When someone is starting out as a coach, they have hopefully gone through some training, and often that training offers up the idea of a coaching model, to give the new coach a framework on which to build a conversation.
Up to a point this is a good thing. It means that the less experienced coach is less likely to get side-tracked during an intervention, and helps to ensure that the conversation actually reaches a natural conclusion rather than drifting to a close without achieving the desired result.
However, there comes a time for any coach when they need to realise that they have the experience to achieve the results without slavishly following a model.
It is my view that if a coach hangs on to a specific model, and makes his or her conversation fit that model come what may, then the intervention becomes forced, and the coach’s questions will be dictated more by the need to move through the models stages than by the requirements of the client.
In other words, the coaching is in danger of becoming shaped by the model, rather than by the client’s needs.
When a coach has reached a certain level of competence they should, I feel, have the self-confidence to allow the client to dictate the form the conversation takes, and should be more of a shepherd, making sure that the intervention doesn’t wander off track too much. It’s in conversations like this that we often find ourselves getting to the real heart of a complex matter, whereas when making everything fit into a rigid model may allow a client to skirt around root causes rather than face them.
I am firmly in favour of coaching models, both when at an early stages in one’s coaching career and also when the coach is perhaps undertaking the role within a coaching culture but is not employed solely as a coach. The guiding hand of a coaching model can make a difficult and challenging task much less fraught, but the word of caution I would offer; don’t let the model dictate the conversation.