A Coaching Model created by Natalia Bogoyavlenskaya
(Executive, Business and Entrepreneurship Coaching, GERMANY)
Live what you believe in!
BOLD coaching model is aimed to support Executives in reaching a breakthrough to the next level of providing business results and leadership performance. BOLD is an acronym standing for Believe-Outline-Lead-Develop.
The corresponding phases of the coaching process are:
- BELIEVE in your Goal
- OUTLINE the way forward
- LEAD yourselves and your organization
- DEVELOP continuously
In essence BOLD is a transformational coaching model aligned with Robert Hargrove’s approach emphasising Executive’s evolution as a Leader and an Individual as a prerequisite for their business breakthrough and successful organisational change. The model rests on the assumptions that our values, beliefs and passions are the main sources of energy igniting our acting in the world
NOTE: The specific of the BOLD executive coaching model is that it is closely linked with and happens around the BOLD business development model that has been chosen by the Client for the implementation in own organisation. Therefore the presented coaching process goes through particular steps and topics implied by this business development model.
The core of the BOLD approach is addressing transformation on three interrelated levels – the Leader, the Team and the Organisation. Although the BOLD business development model is not presented in the current document, the following description of the coaching phases provides a good reflection of its stages. Description of the phases includes also areas where Client might need support, the role of the coach, examples of the questions to be asked and the check-points of readiness for moving to the next phase.
Phase 1: BELIEVE in your Goal
This phase starts with clarifying the essence of the Client’s goal and looking at the motivations and beliefs underlying it. It proceeds with Clients sharing their breakthrough Goal and intrinsic motivations with the team and revising the notion of the team.
First, is it a real breakthrough the Client after? Sometimes our goals can be along the same dimensions we’ve been always working along – we just want to be bigger, better or faster in essentially the same things we’ve been already doing. The truth is Breakthrough doesn’t happen going along, it happens going against. Taking a blunt example of a wall, no matter how much faster we may run along it, it won’t get us on the other side. We may however choose to face the wall and get all our strengths focused on breaking through it to open for ourselves the entire opportunity behind it. It is important therefore to help Client to understand if his/her goal is about a breakthrough or acceleration as working towards them would require two quite different approaches.
Another aspect of the Client’s goal to be addressed is that our goals are never just ours. And it is perfectly fine as we are never alone on our journey. What is important is to understand how much we are compromising on our intrinsic motivations and beliefs. Mark Twain once said:
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born… and the day you find out why.
It is crucial to make sure that the Client’s goal is steaming from his/her Big Why. If it is, Client will have an abundant source of energy to support him/her in the Breakthrough. If it’s not, it is important to consider whose goal it really is and why Client is willing to put energy into it. We shouldn’t be setting ourselves on the journey towards something we do not believe in.
Examples of the questions to ask at this stage:
- What is my definition of Breakthrough? How much of it is running the ‘same track’?
- Whose Goal is this?
- Which passions and believes of mine does aiming at this Goal answer?
- How is my goal connected to my Big WHY in life?
Upon linking the Goal to own Big Why the Client should be able to share both the goal and identified beliefs and motivations with own team. Sharing intrinsic motivations is crucial as the Client would need the Team’s back up throughout their entire breakthrough journey and it is important to have them connected to the same abundant source of energy – their believing in and being passionate about what they will be doing together. It is essential therefore for the Client to take time to talk to the team, let them reflect, invite sharing concerns, answer the questions that can be already answered and involve everyone to discuss and create working assumptions for those questions that cannot be answered at this early stage. Together with the team Client will need to come up with the Mission he/she and the team will commit to and declare themselves ready to take a leadership in.
Most probably not everyone on the team will share the Client’s beliefs underlying the announced goal. Client might need help appreciating that any disagreements and concerns are of great value as they may provide insights into additional significant dimensions that would need to be addressed when planning the way forward. In case of strong confrontation and non-collaborative behaviour Client may also need support in letting those people go. At this stage it is important to help Client to redefine the notion of a team as a group of people who shares not only the Client’s goals but also motivations and beliefs behind those as it is first and foremost them who the Client will need for preparing the breakthrough plan and successfully leading Client’s organisation forward. The outcome of adopting the new team definition is that Client’s Team will consist not only of his/her direct subordinates but, as soon as the new Mission statement is shared with the wider organisation, also of other people who will strongly identify with the Client’s believes and passions and will wholeheartedly raise to the challenge to support the Client in reaching the Breakthrough Goal.
Examples of the questions to ask at this stage:
- Who is on my team, who shares my Beliefs and Passions?
- What value can be found in the points of disagreement?
- Based on my Goal and underlying Beliefs and Passions, what is my Mission statement I will share with everyone and take a leadership in?
My role as a coach in this phase is to establish trustful relationship with the Client through presenting and agreeing the ways of our working together and becoming his/her thinking partner in clarifying Client’s goal and reaching awareness about the main motivations behind it. I shall help Client in establishing the link between the Goal and his/her Big Why. I shall also support Client in sharing the Goal and Beliefs with the team and redefining the notion of the Team to rely on from now on.
Both the Client, his/her redefined Team and the Coach move on from this phase fully committed to the Client’s goal.
Phase 2: OUTLINE the way forward
Once Client’s Goal is clarified, the next step is to outline how the Client and his/her organisation will be getting there. The approach we will take is what is known as a reverse engineering. This means that before we shall consider any of the aspects underlying Client’s business today we shall look into the attributes of the targeted Breakthrough and combine those into the Client’s Future Blueprint. For that, the Client will be invited to imagine that everything is possible and that he/she is already in own desired Future having achieved the Breakthrough.
The questions to be asked:
- What are the major characteristics of my business?
- What are the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed) metrics I can apply to describe my success?
- What is different in my organisation? Are its culture and values in any way different now? How?
- What is different about my team, the way we work together?
- Has my own leadership changed? How?
Client’s newly defined Team need to be fully involved into answering the above questions. Client might need support in staying open to the input from the Team, particularly, in relation to the last question.
Once the vision of the Client’s future is cleared and captured into the Future Blueprint, we shall use Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach to look at the situation the Client has today to identify what elements of the Future already present in the organisation and what strengths of the Client, the Team and the organisation could be put right into play to create a positive momentum in working towards the goal while still developing missing elements.
Main questions to ask at this stage:
- What are the elements of the Future that are in place already or would require minor tuning to meet the requirements of the targeted goal?
- For those elements that are not there yet, what needs to be created? What are the very first steps that need to be taken?
- What are the biggest strengths of mine, my team and my organisation that could be put into play to start moving towards the goal straightaway?
- What else is working that could be used to strengthen my effort?
- What approaches and ways of working won’t serve the set goals and so need to be abandoned or replaced?
- How much the current organisational culture and values are supporting the Breakthrough? What renewal is needed?
On this stage the Future Blueprint is turning into the Client’s Breakthrough Plan. The support the Client might need here is to keep drawing on the Team experience and wisdom answering the above questions and mapping the answers on the Future Blueprint. In particular, the Client might need help keeping the plan light, aiming at creating an outline rather than a rigid stipulation of details, thus applying ‘open system’ approach allowing integration of new insights as Client and his Team will be going forward.
Examples of the questions to be asked:
- How much open am I to my Team input?
- What level of detail is possible at the moment?
- What would be the right balance between ‘open system’ and detailed planning approaches?
- “We don’t know what we don’t know”. How could my Team and I make a provision for that?
My role as a Coach at this stage is to support the Client through the Future Blueprint visualisation exercise, setting SMART metrics for the Breakthrough success and helping with the reverse engineering steps. I will provide Client with the AI tools for identification of the existing strengths that could be leveraged and further techniques for the current state analysis (CSA) to help clarifying currently non-existent dimensions of success as well as the first steps in developing those. I shall also support the Client and his/her team in reflecting all these in a single Breakthrough Plan.
We shall move on from this stage with a dynamic map the Client will use to lead own organisation forward.
Phase 3: LEAD yourselves and your organization
Be the change you want to see in the world Gandhi
In this phase we shall address Client’s leadership capabilities and growth as a Leader as a prerequisite for the successful transformation of his/her organisation. When setting the team and the entire organisation on a transformational journey it is crucial for the Client to be able to show the example of being perceptive to the new emerging requirements and demonstrate own readiness to change and grow as a Leader. To lead successfully it is also important to be consistent across what is said and what is done. These might turn out to be a quite a tough job because we all have our own long proven – and so almost automatic – ways of doing things (e.g. communication patterns) that have been serving us so far but may need to be changed or even entirely abandoned in the light of the new Goal. As Marshall Goldsmith famously said, ‘what brought you here, won’t brought you there’.
Client might needs support in continuously reflecting on own leadership style and behaviour making sure it is consistent with the Breakthrough Goal and with the values and beliefs the Client wants his/her organisation to live in accordance with. Client may also need help in inviting and appreciating his/her Team’s feedback and seeing the value of sharing own leadership development challenges and ideas with the Team.
Examples of the questions to be asked:
- How am I role-modelling what I’m saying I believe in? What else can I do?
- What patterns of my previously successful leadership style might be not appropriate anymore in the light of the shared values and believes? What should I start doing differently? How?
- Am I getting enough feedback from my team to understand how am I doing as a leader?
- What in the feedback I’m receiving is surprising me? What is it I disagree with? What could be the reasons for such a disagreement my team and I are having? What could I do?
- What emotional responses am I having to the feedback I receive? Am I able to hold the assumption of the best of intentions behind it?
- How ready am I to act on the feedback? How could I get started?
As soon as the Client and the Team have outlined the Breakthrough Plan, they will need to share both the Mission and the plan with the entire organisation. This stage can be particularly challenging if the Client had visualised the Future with renewed organisational culture and values. Both time and effort will be needed to ensure people can raise their concerns and get their questions answered. Another crucial success factor for implementing the change is to start creating in the organisation the sense of ownership in relation to the announced Goal inspiring people to work towards it. This stage can grow increasingly overwhelming so that it is particularly important to support the Client in keeping balance and taking proper care of him/herself and encouraging self-care in the Team.
Example of the questions to be asked:
- What communication channels could we use/create to facilitate the discussion around our Mission and the Breakthrough Plan?
- Are my team and I spending enough time answering people’s questions and concerns in relation to the upcoming change? What else could we do?
- How am I responding to the resistance to the change? Is my response motivating or further disengaging for people?
- What could help igniting people’s motivation and creating the sense of ownership?
- Is my energy tank is refilled regularly? Do I have enough sleep? Do I eat properly?
- How good are my team members at taking care of themselves? How could I further support them?
My role as a coach in the Phase 3 is to support the Client through development of a new leadership style. I shall also help the Client to keep own energy tank full, maintain high spirit in him/herself and in the Team and to continuously ignite motivation across the organisation.
Unlike Phases 1 and 2, Phase 3 does not need to be completed before Phase 4, instead it will continue through the entire Phase 4. The point of readiness for introducing the Phase 4 is that the communication around the Mission and the Breakthrough Plan has been largely completed and the first actions have been agreed.
Phase 4: DEVELOP continuously
Once positive momentum was created through the launch of the first Breakthrough targeted actions, it is time for the Client to start addressing the ways of working in his/her organisation. The aim is to build a self-developing organisation where everyone is passionate about contributing their best and feel responsible for own continuous professional and personal development. One of the levers of success here is the sense of ownership that needs to be further fostered throughout the organisation.
In this phase the Client and the Team might need support working out new ways of responding to the inputs from employees aimed at improvement of working practices as well as capturing people’s innovative ideas related to a product or service development.
Examples of the questions to ask at this stage:
- What channels do we have for capturing innovative ideas about our products and services as well as about our ways of working?
- What response to employees’ initiatives will be the most rewarding?
- How can we encourage the new behaviours and the ways of working we want to see more of in the organisation?
- How can we further develop the feeling of ownership in the organization?
One particularly important aspect of the new ways of working the Client might need help with is continuous development. Essentially under development here are understood not only the training activities of different forms and formats but first and foremost a self-driven practice of initiating and undertaking self-development activities aimed at raising individual’s professional capabilities both for the short- and long term exceptional performance. Leading by example will be a necessary motivational factor here as well.
Examples of the questions to ask:
- How am I taking care of my own professional development? How initiative and persistent am I? How good am I as a role model for my Team and my organisation?
- How could self-development initiatives be best encouraged and rewarded?
- What are the ways to spread the best self-development practices?
My role as a Coach at this stage is to support the Client, first, in creating and following own development plan and, second, forming in the organisation a practice of continuous professional development and incremental improvement of the ways of working.
The phase 4 and the coaching relationship are considered completed when the Client, the Team and the Organisation have developed a full scale practice of the Belief grounded and Goal driven ways of working enabling them to reach the set Breakthrough Goal.