A Coaching Model By Anja Haman, Performance Coach, CANADA
Coaching Begin the Journey to Resilience
Improving our lives is a lifelong process, growing our internal world while reacting to the world around us. Being resilient means being able to weather the storms, adapt when needed, and pace through the ebbs and flows of life. Each challenge or opportunity is a journey along that path, where we can choose how we react, develop, and participate. Coaching starts at this juncture when we want to accomplish something that challenges us.
The work involved in embracing life’s challenges is much like trekking: we need to define where we are going and stay true to that direction, use appropriate tools for immediate challenges in front of us, and take time to refuel along the way. To stay the course through distractions, changes, and uncertainty we need to develop mental resilience. As with trekking, the more journeys we take, the more tools we become adept at using, and the more confident we become in our abilities in a variety of contexts.
I believe coaching is a partnership where working together builds resilience over time.
The work of developing resilience involves challenges and opportunities arising from the internal and external worlds, is guided by an inner compass, is supported by tools that can help with immediate hurdles, and requires refueling for long-term effectiveness.
Journey to Resilience: The Roadmap
A coaching engagement begins with a challenge or opportunity that provides enough of a challenge that it is difficult to overcome and enough opportunity that it is worth the effort!
Challenges and Opportunities Come From Two Places: Our Internal and External Worlds.
Our opportunities can come from our wants, needs, hopes, and dreams. Our challenges are often internal distractions: our focus, thoughts, moods, and emotions. We react to successes and failures by how we view them internally.
The world around us provides opportunities and challenges in the form of expanded responsibilities, new roles and goals, difficult decisions and problems, social pressures, ambiguity, change, and the natural ebbs and flows of life.
In both cases, it is key to start a coaching engagement with a clear goal or set of goals to accomplish. What is the end goal? How will you know your coaching engagement was valuable? What makes this important? Challenging? What cultural or environmental influences are at play?
How We React to These Internal and External Events Is Driven by Our Interpretation of Them.
We interpret our internal and external worlds as a way to simplify and make sense of what is happening. This interpretation is influenced by our underlying beliefs and assumptions and is sometimes made unconsciously.
Being aware of this interpretation allows us to ensure we are purposeful in our interpretations, ensuring they serve us and our goals. How should we interpret an adverse event? What significance should it have? What is our habitual response to the adversity of this kind? What do we want to feel about it (as opposed to what we do feel about it now)? These explorations uncover what we feel and do by default, and help define what we want to feel and do more consciously.
As We Move Toward Our Goals, We Will Need a Compass, Appropriate Tools, and Opportunities to Refuel Along the Way.
A compass is invaluable when trekking large distances or through dense forests, and so it is with our lives. Having a clear purpose and set of values helps guide us when the path isn’t clear. Having a direction and strategy helps keep us moving when we can’t see the endpoint yet.
Having an inner compass helps us stay resilient under pressure and through the ebbs and flows of life. Through coaching, we can define the meaning behind our work, identify misaligned values and ensure we have an approach to move us forward.
Each trek requires particular tools for the journey. The more treks we complete, the more broad and deep our toolset becomes. A mountain peak, an urban adventure, and a desert race all require different tools. And so it is personally: as we take on new adventures and face new hurdles, we can learn new tools and practice using them in context.
There are many tools that can help us address opportunities and challenges. Positive self-talk, visualization, problem-solving, reframing perspectives, self-awareness, journaling, gratitude, and self-compassion are examples of tools used for building resilience. Throughout the coaching, engagement tools can be explored and practiced, refining when and how to use them. Over time this investment provides a sense of self-efficiency: a feeling of resourcefulness independent of context.
Just as someone trekking a desert needs to bring ample water and rest in the heat of the day, we must make sure to build refueling opportunities for ourselves as we take on new opportunities.
Through coaching a refueling approach can be created to match personal needs. For example, resilience research suggests that meaningful social relationships are key to providing support through adversity. Planning for a social support system, peaks, and troughs in pace, self-compassion techniques, celebrations, or ways to re-energize is a key part of building an environment where resilience can thrive.
The Journey in Action
While these steps seem linear, in practice they are iterative throughout a coaching journey. Together, the coach and client assess what needs to be focused on and set a plan for coaching sessions that ties to the client’s needs and setting.
Like all transformations, change happens in small steps consistently applied over time. There is no silver bullet. Sometimes the path becomes blocked, and adjustments will need to be made while staying committed to forward movement. The journey will likely have its hurdles, but it should feel worthwhile and satisfying overall.
The coach is a partner, helping define, prepare and execute a journey that works for the client. They will ask questions to explore new ways of thinking, challenge the client, and generally support their growth and achievement of goals.
The client brings an open mindset and a willingness to explore the internal and external worlds and the opportunities and challenges they present. The client is ready to move forward on their journey, and achieve their dreams!