A Coaching Model By Lyda Michopoulou, Transformational Coach, GREECE
The Ocean: A Coaching Model for Deep Transformation
Who Am I?
I am an empathic & intuitive non-binary person who has had their share of transformations over the years, both personal and professional. From experimenting with what I want to do/work on and learning new skills as a volunteer in a non-profit to becoming a digital nomad and a freelancer; from exploring who I am as a person, what are my values in life to finally unearthing my true identity in this world.
Thinking about the transformations I went through; I realize that these happened in the last 4 years. Before that, I was a mess; trying to find my way in life, and not knowing which way is up. Looking back feels like a dream – because some of these transformations took years to happen for me.
Having been through ICA – all the coaching classes, peer coaching, meeting other coaches, learning from each other – made me reflect on the duration of these transformations and the fact that coaching could have helped me immensely during that time. And this is why I’ve decided to develop this model for deep transformations to support my clients in their future transformations.
Who Are My Clients?
They are vibrant, passionate people of all genders who are interested in discovering their selves deeper, unearthing their authentic selves and, their identities.
Their lives might be at a crossroads and they might be unsure which way they need to take and why or they might want to explore current or upcoming transformations in their personal & professional lives.
Usually, they might be pretty self-aware and might have gone through personal development work, like coaching, and now they might be ready to do more with the support of a trusted thinking partner, a coach so they can create a better life for themselves; a life they love living.
About The Ocean Model
This model is based on my work as an Art of Hosting practitioner, the transformations I’ve been through, and it borrows elements from Appreciative Inquiry, Jeffrey Davis – author of Tracking Wonder with his method of Questing, from Experiential learning, and from the Circle Way, a structure for deep conversations – a methodology founded by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linea in 1992.
The model is called the Ocean.
When thinking about coaching, I visualize an ocean; one that flows, changes, ebbs and comes, wherein its water’s deep transformations take place.
The Ocean coaching model has 5 phases; it invites the client to set intentions, begin the self-discovery, arrive at awareness/acknowledgment, reflect on what they have found, and, in the end, be able to accept the change, the transformation that is coming.
Five Phases to the Ocean Coaching Model – A Closer Look
Phase 1: Going In – Setting the Intention
This first phase – Going in – is the beginning. The time and place for the client to set their intentions before they delve deeper into self-discovery. Setting an intention would allow them to create an anchor, like tying a rope around a tree and their waist before jumping into the ocean.
It’s the moment to ask and then give space to the client to think in silence:
- What is your intention?
- If your intention was a rope tied around a tree to guide you, what would it be?
- What would you like to see happening?
- How would your intention guide you forward?
Phase 2: Exploring the Ocean – Self-Discovery
In this phase of self-discovery, the client together with the coach as their thinking partner start the exploration.
In this self-discovery phase, the coach can ask questions such as:
- What would you like to explore?
- What are you looking for?
- What is troubling you?
- How do you feel?
- What would you like to be curious about?
Apart from asking questions, the coach can invite the client to do an exercise such as:
The Future Self-portrait is an Art therapy activity.
- Imagine yourself tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now, or any other future date of your choice. Imagine how you would like to be. Imagine yourself somewhere you’ve never been. Imagine yourself in any way you like, sometime in the future.
- The client creates a self-portrait of how they see themselves in the future and when they are done, they add the future date on the portrait.
Phase 3: Being Present – Awareness & Acknowledgement
From this phase on the client is becoming aware of what they were looking for. It’s an important step, (one that can take most of their first session or even a couple of coaching sessions) and at the end of this phase, the goal that was set at the very beginning may look and sound different.
Questions that can be asked while being present with the newly defined goal:
- How does x look now?
- How do you feel at this moment?
- What have you become aware of?
Phase 4: Towards the Shore – Reflection
In phase 4, towards the shore, the client has the opportunity to reflect on the newfound clarity on the intention they set at the beginning, during phase 1 of the model. This is also the moment where they can set a new intention as they swim toward the shore.
In this phase questions that can be used are:
- How can you use this newfound clarity in your life moving forward?
- What might prevent you from moving forward?
- What support would you need?
- What resources can you use moving forward?
Also, I, with the client’s permission can support them with extra resources such as books, TED / TEDx talks, journaling, gratitude exercises, and prompts to reflect on.
Phase 5: Leaving the Ocean – Self-Acceptance
In this final phase of leaving the Ocean, the client feels ready enough to accept what has been found and take action on the new intention and/or their newfound clarity. The “Leaving the ocean” phase will support the client to transform learning and insights into action as outlined in Section D – Cultivating Learning & Growth of the ICF Core Competencies (8.1 – 8.4).
Questions that can be asked are:
- What are your learning points?
- How can you make use of this learning?
- What actions can you take based on the learning points you found?
- How will you celebrate your achievement?
Also, the coach can invite the client to do the following exercise called Contemplate the World Through the Lens of “Gifts” based on an experiment by American psychologist Robert Emmons.
All gifts look better when they look like gifts, wrote British author G. K. Chesterton.
Emmons certainly agrees, saying that
perceiving a positive experience as a gift may be a form of cognitive amplification that enhances positive feelings. When we amplify, we increase or make more powerful the object of focus. Our positive feelings become amplified when we see their source as a gift, we have been given to benefit us.
To test this idea, Emmons set up an experiment in which participants were told to focus their attention on gifts they had received, using the language of gifts in the broadest sense possible. The results were similar to the normal gratitude condition in which participants wrote down things they were grateful for.
These Are the Instructions That Can Be Used for the Activity:
“Focus for a moment on benefits or ‘gifts’ that you have received in your life. These gifts could be simple everyday pleasures, people in your life, personal strengths or talents, moments of natural beauty, or gestures of kindness from others. We might not normally think about these things as gifts, but that is how we want you to think about them. Take a moment to savor or relish these ‘gifts,’ think about their value, and then write them down in the spaces below.”
The Ocean Coaching Journey
This coaching model is a product and part of my portfolio at this given time of my coaching journey. It’s a framework that works now and could work in the future. However, I write with the affirmation that my commitment to being my authentic self as a coach means being open to future transformations and the possibility that this model might shift over time.
The Art of Hosting
Davis, J. Tracking Wonder. Sounds True.
The Circle Way. The Circle Way
Art Therapy. “Future Self Portrait” Art Therapy Activity
International Coach Academy. Coaching Model: The Labyrinth
NJlifehacks. 8 Gratitude Exercises to Unlock the Most Powerful Emotion That Exists