A Coaching Model Created by Sia Hua Lim
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
STORY is a coaching model that will help individuals to unlock their potential and write their own success story. Inspired by the values of strength, trust, openness, resource, and you, STORY sets the framework for the coaching conversation, in alignment with the 11 core competencies of International Coaching Federation.
STORY denotes the following:
As with any story, it is important to set the Stage by establishing the coaching agreements and ethical guidelines at the onset of coaching sessions. It is also pertinent to start establishing trust and intimacy, and develop this relationship as it grows. The coach will demonstrate an assuring coaching presence by being spontaneous, open and flexible throughout the sessions. Even as the coaching relationship develops, it is still important to set the Stage for every coaching interaction by following up on what happened during, and after, the last session. Setting the Stage is therefore an integral part of the coaching framework to allow a smooth flow of the interactions and journey.
A sample conversation to set the stage may be as follows:
How are you today? First I will like to thank you for allowing me to coach you today. Coaching is not teaching, mentoring or counseling. Coaching empowers you with the strength to unlock answers within you. Coaching does not seek to provide answers, but focuses on helping you realise your potential. Coaching does not provide therapeutic intervention, but focuses on immediate issues and opportunities for excellence. For this coaching session to be effective, we will focus on strength, trust, openness, resource and you.
How does that sounds to you?
This conversation aims to explain what coaching is about, how it will be conducted and what to (what not to) expect from the sessions. It also strives to remind the coachee on the coaching agreement and that the focuses of the sessions are on him/her, and effectiveness of the sessions will depend on his/her openness, trust and strength to take actions.
In follow-up sessions, it is also beneficial to set the Stage from following up with what happened, including actions and achievements, since the last coaching session. This will effectively move the coachees forward in achieving more milestones, while concurrently opening up possibilities of any issues to tackle in the development of a success story.
In a coaching conversation, the coachee will determine the topic for exploration. This is the point for the coachee will share on the issue for exploration. The coach, through active listening, questioning, and direct communication, will seek to identify the feelings and thoughts of the coachee. It is also at this point the coach and coachee will try to establish any obstacles or a limitation that stands in the way of progress.
Opportunities refer to the opportunities for self-discovery and advancement for the coachee, and to the coach, it means looking for ways to reframe perspectives and motivate the coachee.
Constantly searching for opportunities to improve and move forward is one of the cornerstones of the STORY coaching model. It is important to help coachees identify opportunities to explore and exploit. Opportunities may be hidden from sight in the coachee’s strengths, values or underlying beliefs and it is at this point of time for the coach and coachee to uncover these opportunities and leverage on them.
Opportunities can be uncovered by digging in deep into a topic through active listening, effective questioning and direct communication. Questions like getting the coachee to think of what will someone else react in the situation, how to utilise their strengths or values to help in the situation, what resources are required etc will help coachee uncover new possibilities and opportunities.
It is also important to seek opportunities to provide assurance and acknowledgement for the coachee’s awareness and achievements, so as to motivate the coachee to continue on developing their success story with energy and positivity.
Results refer to the end state that the coachee hopes to see at end of every chapter in the success story. To achieve success, coachee will visualise the outcome from capitalising on the opportunity that was identified. This process of visualisation will then be translated into a action plan to get to the desired result. The coach will serve as a check for the coachee to ensure that the results visualised are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART).
For the sessions to be effective, measurements of the results are important. Yardstick here refers to the measurement of the Results that the coachee had developed. Questions like “how do you know that you have achieved your desired outcome?” will serve as a good yardstick for the coachee to measure their success and form the basis for their achievement.
In practice, STORY may not restrict the coaching session into a systematic conversation, but rather provides a framework in guiding the sessions into actionable results leading to a successful life story that a coachee can proudly share with their loved ones. In practice, while developing Results, there may be more opportunities and possibilities surfacing, and different Yardsticks will have to be determined for different Results. It is also worthy to note that STORY is built on Strength, Trust, Openness, Resource and You, the five key elements necessary for the success of the story.