A Coaching Model Created by Michail Vasiliou
(Business Coach, GREECE)
Coaching model framework (RtD)
Nowadays, the rapid evolution of consumer needs and communication enablers forces organizations to either adapt fast or face extinction. In this context, transformational leadership becomes critical, not only in creating new products and services, or in speaking the consumers’ language; it is also crucial for the personnel’s training and its responsiveness to any challenges that may arise. In such a demanding environment, employees are facing a two-dimensional challenge: they have to develop new competencies, all the while adapting to a new reality, where pivoting of actions requires pivoting of thinking.
Function Heads within organizations have the ability to identify all possible elements of development for team members and propose subsequent training accordingly. In other words, they can identify the “what” but not necessarily the “why”. This kind of action-plan cannot solve the issue, as it cannot reach its root causes to achieve a meaningful result. Managers do not have the time or expertise to dig deep.
The following brief, the real-life example can prove this point:
A senior manager agrees with the Function Head that there is room for improvement in political savvy and inter-functional cooperation, as the current state of affairs is not the desirable one. The Head of Function can mentor the individual, give them tips, propose alternatives, and enhance their skills through training (e.g. communication training, managing upwards, listening skills, etc.).
After a deep and meaningful discussion with a coach, the individual eventually identifies and accepts the fact that the main root cause of their deficiency their own distrust of other people. This distrust puts them in a defensive mode, and this is ultimately mirrored by their co-workers. In this way, they perpetuate a vicious and not very productive circle: regardless of the number of tactics that the person may try, the result will always be the same if the issue of distrust is not properly addressed.
My model aims at bridging exactly this gap between structure and development system, a gap that is present in most corporate organizations. It is a coaching model for middle and senior managers, who want to be prepared for their next step while stepping on solid ground and, hence, being able to move forward.
First, the client identifies the issue – the developmental challenge that needs to be addressed. Initially, the client takes various internal or external causes under consideration, without distinguishing the ones that are within their grasp. At this stage, the coach’s role is to actively listen and to ask powerful questions that will eventually clear the air and help the client focus.
Once this is accomplished, the coach encourages the client to reach full awareness of the root cause that either generates an issue or is the barrier that blocks further development. At this point, the client is urged to dig deeper into their emotions and their belief system, without focusing on technical elements. For example, if a manager finds it hard to make a coherent and solid presentation to the higher management, this does not necessarily mean that they lack technical abilities; rather, those issues are preventing them from distinguishing necessary information from useless over-analyzing.
Once the client reaches the desirable awareness, they can set new objectives and define the coaching agreement with the coach. The objectives have to be concrete, measurable and within the timeframe that the customer prefers.
The next step is exploring possibilities.
The client is encouraged to step out of their comfort zone. They are also encouraged to view an occurrence or a challenge as observers, and not as direct participants. The critical element here is to be able to further explore new or less known options or alternatives, to avoid failure: attempting to solve the problem using the same behavior that created it in the first place is a waste of time.
In this process, the use of storytelling or other narrative devices can be of significant supportive value. By immersing into a narrative, the client can imagine different outcomes, reach high levels of awareness through shifting perspectives, and, ultimately find solutions to their problems.
At this point, the client is ready to define their action plan. As in setting objectives, the same principle applies in deciding how to act: actions must be concrete and specified under specific steps and timeframes.
The next stage is a commitment. The client is encouraged to commit to a particular course of action. This process entails identifying the methods to be used, as well as the factors that can enhance the desired outcome. To reach this level, the customer needs to identify critical deficiencies and potential barriers blocking their development. This mental deconstruction will ensure the creation of a solid plan with proper supporting mechanisms in the coaching process.
The intermediate stages between sessions also play a significant role in reaching awareness. The client is advised to use this time for reflection and self-evaluation. This is why the approximate interval between coaching sessions is recommended at around 2 weeks. At the beginning of each session, the client is encouraged to re-assess their status, their feelings, and their perspective, to proceed –if necessary- to corrective measures.