Hi, there. Barry Zweibel, here.
It’s well documented that coaching helps people. But in my coach training, and study of a seemingly infinite number of coaching models and processes I’ve tried, none of them quite fit the bill for me.
So, in an effort to further hone my craft, I created my own model – The LeadershipTraction F.R.A.M.E.TM Model of Coaching and Mentoring – which I’ll share with you now.
Let’s start with the end in mind.
It Starts When You Help People F.O.C.U.S.
Perhaps you’ve wondered what is it that people actually GET from being coached. In my quest to better understand the work I do, I know I certainly have. In other words, what makes coaching work – especially from the perspective of the person being coached?
My view is that it all starts with what they do, or do not, focus on. Why? Because when people focus, they naturally feel increasingly motivated and engaged. And that helps them with a number of important business-related skills, such as:
- Thinking more strategically more of the time
- Collaborating more freely and easily
- Taking full responsibility for the choices and decisions they make
- Striving for increasingly meaningful results
Given the importance of helping people focus, my approach to the coaching and mentoring I do starts with seeing F.O.C.U.S. as both a process and an outcome:
- F – FACE IT – Face your challenges, head-on, and as courageously as possible – Most ‘stuck’ people simply don’t do this. Instead, they spend an inordinate amount of time and effort ignoring or ‘awful-izing’ what they know they need to be doing, or justifying why they shouldn’t have to do whatever they ought to be doing. (There’s also the matter of ‘productive procrastination’. Ask me about that when we talk.) All of these measures, though, are really caused by their fears and doubts, or disinterest. In contrast, when someone actually faces their challenges, they almost immediately begin to move beyond all of their self-limiting thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, and start moving forward, again, with traction. Sure, that may take a dash of courage, a slight change in perspective, or maybe a counter-intuitive idea or two that they likely haven’t considered before, but that’s where I come in!
- O – OUTSMART IT – Outsmart the ‘Unhelpful Extremes’ – Once people start to face their challenges, head-on, the next way they tend to undermine their efforts is by taking too much of a binary view of things. I call these the Unhelpful Extremes or UEs (pronounced ‘EWW-ies). Ever hear someone (or yourself) say, “It’s too hard to do all that, so why bother?” That’s the all-or-none UEs talking. Ever see someone (or yourself) overload on low-level activities instead working on what’s strategically important? That’s the something-is-better-than-nothing UEs in action. In contrast, by recognizing what the UEs actually are – opposite endpoints of a continuum of choices – a near-endless number of concrete, viable, and non-threatening ‘middle’ possibilities start to easily emerge.
- C – CHOOSE IT – Choose particularly powerful next steps – William James said it best, “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” Brainstorming possibilities is an important step, but the actual choosing of one’s next steps is even more so. Stuck people, if they choose at all, tend to choose tactically – actions for action’s sake; ‘busyness,’ not business, if you will. In contrast, powerful choices are strategic, savvy, and specifically geared towards moving things meaningfully forward sooner than they might otherwise. How to choose? What to choose? What our choices enable or prevent? It’s all powerful stuff.
- U – UNHOOK FROM IT – Unhook from your self-limiting thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors – It’s hard to show up as your Best Self, sometimes. Maybe it’s because the stakes feel high. Maybe it’s because the stakes ARE high. Maybe it’s because you’re in unfamiliar territory. Or maybe it’s because you’re not focused on right things or not even sure what the right things are. Regardless, one’s ‘inner monologue’ – that judge, critic, narrator, gremlin, or whatever you call it – can instantly undermine your Great Plans and Best Self. In contrast, learning how to listen for, and work with, the constructive insights and recommendations of your seemingly non-constructive confidence killers is a profoundly useful skill. (It’s a great way to become instantly better with conflicts, as well.)
- S – STRIVE FOR IT – Strive for increasingly meaningful results, each time/every time – While effort is important, results are what really matter – in business AND in life. What will move the needle? What will turn the dial? What will make it clear to all involved that it’s truly a wonderful thing that YOU are involved? For learning to stick, it’s essential to talk about the insights, discoveries, and lessons learned along the way – and apply those lessons learned early and often. As Vernon Law said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” When you’re known as someone who consistently, and collaboratively, looks for, and integrates, the lessons learned, the possibilities of what’s possible begin to soar. And the power and impact of meaningful and lasting achievement becomes yours! Too, and this is an important post-script, when we strive, each time/every time, like this, it makes it that much easier to start the process anew with our next challenge to face.
This Is How To F.R.A.M.E. Conversations For Better F.O.C.U.S.
Having explored what helps people learn and grow through F.O.C.U.S., it became clear to me that our responsibility – as leaders and coaches – to F.R.A.M.E. our coaching conversations in ways that facilitate – and accelerate – the other person’s learning, growth, and development:
- F – F.O.C.U.S. – F.O.C.U.S. the client, the conversation, and yourself – because not only do clients benefit from greater F.O.C.U.S., but so do the coaches who coach them. So it’s about being able to F.O.C.U.S. each interaction, in increasingly meaningful, relevant, and powerful, ways.
- R – RESPOND – Respond strategically to whatever the client asks, says, or does – because everything the client shares (including what they choose not to share) is an opportunity to further their growth, development, discovery, insight, understanding, confidence, creativity, and readiness for greater learning and achievement. So responding respectfully, collaboratively, engagingly, and purposefully, is essential.
- A – ASK – Ask questions that are intriguing to answer – because those are the questions that take clients deeper and further, most quickly. And those are the questions that induce clarity, discernment, choice, and drive.
- M – MONITOR – Monitor progress, mood, and agreed-upon accountabilities – because change (the verb) is what makes change (the noun) actually happen. Too, the flip side of accountability is recognition and there’s great cause for celebration when we are fully engaged in honoring the commitments we’ve made, and are making, to ourselves and those around us.
- E – ENCOURAGE – Encourage increasingly deeper F.O.C.U.S. and further exploration – because F.O.C.U.S. is the great facilitator AND accelerator of personal and professional growth and achievement. And inviting further exploration of one’s goals, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges, self-limiting beliefs, and such, is what keeps us on the path to greater impact, achievement, and success.
There’s obviously much, much more involved in learning precisely how to work with (and through) the F.R.A.M.E. Coaching Model. But I don’t want to give away too much of the ‘secret sauce’ here and now! ☺
If you’d like to learn more, or help the leaders in your organization learn to better F.R.A.M.E. their coaching and mentoring conversations, LeadershipTraction has created the “How to Better F.R.A.M.E. Your Coaching and Mentoring Conversations” program, in addition to a variety of other customized training and adult learning programs.