A Coaching Model Created by Margot Ling
(Performance & Empowerment Coach, HONG KONG)
The only constant is change by Heraclitus, the infamous Ancient Greek philosopher.
The fact is, the world is changing faster than ever in the 21st century, with the advancement of technology and the involvement of global societies. Behind all these exciting developments, people often feel overwhelmed and breathless to catch up with the demanding world. To be able to perform at peak or at an optimal state, and to gain the power to survive at best is often a challenge.
How to keep our performance and be empowered in the ever-changing world? One of the strategies is to be AGILE.
Based on Oxford Learners’ Dictionaries, the word “AGILE” is an adjective, meaning “able to move quickly and easily”. It is also “used to describe a way of working in which the time and place of work and the roles that people carry out, can all be changed according to the need, and the focus is on the goals to be achieved, rather than the exact methods used.”
In this AGILE coaching model, there are 2 levels in adopting AGILE:
- The coach embraces the spirit of being AGILE in the whole coaching process. The coach evolves with the client and facilitates the client to move from A to B, led by the client’s goals, exploration, and discoveries to actions. The coach works according to the needs and goals of the client instead of working on a fixed method.
- The coach empowers the session by creating different mental zones for the client at different stages, which can provide the client with optimal mental support during the coaching process to accelerate towards the desired goals. The 5 zones are Appreciation, Growth, Intelligence, Leverage, and Energy, as the acronym of AGILE.
The 5 Zones of AGILE Model
A – Appreciation
Zone: Bring the client to a positive and confident mental space to open up
Client: Ready to be coached
Tools: Strength-based techniques
Appreciation sounds like a light-hearted word, but it is indeed a very powerful state of mind. Appreciation and gratitude go hand in hand. Literally, it entails recognition and enjoyment of good qualities, with increasing positive value. Whether it is about the situation, people or own self, appreciation can shift perspectives from a negative mental state to the positive end. This approach embraces the belief that every person, organization or scenario has positive aspects that can be built on. In this zone, the coach will focus on powerful questioning to shift the client’s focus onto the values, positives, and gains that are either working or will work. Strength-based techniques will be used such as Appreciative Inquiry and Strength Finders.
G – Growth
Zone: Take the client to the Growth zone to create a clear vision to explore options
Client: Shifting from the present to the future to experience clarity
Very often a client prefers to stay within the comfort zone or beats around the bush without moving onwards. In this zone, the coach will invite the client to explore the inner purpose and visualize desired outcomes, creating a positive vision and growth mindset. Through techniques such as visualization, the coach will take the client to “touch and feel” the desired future reality. This is followed by the concept of reverse engineering, allowing the client to explore different options and paths to reach the desired goals. Subsequently looking further into areas for change or improvements, backed up by the spirit of the growth mindset.
I – Intelligence
Zone: The zone for inner self-reflection to look at a situation inside out
Client: To discover underlying beliefs and qualities which need to be addressed
Tools: Measurable assessments
Depending on the client’s goals, there are qualities within oneself which can be the key foundation for achieving certain outcomes in different aspects of life. By introducing relevant measurable assessments, the client may be able to unveil their hidden competencies. These objective competencies provide the ground for the client to discover, review, and relate, so as to find out which qualities require strengthening or the other way around. For instance, the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) model introduced by Daniel Goldman outlines five main constructs – Self-awareness, self-regulation, social skill, empathy, and motivation. Another example is the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) model introduced by David Livermore, which demonstrates four main constructs for measuring cross-cultural performances – Awareness, Knowledge, Strategy, and Actions. There is a set of competencies within each construct.
L – Leverage
Zone: Empower the client to design actions from new learning and extant resources
Client: Leverage on learnings and new resources to work towards goals
Tools: Power tool – Agile vs Rigid
There is a medieval proverb of “all roads lead to Rome”. There are multiple paths to achieve the same goals, which may require different strategies. Very often people are bound by rigidity and view resources as limited and scarce. The feeling of “not enough” may get into the way for clients to achieve their desired goals. In this zone, the coach takes the client to another out-of-the-box horizon to experience abundance. Coach invites the client to gain awareness and leverage on the new learnings and extant resources to move forward or even jump higher and farther. A power tool of Agile vs Rigid can be adopted, which is to actively integrate the available resources strategically to create the optimal forward-moving actions, instead of passively focusing on the inability to change or fixed formula.
E – Energy
Zone: Connect the client with the universe to create a sustainable support system
Client: Aligning both mental and physical power for the longer-term goals
Tools: Mindfulness exercises
Not only high performers have a tendency to experience “burnout” – people in this fast-paced world often feel tired and time-pressured. This zone focuses on the structural support systems a client can develop for optimal energy balance, especially for longer-term and far-reaching goals. Sometimes, having excessive energy might upset the equilibrium. The coach invites the client to reconnect with body and soul through regular mindfulness exercises, such as mindful breathing, walk or body scan. This process is to assist the client to discover his or her very own method to balance inflow and outflow of energy – to get empowered for strength vs to gain calmness for clarity. This is a space for empowerment to maintain well-being and performance.