longer feed your soul!
So, what happens when you wake up one day – after following the path to “success” and realize it was never your dreams you were chasing. But rather, someone else’s dream or a by-product of the mounting societal pressures and expectations that have been thrown at you over the years…
- Get that College or University degree
- Find a stable career
- Find and marry a partner
- Buy the house/settle down
- Start a family
- Buy a bigger home, etc…(rinse and repeat)
This all might lead to an ideal life for a lot of people and there is no judgment on that. This may even be your client’s ideal life. But at some point, they may have woken up and realized something was missing and are now feeling very unclear about their next “best” step.
For many, this lack of clarity (especially for a type-A person who usually has everything figured out) can be debilitating and extremely frustrating for someone who’s been checking boxes off their whole life.
To be honest, this was me about six years ago. I was an over-achieving, over-educated, perfectionist, who had burned out by the ripe (young age) of 30, having given my life away to an often soul-sucking and ego-driven career path. Yes, you read that right. I no longer saw the purpose of continuing with a career that had taken over my social life and often damaged my health. What was I striving for, if it wasn’t for this result?
I initially got into the field with good intentions – to have a global impact and share stories that mattered. But somehow, I got away from doing soul-fulfilling work, and instead ended up trading my precious time and self-worth for gigs that drained me and left me feeling empty inside. Leaving me with this one question – is this as good as it gets?
I became highly unmotivated and frustrated that I had let it get to that point. And so, I spent the next six years taking courses, following my curiosity, testing out different hobbies, going on long and immersive cultural trips to clear my head, learning and unlearning, and generally just trying to figure out what I valued and what I wanted out of my life. And to be honest with you, it’s in the deep inner work and reprogramming where the answers lie. And this is sometimes the start of some great life work.
There is no short-cut. But there is clarity on the other side of this process. And that is priceless!
The Clarity Process in Action
C – Connect to the Self
This is the first stage of discovery. You may find that your client has lost their way because they no longer are clear on what they want out of their professional and or personal life. Things and accolades they’ve worked for no longer fill them up. This is the time to dig deep and it’s a time where powerful questioning will come into play. As the coach, it is our job to help them figure out who they are now and who they want to be in the future? What are some things that bring them joy? What makes them come alive? What do they envision – in an ideal world – for their life? What excuses are holding them back? What truly matters to them? What do they believe they are in control of? These are just a few powerful questions that will lead to deeper inquiry and exploration.
Tools that we can use as coaches
- Wheel of life – this is a great tool to be able to assess where our client’s satisfaction level is with various areas of their life. Once you know this, you both will have more clarity on where there are discrepancies between their current situation vs. aspirations.
- Somatic work – aims to help individuals become more aware of their body by teaching them techniques that help to release physical and emotional tension. Something like breathwork or meditation can be powerful techniques if the client is willing to explore these modalities to help uncover their desires.
- Visualization – this is a perfect tool to help your client go inward. Only they have the answers and vision for their life. There are many ways to conduct a visualization process – you could have them envision their future and what they want to achieve. And also have them envision themselves currently living out that reality. It will help to make it more “real” and tangible for the client.
- Journaling – this can help your client connect to their goals, aspirations, wants, and desires. It can help them freely express what they’ve possibly kept inside and tap into their inner wisdom.
L – Listen to the Heart and Unlearn Old Belief Systems (Two Fold)
Researcher Gregg Braden has dug into the ancient technique of using the heart as an intelligent organ. The functions of the heart go far beyond supporting life and sending blood all throughout the body. It has a wisdom that’s not influenced by the ego.As such, it gives you information from a neutral place. Your heart knows your past, present, and future. Since it does not have any egoic tendencies, it always has your best interest at heart. 
Oftentimes we find ourselves lost because our ego has been driving our lives. Which is crazy to think; but it’s powerful enough to throw us off track. When that happens, the only way back is to tap into our heart’s wisdom. Which also sounds a bit woo woo for some – but stay with me. The truth is, the heart does know the answer. And the heart is a client’s truth compass. Establishing this connection takes time and daily practice. You can suggest some of these tools to help your clients gain more clarity and self-awareness.
Ways to tap into our heart wisdom:
- Start a gratitude journal
- Breathe slowly and deeply each morning and night while placing one hand on the heart and another on the stomach. This will bring calm to one’s nervous system and make it easier to tap into the heart’s intelligence
- Suggest they ask brief and accurate questions to the heart – sitting in silence (what’s here for me to learn? What do I truly want? Who do I want to be? Etc)
Contrary to popular belief in the coaching world, when we want to uncover a client’s belief systems, we are going to have to look at their past. Because many of our unconscious beliefs that are guiding our lives were formed during childhood.
According to the ICF website, “The usual definition of belief is “a commitment to an idea.” I’m using the term to refer to the infrastructure of the human mind, the ‘mental molecules’ that form the substance and structure of our perceptions, personality, and responses. Other names for this basic building block include maps of meaning, mental scaffolding, assumptions, lenses of perception, perspectives, and unconscious biases. This is the subconscious meaning-making structure that determines our view of ourselves, others, and the world. It includes our memories, interpretations, and internal narratives. Beliefs affect our ideas of what we’re capable of and how we should behave. They influence our circumstances and create our limitations and possibilities. Beliefs are thus the greatest leverage point for helping our clients succeed.” 
Tools to use to work through limiting beliefs:
- Start with Powerful Questioning
- Have your client assess their inner dialogue. Points where their story doesn’t compute with the reality (I’m always, I never, I’m not enough, etc.) It’s this story that needs reframing. It’s the work of Psychiatrist John Sharp.
- Byron Katie’s The Work
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)
- The ICF-accredited Clear Beliefs Method.
A – Assess Their Value System
Values are similar to a flashlight in a dark room. They are there to guide us when life gets confusing or we feel unsure. If we are clear on what we value and what our CORE values are, then we can always refer to these and make decisions based upon them. But we must also understand that our values can change over time, which is why it is so important to do a values assessment with clients. Especially to help them get clear on their wants and needs and WHY they’ve made the decisions they have.
The definition of a value is: the beliefs people have, especially about what is right and wrong and what is most important in life, that control their behavior.
In Dare to Lead, written by vulnerability educator Brene Brown, she incorporates a values list
This is meant to serve as an exercise to figure out what a person truly values in life. Values like accountability, respect, trust, faith, love, openness are just a few on the long list. It’s likely easy to circle a dozen or so values that are important to us. But to know the core few that is an individual’s ‘guiding light’ – now that’s a harder task to narrow in on. But a necessary one.
As Brene said in her book,
Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk — we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.(Dare to Lead)
R – Re-Evaluate Life “Plans” and Goals to Come into Intoalignment
This is the stage where the coach partners with the client to help them see what they truly want for their life and to make a plan together that will help them move forward towards their new goals and dreams that are in true alignment with the self. This is where the client needs to look inside themselves, within their immediate surroundings, and the world as a whole. It’s time to peel back and throw away the outer layers that are no longer serving them and who they want to become.
Some questions to ask:
- Where are you right now in your life?
- Where do you want to be in two, five, and 10 years?
- What steps need to be taken to fulfill your dreams/goals/desires?
- Where are you holding yourself back?
- What’s standing in your way from achieving these goals?
- What does “being happy” look like for you? ( or insert client word for happy)
- If happiness isn’t your end goal, what is?
- What areas of your life do you need to re-evaluate to make room for your new plans and goals/aspirations?
This is the stage where you break down the goals based on the client’s wishes. You can look at finances, life, relationship, home/location, career, physical/health, spiritual, etc. It’s truly up to the client what they want to focus on. It’s your role as a coach to help them uncover their long-term, big vision goals and then break them down into shorter, more manageable goals that they can achieve shortly. Like mini stepping stones towards their dreams.
For example: Start by having the client brainstorm what their big vision goals are. Then break that down into the highest priority goals. Come up with a five-year plan that consists of smaller goals. Then have them break it down into 2-months, 6-months, and 1-year goals. Incorporating the SMART goal approach might be helpful for a client.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.– Bill Copeland
Sometimes, when we are on autopilot with our lives, years go by before we realize we lost our way. And it’s this process that is designed to bring us back to our essence.
I –Imagine Possibilities and Unlock Full Potential
Your client has a lot of goals. As their coach, you want to see them succeed and achieve these goals. And for them to do that, they need to consistently believe that they CAN and are capable of that. You are their cheerleader. You’ll help them SEE the possibilities for themselves.
Be sure to use this part of the process to explore what might be some potential barriers that will hold them back from achieving their goals/aspirations. And then re-frame their mindset towards a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset.
Here Are 7 Ways to Help a Client See What’s Possible
- Learn fast, learn often. Make it a habit to engage in reflective practice to learn from, and through, your experiences.
- Shift your thinking by embracing the concept of yet. For example, what do you notice shifting in yourself when you reframe “I can’t do this” as “I can’t do this—yet“? Or “I don’t know _______” to “I don’t know _______ yet“?
- Embrace the concept of ‘beginner’s mind’—a term from Japanese Zen philosophy that refers to young children whose minds are open to all possibilities. Children are learning new things daily. Try channeling your inner child’s curiosity by asking yourself “I wonder what could be possible if I _______?”
- Become more aware of when you “should all over yourself”. This is when you say something like “I should be able to _______”. Such a stance is evaluative and somewhat fixed.
- Shift your focus from challenges to benefits. This means focusing on how you will benefit from less appealing tasks as a way to increase your motivation to do less appealing things.
- Regularly challenge your biases, assumptions, and beliefs.
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfection. We each have flaws, weirdness, and peculiarities that make us uniquely us.
A growth mindset requires self-awareness, openness, a willingness to try, and vulnerability.
T – Take Action and Learn to Trust One’s Wisdom
Once you’ve partnered with the client on re-framing their mindset, this is the time to help them put their goals and the plan they’ve hatched into action. It’s the time when you help to hold them accountable and figure out what other support systems they need to put into place to achieve these new dreams.
Help them get playful with their life. They’ve done a lot of the hard work up until this point, but now they need to put things in motion and test out what they believe they truly want. This is the stage of experimentation. A stage where their intuition will come into play. A stage to see if what they put on paper is what they truly DESIRE.
Suggestions on how you might assist them to tap into their intuition:
- If you are a trained breathwork teacher, meditation teacher, or somatic bodyworker, it might be an opportunity to suggest a session to help them tap into their subconscious, so they can see what they want for their future and what comes up. A still mind can reveal a lot
- Give them little games to play with themselves that will help them tap into their intuition – daily self-check-ins with the body and how they’re feeling when they make a decision (also known as tapping into our gut feelings).
- Suggest they try some new activities to get the creative juices flowing. Anything different that they’ve also wanted to try but put off.
- Shake up the daily routine – nothing new will present itself if we do the same thing over and over again. As the saying goes, the ‘definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’
Y – Say Yes to a New Life and Embrace What’s Possible
Celebrate their new achievements. All the same wins. Emphasize giving grace and patience during the process because this system can bring forth some extreme frustration.
As a coach, you want to help them recognize that they may not always know the “next best” move and that’s ok. It’s a part of being human. But figuring it out is within their grasp.
Acknowledge all the work they’ve done and help them to realize that there isn’t a straight path. Sometimes we just need to explore where different bridges lead to figuring out what truly lights us up as humans. Life is truly is about exploration. With all the messaging coming at us from an early age through our upbringing, from family, friends, the media, and society in general, it’s truly understood how a person can lose their way.
But they’ve put in the work. They’re willing to make changes. They have a plan. And most importantly, they’ve got a newfound CLARITY to move forward towards a fulfilling life. One that they designed. This reality is worth celebrating!