A Coaching Model Created by Ingeborg Van den Wyngaert
(Life Coach, BELGIUM)
Our clients are human beings, and for me the most interesting ‘material’ to work with.
In my professional life as a Human Resources Consultant, I feel I am working with the most fascinating and valuable assets of a company, no matter how complex and ingenious the technical processes or products of the business may be.
Working with people is hugely rewarding and fascinating, but at the same time also challenging. Because of the subjective, subtle and somewhat unpredictable nature of my subjects (humans), I value instruments and tools that bring structure and system to my working process.
Also as a coach, I found myself looking for a tool that helps me to ground and develop the efforts of my client and me in a manner that brings clarification, truth and balance. Therefore, I created this model as a manual to guide me through the coaching process. The model is not designed as a marketing tool for my clients, but rather as a guideline for myself.
Although I’m convinced the coaching process should have a free flow and take the client wherever he needs to be, I also believe that a certain structure and outline can help me to make sure the road we take is in the direction the client wants and needs to go, instead of leading us to nowhere in particular. Working from a structure, freedom can be obtained.
This model gives me a structure where I can place the client’s reflections, ideas and questions in order to find the clues and discoveries necessary to let him discover and become his true self.
1) WHERE DO YOU WANT & NEED TO GO? Making heart and head work together
During a coaching session, the client talks about his dreams and realities, his desires and hopes, his fears and worries, the actions he is about to take and the doubts and questions he is struggling with.
All this information and data come from both his heart and mind. Some are based on ratio, some on emotions. Sometimes, these are in harmony and support each other; sometimes they contradict or question each other.
All of these data have value and are able to clarify something to the client. Some will point the way the client wants to go, some will convey the obstacles that are preventing him to go there on his own. Sometimes, what we want and what we need is not the same. How to find clarification?
Working together with the client to make the path clear, safe and inviting is my first role as his coach.
During this part of the coaching process, I aim to make sure the head (ratio) and heart (emotion) of my client are in balance. In this way, he will be able to walk up straight, having a clear vision toward his goals.
Working around life purpose and values is an essential step in this process and is preferably addressed in the beginning of the coaching relationship. Finding out what is of the most importance to the client is the key to clarify all future issues, decisions and actions.
In order to reach this goal, I will:
1) Create a space of trust and safety. Whatever we will discuss will stay between us. Whatever the client has on his mind or in his heart, I will provide a space for it.
2) Listen actively and carefully. I will listen to his words, but also to how he says them and to what he does not say.
I will be 100% present:
3) Make sure to clarify. I will help my client to get a grip on his own thoughts and emotions by asking (open) questions and clarifications. I will ask questions that invite reflection. I will provide as much time, effort and space as needed in order to reach this goal. I will let silence play its role.
4) Support and encourage every element of self-discovery and understanding.
5) Applaud every step, big and small, that helps the client to move forward on his journey. I will acknowledge all his efforts and trial. I will bring the energy and warmth that he needs to keep moving forward.
2) ON YOUR WAY Start walking and keep on going
Once the client is clear why he wants the change, he needs to be clear on what needs to be done in order for this change to really happen. Change can only be a result of certain actions.
Working together with the client to take the first steps on the road he has chosen, and to motivate him to keep on going is my second role as a his coach.
During this part of the coaching process, I will work together with my client to define an action plan and to support him to act on that plan.
In order to reach this goal, I will –guided by his needs:
- Listen to the client’s plan,
- Challenge his ideas, provide feedback, be a sounding board,
- Brainstorm ideas, explore alternatives,
- Provide learning ideas and resources,
- Encourage focus and time management,
- Help to define SMART targets,
- Support action,
- Understand his challenges and fears and provide the support and/or extra push,
- Celebrate milestones,
- Ask for accountability,
- Be flexible and supportive at all times.
Of course, both roles, the defining of the goal and the getting there, are often intertwined. During the coaching process I will be flexible to take on the role that the client needs at that specific moment.