My Coaching Model – the 4 Ds
Our coaching niche are business executives with particular focus on helping women achieve their goals. We also coach individuals in non-for-profit organizations as we see a need in those organizations as much as in business organization for effective and efficient coaching.
I started working on this coaching model when I first established together with a partner The Coaching Collaborative in 2001. The basic idea is an outgrowth of the quality process first presented by Deming.
The steps we take in the coaching process are:
In this phase we help the client understand how others see him/her. This is accomplished by conducting interviews with the client, his/her supervisor, at least 2 subordinates and two peers. By summarizing the interviews we develop a picture of how others see the client. This helps the client understand better how he/she is seen by others and as a result be better prepared to make the changes necessary to make improvements. We ask the same questions of everybody we interview. One of the questions deals with what the client needs to work on in order to improve his/her performance. The answer to this question will be reviewed with the client and his/her supervisor when we get together to decide what the client needs to do to make changes, create improvements etc. This is the only part of the response that is reviewed also with the supervisor. These interviews are mostly done on Skype unless the client and his organization are located in close vicinity.
If we are coaching an individual who has come to us to be coached the above Discover phase will look differently. It will depend on what the client needs to be coached about whether there is a need or possibility to interview others so the client can get a picture of how others see him/her. In the case of individual coaching it will be the client who would have to agree we interview others and who those individuals should be. We make a recommendation for his/her concurrence.
In the corporate setting we find that there is never a question relative to interviewing others as it resembles 360 degree evaluation. We prefer to do our own interviews as the 360 degree evaluation is never as accurate because people asked to fill out those forms are often not comfortable sharing what they really think. As far as our experience has been we never had a problem with anybody who we interviewed as most of the time those individuals could hardly wait to share in a confidential space how they see the client that will be coached.
The debrief phase has two parts: the part that is only shared with the client which contains information about how others see the client. The other part is the discussion with the supervisor and the client to determine what the client needs to work on to achieve the agreed upon goals. In this discussion we also share what the individuals we interviewed said about the same.
In order to agree on objectives the client, his/her supervisor and the coach discuss the coaching process and agree on the steps that need to be taken. This includes designing the objectives and expected results that are agreed upon between the client and the supervisor. Together with the client and his/her supervisor we agree on the timing of coaching and frequency of coaching. We usually coach for minimum of 6 months as even when the client is committed to make the changes, in our experience 6 month is the minimum time needed to accomplish the changes. We have to agree on the frequency of coaching, once a week being preferred but no less than every two weeks is accepted.
Since the coaching process is not a linear process in every coaching session we review whether anything has to be added or not. Often the client has experienced difficulties he/she wants to discuss and we do follow his lead. If there is a need for a change in the agenda for the coaching session we always ask the client to remember that we have to get back to the original agenda, though we always tell the client that it is he/she that would determine when and how.
The way we support the client is by listening and asking Powerful Questions. Through that process the client can come to his/her own conclusions and as a result make the necessary changes in the way he/she does things, he/she thinks about things, he/she behaves.
The client and his supervisor have to agree on the frequency of reviews so we can together make sure we are making progress and both the client and his/her supervisor agree that progress has been made. During those reviews we also ask both the client and his/her supervisor to share with us whether any changes or adaptation of the original plan need to be made. If so, we make those adaptations and continue the process.
What is also important to note is that throughout the coaching process we work with the client so he/she can develop, grow and experience progress in his/her work towards the objectives established at the beginning of the process. This also includes any modifications to those objectives and/or other changes that are necessary as the client progresses though the coaching process.
The same would hold if we coach and individual who came to us to support him/her with an issue he/she is facing and does not know how to address it.
The process of coaching requires that the client cosign together with us a coaching agreement which deals with confidentiality, when and how we will do the coaching (in person, on Skype or telephone). In the coaching agreement we ask the client to share with us about him/herself, his/her history so we can get a better feel about the person we are coaching. The client also has the opportunity to share his/her goals, both short and long term and we always try to integrate them into the other coaching goals agreed upon with the supervisor.
Final note: If either of us coaches alone, than all the “we” become “I”.