A Coaching Model Created by Wendy Costikyan
(Life Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
Background of the SEAR Model:
Over a long career both in the corporate world and in executive search, I have worked closely with senior executives and entrepreneurs. Combining that experience with the fundamentals of coaching, I developed the SEAR coaching model. Although this model was designed with business executives in mind, I believe it has equal application for life coaching of individuals outside of the business world.
Being self-aware, or wanting to develop greater self-awareness, is the point at which every coaching journey starts. Focusing your attention inwards enables you to evaluate and compare your behaviour with your own internal standards and values. When we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are empowered to make changes, to build on our areas of strength and also identify areas where we want to make improvements. “Self-awareness is the ultimate enabler. It plants in us the drive and motivation to choose to do things differently.” 1
The next step in the coaching process is to ‘envision’. This means to identify what is possible, to conceive of a new reality, to visualize what change would be like, to see something in your mind. Here is where future possibilities unfold. In a corporate environment, this would be referred to as strategy development, defining what the vision or goal is (e.g. one’s mission statement).
Once the vision or goal is set, it becomes important to commit to it, and to build support for the goal. In a corporate setting, this important step is often overlooked, as high powered executives often want to move immediately into action. Involving others in your goal, whether in business or in life, builds both support and momentum to get things done. Not doing this can slow the process of change and derail progress towards a goal.
This is the ‘doing’ stage, where you make things happen, and put into practise the change(s) you have chosen to make towards achieving your specified goal. This is the point of action.
These three ‘E’ stages are not unique and separate, but rather intentionally inter-related. You may need to re-examine your goal/vision as you progress (or as stumbling blocks arise), as well as re-establish your own (and others’) commitment and re-build support.
Defined as favourably noticing an act or an achievement. Acknowledgment and the act of celebrating success (es) are critical components of the coaching process. By recognising improvement or progress towards a goal, however small, your coach is providing reinforcement aimed at making permanent whatever change you have set as your goal. Acknowledgement spans the ‘E’ phase as it should take place throughout those three stages. In a corporate setting, this acknowledgement will come not only from the coach, but also from those ‘engaged’ in supporting the goal.
To improve, clarify or perfect upon something by making small changes. The process of refining is, like acknowledgment, a process that spans all the ‘E’ stages. There are often unexpected events, new information, or new circumstances that may lead to a need to alter slightly the vision or goal. When the unexpected arises, your coach will support the effort to refine.
To summarize, the SEAR coaching process takes place first within a space of growing self-awareness. From this point, through powerful questioning, the client creates a vision of change for themselves, commits to this change (while gathering support and implementing structure around the goal) and then embarks on action steps to achieve success.
The coach provides support, encouragement and acknowledgment throughout this process. When the goal is reached, the process can begin anew!