A Coaching Model Created by Maria Spanou
(Life-Stage Coach, CYPRUS)
TWAWEZA “We Can Make It Happen”
Now living in Kenya, I was inspired by the meaning behind this one word, TWAWEZA which means “we can make it happen” in Swahili. I believe there is great magic to journey alongside your client and provide the support to make it happen.
I trust that everyone has it inside of them, they just need to be in the right space to help them unleash their potential. I am also a big believer of uniqueness & authenticity – everyone is their own person and we can all make a difference. The choices we make in life determine our journey.
I wanted to create a simple model for my sessions; one that could act as my foundation to be used with all kinds of people and their circumstances. One of the strongest game changers in my coaching practice is a model that will free people from any limiting beliefs to transform themselves into the person they want to be & love – I can already visualize my clients leaving a session, feeling ready to ‘fly’.
In the following slides, I will walk you through the steps in my model.
My enthusiasm for coaching stems from the idea of being a part of someone’s transformational journey.
My model is designed to help provide the client with the support and guidance needed to transform and grow. There is much more happening beyond the surface that needs addressing before a real transformation may happen; be it fears, guilt, lack of motivation, values or limiting beliefs. Coaching goes hand in hand with the process of change, encouraging the client to dig deeper, ask better questions, find better answers, act on them and learn.
Through this model, the purpose is to empower the client to shift their current being to make way for what is wanted. It focuses on where you are in this present moment, how you want to be, where you want to be, and how you want to get there. The outcome is something that is tangible and measurable.
There is an enormous benefit in going through coaching, however, the client needs to be prepared for change.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been blessed with a very rich life journey – living, working and travelling across Europe, Africa, Middle-East and America. (I am still to do Australia!)
My multi-cultural journey began when I was born and raised in Zambia, by Cypriot parents. I worked in Europe & Middle-East earned my MBA in America and now live in Kenya. I consider myself a cultural chameleon, able to assimilate into new cultures quickly and seamlessly.
My life experiences centre around facilitating positive change for people experiencing cultural transition stress. Whereas, the skills I have built from working in international companies provide me with a piece of solid knowledge to support individuals reframe their thinking to build self-confidence working towards their potential.
My tendency to care for others selflessly and support them ties to my desire to engage in coaching. I am known for building supportive & trusting relationships; which identifies with my model – an important building block to harness on peoples strengths effectively.
What is a coaching model?
In its most simple terms, a Coaching Model is a method or process used to move your client from where they are now to where they want to be. All coaches use one, even if they don’t know they are. So it’s a framework. It’s a structure. It represents a system with an implied process.
Trust is one of the most important building blocks of a coaching relationship. When we engage in a coaching relationship, we need to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust, where the client can speak freely. We create trust by how we talk, listen and respond in our conversations: suspend judgement, show compassion and make no assumptions about what we hear.
Through trust, the coach will make a connection and set up the conversation for success – the coach helps the client identify, or reconfirm, what s/he wants to accomplish in the session, establishing a coaching agreement.
Trust is a significant issue for the coach as well. He needs to know that the client is serious about the relationship and willing to work & improve on the challenges identified.
Sample questions – Trust:
- What are the roles (coach and client) really about.?
- What are the client’s expectations?
- What is the goal of the session?
- What will success look like? How will you know when to celebrate this success?
- What value must I bring as the coach?
Some clients may not be ready for coaching; they are not prepared for the often challenging process involved in making a change. The coach should ask the client about their commitment to coaching and not to make that commitment on their behalf. This can help distinguish the clients who are coachable and to find another helpful path for those who, right now, are not engaged in the process
Asking a few simple questions to assess the client’s coach-ability is also a good way to build trust and open dialogue about the coaching relationship.
Sample questions – Willingness:
- Are you open to feedback, ideas other than your own, and genuinely committed to personal and professional development?
- Are you open to expanding your thinking, clarifying your values, and taking bold action?
- Are you willing to explore what might be holding you back from achieving your full potential?
- Are you open to taking risks and making changes that may require adopting new behaviours that result in greater personal, professional and organizational impact?
- Are you willing to test your beliefs and let go of those holding you back in favour of others that may serve you?
Listening is the most essential component of interpersonal communication skills and most important coaching competency. Coaching conversations are more about being present and listening than talking.
Active listening involves listening with all senses – being observant, empathetic, noticing and exploring the energy shifts in the client. Identifying a client’s energy and reflecting their feelings during a coaching session, can help a client tune into their thoughts, experiences, actions, and/or emotions and increase awareness around their energy as a result. Also, interest can be shown by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Hmm’ to encourage them to continue. By providing this ‘feedback’ the client will usually feel more comfortable and therefore converse more easily and openly.
Sample questions – Active Listening:
- Paraphrase: recap key points periodically, reflect – resist from leading and giving advice:
- I hear the enthusiasm in your voice; your energy to me feels strong as you talk about your passion for this idea,” or
- I don’t hear any enthusiasm in your voice; your energy to me feels low when you talk about this idea. How does it feel to you?
Coaching is about powerful transformations – the aim of the powerful questions is that the answers will help the client to move forward but they also help the coach stay curious. Open/ probing questions help dig deeper into areas we may be forgetting or avoiding; they are an invitation to pause and think, to help the client explore beyond his/her current thinking to new or expanded ways of thinking about his/her situation.
Good coaching questions help the client find their own answers and to identify their own solutions to make a change. Hence the ability to ask effective questions lies at the heart of a good coaching session. One of the most important rules of asking effective questions is to remember that the session belongs to the client – pass no judgement in your questions.
Sample questions – Within:
- Where are you right now?
- What do you want? / What’s holding you back?
- What do you think that means?
- What is here that you want to explore? / What other angles can you think of?
- If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
- What will you take away from this? / How do you explain this to yourself?
- What will happen if you do …? / What will happen if you don’t ….?
The right questions can give direction and have the ability to change the client’s focus, transforming their state of mind from limiting to empowering. The purpose is to help clients break through their limiting thoughts to replace them with supportive, empowering beliefs that lead to self-determination and nurtures powerful consistent action on topics they define as important, plus opening doorways to new opportunities and solutions.
Essentially the meaning of empowerment is to give someone the authority to do something – ultimately empowerment is an inside job. The client is the only one who truly knows what they want from their life, the only one who can decide how much energy and effort they are willing to invest to move forward and the only one with the power and authority to make the choices that will turn their dreams into reality.
Sample questions – Empower:
- What do you love most about yourself?
- What gets you truly excited about life? / How do you define your purpose in life?
- When was the last time you did something for the very first time?
- What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
- What will your success look like?
- What motivates you to do your very best?
- At this very moment, what do you want most? What are you going to do about it?
There is nothing more rewarding as a coach than empowering your client to strengthen their commitments to their desired outcome. From these commitments come actions that produce powerful results.
Clients want to have a way to finally succeed, however coaching accountability must be a client-centred process. The client chooses what they want to work on, and with the coaches, assistance refines what accomplishing their tasks will look like. Thereafter the coach invites or allows the client to explore progress towards what s/he wants to accomplish in the session. The very act of owning that action and committing to it generally impacts our clients in a positive way.
Sample questions – ‘Zero in’:
- What are you willing to take ACTION on in the next week? What’s your next step?
- What step could you take right now that would have the greatest impact on achieving your goal (or helping with your decision)?
- What support do you need to move ahead?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited do you feel about taking this step?
- How do you want to hold your self accountable?
The celebration is often missed or skipped – it is important to celebrate success and congratulate the hard work, to inspire and motivate the client. Acknowledgement is the ability to recognize something wonderful about a person and to let them know it. It is more than giving someone a compliment – it is about telling a person you see qualities in them that helped them get a job done or will help them accomplish something in the future.
Acknowledgement is key because it can express attributes of the client that they may not be aware of and reflect on their progress. When you acknowledge, you empower the client. A true acknowledgement is unique to the client at the moment, yet points to their enduring qualities. When we acknowledge our client’s unique qualities, they can often step into those qualities more fully.
Sample questions – Acknowledgement:
- As I listen to you talk about xxx I am pleased by your bravery. What do you notice? How does that make you feel?
- As I hear you, it feels like you care deeply about xxx, I want to acknowledge the way you are acting on what matters most to you.
- You were determined/creative and persisted during…
- What was your biggest win of the session today? What's so special about that for you?
- What will you do to celebrate and acknowledge your achievements?"
Biography / Resources
Conversations That Create Trust, Charles L. Fields