A Coaching Model Created by Tobias Demker
(Leadership coach, CHINA)
In my coaching experience, both as a coach and a client, I have found it very rewarding to identify personal values, and then establishing an alignment between these values, actions or behaviors, and long term goals.
Balance is also a key concept in my life, and something I am often referring to as one of my core values. By keeping my balance, I am able to live my life focusing on what is important to me, in a fulfilling and healthy way. The purpose of this coaching model is to create balance or alignment for individuals in terms of Goals, Actions, and individual Values.
It is also important to create a strong sense of accountability in the coaching session. Such, this coaching model includes a few steps to identify potential challenges with the next steps, and then discovering ways to further enabling us to be successful in moving forward.
This document contains an illustration of the model, and some example of questions which can be applied in each segment.
When to use BALANCE?
I find it a good idea to present this coaching model if the client is willing to explore his/her “being”. This coaching model is not to use in the first session, as by immediately starting asking questions about someone’s personal values might be a little like “jumping into the deep end of the pool”. Rather I see this coaching model as framework to use over a number of sessions in life coaching and leadership/executive coaching. These are the areas where I typically work. Perhaps the model can also be applied to other niches of coaching?
Typically, one of the first steps in a coaching conversation is to identify what goals are at hand and what the client is trying to accomplish. I have not included these steps in this coaching model, as I see it as a prerequisite for the conversation to start. I have however included something called “long-term goals”. This step is designed to create some awareness regarding the alignment between the long-term goals in life, and what might be some of the more short-term goals and actions at hand.
When we are discovering the first part of “Being”, it is quite likely to ask the client to look at his/her own values. This can sometimes be a frightening and daunting task for the client. For that reason, we as coaches need to tread with caution, making sure that the client is comfortable with these steps. There are different tools we can use in helping our clients to identify some of their values. Such tools will not be presented in this document.
Sometimes, it is a good idea to leave some space for the client to reflect on his/her values. This can then be done as a homework between sessions.
Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you value?
What are you doing now? How are you behaving?
What are your Long-term goals and desires?
How are your values, actions, and goals aligned?
What are you planning to do next?
What challenges can you foresee with your next steps?
What else will enable you to succeed? Where can you find support?
Being is all about who you are as an individual. It includes your values, beliefs, background, world view etc. By referring to the “Ice-berg model”, these are all elements, which we find below the water line. As mentioned in the introduction, this is very personal, and might be uncomfortable for some people to explore. Such, we need to establish a certain degree of trust before opening up this area. We also need to be cautious and sensible here, so the client don’t start looking for support in terms of consultation or therapy.
Some examples for questions about “Being”:
- What is important to you?
- What are your values? Where do they come from?
- When were you happy? What do you recognize?
- What or who have inspired you to what you are today?
- What are your personality strengths?
- What makes you angry?
- What does success look like to you?
Actions is about what we are doing or demonstrating in the moment. It can be about how we are acting in a certain situation, or how we are behaving at our workplace etc. If we again are referring to the “Ice berg model”, the actions are referring to what we can actually see above the water line. What we show, and is visible to others. It can be interesting for the client to reflect on what parts of our “being” we are actually comfortable showing to others.
Questions around “Actions” can include:
- What actions or behaviors are you demonstrating?
- What are you trying to achieve through these actions?
- How are these supporting you? What’s working well?
- When are you in the comfort zone? What does it look like?
- What is challenging for you?
Long term goals
In the beginning of a coaching session we should have already determined what the goals are for the coaching. In this segment we are talking more about the long term goals, or maybe the vision for the individual. This is not about what we are trying to achieve at the moment, but more about what you want to achieve in the long run. Where do you want to be in 20 years time, and why is this important to you?
Questions around the long term goals:
- What do you want to achieve in the long run?
- What is important about this to you? How important is it?
- What will it look like when you reach this stage? What will be different?
- How will you know when you have successfully reached your long term goal?
- Who will be affected by you successfully reaching this goal?
Alignment is about looking back at the previous segments in the coaching model and explore what is aligned in terms of Being – Actions – Long-term goals. The purpose is to create some awareness about what we are doing to increase alignment, and where there might be some “gaps”. By identifying this, we might gain understanding why we are more uncomfortable in certain situations than others, and how we can build integrity and authenticity.
Questions around “Alignment”:
- How do you see the alignment between your “Being”, your “Actions”, and what you want to achieve with your “Long-term goals”?
- What parts are aligned?
- Where are the parts which needs to be re-aligned?
- What needs to change to create alignment?
- What would it feel like if you are perfectly aligned?
In this segment, we are looking at what we will take with us to create some actions. During the process we might have already discovered some actions for the client to work on, and now is a good time to summarize these, and create some more detailed action plans.
Questions might include:
- What are you going to do now?
- What are the next steps?
- Where would you like to start?
- What is the first thing you will do?
- When are you going to do this?
- What would have the greatest impact?
In order to gain accountability about the actions we have talked about, it can be helpful to anticipate some challenges which might affect us being successful with our next steps. By gaining some clarity about this, and looking at what what have been difficult in the past, we can create some further actions to increase chances for us to be successful this time.
Questions regarding “Challenges”:
- What challenges do you foresee?
- What are the greatest obstacles?
- How will you feel when you are facing such challenges?
- How have you reacted in the past?
- What would it be like overcoming this challenge?
- What will be different when facing this challenge this time?
- How important is it you?
The last part of the coaching model is looking at what we can do to enable us being successful. We have already determined some actions and challenges we might face. Here we are exploring if there are any other things which can help support us as we move on.
Questions can include:
- What will enable you to be successful?
- Where can you find support when you face your challenges?
- Who else can support you?
- What will it look like in x amount of time?
Balance, is a coaching model aiming to create alignment between your “Being”, “Actions”, and “Long-term goals”.
It is not a coaching model to be used in the first session. Rather it may be suggested as a framework over a number of sessions.
Identifying short term goals as an initiator for the conversation is not included.
The first step of the model might include identifying some personal core values. We need to leave sufficient time for this as coaches, and use appropriate tools to help our clients reflecting on and identifying what is important to them.