A Coaching Model Created by Dragos Marian
(Executive Coach, ROMANIA)
A coaching model for diminishing the fear of change and increased perseverance
Why should life, change and the solution to it all be “grey” and “serious”? Why need our dreams be approached with a grim, focused and determined game, why would we not approach it also as colorful, happy, positive GAMES? In the end, there are two possible outcomes of anything we do: we succeed or we fail. If we put our focus only on succeeding, we miss the pleasure of the trip – and the benefits of it.
In GAMES, you may lose or win – but either way, you have a good time trying and experimenting, and by failing, you often learn what’s required for winning in the next attempt; progress is guaranteed, motivation does not fail as easily, chances of a success are higher through ease of re-attempting.
It all starts here – what do we want to achieve? Here, in the coaching conversation, the contracting happens. The client states his desired outcome of the coaching conversation – as coaches, we have no input – what we should do, is clarify what is the underlying reason, what is the motivation – this is where the next step, Awareness, comes into play.
“Why is this goal important to you?” Often the client does not conscientiously know – the objective is valid, desired, but the real reason is somewhere buried behind several layers of automatic deductions and assumptions. Alignment with the goal is sometimes missing, and the coach usually senses this through the lack of energy in defining the goal and its reasons; enthusiasm is lacking, conviction is missing.
Our duties as coaches is to create awareness, and we have a plethora of tools at our disposal; using 5 whys, checking alignment of the goal with the client’s personal values, trusting our intuition to know when and how awareness is achieved.
This step is critical; if the client is not fully aligned with his goals and not aware of his motivation, the entire process will eventually stall and fail. (see my Power Tool, Organized Enthusiasm).
The method part of the game is about context and, deriving from it, actions and systems.
The purpose of the context is to define the playing field, that is, to understand the environment in which the client attempts the change: it is a description of the current status (questions like “what are the differences between the situation now and your desired situation”, “what are the obstacles that you think are in your way”, “what are the strengths that can propel you to your objectives” etc). This type of outward and inward inventory of the context is important in defining the next steps.
The actions are how the GAMES are to be won. The clients needs to decide the game plan – what is he/she planning to do to achieve the goals.
The systems are how we stay in the GAME. Here the coach needs to ensure focus and clear, realistic definitions as per the client’s capabilities. Creating the systems also validates the client’s action plan. The systems range from the smallest – the initial trigger for the first action – to the more complex, intended to maintain the enthusiasm needed for medium and long-term plans.
Executing the actions happens outside of the coaching session. The client has full accountability for this step but together with the coach can establish any personally fitting accountability mechanism e.g. checking in regularly or at special milestones, progress journals etc. Execution on most objectives would also be tracked in subsequent coaching sessions through an initial review of the time since the last conversation.
Success or Start again
We all like winning, or being successful with the first try. In reality the most desired and precious objectives the client has are the ones that are difficult and elusive; often the client approaches the topic with a customer after failing several times to achieve singlehandedly.
The beauty of a game is that not being successful on the first attempt means that you can easily try again, without taking the failure too hard, while benefiting from the experience gained through the attempt. The coach has an important role in ensuring that a failed attempt is understood and perceived not as a decrease in the client’s potential but as a learning opportunity, and that the motivation, actions and systems are reviewed and upgraded based on newly acquired experience.
This coaching model has the advantage that it provides a structured, all-inclusive approach to change while providing a mnemonic that alleviates some of the natural fears and reluctance that naturally is part of the initial change process. Its five steps cover the main parts of the couching conversation, including contracting and accountability, and the repeatability approach through Success or Start again can energize the client to continue to pursue his/her objectives through adversity.