3 | Coaching Models

The Basic Agreement

The basic coaching agreement discussed earlier always serves as the foundation for defining and describing what a coaching conversation looks like. The three models highlighted in this chapter reflect the basic agreement and also provide interesting twists in how the five questions that make up the basic agreement might unfold during a session. Many students find the language used to describe the steps listed in these models to be helpful. Consider how these models might help you guide a client toward their desired outcomes.


The Five-Step Coaching Model
The following coaching model will provide a framework you can come back to over and over again as your skills progress and you coach more diverse and interesting people and situations.
Many students like this model because it’s based on image of building a solid house that has a foundation, (Step 1: Listen and Step 2: Evoke) a supportive frame (Step 3: Clarify and Step 4: Brainstorm), and a strong roof (Step 5: Support). Imagine that image as you review the five steps.
Step 1: Listen
The goal as a coach is to listen so closely to your client that the answers come out. The ideal ratio is that you are listening 80% of the time and responding 20% of the time. It is absolutely critical that the client feels fully understood. Listen deeply by using these suggestions:
  • Listen not just with your ears, but with your eyes and your whole being.
  • Listen to the tone, inflection, rate and pitch.
  • Listen not just to what's said, but to what's not said.
  • Pay particular attention to the last thing that is said.
  • Listen without judgment, criticism or agenda.
  • Listen without thinking about what you will be saying next.
Step 2: Evoke
Prompt the client to say more. Evoking is like opening the tap. You are attempting to get beyond the surface and move to the source of the issue. Examples of evocative responses:
  • Hmmmm . . . tell me more.
  • What else do you want to say about this?
  • Is there anything else you want me to know?
Step 3: Clarify
Once the client has shared and has actively engaged with you, it’s important to respond and clarify what is being said. This offers the client an opportunity to hear what they have just verbalized from a slightly different perspective. It also ensures that you and the client are on the same page. Examples of clarifying techniques:
  • I heard you say... (mirroring)
  • I sense that... (paraphrasing or reflecting back)
  • Is this what you mean? (verifying)
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to this, with 1 being not important and 10 being extremely important? (rating)
  • Number these things based on which is most important to you, with 1 being not important and 10 being extremely important. (ranking)
Step 4: Brainstorm
Once there is clarity about the topic at hand, you and the client can now begin to go below the surface and further discuss the issue. Questions are central to the coaching process.
A few examples of questions include:
  • What are the options/opportunities here? Let’s list them all.
  • What’s the simplest solution? What’s the craziest solution?
  • What’s the payoff of NOT dealing with this?
  • What’s stopping you?
  • What do you want to be able to say about this situation three months from now that you can’t say today?
  • What do you really, REALLY want?
Step 5: Support
Action is central to the coaching experience. Supporting the client to design an action step helps move the client forward, closing the gap between where they currently are and where they want to be. A typical coaching conversation might end like this:
  • What action would you like to take? And when will these actions be completed?
  • What do you want to report back to me at our next coaching session?
  • What will bring you closer to your goal? Who can help you with this?
  • What will you need to be able to focus on this next week?
  • What will get in the way?
In subsequent coaching sessions, you'll follow up by asking questions such as:
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What didn't you accomplish that you said you would? What are the loose ends?
  • What got in the way?
  • What's next?
The 5Rs Coaching Model
This is a model I frequently use with cohort groups that are working toward mutually agreed upon outcomes. It emphasizes building trust and community among participants, forces people to reflect on their result, and chart a path forward.  It may also be used with individuals or when guiding project teams and task forces. The model works best when you have 45- 60-minute sessions and participants come prepared respond some of the questions. Coaches typically ask just one or two questions from each step. Listed below are the steps and sample questions.  
STEP 1 | RELATE
  • How are you doing? How is it with your soul?
  • What's new since we last spoke?
  • What have you been practicing? Learning? Reading?
  • What's come up that we need to discuss during this session?
  • What faith practices have you been incorporating into your life recently?
  • When have you experienced Sabbath moments this past month?
STEP 2 | REVIEW
  • What progress have you made on your goals since last month?
  • What obstacles have you been facing, or are you currently facing?
  • What were the contributing factors that led to your successes? Your challenges?
STEP 3 | REFLECT
  • What have you been learning about yourself? Others?
  • What seems to be working? What's not working?
  • What might you do differently in the future?
  • What skills or resources were lacking? How might you address this in the future?
  • What might you do to increase your effectiveness and influence in the future?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10= very willing), how willing are you to make these changes?
  • Are you modeling the change you desire for others?
STEP 4 | REFOCUS
  • What are your goals/next steps for the next 30 days?
  • What would you like to be celebrating a month from now?
  • What are the possible ways to get there?
  • How will you select your course of action?
  • What will you do (who, what, where, when, how)?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • Where do you anticipate you might get stuck or experience resistance?
  • What will you do in the next 48-72 hours?
  • What's next in our coaching relationship?
STEP 5 | RESOURCE & WRAP UP
  • What did we accomplish today?
  • What did each of us commit to between now and our next meeting?
  • What was the most helpful portion of the meeting for you? What was least helpful? How might we better utilize our time together in the future?
  • Are there any people or concerns that you’d like me to keep in my prayers?
  • When is our next meeting?
 
The GROW Coaching Model
This model was mentioned briefly in an earlier chapter. You’ll find a more detailed version of the model below. It provides a useful structure for coaches to help clients move forward in tangible ways in whatever area of their life -- work, relationships, personal growth -- in which they wish to move forward. Developed by John Whitmore, author of Coaching for Performance: The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership, he identifies four focus areas for moving forward in a positive direction. GROW serves as an acronym for Goal, Reality, Options and Will.
GOAL: Where are we headed?
How can I be most helpful to you today?
What do you need to get the most out of this conversation?
What role do you need a listener or advisor to play?
What topic should we concentrate on during this session?
What is the one topic on which we could focus today that will have the most impact on moving you forward in a meaningful direction?
What are the issues that you face today?
What are the most important items that are holding you back, giving you grief, or sapping your energy?
 
REALITY: Where are we starting from?
Tell me about your current situation. Describe it as honestly as you can, yet as objectively as possible. What are the difficulties that you face?
Name the obstacles and how each is impacting your attitude.
How are you resourcing yourself around this issue?
In what ways have you sought advice or expertise to work through this issue?
What is your biggest area of discomfort about this issue?
What is the one thing that is causing you the most stress and anxiety?
 
OPTIONS: How can we get there?
Tell me what you think are some options for a solution.
What else? Probe more deeply around all angles of the issue. What are you missing?
What other options might present themselves as you take on other perspectives?
If there were no obstacles (like money or people) what else would you consider?
If all options were possible, what would be the best path forward?
Is it possible to choose an option that you perceived as not an option?
 
WILL: What are you willing to do? What will it take to get there?
What do you need to do this? What specific things you will need to make it happen?
How will you prioritize your options? What needs to be done first? What can wait?
What one thing can you accomplish this week that will move you in the right direction?
 
Quick Review of intentions for this chapter
  • You’ve learned about other coaching models and how they build on the basic agreement.
  • You consider how different coaching situation may require different approaches.
 
Assignment (for Coaching School students)
1 | List which model described in this chapter most intrigues you and why.
2 | Describe how coaching models help you remain focused on the client and their outcomes.

Questions for Students

1 | What does walking alongside another person look like?
2 | Who is doing most of the work?
3 | How do you get below the surface?

The Five Step Coaching Model

The 5Rs Coaching Model
This is a model I frequently use with cohort groups that are working toward mutually agreed upon outcomes. It emphasizes building trust and community among participants, forces people to reflect on their result, and chart a path forward.  It may also be used with individuals or when guiding project teams and task forces. The model works best when you have 45- 60-minute sessions and participants come prepared respond some of the questions. Coaches typically ask just one or two questions from each step. Listed below are the steps and sample questions.  
STEP 1 | RELATE
  • How are you doing? How is it with your soul?
  • What's new since we last spoke?
  • What have you been practicing? Learning? Reading?
  • What's come up that we need to discuss during this session?
  • What faith practices have you been incorporating into your life recently?
  • When have you experienced Sabbath moments this past month?
STEP 2 | REVIEW
  • What progress have you made on your goals since last month?
  • What obstacles have you been facing, or are you currently facing?
  • What were the contributing factors that led to your successes? Your challenges?
STEP 3 | REFLECT
  • What have you been learning about yourself? Others?
  • What seems to be working? What's not working?
  • What might you do differently in the future?
  • What skills or resources were lacking? How might you address this in the future?
  • What might you do to increase your effectiveness and influence in the future?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10= very willing), how willing are you to make these changes?
  • Are you modeling the change you desire for others?
STEP 4 | REFOCUS
  • What are your goals/next steps for the next 30 days?
  • What would you like to be celebrating a month from now?
  • What are the possible ways to get there?
  • How will you select your course of action?
  • What will you do (who, what, where, when, how)?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • Where do you anticipate you might get stuck or experience resistance?
  • What will you do in the next 48-72 hours?
  • What's next in our coaching relationship?
STEP 5 | RESOURCE & WRAP UP
  • What did we accomplish today?
  • What did each of us commit to between now and our next meeting?
  • What was the most helpful portion of the meeting for you? What was least helpful? How might we better utilize our time together in the future?
  • Are there any people or concerns that you’d like me to keep in my prayers?
  • When is our next meeting?
 
The GROW Coaching Model
This model was mentioned briefly in an earlier chapter. You’ll find a more detailed version of the model below. It provides a useful structure for coaches to help clients move forward in tangible ways in whatever area of their life -- work, relationships, personal growth -- in which they wish to move forward. Developed by John Whitmore, author of Coaching for Performance: The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership, he identifies four focus areas for moving forward in a positive direction. GROW serves as an acronym for Goal, Reality, Options and Will.
GOAL: Where are we headed?
How can I be most helpful to you today?
What do you need to get the most out of this conversation?
What role do you need a listener or advisor to play?
What topic should we concentrate on during this session?
What is the one topic on which we could focus today that will have the most impact on moving you forward in a meaningful direction?
What are the issues that you face today?
What are the most important items that are holding you back, giving you grief, or sapping your energy?
 
REALITY: Where are we starting from?
Tell me about your current situation. Describe it as honestly as you can, yet as objectively as possible. What are the difficulties that you face?
Name the obstacles and how each is impacting your attitude.
How are you resourcing yourself around this issue?
In what ways have you sought advice or expertise to work through this issue?
What is your biggest area of discomfort about this issue?
What is the one thing that is causing you the most stress and anxiety?
 
OPTIONS: How can we get there?
Tell me what you think are some options for a solution.
What else? Probe more deeply around all angles of the issue. What are you missing?
What other options might present themselves as you take on other perspectives?
If there were no obstacles (like money or people) what else would you consider?
If all options were possible, what would be the best path forward?
Is it possible to choose an option that you perceived as not an option?
 
WILL: What are you willing to do? What will it take to get there?
What do you need to do this? What specific things you will need to make it happen?
How will you prioritize your options? What needs to be done first? What can wait?
What one thing can you accomplish this week that will move you in the right direction?
 
Quick Review of intentions for this chapter
  • You’ve learned about other coaching models and how they build on the basic agreement.
  • You consider how different coaching situation may require different approaches.
 
Assignment (for Coaching School students)
1 | List which model described in this chapter most intrigues you and why.
2 | Describe how coaching models help you remain focused on the client and their outcomes.

Questions for Students

1 | What does walking alongside another person look like?
2 | Who is doing most of the work?
3 | How do you get below the surface?

The Five Step Coaching Model

The 5Rs Coaching Model
This is a model I frequently use with cohort groups that are working toward mutually agreed upon outcomes. It emphasizes building trust and community among participants, forces people to reflect on their result, and chart a path forward.  It may also be used with individuals or when guiding project teams and task forces. The model works best when you have 45- 60-minute sessions and participants come prepared respond some of the questions. Coaches typically ask just one or two questions from each step. Listed below are the steps and sample questions.  
STEP 1 | RELATE
  • How are you doing? How is it with your soul?
  • What's new since we last spoke?
  • What have you been practicing? Learning? Reading?
  • What's come up that we need to discuss during this session?
  • What faith practices have you been incorporating into your life recently?
  • When have you experienced Sabbath moments this past month?
STEP 2 | REVIEW
  • What progress have you made on your goals since last month?
  • What obstacles have you been facing, or are you currently facing?
  • What were the contributing factors that led to your successes? Your challenges?
STEP 3 | REFLECT
  • What have you been learning about yourself? Others?
  • What seems to be working? What's not working?
  • What might you do differently in the future?
  • What skills or resources were lacking? How might you address this in the future?
  • What might you do to increase your effectiveness and influence in the future?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10= very willing), how willing are you to make these changes?
  • Are you modeling the change you desire for others?
STEP 4 | REFOCUS
  • What are your goals/next steps for the next 30 days?
  • What would you like to be celebrating a month from now?
  • What are the possible ways to get there?
  • How will you select your course of action?
  • What will you do (who, what, where, when, how)?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • Where do you anticipate you might get stuck or experience resistance?
  • What will you do in the next 48-72 hours?
  • What's next in our coaching relationship?
STEP 5 | RESOURCE & WRAP UP
  • What did we accomplish today?
  • What did each of us commit to between now and our next meeting?
  • What was the most helpful portion of the meeting for you? What was least helpful? How might we better utilize our time together in the future?
  • Are there any people or concerns that you’d like me to keep in my prayers?
  • When is our next meeting?
 
The GROW Coaching Model
This model was mentioned briefly in an earlier chapter. You’ll find a more detailed version of the model below. It provides a useful structure for coaches to help clients move forward in tangible ways in whatever area of their life -- work, relationships, personal growth -- in which they wish to move forward. Developed by John Whitmore, author of Coaching for Performance: The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership, he identifies four focus areas for moving forward in a positive direction. GROW serves as an acronym for Goal, Reality, Options and Will.
GOAL: Where are we headed?
How can I be most helpful to you today?
What do you need to get the most out of this conversation?
What role do you need a listener or advisor to play?
What topic should we concentrate on during this session?
What is the one topic on which we could focus today that will have the most impact on moving you forward in a meaningful direction?
What are the issues that you face today?
What are the most important items that are holding you back, giving you grief, or sapping your energy?
 
REALITY: Where are we starting from?
Tell me about your current situation. Describe it as honestly as you can, yet as objectively as possible. What are the difficulties that you face?
Name the obstacles and how each is impacting your attitude.
How are you resourcing yourself around this issue?
In what ways have you sought advice or expertise to work through this issue?
What is your biggest area of discomfort about this issue?
What is the one thing that is causing you the most stress and anxiety?
 
OPTIONS: How can we get there?
Tell me what you think are some options for a solution.
What else? Probe more deeply around all angles of the issue. What are you missing?
What other options might present themselves as you take on other perspectives?
If there were no obstacles (like money or people) what else would you consider?
If all options were possible, what would be the best path forward?
Is it possible to choose an option that you perceived as not an option?
 
WILL: What are you willing to do? What will it take to get there?
What do you need to do this? What specific things you will need to make it happen?
How will you prioritize your options? What needs to be done first? What can wait?
What one thing can you accomplish this week that will move you in the right direction?
 
Quick Review of intentions for this chapter
  • You’ve learned about other coaching models and how they build on the basic agreement.
  • You consider how different coaching situation may require different approaches.
 
Assignment (for Coaching School students)
1 | List which model described in this chapter most intrigues you and why.
2 | Describe how coaching models help you remain focused on the client and their outcomes.

Questions for Students

1 | What does walking alongside another person look like?
2 | Who is doing most of the work?
3 | How do you get below the surface?

What coaching isn't ?

While there are tremendous benefits to coaching, the same is true of therapy, consulting, and mentoring. All are of value. Coaches recognize and appreciate the important contributions that therapists, consultants, and mentors make to the ongoing success of those we coach. It’s not unusual that the people you coach will also be using the services of a therapist, consultant, or mentor.

Coaching versus Therapy
Therapy focuses recovery, while coaching is about discovery. Coaching assumes an overall level of health and well-being and therefore is focused discovery rather than recovery. The coaching process happens in an environment of curiosity and wonder as we seek peak performance and new possibilities in those we coach. Therapy emphasizes recovering from the past and bringing the person into a healthy present, while coaching usually starts with a reasonably healthy present and propels people toward discovering and creating a preferred future. Keep in mind that coaching is future-oriented and forward thinking. I often remind new coaches and new clients (the person being coached) that unless there is forward progress, or signs that forward progress is coming, it's not really coaching.

Coaching versus Consulting
There are two questions that come to mind when considering the distinction between coaching and consulting:
  • Who is the recognized expert?
  • Who is responsible for the outcome?

In consulting, the recognized expert is the consultant. Most people work with a consultant because they believe that the consultant's expertise will benefit them or their organization. The consultant helps diagnose problems and may prescribe a set of solutions. In coaching, the recognized expert is the person or team being coached. The coaching perspective is that the client is capable of generating their own solutions. The role of the coach is to provide a discovery-based framework that honors the expertise of the person being coached. My friend and colleague, Felix Villanueva, reminds me that the biggest contribution I often make to a person I’m coaching is repeating three simple words: "I don't know." By being open to not knowing that a coach launches the client forward, as they tap into their own wisdom and web of resources.

When addressing a challenge, consider who is responsible for the outcome. When people hire a consultant, they usually expect to a desired outcome. By following the consultant's advice, their client will achieve their desired outcome. In contrast, a coach empowers the one being coached to do the work and be responsible for the outcome. The client, the person being coached, designs their own plans and action steps. The role of a coach is to create a framework for constructive conversations that lead to new awareness and action, but the coach is NOT responsible for the outcome.

Coaching versus Mentoring
Mentoring is the process of guiding another person along a path that the mentor has already traveled. This guidance occurs when a mentor shares his or her own experiences and learnings. The underlying premise is that the insight and guidance of the mentor can accelerate the learning curve of the one being mentored. There are times when it may seem logical for the coach to play the role of a mentor. One of the things that clients often value from their coach is when the coach shares advice and experience, when asked for and when appropriate. I rarely move into this role unless a client appears to be stuck and may benefit from learning about a new option or approach. In these cases, I may reply by saying something like, “Would you be interested in what other individual organizations have done in similar situations?” When people are new to coaching, I recommend that they refrain from offering advice because it’s so easy, and tempting, to move into advice-giving and “fixing” another person’s problem, which confuses them about your role and disempowers them from finding their own solutions.

What does a TYPICAL coaching session look like?

Find ways to journey with your client
The easiest way to begin to understand the process of coaching is to envision or actually experience a coaching conversation. You’ll find that almost every coaching session will include a series of five sequential steps:

  1. What would you like to talk about? This question identifies the general theme or topic for conversation. It narrows the scope of what will be discussed during the session and reminds the client that they are in charge.
  2. What would you like to “take away” from today’s session? The goal is not just to have a great conversation, but also to have one that moves people forward in tangible ways. I refer to these as the “deliverables” that help reveal that coaching makes a difference.
  3. Are we still talking about what’s most important to you? It’s easy to get sidetracked and enter into conversations that have little or nothing to do with what the client originally wanted to talk about. Mindful that the client is in charge, coaches periodically check to see if they’re still addressing the client’s most important issues.
  4. What will you say or do this week to act on your intentions? Experienced coaches help clients take action within a certain time period. Without specific timelines, actions items turn into nice-sounding intentions.
  5. Who can support you or hold you accountable? Coaches build accountability into the process. They help clients envision who else might be a resource or source of wisdom.

To wrap up a coaching session, a coach may ask the client to share what was most helpful from the conversation or to summarize action items that come out of the conversation. If the coaching relationship is ongoing, a coach will confirm when the next session will be held.

Questions for Students

1 | What does walking alongside another person look like?
2 | Who is doing most of the work?
3 | How do you get below the surface?

Seven Frequently Used Coaching Strategies

Building on the five key questions to ask during a coaching conversation, consider sprinkling these statements when appropriate:
  1. Ask the leader to say more. A good place to begin is to simply invite the person to “say more” or suggest “what else could you . . .” These short yet powerful statements are effective tools when you’re not sure what to say next.
  2. Mirror back what you are hearing and observing. It is amazing how helpful the simple act of mirroring can be. For the client, it can be very beneficial to hear what they are saying and see how they are framing the conversation.
  3. Ask the client to rate a situation. Ask questions similar to these: "On a scale of 1-10, how important is this project to you right now?” In a similar vein, ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how passionate or invested are you in this project?” Ask follow-up questions such as, “How invested are your team members in this project?”
  4. Place the person in another role. Ask questions such as, “If you were the leader of this team, what would you do differently?” Or “If you were _____ how do you think you would have responded?"
  5. Invite the leader to describe the vision or BIG picture. When I coach individuals or organizations over an extended period of time, I often ask, “What do you hope to be celebrating by the time this coaching process is done?” I also ask, “What your dream for . . .” or “What do you want to be different by the end of the year or coaching process?" Most individuals and groups move too quickly in naming strategies and action steps without clarifying the WHY and the big WHATS. Coaches help clients name the WHAT, the SO WHAT, and the NOW WHAT in their coaching conversations.
  6. Ask about the plan. A vision is a visual image of a preferred future. For visions to be realized, they plan which also describes people’s personal contributions. Coaches help clients identify what the plan might look like, where it’s kept, how often it’s reviewed, and what’s the next step for acting on the plan.
  7. Ask about their support system. Who can help them with this? Who has done what they’re seeking to do? What resources will you need to pull together to make this happen? Who might serve as a dialogue partner or sounding board for you? These types of questions are needed if people are to move forward, faster.
Ideas for implementing these strategies

Chapter Recap | Student Assignments

Quick Review of intentions for this chapter
  • You will know ICF’s definition for coaching.
  • You’ll be able to articulate the difference between coaching, consulting, mentoring and counseling.
  • You’ll begin using the basic coaching agreement (the 5 questions) to guide coaching conversations.

Assignment (for Coaching School students)
1 | Memorize ICF’s definition of coaching (see below).
"Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

2 | Memorize the 5 questions that make up the basic coaching agreement (see below)
  • What would you like to talk about?
  • What would you like to take away from our session?
  • Are we still talking about what matters most to you?
  • What will you say or do (this week) to act on your intentions?
  • Who can support you in your next steps? Who will hold you accountable?

3 | Complete the sentence: “Three ways a client may benefit from coaching include . . .

4 | Reply to: “In what ways is a coach different than a dialogue partner?”

Ideas for implementing these strategies

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