A Coaching Model Created by Costa Mitchell
(Leadership Coach, SOUTH AFRICA)
My coaching model is Transformational in focus and intent, in that it involves the client in a process that will bring about growth in character and self-concept as an essential precursor to behavior modification. It is based on the idea that 80% of anything is an attitude, or “want-to”, and only 10% behavior, or “how-to”.
The Coaching Model that guides my practice is client-focused, in the sense that each of its features speaks not as much to the Coach (as in, for example, the CLEAR model, which reminds the Coach to Contract – Listen – Explore – Act – Review) but to the Client. It seeks to encourage Clients to discover their VISTA (Vision – Intention – Strategy – Transition – Action). The underlying message is that to achieve the mountaintop, I must become a different person!
This is an essential starting point. Both in the overall coaching relationship as well as in every coaching session, the first order of business is to establish the desired outcome for the client. Vision is a mental picture of a preferable future, whether that future is 1 hour or 10 years ahead. Until the client knows where they want to go, no strategy is going to be sustainable. As Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow.” The way the model does this is by encouraging the client to “dream” and write what comes in response to the question “if everything went perfectly well with me over the next 10 years, I would be…”
The next stage has to do with condensing Vision into Goals. Wishing a thing doesn’t make it so. A Vision without a clearly defined Goal is just a Pipe Dream, so the client is encouraged here to dig deeper into what they intend, or are committed, to do to shift themselves toward the preferred future they have envisioned. This involves writing and exploring all the implications of those goals, and arriving at a stage of not just “I want”, but “I WILL”. It is important here to include the personal changes the client will make so that each one is not just a Christmas Tree, but a Fruit tree. Change happens from the inside out, not the outside in!
The coach engages with the client in the exploration of the “Who”, “Where”, “When” and “How” of accomplishment of the goal. What challenges will you have to overcome to get to the goal? What steps will you take? In what order? By when? What structures will you need to put in place to support your accomplishment? Who can be involved with you? What are the bite-sized pieces into which you may divide this particular elephant? Could you? Would you? When?
Every desired change we face invites us to cross a boundary. Boundaries are sometimes external (structure, organization, “glass ceiling”, etc.), but mostly internal (self-concept, neural pathway, belief, comfort zone, or habit). To grow and change requires that I step across the boundary, refuse to accept its message about me, emigrate from the old, and live into the new reality I desire. This step will involve visualization of the new self that I am becoming, and creating and using new affirmations about what I want to be. It may involve having some hard conversations, either with people, organizations, or myself. It may mean having a “funeral” or two. And it will include some celebrations, too!
Once the client has done the envisioning, intending, strategizing, and stepping described thus far, the result is a plan of action for growth, change, and conquest, internal and external. Which amounts to nothing unless it is DONE. The client is invited to commit to the plan, session by session, with points of review, evaluation, and feedback. The relationship between client and coach is understood to include the Coach as an “accountability partner”, either alone or as one of several. My model includes encouragement for the client to send short reports of steps taken and goals achieved between sessions, for mutual celebration, as well as a more significant point of review whether weekly, monthly or at the end of the coaching relationship.
To see the VISTA:
START WITH THE END IN VIEW
GET FIT FOR THE CLIMB
ASSEMBLE THE RESOURCES
SET THE TIMETABLE