A Coaching Model Created by Nurhaida Rahim
(Burnout Recovery Coach, SINGAPORE)
Building awareness and responsibility is the essence of good coaching – John Whitmore
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, to be aware is to know something exists or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing. Within the context of coaching, to be aware is to be informed, alert and sensitive to a particular situation, fact and development.
If coaching is a series of conversations that aims to help the client move towards the desired outcome, then being aware (and thus having awareness) is the fundamental step for coaching success. For change to happen, awareness must be present. The client must be conscious, able and willing to interpret what he or she sees, feels, acts and hears and subsequently use that information to enable actions towards the desired outcome.
To this end, the AWARE Model was designed with awareness as not only its first foundational element but also a guiding factor throughout a coaching journey between the coach and the client.
The AWARE Model
The AWARE Model can be understood as follows:
Know Your Aim
An archer needs an aim. A marathoner needs to know where his finishing line is. A plane needs to know where to land for safety. In the context of modern living, most individuals do have some idea of where they are headed in their personal and professional lives. Knowing our goal and what we are aiming to keep us in check of the progress we are making towards our desired outcome or result we want to see.
With an aim in mind, we are more stable, settled and able to focus our energies and resources in the best way. Not having an aim can often lead to waste, duplication, uncertainty and dullness.
Having an aim for ourselves can be as simple and small as aiming to read 5 books a year or intending to eat more fruits and vegetables daily to big goals such as moving to a new country or setting up a family. For some individuals, their goals and aims are clear and specific but for many others, they may have difficulty identifying what their goals are. This is often when they feel stuck, unclear and lost. This is also when coaching can be applied to support these individuals to get clarity.
Understand Your Why
Setting goals and having an aim of where you are headed is the first step but to remain strong in your motivation requires an anchor. This is why it is important to know your WHY – your purpose and motivation for wanting that goal.
For example, one of the most challenging goals often made is weight loss. Individuals wanting to lose weight cite their desired weight goal and they know how they should go about doing it – exercise, sign up for the gym, dieting, food portion control, and so on. Somehow they often fail. One of the key reasons they have not succeeded is likely because they do not fully understand their why or their motivation for wanting to make that change. Knowing why you would like to make that change not only helps keep you focused on the goal but also importantly keeps you grounded and motivated in the knowledge of why it truly matters.
So ask yourself: “Why is it so important for me to have this change?” It might not be clear in the beginning but keep digging deeper until you are fully satisfied with the reason.
Assess and Act
Once you know what your aim is and why it matters to you, it is time to assess where you are at the present moment and take on appropriate actions to help you get there. It is pertinent to focus on the present moment and not be overly obsessed with what had happened, how you wished things were different and what the future could look like. For coaching to be most helpful, it needs to be couched in the present, not in the past or the future.
To assess means to refer to the reality of your current situation, using your intuition to understand what is holding you back (if any) and what factors are relevant in making the desired change. To assess is to take stock. The importance of this cannot be understated. The more you are aware of where you are and of factors that are applicable to you and your situation, the abler you will be to design suitable and sustainable actions to get to our goal. Many individuals make a mistake of assuming coaching is only about taking actions. Taking actions without awareness will likely lead to frustration.
Additionally for many people, embarking on change can be scary. Scary because it means getting out of your comfort zone and being vulnerable, knowing there may be a possibility for failure. To minimize this fear, it would be helpful to start taking minimum viable action – the smallest doable act – to help jumpstart the inertia.
To move towards our desired result requires us to take responsibility for our actions and inaction. When we take actions, we have a responsibility for making sure it is aligned with our beliefs and values. We have a responsibility to challenge and push ourselves to do our best and importantly a responsibility to look after our well being.
Making change is not always a smooth process as there will be days when sticking to a routine, going to the gym or remaining positive in the midst of difficulties prove challenging. There will be occasions when we are not able to take action. Recognizing this entails us to take responsibility that inaction happens, and not place blame or excuses.
We also have a responsibility, when possible and within reason, to ensure that our actions do not negatively affect or intentionally hurt others or the environment we live in. That responsibility requires awareness that comes from being intuitively connected to the people, the community and the world we live in.
Evaluate As You Go
As we take on actions towards our goal, making evaluations as our progress will be critical to ensure that we are moving towards the final aim. Taking time to evaluate is important for many reasons. Chief amongst them is ensuring we are making changes we want to see happen and they remain true to our belief system and values as well as the main goal itself.
Evaluating our situation as we go also helps to identify the obstacles or challenges we may be faced with. This opens an opportunity to correct our course, make adjustments where needed or if needed, change our directions altogether.
Another undervalued reason why evaluating is important is it allows us to celebrate the wins we have accomplished – big and small. In our modern lifestyle, we have become too absorbed in seeking to achieve more, doing more and moving faster that too often we missed out on the small wins that happen to us every day. To evaluate where we are as we move forward is simply showing appreciation and practising gratitude for the effort put in, the opportunities that were made avail and for the effect it brings.
The AWARE model is designed with the fundamental belief that individuals can experience positive changes in the best way when it impacts them holistically and where possible, in all aspects of their lives. It is best applied with a full understanding and appreciation that awareness is at the core of each step and action we take. Without awareness, the thinking we have and actions we perform are likely to be more disconnected and less purposeful, potentially leaving us to throw our arms up in the air frantically wondering, “What am I doing these for anyway”.
By utilizing the AWARE model in a coaching journey, you will be embarking on a comprehensive journey of discovery and self-realization.