A Coaching Model By Monika Steimle, Leadership Coach, GERMANY
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Oliver Wendell Homes
The Coaching Model – Purpose-Paradigm-Path
The Coaching Model – PURPOSE-PARADIGM-PATH – describes my philosophy and coaching approach and gives insight into my thinking and the kind of coaching work they can expect when working with me. It’s not a detailed step-by-step description as every coaching journey is very unique, however, it gives you the opportunity to reflect if this overarching philosophy meets your need. If you want to learn more, I invite you to visit my website and schedule a discovery call.
My clients, leaders of corporations or entrepreneurs, come to me with questions about their leadership and how to lead in today’s challenging environment with purpose and authenticity. Often, they might experience a feeling of overwhelm in their day-to-day due to constant changes in their environments, the shift in leadership styles over the course of the last decade, and the impact COVID had on their teams and cultures. These organizational and environmental pressures might also evoke a deeper personal reflection on what they want for their professional life, what unique leadership style might fit into their world, or even what their higher purpose is.
In a nutshell, in my transformational leadership coaching, I guide my clients to create a new path forward by digging into internal sources for support and guidance. We first articulate the purpose for the change or transformation they want to create in their lives, we then look at the roadblocks, fears, or assumptions that stop them from activating this purpose. This leads us to deep work with their inner paradigms. Once explored deeply, the client develops a path forward to integrate new patterns (i.e., paradigm shift) toward the achievement of their purpose by creating lasting new habits.
To provide you with a more detailed understanding of my coaching model, I next discuss the core concepts (i.e., purpose, paradigm, path forward) of my coaching model in detail and then present the main steps of an exemplary coaching journey based on my P3-model.
The Purpose-Paradigm-Path Coaching Model
Purpose or higher Purpose -Defining the purpose can be as ‘simple’ as defining the reason (the why) a certain change or transformation must take place. It might also involve a deeper search for meaning and what the person is here in this world to impact and what their unique quest is. In other words, finding higher a higher purpose. Depending on how deeply a client wants to explore their purpose, I offer a journey to find and articulate this purpose.
Personal Paradigm – “A paradigm is a mental model that guides how we think and act. In the context of society, it shapes the norms and expectations for behavior in that society or culture. In the context of an individual, it shapes the person’s particular behavior or set of behaviors… a personal paradigm is a set of beliefs, assumptions, theories or points of view that shape the choices each person makes.” (Dr. Keith Merron, The Art of Transformational Coaching, Nov. 2020)
Looking inside and understanding some of the deeper-rooted beliefs, assumptions, and patterns driving our everyday behaviors and actions is deep and transformational inner work. Knowing your higher purpose gives clarity and direction and creates the energy needed to enable this inner transformation to embrace a paradigm shift or a new paradigm altogether.
To illustrate the power of our inner paradigms, I love to share the story of the chained elephant.
The Chained Elephant
A very playful, curious, and funny child who lived in a small town. One day the circus came to town and the little boy so wanted to go and see all there was to see. The boy was very excited. He loved the trapeze artists and the animal shows. The lion was so tame and docile that he greeted the audience. The zebras were agile. They ran in perfect circles without losing their rhythm. And the elephant was so amazing that it stood on two legs and joked with the clowns.
The boy was so fascinated that, at the end of the show, he decided to go to the back to see the artists with their wonderful animals. He walked with his parents to the back of the circus and he saw that the animals were in cages. The elephant, however, was outdoors. The boy approached the elephant and saw that someone had chained one of its legs to a stake in the dirt. The animal wasn’t moving at all.
The boy couldn’t get the chained elephant out of his head. He didn’t like to see the animals in cages. However, what affected him the most was the elephant. He was free but tied down at the same time. Although the chain was thick, the boy could tell that the elephant could remove the stake from the ground if it wanted to. After all, it was a gigantic animal.
The boy asked his parents why the circus people had chained the elephant. They replied, “So he doesn’t run away”. “So he doesn’t run away!?!? He could run away if he wanted to!” replied the boy. For the boy, the chain and stake weren’t obstacles for the elephant. The boy then asked his parents, “Why doesn’t he run away then?” His parents shrugged their shoulders and couldn’t give him an answer.
The boy continued with his questions and overall restlessness. The next day, he asked his science teacher the same question. She gave him a blunt response, “He doesn’t run away because he’s trained”. The science teacher then explained how trainers train their animals.
The child in the story of the chained elephant understood that although the animal was quite big now, it was once very small. When it was small, someone tied one of its legs to a chain and a small stake. The boy imagined how much the baby elephant probably fought to release the chain without getting hurt or getting into trouble.
The boy understood that the elephant didn’t realize how big and strong it was when it grew up. The elephant only remembered being a small elephant fighting against a chain and stake that wouldn’t budge. This is why, although it could now free itself, it no longer tried. To the elephant, the memory of that impossibility in the past was stronger than the real possibility of the present.
The story of the chained elephant resembles us, tied to our past experiences that turned into beliefs. How much do we not try to take a different action or take on a new viewpoint or perspective because we cannot see that our story has changed? There is much potential in looking at old patterns and beliefs or as Sergio Sinay says:
When attachment has no more reason than habit and there’s no purpose that gives meaning and transcendence, it’s time to let go.
As shown in this powerful tale, it takes understanding, perspective, new sight, and new context to be able to leave ‘the chains’ behind that have been installed over a lifetime. And it takes compassion and honoring the necessity of these old patterns and beliefs as they were needed and served a purpose when we were younger and unprotected.
With the connection to your higher purpose and a deep understanding of the new paradigm that serves your purpose, the path forward becomes clear.
Path forward–Once you identified your new paradigm and you got a sense and experience of what it feels like to operate from this new paradigm, it’s time to set new habits in your life. Tiny steps of improvement every day, will help you make adjustments and to remind your brain how to live successfully from your new paradigm. I find James Clear’s framework(2019) of ‘tiny habits’ incredibly powerful for understanding how to manifest your new vision for yourself in your life. As my mentor once said: knowing your purpose and having a sense of the new paradigm you want to live from is easy, manifesting it successfully in your life, is a quest. I will guide you on this journey of manifestation and help you lay out your path forward.
As a corporate leader, going through a coaching process with me you might experience a guided journey like this:
- Setting the stage. Getting to know each other and our styles of working. Level setting and understanding of your goal for your coaching.
- Purpose finding. We will find time to really understand your reasons for coaching and what your purpose is. You might come with a specific goal in mind and together we will understand the underlying motivation of your change and what life you might envision after the change.
- Understanding your paradigms. With deep inquiry and compassionate conversations to look at your past and what you might find with regard to patterns that keep you in your current paradigm, we explore how these paradigms serve and what you get from having them in your life.
- Exploring new paradigms. You will look at and experience your vision for your authentic leadership and get in touch with your own inner wisdom to surface a new paradigm.
- Exploring new habits. Understanding the triggers, actions, and activities that help you be and stay in your new paradigm
- Practice and lock in new habits. You will outline practices and find ways to keep yourself accountable to the new habits to live out your transformation as a leader.
- Review and feedback. Together we will take a moment to review our journey together, appreciate each other, celebrate and reflect on possible improvements to the coaching process.
In conclusion, new leadership values in today’s world are often the starting point for leaders to dive into coaching and deeper reflections. To transform oneself needs clarity of purpose. Your higher purpose helps guide your inner leadership fundamentals and leads you on your path to impactful and authentic transformation. I am here to help you guide you on your path.
Keith Merron: The Art of Transformational Coaching, Nov. 2020
Jorge Bucay: Let me tell you a story, 2013
Tim Kelley, True Purpose: 12 Strategies for Discovering the Difference You Are Meant to Make, Apr. 2009
James Clear: An Easy &Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, Oct. 2019