What do I have to keep in mind when coaching myself & others?
How to would an effective coaching framework look like?
This is the fifth part of the series “On Coaching Yourself & Others”.
In the first part, we established the key foundations of dealing with others, be it through coaching or in other kinds of relationship or setting that involves communication.
In the second part, we focused on understanding ourselves as well as others better through developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
In the third part, we had a closer look at core beliefs and on how they play a key role in determining our potential.
In the fourth part, we defined our core values to be able to make decisions that are in line with our priorities.
In the fifth part, we focused on the core communication skills & language patterns which are essential to becoming a better listener and communicator.
In the sixth part, we had a closer look at goal-setting and why it is essential to have a meaningful life vision that is in line with our values and that we can orientate our goals towards.
In this seventh and final part of the series, we will bring everything together and establish a coaching framework as well as the natural order of a coaching session.
What are the steps for successful life coaching sessions? And what do I always have to keep in mind when coaching myself & others?
These and many more questions will be answered in the following article. Enjoy!
The Seven-Step Coaching Framework
The following seven steps are the foundation for any kind of change you want to make, goal to pursue and growth in any area of your life.
They build a coaching framework which can be used for coaching yourself, but also for coaching others.
While working with a client, these steps are something to be continuously aware of throughout the coaching relationship, since they represent the necessary steps which have to be completed for successful coaching.
1. Make A Decision To Change
As we have seen in the Core Belief section, one of the most powerful beliefs is that empowerment comes through responsibility.
Therefore, the first step for any kind of change is to take to take on responsibility for your life and make a decision to change.
The power of consciously making a decision is largely underestimated. Most of the decisions we take happen on a subconscious level, but they shape our current reality.
If we are not satisfied with our current life situation, it is most likely due to many small decisions we took that led us off our desired path.
The key is to decide consciously to once and for all do what it takes to get back on track towards a life that we find meaningful and resonate with.
Decision-making is not an easy process. We often spend a lot of time analyzing and planning before making a decision and sometimes rather don’t want to make one at all.
What can help is to trust your gut feeling. Very often our instincts and intuition know what we really want to do.
Also, keep in mind one principle. The principle of “Good enough.”
If you are a perfectionist and try to make everything right without ever committing a wrong decision, realize two things.
Firstly, you never know what the results of a specific decision will be. Sometimes the seemingly worst situations provide the best opportunities.
Secondly, your decisions don’t have to be perfect, but “good enough”, taking into consideration the information you have at the time and your instincts.
Whatever happens, we can always learn from setbacks and adjust our course, but it is key to get started by making a decision.
In a coaching relationship, this means that the client has to be ready for a change by making a decision.
With the fish metaphor, the clients needs to be ready to be taught how to fish herself instead of just wanting to be fed.
Q1) Are there any areas of your life that you would like to get better results in? Consider how your thinking, emotions, habits and beliefs have influenced the results you’re currently getting in these areas?
Q2) What decision(s) can you make today to start achieving better results in these areas of your life tomorrow?
2. Take Action
“Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.“— Anthony Robbins
What directly follows from making a real decision is taking action to follow through.
All planning, goal-setting and analysis of our “Greatest Life Vision” are useless if we don’t follow through on them by developing the habit of taking action. Once this habit sticks, we will feel more confident to make new decisions, because we know that we are action-takers and will actually follow through.
The responsibility to make a decision to change and to take action is part of the “Prime Belief”:
You are 100% responsible for the action you take and 100% responsible for your interpretation of and reaction to the observed outcomes.
So if everything follows these three steps,
- Action (Input)
- Result (Output)
- Interpretation + Reaction
you can only control the first and the last.
There are external factors which influence the outcome, which you can never control and cannot change, whether you call it fate, chance, randomness, destiny.
But you can control the amount of action you take.
What truly matters, is how you interpret the result and thus how you react. It is important that your belief and about and reaction to the outcome lead to what you consider more and potentially adapted, right action.
But why does it feel so difficult to take action?
There are several reasons. The first is fear. By focusing on the future and worrying about what might happen if we take action, we rather don’t take any action at all.
The second is the wrong belief systems. The belief that you are not good enough, not talented enough or probably won’t be able to do it anyway. Check out the article on “Core Beliefs”, for advice on how to change your beliefs.
The third is resistance. This resistance is the result of our brain associating a negative emotion with the thought of taking action. This is the root cause of procrastination. It often stems from feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the task we want to accomplish.
The solution for resistance, as well as for fear, is to divide the task down into tiny steps and only focus on one step at a time. If it is easy and possibly even fun to do the first step, you will start to build up momentum and finish the task easily.
In a coaching relationship, this means assisting the client in establishing small daily habits, like waking up half an hour earlier, to make her start taking action.
3. Commit To Something
Being committed to change, is the requirement for taking action.
While working with a client, if the decision to change hasn’t been made and there is no commitment to change and action-taking visible, there is nothing you can do.
A clear commitment to change is the most important rule for being successful.
It demands strong self-discipline and relentless perseverance to do whatever it takes, even if we don’t feel like it.
One way to truly commit to your goals is to write an actual contract. State your goals on paper or print them, state that you fully commit to achieving your goals and sign the contract.
By putting this contract where you can always see it, you are always reminded of your commitment.
In a coaching relationship, this type of commitment is already done via the coaching agreement.
On top of that, it is essential to commits to the client by establishing trust and allow him to commit to you.
4. Taking Stock
Taking stock means stopping for a second and assessing the situation.
What is not working here? Did I take enough action? What is preventing me? Am I focusing on my most important goals? Am I really committed?
This self-awareness, self-reflection and personal accountability are important to recognize the choices that are not serving us and gauge our progress towards making a change.
While working with a client, this means to become aware of where the client is right now, his current situation and establishing the truth about what is holding her back.
5. Ditch The Junk
Ditching the junk means to get rid of everything that is preventing us from making a change and pursuing our goals.
On the one hand, these can be external things, such as a distractive environment, noise, smartphone notifications or setting the wrong priorities.
On the other hand, there are internal factors that are holding us back, especially unhelpful patterns of thinking and thoughts.
As we have seen in the article on “Core Beliefs”, limiting beliefs are the root cause, since they influence our thoughts which in turn influence emotions.
Therefore change the beliefs and take control of your thoughts. An attitude of positivity and the disidentification from negative and unhelpful thoughts can make a huge difference.
For coaching others, this means asking questions and helping the client to understand themselves better, take stock and ditch the junk.
Let their limiting belief implode inside their mind by focusing on what they could be, by making them live up to and fulfill the inherent potential of the desired core traits within them.
6. Give Something Back
One of these traits is that at the core we are all loving, caring and only want the best for ourselves and others.
We are not loving all the time, but by realizing our potential, we can develop this trait and do more of it.
Especially when things don’t go as planned, it is helpful to know the value you are able to contribute to the world.
You’ll be less insecure about what others think about you when you know it’s not about you, but about a greater cause. This is your “Why?”, the motive that drives you.
By focusing on other people to give something back to, you are self-transcending yourself, which is ultimately where fulfillment comes from.
Everyone can make such a contribution, especially with the most valuable commodity in life, our time.
Therefore, try to leave everyone better than you found him.
Apart from donations, volunteering and helping the homeless, you could also start with small things, that you can implement every day.
Smiling at people, greeting them, asking them about their day, giving someone a helping hand, thanking someone for everything he/she does, giving genuine compliments, and generally being positive and upbeat…
All these things are for free but can make someone’s day.
While working with a client, very often the most valuable thing you can give is your genuine, judgment-free interest and undivided attention. Sometimes all a client wants is someone that takes the time to really listen.
7. Find A Mentor And Later Be One Yourself
In order to be able to coach yourself, find someone that helps you along the way, be it a mastermind group, an accountability partner or a professional coach.
Find people that push you and help you stop settling for less than you can be.
And at some point, become that mentor for another person and give something back again.
Remember the golden rule and be the change you want to see in the world.
Principles For Client Empowerment
With this seven-step coaching framework in mind, we have laid the foundation for effectively making a change, for yourself and for others.
When starting off with a new a client, how can we then make sure the client is empowered enough to be able to adhere to the seven steps?
Here are the principles to keep in mind to empower a client for an effective coaching relationship:
Help the client to take on responsibility and ownership for her problems. State clearly that you will not solve the problems but help the client to do it. The following principles will help the client to take on that responsibility and tackle the problem.
In order to build trust and rapport with the client, the basis for all effective relationships, try to empathically relate to her situation.
The client will only open up, if she feels that you fully understand and care about them, without judging nor controlling them.
The communication skills from Part 5 will be a good starting point to develop the needed empathy.
After having identified what is holding the client back, it is time to ask the client the most important question:
“What are you going to do about it?”
This allows the client to escape the victim mindset by taking on responsibility and adopt a proactive attitude towards her life situation.
In order to avoid repeating past mistakes, it is then important to ask the client what steps she has tried so far?
By letting the client explore past attempts, it will be easier to focus on what could be a possible solution for the future.
At this point, the client might need your help in form of suggestions and actionable advice.
Make sure to frame these as questions, to allow the client to take ownership of the advice and take part in the solution process.
6. Further Empowerment
After laying out the recommended action steps, it is important to put the emphasis on taking action by asking:
“What are you going to do next?”
This will clarify the next steps and boost the client’s motivation.
A Guide and Structure for Life Coaching Practice
With the foundation of the seven steps and an empowered client ready to solve his problem, how would the development of a coaching relationship over several session look like? The following is a rough guideline how sessions could be structured:
In the first session, it is about helping the client to become clear about what should be accomplished, to get a rough idea of what should be worked towards and to develop some vision for the future.
This can be part of the initial consulting session and does not need to take very long.
The goal of the first normal session is to establish a purpose for coaching and define what can be expected from the coaching relationship.
Where is the client at? What are the priorities? What is the current situation?
In the first two sessions rather focus on big ideas to think about. Build up trust, which will be essential to keep the relationship healthy once you start questioning possible limiting beliefs and hold the client accountable.
Seeking help from a life coach can be very humbling, so be accepting and without judgment.
In the next session questions the client’s beliefs about himself by guiding her through the core identity model and establish a strong foundation through making the client secure in her own identity.
Then, identify the client’s core values, the ones that have the biggest priority for them and what is driving them.
Next, establish a vision for each life area and set goals with the 5-Stage Goal- Setting Process. Empower the client to take on responsibility and take action.
Hold the client accountable, assess the progress and adapt the course of action if necessary. Make sure the client is congruent with her core values.
Don’t forget, that the seven-step coaching framework needs to be remembered throughout all sessions and at all stages of the coaching relationship.
This will be the foundation for lasting change and coaching success.
This concludes the series “On Coaching Yourself & Others”.
I hope that the seven articles of the series could give you some helpful insights on improving the ability to make a change in your own life and help others along the way.
Remember that the requirement for coaching others is to first assess and get to know yourself, with all your strengths and weaknesses, and work on yourself first. Only then you can lead by example and assist others.
As Gandhi said:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
This is the essence of “Coaching Yourself & Others”
Until next time,