Optimum – A Maverick approach to coaching? When I trained as a coach over 20 years ago, I was taught to use the GROW model. Its chief proponent, Sir John Whitmore, was a baronet, a racing driver … and I reckon a Maverick too.
It’s ironic that the model he developed with tennis coach Tim Galwey has become such an industrial standard, that it has moved from the maverick to the mainstream, in the 40 years it has been in widespread use.
There are many other models, but none I have found worked with my Maverick mindset. The reason? They all provide a way to get you from A to B, involving improvement and self-reflection on the way. Even the amendment which I use every time (GROWTH – Coaching International’s idea of adding Tactics and Habits onto the end to amend behaviours) doesn’t always work.
What they don’t do to my satisfaction, is embed the change that the coaching goal represents. That’s why I developed my own.
The OPTIMUM coaching framework ™ combines coaching, NLP and, weirdly, project management! By focusing on the outcome that my clients want, it helps them to maintain their change momentum so they have benefits that last and last.
OPTIMUM starts with the Outcome that the client seeks. We use the maverick lens from the get-go; the client is encouraged to focus on what needs to be different. Difference is the key to change, so this is where our ‘otherness’ really kicks in for the client’s benefit.
What is the difference the client wants, and what routes could get them there?
Next come Personal commitment and Tactics, encouraging real engagement with achieving that change goal. Personal commitment checks and enhances the client’s appetite for their goal and the change it will require. Tactics is one that I like to use a lot – what specifically turns any actions to the client’s advantage? Self interest is motivating, and this helps to build client focus on a range of things that will work for them, that they can do to achieve their goal. Otherness features again, with Inspiration.
Different people are motivated by different things, as we all know. So here my clients can use whatever drives them on, to truly desire the achievement of their goal and to keep on track.
This is where the embedding change starts.
The final three sections of my framework focus on making change stick. Measures help the client chart their progress, which keeps up their confidence and commitment levels. It also helps the client to recognise when they actually have managed to get from A to B, answering the “How will you know when you’ve got there?” question so beloved of coaches. This gets clients to the stage most coaching models reach – and then stop.
Understanding makes sure the client grasps the fundamentals, that helped them make their change, so they can repeat the process and techniques. Most importantly, this stage also focuses clients on what they have taken from the change process, what they have discovered, and what they have learned.
This is crucial and is the start of the real difference.
It’s so obvious, but so few coaching methodologies actually support clients to cement their learning. Understanding how they made their change, so they can repeat it successfully again and again seems basic to me, but maybe that’s just my otherness.
The last section of the framework is Momentum. The end of most coaching models is about getting to the goal.
Not this one.
Momentum is where clients identify the things they needed to change, shift or tweak to create the successful habits that achieved their goal, and which could realise others. We revisit their motivation, their appetite for change, their courage to make the changes continually and repetitively to bring about that lasting change. Clients understanding how they have changed their behaviour patterns, is key to them maintaining their change. It is also crucial, so they can self-help, and make new, lasting and positive changes for themselves over time.
The OPTIMUM framework™ looks at the client’s change journey in a maverick way. It is purposefully different, and that difference is the thing that makes clients’ changes stick.