A Coaching Model By Valentina Mallardo, Transformational Coach, AUSTRALIA
Coaching Journeys To Define Me and My World
I am grateful to coaching and ICA trainers for many reasons, one of those is that during the past year I have been able to unlearn the habit of taking the meaning of words for granted, mine and the ones of my clients. What a game-changer, not only in my practice as a coach but in life, with my relationships.
My coaching model is based on the metaphor of the Journey. This metaphor became visible through peer sessions, self-reflective practice, and, by naturally noticing the words I was unconsciously using to define myself and my world. Online dictionaries seem to agree on the following definitions of the word journey: “an act of traveling from one place to another” or “something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another”[I]. It is also a very common metaphor that reminds us that the destination is not our only goal in life and that the most exciting bits often happen while getting there.
For me is a journey of awareness:
An act of going inward and to the essence of who you are. It’s about unbecoming and unlearning, being curious and exploring new parts of self,it’sdiscovering our superpowers and trusting our intuition, it’s viewing the world and ourselves throughdifferentlensesand opening to new possibilities.It’s letting go of what no longer serves our values and purpose, going beyond the definitions of ourselves, get out in the unknown and from that space, creatingwho we decide to be from this moment on.
Coaching Journeys As Representation of My Story
Coaching Journeys is a representation of my story, my core values, and beliefs and, of fields and philosophies, I am passionate about, such as mindfulness, neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, epigenetics, the Pantha Rei “everything flows”, to name a few. It’s also about who I am now in my journey as a human being and as a coach, and I trust it will evolve with me as I move along. I feel already lighter while I write this. I used to bind myself to definitions, of the past, the present, and the future of course, so please let me celebrate this moment here.
My clients are on a journey in-between“the no longer and the not yet”, individuals whose desire is to look inward and get to know who they are. They have an incredible potential of which perhaps they are not always aware of or, feel there is more to them than they can be or do, yet they often feel victims of their own stories. Their obstacles may be things inside them, self-sabotaging voices, and behaviors that prevent them to make aligned and empowered decisions, acting intentionally in the direction of their goals and dreams, and, expressing themselves as their most authentic self.
The model aims to be a flexible framework for a session and/or for the entire coaching journey. Although I refer to“phases” some are not always to be intended in a specific order. Coaching is a creative process and just like every transformation journey, is not linear, so some of the phases can overlap or swap as we go along. As coaches, we must remind ourselves to dance with the client and flow with whatever wants to emerge. The art of being present. And while coaching is not a linear process, what is certain is that every coaching journey is unique to my clients, to who they are, where they want to go, and how they want to reach their destination. Sometimes we go fast, sometimes we pause and allow silence. There will be times I will remind them of their destination, others – of how far they have come. There will be space for letting go of heavy luggage, or, for simply and consciously, setting it aside for another journey, as not in line with the travel plans. There will be also times for climbing the mountain and enjoying the view from the top and others, where we stop and zoom in on whatever needs attention. And because every journey is different, coaching tools and techniques and, my unique superpowers will be admitted onboard only after a heartfelt consideration of who my client is as WHOLE and what his/her need is in the moment. A few things though will always be a solid foundation of our journey together:
As their travel companion, I commit to creating a safe and trusting space for them to be truly honest with themselves and embark on their journey inward. I also commit to remaining curious, free of judgment, and flexible as we go along. The more awaken the journey becomes, the more the chances of a change in the path or destination. Presence, listening beyond what is said, and trusting my intuition are non-negotiable I will bring along.
You Are Here|Start as You Are
The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.- Eckhart Toll
Laying the foundations of the journey is an essential phase in every coaching relationship. This is where I get to know you and the reasons that brought you here. I discover the details of your desired destination – what makes it so special to you? How do you imagine your life will be once reached? We go in-depth and explore the meanings of your vision, your motivation, your expectations. I support you in gaining clarity around how you wish to make the first moves forward. You do not have to have a clear map of the entire journey, the how is often revealed along the way. So here you are, I embrace the whole that you are, and we are off on the journey.
Get Real| Becoming Aware of Your Current Reality
My outer experiences are a reflection of my inner conditions.
Now that we know where you are going, we seek to understand where you are now.
Naming the things around and inside you, and exploring the impact that these have on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the first steps to transformation.
Becoming aware may mean to enlighten blind spots and discovering things you did not know before, awakening to automatic programs and sabotaging beliefs running the show, to gain clarity of some internal baggage you are carrying, or the external bumps in the road slowing you down. This process may require space, time, and patience before you can see them and decide what you want to do with them. My role as your partner is to walk alongside you, mirror what I am noticing, ask you questions, and sometimes challenge your perspective to evoke awareness in you. I may use different coaching tools and techniques but, most of all, I will trust my intuition to guide me to what is needed at the moment.
Trust| You Are Your Own Guide
What your intuition is telling you right now?
As your coach, I will invite you to connect with your inner guide, to develop or sharpen your intuition and self-inquiry, so that you can build trust in yourself, and hold yourself accountable along the way. True change happens when we are willing to expand our comfort zone and accept to be in the unknown for some time. Like every journey, no matter how well we plan it, obstacles or delays will happen, and they may have you questioning your abilities, intentions, and the validity of your plan. You may be tempted to go back to where you were. These are the moments where we are often invited to trust ourselves and the process. To have the courage to keep showing up for what we believe is true for us, to start sampling new things, and keep listening to that guiding voice within. And as you do so, more is revealed to you and I will help you give a name to your discoveries, identifying your superpowers, that mix of skills, talents, and personal traits that make you unique, to uncover buried passions and interests, and make your values visible to you. The more you become aware of who you truly are, the more you trust yourself and the journey you are on, the clearer the things you want, and you don’t want, will become.
Release|Accept and Createspace
What do you need to let go of to become who you are?
Becoming who we truly are, often goes through the process of unbecoming and unlearning the things we thought were “us”, but they are not, some of them sabotage us and keep us small. Letting go requires an act of acceptance and courage that has the potential to open the door to new possibilities and radical expansion. It’s also about releasing any resistance and attachment toward a specific outcome or situation and accepting the natural life cycle of death and rebirth of all things including the identities we have been carrying. In coaching, it’s about supporting you in letting go of what no longer serves you and your situation, the heavy baggage and disempowering voices slowing you down. It’s about helping you to make space for more empowering thoughts and behaviors that truly align with your values and passions and the person you are becoming.
Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.― Eckhart Tolle
Reframe| Seeing the World Through Different Lenses
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at, change. Dr. Wayne Dyer
Often nothing outside of us has changed, but we have and so is the way we look at things. It’s a bit like putting tinted glasses on, suddenly the world outside looks the same but different and brighter! A shift in perspective is a catalyst moment in the journey of transformation, it may occur as a huge light bolt or “aha” moment – a sudden insight or discovery during a single session but also and, more commonly, can be delivered in breadcrumbs along the journey. In coaching, I will encourage you to go look within and beyond what you are seeing and feeling, I will invite you to share more about your experience and assist you in reshaping your inner dialogue and integrating new awareness and learning into your worldview and behaviors.
Flow| Align With Your Values and Move
So, now that you see and know all these things about you, what are you going to do?
Reframing perspectives often means realigning with what matters to us most, reassessing the path ahead, and if it feels right, redirecting our journey toward a destination that is truer to us. As your coach, I will partner with you to transform learning and insight into action. Before you do though, let’s stop and celebrate. I will invite you to look back at all the things you have learned about yourself and your destination, to check in with your feelings and state of mind, to pause and ask yourself how you wish to proceed from here so that you can move forward inspired by your discoveries and your deepest truths. I will promote your autonomy throughout the process while assisting you in designing your next moves, setting actions or reflections in line with what you most value and need, and identifying external support and inner resources. A vision without intentional actions is just a beautiful picture in our mind, my role is to help you bring that vision to life in a way, time, and pace that is right for you.
To be empowered, to be free, to be unlimited, to be creative, to be genius, to be divine – that is who you are.– Dr. Joe Dispenza
Nurture | Practice Who You Want to Become
The hardest part about change is not making the same choices we made the day before. Neuroscience confirms that the conscious mind runs the show only five percent of the time. The programs acquired by the subconscious mind shape ninety-five percent or more of our life experiences[ii]. So, wanting something and having a solid plan may be crucial but they may not be the only things that help us consolidate new habits and ways of being. We need to keep showing up for ourselves and the things we say are important to us. It requires a great deal of integrity, presence, and trust. This phase in coaching is about helping you take ownership of your choices and become resourceful and sovereign. To embody the changes, you wish to bring into your life. To take responsibility for your actions and help you evaluate the feasibility of your plans in your current situation and systems.
Nurturing is a vital phase in transformation, its the power of the small things, the daily water that keeps all beings alive. It’s dancing at the moment, remaining present with our ever-changing situations, and course-correcting as we evolve. And as you do so, you will feel more empowered, confident, and unapologetic to go after what you want. And there you are. Another journey begins.
We are conscious co-creators in the evolution of life. We have free will. And we have choices. Consequently, our success is based on our choices, which are, in turn, totally dependent on our awareness. –Bruce H. Lipton