A Coaching Model Created by Shripad Ranade
(Leadership Coach, INDIA)
No two coaches are alike, even when both are coaching as per the ICF core competencies and code of ethics. They differ in their personality, skills, knowledge, and experience, and in their exposure to coaching philosophies and related disciplines. Also, their approach is geared towards their niche. Thus, every coach has a unique coaching model.
My client profile is business leaders and senior executives in India. I have seen that many such executives live their professional and personal life in a rarefied and “make-believe” version of reality. They frequently need a coach as a trusted confidante, who has “been there” and can support them to become more aware, to fully acknowledge their reality and to examine their beliefs. Only thereafter, they are able to choose new mindsets or behaviours. My model focuses on these needs.
Various influences have provided specific attitudes, skills, and behaviours, which have shaped my coaching style. In this section, the various influences are enumerated.
My background in corporate strategy contributes skills such as detecting patterns from disparate sources of information, creating structure from ambiguity, choosing from amongst options, and remaining focussed on goals. Additionally, the strategy process encourages both critical thinking and gut-based innovation. My management consulting practice contributes behaviours such as contracting clearly, maintaining professional boundaries, acting trustfully and in the sole interest of the client, being curious but objective, working with interpersonal and organisational dynamics and understanding both what is said and not said by client personnel.
There are many important differences between counselling and coaching. However, as a certified personal counsellor, I find that the key attitudes employed in counselling, are relevant to coaching. These include respect or unconditional positive regard towards the client, employing empathy and not sympathy, being authentic or congruent, and being concrete i.e. present in the here & now.
I also draw upon my personality traits: openness to experience, agreeableness and steadiness.
Business leaders and executives need the coach to demonstrate respect not only for the person being coached, but also her role in the organisation, and for the organisation itself. The coach is expected to be a neutral outsider, who shall uphold business confidentiality. A coach with relevant corporate knowledge / who has “been there” is preferred, as he can efficiently understand the context.
A-B-C-D Coaching Model
Executives and business owners operate in a complex world. They seek simplicity and elegance. My coaching model conveys a “back to basics” approach through its name: “as easy as A-B-C-D”! However, the letters stand for the phases of the process – awareness, beliefs, causality, and design.
In the initial stage, after the client has laid out the broad topic for coaching, I support him to gain awareness of the current situation. He investigates his thoughts, feelings, and information about the situation, and about himself. He recognises what he would like to change about his situation, and why he wants to change it. He identifies what might be coming in the way. He also owns his current behaviours and develops curiosity about them. I support this by creating a safe space, displaying empathy & presence, listening actively, and asking questions which help him discover something new, about himself or the situation.
Once the client has gained awareness about where he is, where he wants to be, and what is coming in the way of reaching the goal, he proceeds to explore his beliefs and assumptions, and in some cases his values, which are at play. The client discovers that some values, beliefs, and assumptions that he has acquired, have not been consciously owned, or disowned, by him yet. He examines whether these beliefs have a factual basis and whether they serve his cause any longer. I support this by being perceptive, and by offering to the client what I hear and notice. Thus, he discovers that he has been making some assumptions and has some beliefs, which he was not even aware of.
The client, with the help of powerful questions from me, examines the causality (cause-effect relationship) between his values, the beliefs he is holding and his behaviour in the current situation. He is able to next identify the causality between his own behaviours (what she is doing or not doing) and the dynamics of the situation (what is happening or not happening, how others are reacting etc.). I help him to explore alternative mindsets and behaviours and consider what different effects these would have on the situation. He also discovers some more general traits or tendencies about himself. He then considers various new beliefs and behaviours and chooses an option that will have the desired effects i.e. help in achieving the goal.
It is not enough for the client to recognise that change is necessary. Once he has made a decision on what to change, I support him to think of specific actions, consider what might come in the way and how to resolve it, any support that he can take from others and from me, and how soon the actions can be completed. I also offer myself as an accountability partner, allowing the client to choose to take support from me, to stay on course. I also encourage the client to think about how the change can be made sustainable, as clients sometimes regress to old habits/behaviours. Once this design has been developed by the client, he can deploy it in his professional and personal life, and see improvements in the direction of the goal.
My coaching model emphasises creating awareness and examining beliefs since I find that executives frequently have low self-awareness, but like to believe otherwise. My model highlights the exploration of cause and effect, as my clients are habituated to look for logic & rationale before making and owning a choice. Lastly, I emphasise design, which echoes the executive’s predilection to design formal action plans. Thus, the model is designed with both my coaching niche and my influences in mind.