A Coaching Model By Shruti Garyali, Transformational Coach, INDIA
My Coaching Philosophy Life Forward Map
I will meet you exactly where you are at, right now. And then, I will walk along with you as you move ‘forward’ towards your vision for your life. Coach Shruti
All of us are, at any given point, at a certain phase of our life, as a result of a multitude of factors and decisions. Our past actions, thoughts, and choices (conscious or subconscious), up to this very moment, have brought us to this point. When you come to my coaching space, I don’t judge you for where you are right now or how you got there. Instead, I sense in you a desire to move forward. That is where my coaching philosophy comes in through my “Life Forward Map” coaching model.
A Map of our future life can be drawn in an infinite number of ways because each of us is unique in terms of our vision, values, experiences, motivations, passions, fears, beliefs, skills, and wisdom. And that is what I found fascinating as I delved deeper into coaching. The fact that there is no one right path for the journey of life and that everyone’s journey needs to allow for their individual expression to shine through made it very appealing for me to explore further.
- It is unique. There is no one right map. You are the creator of your own individual journey. There is no competition, there is no comparison and there is no examination.
- It is flexible. It can have space to allow new things to come in, at any juncture, or for some existing things to be modified/ removed as you go along. It’s your map, so feel free to play around with it.
- It is visual. You can go beyond making a checklist here. Make your own unique version of how your map looks visually. Straight, circular, mind bubbles, colorful, interconnected, flowing, linear, tabular, whatever works to motivate you.
- It is thought-provoking. I didn’t say it was going to be easy to make it! It is an exercise that is meant to move you, challenge you, teach you, surprise you and shift your gears.
- It is authentic. Sure, you can try to aim for the perfect map but does that really serve your inner purpose or some external need? When it’s authentic to you, you will want to look at it again and again because of the wonderful way it makes you feel.
- It is a balance of realistic/ practical/ logical and unfamiliar/ exploratory/ miraculous. It is the best version of what you can create for your future life ‘right now. It will have a lot of elements of what you know very well right now or you are familiar with or you feel are logical, but can you stay open to some delightful synchronicities to appear? Can you make provisions for that along with the map?
Life Forward Map
Keeping in mind the above features, it is useful to understand the different elements that could comprise your ‘Life Forward Map’ such as:
Start point and a destination: Establishing these two points, by themselves, calls for a lot of exploration. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- Where do you feel you are at right now?
- What do you feel about your current life?
- At this point, what is working for you?
- What are you satisfied with right now?
- What is not working for you right now?
- In what way is it serving you to be here/ thinking this/ doing this right now?
- What are you committing yourself to by thinking this/doing this?
- What comes up for you when you consider your current choices?
- What can you change?
- What’s your idea for your future life?
- What will be a part of your future life?
- What makes you want to reach that place? What’s your motivation/ driving force/ reason?
- What will you be feeling when you reach there?
- What will be different for you?
- What will be possible for you?
- What will you be committing yourself to when you reach there?
Path/Route: This is where you decide what kind of map you are creating visually. Is it a linear map with milestones along the way or is it fluid with many lines branching out in different directions or is it looking like a flowchart or anything else? Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- When you look at your map’s structure, what comes up for you?
- How are you feeling?
- What is it telling you about yourself?
- What are you learning about your unique style?
Checkpoints along the way: This is a mechanism whereby you can know the feasibility of your map’s ability to guide you towards your future vision/goal. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- In what way is the map working for you?
- What will tell you that you are making progress?
- How will you know that you are on the right path?
- What could be your guiding principles as you move forward?
Milestones, big and small: You could create your own milestones according to what works for you and what matters to you. Breaking down long-term goals or big goals into smaller, achievable, measurable chunks could be done by creating your own set of milestones. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- What kind of milestones are you setting up?
- What do you need to reach each of the milestones?
- What do you already have to reach this milestone?
- What are you feeling about these milestones?
- What will you feel when you achieve them?
- What will you do when you reach each of them?
- What are these telling you about your future life vision?
Pause and Reflect: This is where you create your own moments of time-outs, breaks, celebrations, achievements, do-nothing, relaxation, reflection, nap/snooze time, refreshing or recharging yourself. The idea is that you spend time thinking about giving something to yourself at regular or necessary moments so that you are not obsessed about reaching the destination at a breakneck speed. You are able to enjoy, learn, unlearn, and grow as you move forward – and for all of that to happen, you need to provide yourself with time and space. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- What is your idea of taking a break?
- What makes you happy?
- What comes up for you when you think of taking a pause?
- What does relaxation mean for you?
- What can you celebrate?
- What are you feeling about the work done by you so far?
- What would you like to give yourself?
- What is your idea of a resting space?
- What refreshes you or re-energizes you?
People: On a journey, you can choose your companions who could accompany you from start till end, or who come in whenever you want to contribute something to them or when they can contribute something to you. These could be people who inspire you, who support you, who are experts in a field, your family, your friends, and your colleagues. These could also be people whose lives you can impact through your friendship, wisdom, kindness, love, expertise, etc. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- What comes up for you when you think about people who could be part of your journey?
- How would you define them?
- How would you want them to define you?
- What can they do for you?
- What does their contribution mean for you?
- What can you do for them?
- What do you feel is your impact on their lives?
- What are you learning from your choices here?
Speed breakers/ obstacles: If there’s anything that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that there are always going to be uncertainties. This is the place where you reflect on your relationship with uncertainties, risks, and plans going awry. This is where you do the work on creating your own system or structure of support that can lift you up when needed. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- What do you feel when you look at all the steps on the way to your destination?
- What could be possible challenges for you?
- What do these challenges make you feel?
- What do you feel when you think of the next step?
- What support system can you create for yourself?
- What do you do when you hit an obstacle/a challenge?
- What works for you?
- What could you change about your response to this obstacle?
- What could help you right now?
Landscapes: This is an underlying component of a journey because this comprises the context (physical, cultural, social, etc) and the external factors that are interconnected in the way they make you feel or in the way they impact your learning and growth. These are the elements that exist in our surroundings and are often missed by us. Some coaching prompts or questions that can be helpful here:
- What are you feeling right now?
- What comes up for you when you say or think that?
- What are you learning about yourself?
- What are you learning from this experience?
- When you stop and look around, what do you see/ feel?
- What makes you feel like that?
- What would you like to do about it?
- In what way does it support you?
- What do you feel about your own contribution?
- What would you like to change/do differently, going forward?
The Life Forward Map in Essence
The ‘Life Forward Map’ in essence, encourages and sometimes even forces us to look at our lives as a whole. It could be that bright light that, when seen from a little distance, seems to start giving sense to our lives and the direction in which we are going. It provides us with the ability to feel in control (well, most of the time) of the broad vision for our lives. So that, even if a few areas seem to be not working well, we can look at the big picture and realize that we have the ability to create a new path or a detour or a new milestone, around the areas that seem blocked. Or maybe, that we could just use this speed breaker to relax and unwind.
Insights from coaching sessions with clients
ICA graduates’ coaching models
ICA theory classes and readings