One of my mantras in life has always been go with the flow as I believe that there is a higher intervention to the continuum of events called life. Of course, it doesn’t mean that one accepts everything that comes their way, and completely surrender to fate helpless. In coaching, now that we have understood the core competencies, how do we progress into the FLOW of coaching?
The FLOW5 C.O.A.C.H. model suggests that the process of coaching highly correlates with the transformation of potential. It ebbs from one pillar to another pillar progressively, and continues to build and spiral to the next level of actualization. It models a flow of development, always moving forward, always moving together creating that momentum of change.
FLOW 1 : CORE – Clarify Needs
As we begin a journey of coaching, the transformation that needs to take place should, and I would emphasize a strong MUST, start with the CORE being of change, catalyst, client-centered. The focal need is to move from where the client is today to another point of the future, it must CHALLENGE the client’s comfort to spark that emotional need for change, PUSH the drive for sense of PURPOSE, and demand FOCUS for specific action. Often times, as demonstrated in the web-torial class, the client can be very broad in defining their ideals. Hence, the role of the coach is to funnel definitions.
E.g. A client, Ms. Focus had this BIG ideal, that at this point of her life she needs FOCUS. Too broad. Now which area in her life? Why? What was working before and not now? What is focus for her? What will focus create for her? What exact action that she wants changes? What makes her say focus?
FLOW 2 : OUTCOME – Own Goals
The destination is just as important as the journey. A clear outcome is impertinent to ensure that all efforts and wants are optimized in the right direction. In today’s V.U.C.A. world, the pace of change and uncertainty impacts the end in mind so often, that sometimes in trying to be responsive, we can only be reactive. It is the same for the client too. The client could be swayed with moving goals, changing wants and flirty outcomes that perhaps just to satisfy stakeholders, to being politically correct, or even to secure that next rung in the corporate ladder. Hence, the coaching process becomes just a means to an end.
E.g. What is Ms. Focus trying to achieve? What are the outcomes that she desires in working on focus? If her outcome is to have a successful coaching business versus shutting down a project that no longer is viable, the CORE that she needs to focus on will be different. Is her outcome a hope, a dream or a work in progress?
FLOW 3 : AWARENESS – Acknowledge Filters
The next stage of the flow is the awareness of the context of the client, and working on the different filters, levels, values, beliefs and accelerate the insights of the client to serve the mission & coaching journey. Here the coach will need to embody the coaching mindset to maintain the relationship with the client and progressively for call for action. There could be multiple perspectives to the insights and the need to also integrate the different awareness that have emerged. Having establish the CORE and the OUTCOME, the coach molds the awareness to facilitate and empower the client’s growth. Of course, it is natural that there could be discombobulated discoveries in the process and choices need to be made to grow with the flow.
E.g. For Ms. Focus, should her core be to build a sustainable coaching expertise with local businesses and the outcome is to integrate her expertise online for better quality life with family, Ms. Focus may discover some of the values like helping all those dear to her is no longer working to her cause and purpose. The coach will need to accelerate this insight to practice by Ms. Focus. Learning to let go will be something the Ms. Focus need to work on for her to be on step closer to her future.
FLOW 4 : CONNECT – Converge Strengths
Once there is awareness, the process flows to connect the client for commitment to actions. Leveraging on possible success, converging of strengths, and facilitating for growth, can be motivating, inspiring and exciting for the client. This phase is where the client (and the coach) will experiment with creativity, TEA (thoughts, emotions, actions), and strengths to bring about TRUE changes. Expect restarts, learning moments, blame, shame and even some frustrations here. Whilst we are calling for the commitment of action, sometimes a reverse flow back to awareness (or even further back to outcome or core) may be needed, if there exists limiting beliefs, negative emotions, lack of discipline and hidden agendas.
E.g. Ms. Focus may want to start saying ‘NO’ to some tasks, to some people, and may find this to be a challenge for a passion projects which she also enjoys. Her coach may have to support her to reaffirm her end in mind.
FLOW 5 : HIGH POINT – Honour Learning
At every growth, achievement, the high is the shift that has transformed the life of the client for a better future. Through acknowledgement of the lessons that took place, new perspectives developed, affirmations and celebrations (big, medium, small), this flow serves as the stepping stone to the bigger, better, improved self! I love the word here, honour learning – positioning the growth, the pain of unlearning to relearn and the awkwardness of the new self, in a POSITIVE, EMBRACING light.
E.g. Perhaps, in having to make tough choices and decisions, Ms Focus now can look at developing progressive programs for her clients, and spend meaningful Sundays with her family. She may have lost some relationships, let go of an online hobby site, nevertheless, the flow has helped her to surrender for a happier self.
In summary, the flow is served by both discipline and surrender. If you look any flow, there is always structure to allow a certain direction, and there is an always an element of space to allow for some chaos. I like how Coach Mel provided the analogy of unpacking oneself. Yes, sometimes, it’s good to unload, embrace the chaos, and then reload.
So, what is Ms. Focus’ (*wink*) key take-aways from this overview of FLOW5 C.O.A.C.H. Process:
- Be cautious of big picture words by the client. Dissect and clarify needs.
- Begin with the end in mind. Optimize the wants in creating specific goals.
- Stay in the positive, motivating light in dark moments of insights, and actions. Expect some currents and turbulence in the flow. Navigate forward.
- There is no shame in learning. There is only lost in the lack of trying.
“Oh! You teary eyed,
Wipe your fiery eyes.
You don’t gonna end like this,
You gotta make something big.
Just, go with the flow
grow with the flow. ”
~ Shifa Ali (credit source: internetpoem.com)