Putting a Spin on the Coaching Conversation Model

Early in the development of the business coaching profession, professional coaches were building standard processes to guide their clients in achieving the business “wins” they were working towards. In these beginning days of the business coaching industry, Dr. Lee Sitha nd Dr. Jeannine Sandstrom instrumentally forwarded their coaching model as a benchmark standard.

Their model was called the “Coaching Conversation Model.” This model was eventually trademarked and is now well-established as standard business coaching practice. It is even endorsed as such by the ICF (International Coaching Federation).

Their model involved five conversation points to help facilitate high-level performance throughout organizations. Those five conversation points are:

1. Establish focus
2. Discover possibilities
3. Plan the action
4. Remove the barriers
5. Recap/next steps

The role of the business coach in this model is to assist his executive clients through each of the five points of conversation. If any one of the steps is missing, the coaching conversation is incomplete and the “end game” may not be achieved.

In my experience as an executive business coach, I have formulated these standardized components for an effective coaching conversation into my own model. I’ve put my own spin on the Coaching Conversation Model to create my G.O.A.L. business coaching model.

G.O.A.L. Model of Business and Executive Conversations

G. Goals.

Establish focus. Use “what” questions. What is the vision of the founders? What do the founders want the company to achieve, not based on the size of their pocket book, but on the size of their ambition and dreams? What are the end goals of the company and the values that they are founded upon?

Get to the bottom of things. Use “where” and “what” questions. Where is the company now? Where do they want to go? What is the current reality? Discover the reality breakdown for Sales/Marketing, Manufacturing, Finance, Operations, Management, Leadership, etc. Identify here is where they are…this is where they want to be.

A. Assess.

Use “what” and “how” questions. What is missing, that if provided, would catapult the company to extraordinary achievements? What is the path (plan) to achieve the end game and to get where they want to be? How are we going to get there? How do we formulate a plan? What strategies should be adopted to support the overall plan? What measuring rods of success should be implemented to support the strategies for success? What and where are the disruptive possibilities that will create the future that is aspired to? What are the obstacles, barriers, and opportunities along the path?

L. Learn & Execute.

Establish a 30-day action plan. Recap and assess the action plan every month to determine if and how goals are being achieved.

Keys to Using the G.O.A.L. Model Successfully

The G.O.A.L. model is simple to understand, and even simpler to use. More importantly, it facilitates a platform for explosive growth and development to be achieved.

How do you make the G.O.A.L. model work successfully?

Schedule a team meeting

Gather all relevant team members and set a time and date to look at one particular area of the company that everyone knows is underperforming.

Establish a “safe harbor” in the minds of the participants

This must be done well before the meeting commences by building a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie and ensuring that all participants are comfortable with the objectives of the meeting. Each team member must feel free to contribute what they honestly believe.
When people feel secure and not threatened by retribution, their minds move from a state of fear to one of safety. The result of this mental movement is a release of endorphins that stimulate the creative part of the brain…the part that creates incredible ideas and solutions!

Apply the G.O.A.L. model to the discussion

Use the model to direct the conversation. Ask powerful and penetrating questions and watch the ideas flow out of your team. The room will be buzzing as multiple ideas fly around like little jet planes. Write the ideas down, post them on the wall, and develop your way forward.

Create an Action Plan and accountability for it

Meet regularly to ensure the plan is succeeding. Tweak it as necessary to improve performance and make necessary adjustments. Each month, repeat the process and keep moving forward.

Score the Winning Goal

This simple G.O.A.L. model combines the elements of the Coaching Conversation Model into an easy-to-remember-and-employ business coaching model. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur, a business owner, or a business coach, use this model with your team to spark new ideas, innovatively problem solve, tackle new challenges, and scale your business to success.