A Coaching Model Created by May Li
(Transformational Coach, CANADA)
When we back to our childhood, sky wheel in the park could be many children’s favorite. Imagine children’s bright eyes with curiosity, they are looking for a wonderful journey and want to see something different. The One with slight acrophobia may take the journey in a sky wheel as an adventure to overcome the difficulty. My clients are not acrophobia patients; instead, they are resourceful and creative with energy, wisdom, ability, and great potential. Most of them are successful people from their own expertise and life journey. However, I’d invite them to take the journey of a sky wheel on the name of “THRIVE” to find their new angels, to realize a reap of thought during the rotating, to have peace of mind, and to thrive on the ground.
What’s “THRIVE” mean?
Thrive is defined as “to grow, develop, or be successful”. (Cambridge dictionary)
Thrive can refer to thriving, “is a condition beyond mere survival, implying growth and positive development.” (Wiki, 2018)
The definition of “thrive” targets the future rather than the past. It is similar to the definition of a coaching process. We do compare it with “survive” most of the time; however, it is about sustainable growth, positive development, and aims at the successful outcome toward the personal, group, or organizations’ goal.
Who is the target audience?
My primary label could be a transformation coach. My target audience is-
- Leaders (executives or team leaders and teams) in a corporation who are seeking help to thrive in a challenging business environment.
- Individuals who are moving to a new environment such as immigrants or expatriates (including immigrants and foreign students) facing culture shocks.
Why target the niche?
During the VUCA time, “Change” is the key theme of our life. Maybe we have forgotten it in our daily life, “Change” is the essence of human beings since the beginning. Here are some pictures which might evoke your awareness somewhat-
- Looking at the history of the development of the micro planet, the scientist had proofed some of the great changes;
- Seeing one’s growth during our different life stage-from new birth to the end of the life;
- Stepping into society, people may start from a junior role, then develops more skills and experiences toward a senior level;
- Seeing people such as immigrants and foreign students who move from one country to another, they need to learn how to settle up and build up themselves in the new environment;
- Watching how a great company was built up, yet might facing challenges and struggling for surviving;
- Observing lots of talents grow up from transitions;
- Reviewing the past months, a pandemic called COVID limited all our social activities and changed the way we are living…
When all these happened, as professional coaches, we focus on moving forward rather than the experience. However, the future means “uncertainty” and “risks”. It could be an immerging need for a coach to help people step out from their shadow, embrace the changes, overcome challenges, and thrive in the new “normal”.
Meanwhile, my business background and life experiences allow me to understand my clients better. Firstly, I’ve had 16+years of corporate work experience (10+years worked in multinational brand companies). I had experienced severe competition and frequent organizational changes. Secondly, I had studied in the UK in my 20s and had lived in Canada for 4 years. I feel the necessity to help people who moved from another country to settle up smoothly in a new environment.
My initiation of creating this model to cope up with the immerging need from above target audiences.
How to do the job?
I came to coaching “having experienced the power of creating a safe and trusty space without bias in the presence of community; I’m working with client-side by side to cultivate the clue and beliefs underneath the ice mountain, reflecting what’s on the picture of the conversation as a soundboard, trying to lighten the awareness from the client during the storm, lead to action and accountability created by the client.”(ICA Articles)
In the changing environment, leadership becomes even more challenging. Leaders may feel isolated in their position, full of doubt in their decisions, and wondering if they are capable. As for the expatriates, immigrants, and foreign students, they are moving in a new environment with their expertise and full of experience during their life stage; however, they are getting stacked by the cultural differences and integration difficulties. Similar to leaders mentioned above, they may feel lonely, full of doubt about themselves, and wondering if they are capable to thrive in the new situation. (Peter Economy, 2016)
The THRIVE Coaching Model help above clients to acknowledge where they are now, what led them to be there, what motivates them, and what it means for them to be an open-minded, resilient, courageous person who can withstand in the changing environment.
THRIVE SKY WHEEL MODEL Created by May J.M. LI
This THRIVE sky wheel model can be explained simply as below:
T-Touchbase with clients
H-Hidden parts of the conversation
Touchbase with the client to build a relationship and set up the initial agreement on the conversation.
When clients come to a coach, they are seeking help to build a better themselves in a trustable and secure space. Coach build up such a space thus clients can open more which will benefit the conversation.
A coach can “build trust, express confidentiality, and share any information on what will be happening in the session.”(Leon Vander Pol, 2020)
It is our common space, all our conversation here will not be released to any third party without your agreement; now let’s talk and I’ll try to help you to achieve your goal (open the session)
TOMS is a useful approach during the touch base session.
The topic is an issue question. It is to get clear on the specific issue to focus on during the session.
What do you want to talk about today?
What is the area you’d like to focus on in the session?
Clients may feel angry, stressed, frustrated, anxious, insecure, uncomfortable, vulnerable, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous when they shift to a new environment. Emotions connect with the Body. I’d explore the connection between both for clients who are not pure logical thinkers. Such exploration and connection will help the client’s open mind and an open heart.
You had just mentioned you feel stressed, will you tell me where is the stress on your body?
You told me that you feel anxious, what’re the voices speak your anxiousness?
After clients wish to open themselves, it could be a good opportunity for a coach to set up the goal.
It is a vision question. Set the goal or objective for the conversation.
What do you want to accomplish by the end of the session?
What would be a valuable outcome for you?
What do you want to walk away with from this session?
The client might bring a thoughtful topic to the session or not be prepared enough for the conversation. If the client prepared a clear topic for the conversation, it is easy for a coach to know what the client wants; if the client confused about the topic by themselves, a coach can help the client to narrow down the aim and focus on the one the client wants to reach the most.
What’s the key question behind it?
Where are we now?
I heard that you want to do A and B, which is the one you want most?
I feel you want to talk about A more than B, how do you feel?
The client might not able to know their aims in the first few minutes. Therefore, exploration of meaning could be earlier than outcome when applied to the real conversation. When a client starts to think about why they are more possible to know what they want to reach for the conversation.
Why do you want to talk about it with me?
What is important about it?
What is the meaning of making it?
How could you be different when you accomplish it?
Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards. (Chinese Saying)
In today’s business environment, SMART is extensively applied to measure a business program-
Successful measurement is one key to a successful conversation.
How would you know at the end of the session that you have achieved it?
What is the takeaway?
What could be helpful for you to achieve the goal?
What is confidence looks like in the session?
P.S. TOMS and SMART questions could be asked during the whole conversation, not limited to any steps.
HIDDEN PART ON THE CONVERSATION
After the touch base conversation, an experienced coach can figure out the true need from the client.
Who we are and what we do are so tightly connected.—Herminia Ibarra
Client’s saying released their beliefs, value and their underlying beliefs which will help the coach to understand who they are coaching, not just for what they are talking during the conversation. (Reynolds, Marcia, PP209)
The true need includes the client had talked and they hadn’t talked on the above conversation. A coach can find the hidden words from the client’s non-verbal language: tones, voices, speed of the conversation, metaphor, and body language. However, what we can do to deal with these hidden parts?
Here are three assumptions: 1. Clients may have their blindness; 2. Clients do not know how to communicate;3. There are some content clients don’t want to talk about. As for the first scenario, it is the coach’s responsibility to evoke clients’ awareness and help them to see their blind spots.
- You told me that you are a good organizer; but now you explain that you hate to follow up disciplines, it seems some conflict. How do you feel?
- Assume now you had completed the task; how will you see today’s you?
- If you are sitting in the back seat in the cinema, watch a film about your performance in the company from the 1st year to the last year, what you want to say to yourself?
If it is the second scenario, a coach can continue to cultivate the hidden part.
It seems you have difficulty talking about it, what holds you back?
If you want to try, what could help you to talk about it?
As for the last scenario, the client doesn’t want to talk. the coach may communicate directly by reflection to the client and check with clients for their permission.
I feel you don’t want to talk about it, am I right?
Where are we now, do you want to continue the topic?
All in all, the client decides the content of the conversation, the coach decides the flow.
All aims are based on real facts. During this stage, the coach may get to know the client’s learning model and the client’s beliefs: what they should do.
Start from what the client familiar with or easy to talk about to facilitate the flow. It also helps the coach to find the clue and rationale for the development of the conversation.
What is happening?
What have you done so far?
How it makes you feel?
If there is nothing changed, what likely to happen?
If there are any barriers to improve the situation?
The coach will accompany the client to discover what they could do. It is a key step for clients to find the motivation and shift from the current situation to their ideal situation. It is also the session for a coach to present themselves and elaborate their capabilities. Visualization, reframe perspective and flip it over, various tools could be applied. “Acknowledgement, support, enthuse, validate, celebrate (sprinkle this in throughout the session-it’s the fuel of it all). (Leon Vandel Pol, 2015)
- What you want most under this situation?
- If you become a super brave mother, what would you do?
- If it is about 10 years later, what you want to say to today’s you?
- If you are the boss, what you want to do in front of the staff?
- Super, I see a thoughtful woman, what you may adopt from the past successful experience?
But if the coach observed that client shift their goal against the initial agreement, one need to restructure the conversation with the client.
I noticed that there are different directions base on our initial agreement, do you want to restructure the goal?
Most of the time, the client gets inspired, evokes awareness, gets enlightening, gets more energy, and becomes more open-minded after this session.
During this step, the coach checks Learning and Validate the Initial Agreement with the client. A coach can check and confirm the energy, confidence with clients and check the progress toward the prescheduled goal.
- What value did you receive from the session today?
- What are you taking away from the conversation today?
- Do you have any feedback to share with me for the work we had done during the session?
Sometimes clients feel lost if missing a previous session or clients don’t want to continue. The coach needs to think about the necessity to restructure the conversation with the client. The coach needs to be flexible for whatever the client wants to do.
- Review our original goal, where are we now?
It is the last important stage among the whole conversation as it executes an agreement with action, explores potential barriers and support system, enhances commitment- follows uptime, means for following up; explore benefits of application to other fields of life and invite to close the session. Ideally, the coach could be supportive for a courageous, resilient, and better themselves.
- Taking away today’s learning, what you could do after the session?
- What actions can you commit to taking in this area?
- Are any support systems available for you to implement the plan?
- Who can be helpful with the plan?
- When will you commit to doing it?
- How often you want to do it?
- May I offer any further support around this matter?
Last but not the least, a good coach conversation is flexible. The coach needs to be agile and be aware of the shift on the whole process-whenever client mentioned different contents cross the boundaries of the agreement, the coach needs to review with the client if it is necessary to restructure the agreement.
A THRIVE Coach Conversation
Nina is a mature and confident training manager in a big company. However, she had just left the previous company and feel hesitant to join a new small training company as a business partner. One day she came to me for a coach conversation and brought a very stressed look. I used THRIVE model during the section.
Here just you and me, you can trust me. What do you want to talk about during the session?
She mentioned that she had a sleepless night. She felt stressed so much.
What messages do you want to deliver under your stress?
She told me that she left a state-owned company this year, met friends who invite her to be a partner of their new company. She was interested in the new opportunity but felt uncertain. There was no earning guarantee.
Reflect and Check Outcome
It seems you are facing a new challenge from transition; you get the opportunity to be a partner of a new company with your friend, but you are not sure if you really want to do it. What would be a valuable outcome for you by the end of the session?
She told me that she wants to make a decision. She also wanted to find out are reasons behind the decision.
If you had made the decision, what’s the importance to you?
She wanted to be relaxed or lighter.
Check a SMART Goal
I heard you want to make a decision and find reasons behind the decision, what you want to focus on or talk about both today?
She wanted to make a decision.
Check a SMART Goal
What should be included when you make a decision?
She wanted some insight that will boost her energy.
Check a SMART Goal
How would you know you obtain the insights which would help you get the energy to make the decision?
She showed her hesitation.
I feel you don’t want to talk about it, am I right?
She mentioned she had talked about it with others but still feel not able to make the decision. She felt slightly disappointed.
You had mentioned that you feel stress, where is the stress on your body?
I invited her to close her eyes and think about it. Then she told me that her stress is a dark board on her shoulder but sometimes was like a red heart on her heart. She mentioned she felt a responsibility to help friends. Her previous position was the first party owner, now would become the second party if join in the new company. The stress was from the rotation of these different roles; she worried about family income, and also felt guilty to shift her stress to my husband, although it might not be a real issue.
What’s your ideal situation for the board and the heart?
She wanted the board would be lighter and the heart could be bigger. Taking the new role, she would have more flexible time to accompany with families, she could take good care of her parents and accompany with her daughter.
I see a warm Nina (alias), her heart is big enough to carry many people-friends, husband, daughter, parents, where are you now?
She did appreciate the feedback. There was something bright in her eyes. She mentioned that she had forgotten where she was. She mentioned that all the people she cared about were on the central, she was turn around to serve them.
I’d challenge you if you change your position, what would happen to you?
She mentioned that she could be in the central, she did serve them in the middle, thus she could do her job better.
Great! What would help you stand out from today’s position?
She told me that if she chooses to be the partner of the new company, her husband mentioned that it would be okay for income consideration; her daughter was elder enough to care for herself; her parents could see her more and enjoy her accompany more; even the business would be difficult, she could change her directions after 2 to 3 years.
Nice, it seems your energy is growing. Am I right?
She was cheered up.
Compare to the beginning, you want to be lighter, how do you feel now?
She admitted that she was lighter.
Now would you share any feedback for the work we had done on the session?
She explained that she saw the current position and her expected position.
What action can you commit to taking by the end of the session?
She told me that she would draw it down to remind herself where was her position.
Check a SMART Goal
She told me that she will do it by tomorrow.
Before leaving, she expressed that she feels lighter and regains energy. She was satisfied with the conversation.
THRIVE Model vs. GROW Model
“A Coaching model is a representation (often visual) that explains the philosophy or principles that underpin the way, you coach”. GROW model is generally acknowledged to be the original coaching model, which was developed in the UK and was popular in coaching during the late 1980s and 1990s. GROW is an acronym standing for Goal – Reality – Options – Will (ICA articles, 2020).
THRIVE models are developed base on GROW Model. The key flow is similar – start with identifying the goal, realizing the current situation, evoking awareness and commitment to reach the goal.
The main difference of THRIVE Model is demonstrated as below-
- Flow is more detailed (6 steps vs. 4 steps)
- Focus more on clients (emphasize on both clients talked and not talked, yet not decide for clients where to go)
- The structure is more complete (validation against the goal assure the action is serving the goal)
However, THRIVE might need more practice to prove if it could be extensively used.
GROW vs. THRIVE
Help clarify the GOAL
TOMS/SMART helps to build up the agreement with a clear goal gradually
Help understand what is happening
Help to understand client’s learning model and client’s beliefs: what they should do
Help to find out what is possible
Help to discover what clients could do
Help to determine a way forward and commit to best actions
Help to check to learn and validate the initial agreement
Help to executes with action, explore potential barriers and support system, enhance commitment
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/thrive accessed on Jun. 20, 2020
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriving accessed on Jun. 22, 2020
“Your 7-Step Guide to Thriving in Uncertainty and Change”, PETER ECONOMY, THE LEADERSHIP GUY, 2016, https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/from-surviving-to-thriving-in-7-simple-steps.html, accessed on Jun. 26, 2020
ICA Articles – What’s Coach
ICA Articles – Coach Model
“The 8 Step Coaching Model” Leon Vander Pol, 2015, https://cmoe.com/blog/the-8-step-coaching-model, accessed on Jun. 28, 2020
Reynolds, Marcia, (2020); Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry, Berrett-Koehler Inc., Oakland, CA