A Coaching Model Created by Jenna Rykiel
(Wellness and Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
It is necessary to dig deep within oneself to discover the hidden grain of steel called will. – Ryan Shay
⇒Determine the Focus
⇒Identify the Goal
⇒Generate an Action Plan
My coaching model stems from a lesson learned early in my coach training; that most often the issues clients present in sessions are only a glimpse of the real problem. There’s usually an underlying belief, be it a fear, insecurity, misunderstanding or emotion, beneath the facade with which we’re presented.Coaches are given a platform to ask questions and challenge clients to go deeper, beyond the surface level,to truly understand what might be getting in the way of reaching their goals. The DIG Model is a reminder for coaches to do just that; encourage clients to dig deep, and to be curious about what’s below the surface.
I’ve always envisioned a coaching session to be made of layers, like the diagram above,through which the client slowly traverses with each question answered. As the client speaks they reveal new thoughts and gain a clearer understanding of the issues at hand. Having a safe space to explore any underlying beliefs at play is valuable in working through any goal or problem.
Just as it’s important to function from a place of curiosity to get to the heart of the matter, it’s just as important to set up the coaching agreement to ensure the session is meeting the client’s needs. The DIG Model is a three-phase framework that helps me stay on track and ensure the client gets the most out of the coaching session.
Phase 1: Determine the Focus
- What would you like to focus on this session?
- What would be valuable to explore today?
- What would be the best use of our time to discuss over the next hour?
- How would you like to use this time together today?
- What do you really want?
- What sticks out in your mind out of those ideas you just mentioned?
While the coach should never have an agenda, it’s important to pose questions rooted in a framework so the client can clearly define their focus for the session. This phase is often where it’s most important for heavy-duty emotional excavation. This digging may include seeking clarity on what specific terms mean to the client, asking open questions to empathize and understand the client’s feelings, or figure out what might be leading to the client’s dissatisfaction. If a client is able to narrow down their thoughts into what they truly want or need out of the conversation, this awareness will help them to better define what they truly want to accomplish.
Phase 2: Identify the Goal
- What would you like to accomplish by the end of this session?
- How will you know when you’ve reached your goal at the end of the session?
- What will reaching your goal look like?
- On a scale of 1 to 10…
Once the focus of the conversation is established, there should then be a goal that’s identified for the session. Without a goal, the conversation lacks direction and purpose. Asking about the ideal outcome of the session reframes the client’s thinking to take a sometimes-big picture focus and cut it down into what we can accomplish today, in this moment. These goals can be tangible, such as an action plan, list of ideas or next steps, or intangible, such as feeling more confident, less stressed or a desire to gain more clarity. Even when talking about the desired outcome of the session, it’s necessary to dig deeper to truly understand what the client wants and what they’re hoping to accomplish.
Phase 3: Generate a Plan
- What will it take to get you there?
- What structures are in place to support you?
- How will you hold yourself accountable?
- What steps do you want to take between now and when we talk next?
- What is an action you can commit to?
The last piece of the puzzle and the one that puts thoughts into action is guiding the client to generate a plan with which to move forward. This plan will vary depending on the wants and needs of the client, but it’s important to wrap up the session with realistic next steps that move towards the end goal. So how do we dig deeper in this phase? By asking questions that may reveal what has gotten in the way in past attempts and bringing awareness to what could get in the way this time around. With a readiness to face obstacles that may come up, clients are better prepared to not let those things stand in the way.
If we’re looking to have an impact in coaching, it’s important to go beyond the surface and dig deeper in every phase of the conversation. The DIG Model is a helpful reminder to maintain structure and to dig deep.