A Coaching Model By Dana Wu, Career Coach, UNITED STATES
EXCEL Model Goal
My role as a coach is to help my clients excel which is why I developed the EXCEL Model. The model provides a useful structure to help clients towards their goals.
Some clients who felt disengaged at work found the model useful in sparking curiosity and energizing their work. Others have found it useful in parenting, in figuring out how to get both their needs and their children’s needs met. And still, others use it to overcome bad habits. The goal of the EXCEL Model is to be an all-purpose tool.
What is the EXCEL Model?
The EXCEL (End, Explore, Commit, Experiment, Learn) model supports my clients.
It helps clients to start with the end in mind. It helps them stay engaged.
It leverages curiosity to experiment and see what happens.
E: Determine the End goal
At this stage of the coaching process, I partner with clients to identify what success looks like.
This involves exploration to understand the client’s underlying needs, desires, and dreams. Having the end goal identified and clarified serves as the north star for our partnership to help clients move forward in their life.
This step usually takes reflection. Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes.
It involves hypothesizing various outcomes and understanding the deeper ‘why’ behind what makes those worthy goals.
The ‘right’ end goal is often appealing on an emotional and logical level.
The end goal may include numerous success criteria, for example, how will the client know for sure that the end goal is reached? The criteria make the end goal specific and clear.
X: Explore Challenges
Next, we explore the current challenges are that getting in the client’s way. This may include discussing feelings, limiting beliefs, long-standing patterns, and much more. As a coach, my role is to be my client’s thinking partner to uncover what’s at the heart of the matter, to ultimately achieve a perspective shift.
The challenges may be external or internal, meaning environmental or within oneself, or a combination. Challenges can be tricky to sort out because at first glance whatever’s getting in the way may not be the full picture.
C: Commit to Action
Armed with a better understanding of what the challenges are, the client can now explore possible solutions to try out. Commitment is key because change is hard. The client needs to feel committed to action in order to truly follow through.
Without committing to action, the client may be stuck in wishing for an outcome, or ruminating and complaining about the current state. It’s too easy for the distractions of the modern world to prevent us from making the change itself. The client needs to be energized by the outcome to fuel the motivation for change.
At this point, the client will take action. The reason we call it an experiment is to prevent the action from feeling too much pressure or too challenging. It’s a mindset of trying something out for now, not a permanent change necessarily.
Experimenting offers the mindset that there may be many experiments needed, it’s rarely a silver bullet that gets clients what they want. Experimenting reminds clients to pay attention to what’s done differently and what happens as a result.
After the client tries out the action, the result can be reflected. What did the client learn? Did the action help the client achieve the end goal that we set at the start of the process? If so, the client may choose to automate this action into a habit. If not, the client may choose to adjust the action to get new learning and keep experimenting.
Learning is critical because it helps the client course-correct as needed.
Learning can feel insightful and give the client a burst of energy to keep moving forward.