A Coaching Model Created by Mary Kathryn Marcom
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
As I have coached more and more people in my coaching niche, I have developed my own coaching model that best fits the needs of my clients. Over time, I have realized that I needed a little flexibility in my model to allow my clients plenty of time to feel their feelings as they worked on their goals.
I developed a model that works yet is also flexible and supportive, as I primarily coach those who are grieving, those who are caregivers, or those who are living with a chronic illness. This model offers listening and support, positive reinforcement, acceptance and grace.
What more does a grieving client need but GRACE?
GRACE, defined as “(1)simple beauty of movement or form, or (2) approval or kindness that is freely given by God to all humans”, seems to fit well for my coaching model. The Coaching process itself involves simple beauty of movement, as the client searches themselves and goes through the self- discovery process. It is truly a beautiful thing to witness as a coach – seeing a client choose a goal, set their action steps, and find a new path or a new way forward.
I also think the second definition of GRACE fits my model as well, as I do believe “the acceptance that is freely given by God” allows a client to work through the difficult emotions of grief and to know they are accepted. To know that the God they may believe in accepts them even if they feel angry can be an important component of dealing with grief.
The Coach needs to trust the client, allowing them to have the grace and gift of self-discovery. The client will see that the coaching process is all about GRACE and will trust the process. The client will find the GRACE to grieve, the GRACE of acceptance, the GRACE to begin where they are, the GRACE to change, the GRACE to discover and set their own goals, and the GRACE to feel empowered and go forward.
The steps of The GRACE Model are below:
The coach and client begin the journey by partnering together for the coaching process. The coach offers the client the GRACE to be wherever they are, whether they are deeply grieving and just needing permission to feel their feelings, or whether they already know what they want to work on and what they want to achieve from their sessions. The coach ensures confidentiality and safety, beginning to build a relationship of trust, extending GRACE to the client – the GRACE of acceptance. In this GRACE space, an agreement for the session is carefully set in place with a clear plan for the outcome.
The coach invites the client to reflect on the way forward, asking questions to explore the emotions and feelings around the goal. The coach listens closely, reflecting what she hears from the client. Here, the coach shows empathy, noting the client’s responses and energy shifts and shares comments and observations with the client’s permission.
As the client sets up their plan of action for the achievement of their goal, the coach helps the client to AFFIRM what they are doing and to feel good about taking action. The coach asks the client about their new learning and asks how they will use it. The coach also invites the client to consider any obstacles that might interfere with their action steps and how they will overcome them, and then questions the client about when they will begin to take these steps. The coach, however, needs to remember that a timeline with a grieving client may need to be a little flexible and offers that flexibility to the client.
The coach explores accountability with the client, asking about their level of commitment to achieving the goal. The coach then asks about any support that the client may have and how that support will be helpful. The coach also asks what level of support they can provide for the client. The COMMITMENT step is very important for a client who may be grieving, as they may feel very alone. Having some accountability can be very helpful, as well as support from the coach herself.
At this point, the client has a plan to go forward to achieve their goal. The coach embraces the progress of the client and encourages the client to embrace not only their progress during the session but also the power they now have to take charge of their lives by embracing the possibility of change. The coach asks the client what they have learned from the session and encourages them to embrace the learning.
The GRACE model may move more slowly than some other models, simply to allow the client the space to do the necessary grieving. Grieving takes many forms and has no set timeline, so the GRACE model has to allow the client to be wherever they are on any given day. During some sessions, the coach may just need to hold space with the client as they process their feelings and examine their thinking, and this needs to be allowed.