A Coaching Model Created by Darryl Chen
(Leadership & Team Coach, SINGAPORE)
You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.~ Brene Brown
The Leadership CHAIR
The seat of leadership is often occupied by imperfect individuals, who have stories and dreams that are often not seen or heard, even by themselves. My leadership coaching practice serves to help leaders become aware of the seat they occupy and the demands of that role; to which they can then decide how they want to bring themselves into the role as they navigate through the privileges and perils that come with the seat of leadership. These frames of reference are often shaped by the narratives that a leader holds towards their roles and the challenges that come along with it. The purpose of the CHAIR model is to help uncover these narratives and test how they might impact them in their roles.
Principles of the Leadership CHAIR model:
- Leaders exist as part of systems;
- Leaders function in a role, and the role requires something from them;
- Leaders are equally powerful in what they do and what they don’t do; and
- Leaders are people too.
The C.H.A.I.R model
Stage 1 – Clarify
In this stage, the coach invites the client to establish a contract between the client and myself. This is important to set clear boundaries for the session, to help the client stay on-course and not get derailed.
3 elements that should be included in the contract are:
- Roles – agreement with the client on what your role looks like in terms of supporting/challenging him
- Goals – what the client wishes to achieve out of this conversation
- Outcomes – how the client will ascertain that the goal has been achieved
This stage will conclude with a clear goal statement, with the client being able to articulate the outcome for himself/herself.
Stage 2 – Hypothesize
The purpose of this stage is to help the client explore what are some possibilities that are preventing the client from achieving their goals. It is divergent and invites the client to throw out as many possibilities on what the reasons/obstacles may be in his/her narrative of the challenge. The “Hypothesize” stage toggles back and forth with the “Adventure” stage as the client leads the session.
- What is stopping you from achieving your goal right now?
- If you had a magic wand and you magically achieve your goal right now, what would happen?
- What comes to mind when you think of this challenge/goal?
- What emotions come up for you as you think of this challenge/goal?
- What pictures/associations surface for you as you connect with this challenge/goal?
Stage 3 – Adventure
As the client develops hypotheses, the coach works with the client to examine which hypotheses resonate most with the client. The session can explore multiple hypotheses but the essence is in helping the client connect with their intuition and choosing hypothesis(es) to journey into. This is where the coach needs to trust that the client knows best. However, if you feel the client is avoiding a hypothesis based on your intuition or observation of the client’s energy/body language, the coach should ask for permission to challenge the client.
The “Adventure” stage intends to help the client explore each hypothesis as deeply as they wish, intending to discover hidden narratives that might have been neglected in their day-to-day interaction with the challenge/goal. In a way, it is an invitation for the client to pause and reflect deeper about how they are seeing their goal/challenge from a personal narrative.
Stage 4 – Internalize
When the client feels that sufficient “adventuring” has been done or when the session is coming to a close, the coach begins to help the client internalize the learnings from their adventures. The purpose of this stage is to help the client crystalize and articulate their key learnings about themselves. This stage is important to bring a resolution to the “adventure”, and help the client make sense of what they have discovered about themselves through the process.
Stage 5 – Realize
The final stage of this model is to help the client design some key actions/experiments to help them move towards their goals and outcomes. The main idea here is to build ownership within the client to take action and hold himself/herself accountable to it. It should also encompass exploring possible obstacles and the necessary resources the client may need to ensure the highest chance that the designed action/experiment is executed.
The next session with the client can begin with a reflection on the actions/experiments taken after this session.