A Coaching Model Created by Marco Paracciani
(Executive Coach, THAILAND)
Target Audience & Key Insights
This coaching model is designed with the executive world in mind and aims to address one of the main challenges that many executives, and senior executives, in particular, face during their careers: there never seems to be enough time in a day to have a fulfilling private and professional life.
This continuous tension puts pressure on executives, who are constantly performing a juggling act between professional job demands and the key needs of all five key dimensions of life (personal, professional, family, social and spiritual life) (1) that need to be nurtured too but are often at odds with the executive’s corporate demands. Each executive’s situation is unique however the pressure is common: days are too short to do everyone and everything justice no matter how hard one tries. Also, the nature of corporate life means that new job demands, and new leadership challenges, emerge almost every week further pressuring the executive and increasing the frustrations/dissatisfactions of other stakeholders, such as a spouse, children, friends, business partners, sports or club partners, etc.
If not managed appropriately,i.e. with a high level of awareness and maturity, the consequences can be dire as the executive might get trapped in an ever more energy-sapping loop where everyone is a loser: as the executive tries to satisfy conflicting demands at work, at home and beyond, his/her ability to respond to those demands in a balanced, positive and constructive way gets imperiled as a direct consequence of the executive’s diminishing energy levels. Dwindling physical, emotional, and/or mental energies are a serious threat that can lead to reduced job satisfaction, lower self-esteem, personal relation strains, and impoverish other critical dimensions of life, thus potentially leading to burning out as defined by the Medical Dictionary (2) and, in the most severe cases, health problems, estrangement from loved ones and/or even job loss.
Emotional and physical exhaustion resulting from a combination of exposure to environmental and internal stressors and inadequate coping and adaptive skills. In addition to signs of exhaustion, the person with burnout exhibits an increasingly negative attitude toward his or her job, low self-esteem, and personal devaluation.
Strategies for preventing and managing burnout include utilizing assertiveness techniques, improving problem solving and decision
making skills, clarifying personal values and setting realistic personal goals, learning and using coping mechanisms to deal with emotions, ensuring oneself adequate relaxation and recreation, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and minimizing stressors at work and home.
The usual response mechanism of an executive to these tensions is to manage her/his time more efficiently i.e. by multi-tasking, being ‘always on’, skipping lunch, working harder, working longer hours, and so on. These ‘solutions’ do however only compromise other key dimensions of the individual’s life such as personal health, business relationships, or family time and will eventually bear consequences and get the executive into an ever-tighter spot.
Such a response mechanism is the time-management trap: it applies a short-term solution, such as compressing time, to a long-term issue, such as balancing important but conflicting life demands, hence leads to unsustainable and potentially damaging situations, as represented in my related ICA Energy vs Time power tool (3).
The EN.E.RG.Y.coaching model aims at helping executives address or prevent these risks by helping the executive focus on managing her/his energy levels, instead of managing only the time dimension of life, thus develop a sustainable response to the apparent conundrum of competing life demands. The model follows 3 simple sequential steps of ENgagement, Empowerment, and ReGeneration which feed into the core concept of managing our-full-self. Let’s go through them one by one and explore the role of the coach in each step.
For the executive to avoid the time management trap, the first and most critical step is to openly engage with the issues at hand and be willing to address them both rationally and emotionally.
The coach’s role is to help the individual fully identify, acknowledge, and recognize the nature of the challenge and all the interdependencies and potential trade-offs between the different dimensions of life. Once the nature of the issue is fully made bare, the coach helps the executive come to terms and accept such reality by exploring the individual’s values, beliefs, and priorities and by identifying and resolving any misalignments with the individual’s reality.
With such awareness, full engagement begins: the situation has been exposed, fears and limiting beliefs are named, hence can be tamed, inconsistencies have been identified and can be ironed out and the time management trap has been uncovered. The client is now fully aware that the solution to her/his conundrum requires a careful understanding and management of her/his energies, as well as the time dedicated to various competing demands of life.
As the executive moves from feeling like a ‘victim’ of endless corporate demands to feeling more in control (4) during the ENgagement step, it is only now that the opportunity to truly be empowered manifests itself.
The executive will most likely need to discover one more level of awareness to fully appreciate the power of proactively managing different energy types to achieve his/her goal. Maintaining the right levels of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy will as a matter of fact be critical to the executive’s ability to respond appropriately to the demands of all five dimensions of life. As the executive becomes more familiar with these four energy types and starts to experiment with the different means and tools at his/her disposal to ‘top-up’ them up, the feelings of empowerment will increase and so will her/his self-confidence: suddenly the perspective of fulfillment across all life dimensions does not sound like an impossible target anymore.
The coach has a critical role to play in this phase, not only to foster these heightened levels of awareness and provide the necessary tools and support but also to allow the individual to safely experiment with energy replenishment techniques in a way that is tailored to her/his challenges and most urgent needs. This is key for the success of the coaching model: its deployment needs to be designed to the executive’s reality. E.g. an outdoorsy individual who lives a sedentary & stressful life will have very different needs to those of an executive who is not sedentary but uses junk food or alcohol as coping mechanisms to offset her/his frustrations.
Now that the executive has fully engaged and is empowered to manage her/his life demands more effectively, the third steps kick in: here the coach works alongside the client to conceive and implement a tailored full energy management routine that allows the individual to navigate the daily challenges with ever-increasing levels of confidence, balance, and resilience.
This routine ensures that each energy type is topped up regularly and appropriately to the executive’s needs. Furthermore, the coach has helped the client experiment and appreciate the multiplying effect on the executive’s mind when all four energy levels are topped up and ‘fire off’ to support the individual’s work and life demands in a synergistic manner.
This is a deeply rewarding experience which has a very different feeling to e.g.the high-pitched but short-lived ‘kick from an adrenaline jolt: the synergistic effect from all four energy levels being adequately refilled provides the executive with a deep-rooted, calm and powerful stream of positive self-confidence which allows her/him to overcome obstacles in a balanced manner. As a result, the executive feels in control and has the mental, physical, and emotional resilience to tackle multiple, fast-ensuing challenges – at work, at home, and beyond – effectively.
To put it simply, s/he will be able to deploy balanced responses to all the leadership challenges that s/he will encounter all across, even without having all the answers to the problems at hand.
As the illustration of the EN.E.RG.Y. coaching model shows, the ultimate beneficiary of the model is not the executive but her/his full self. By your-full-self I mean the full human being that happens to be an executive; the holistic persona at play; not just the professional that shows up at the office in a suit, wears a certain badge, or sports a certain title on the business card. The reason for talking explicitly about your-full-self is that it is the only sustainable way to ensure maximum professional performance and life satisfaction (4).
Furthermore, it is not uncommon for executives, younger ones in particular but not only, to adopt a defense mechanism whereby they impersonate a corporate persona that abides by the do’s &don’ts of corporate culture and etiquette but does not match who they truly are: some parts of the executive’s character, values, and behaviors remain hidden for fear of judgment or of damaging one’s career prospects.
This approach is not only hypocritical but damaging as only by being your-full-self can in fact anyone aspire to be a credible, coherent, and genuine leader. The inconsistent personality splits between professional and private life seriously compromise the integrity of the executive and the trust of the people around her/him. Once that trust is broken, as it inevitably will, it will undermine and damage permanently even the positive and genuine traits the executive has been displaying in her/his professional persona.
The coach has in this regard a key role to play if it appears that some of the above-mentioned mechanisms are at play. Again, by being a candid mirror and empathetic partner, the coach can help the executive reconcile all her/his personality traits into one coherent self and thus help the individual achieve her/his full potential and enjoy the balmy effects discussed earlier when all energy types are working in harmony and are aligned to one’s true self.
The EN.E.RG.Y. coaching model is a holistic approach to coaching targeted at executives who struggle to be as balanced, confident, and resilient as they could be. It aims at boosting the coachee’s inner strengths and at igniting a positive chain reaction that will propel the individual towards a greater understanding of her/himself and thus towards achieving the desired goals across all five dimensions of life, i.e. those personal, professional, social, family and spiritual dimensions we all need to satisfy to be at our best.
In this journey, the coach has the key responsibility to transmit to the coachee the confidence, determination, and trust s/he will need to challenge her/himself, to realize what unbalances need to be addressed, and to adopt the changes in behavior required for her/his full self to achieve its full potential.
(1) The Five Dimensions of Life, by Tsun Yan Hsieh, The Linhart Group.
(2) Burnout – The Medical Dictionary.
(3) Energy vs Time power Tool – Marco Paracciani, International Coach Academy, 2020.
(4) Carol Dweck, The Growth Mindset
(5) The Energy Quadrants, by The Energy Project
(6)How Self-Reflection Can Help Leaders Stay Motivated, by KlodianaLanaj, Trevor A. Foulkand Amir Erez, September 13, 2018