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Giving GIFTS as a Coaching Model

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Here ya go! One coaching session. I even wrapped it myself :)

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Holidays coming right around the corner, it's time to think about the greatest gifts of all, coaching. (And why coaches aren't Santa Clause) As coaches, we aim for the gifts of our coaching sessions to be somewhat uniform in nature; Every client gets a wishlist (session contract) where they freely state what they would like to work on and by the end we see if we were able to make progress towards getting them to open up the wrapping paper and reveal what's inside the, the goal. (And it's not our job to determine if they've been naughty or nice, they all get a present).

Now as you continue your exploration as a coach, you will see a variety of coaching models espoused by "expert coaches" and training programs. These models are like the colorful paper you wrap your coaching session in and we can tell you this, presentation matters!

A coaching model that is sloppily done is like giving someone a beautiful diamond necklace wrapped in tinfoil. Not exactly the most romantic way to give a gift.

If you want to wow! clients, your coaching model needs to not only satisfy the ICF requirements of coaching, it needs a little pizazz, it needs clean lines, it needs a nice bow on top!

That is why this week on CLCI Live, Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr. (M.C.L.C), Samuel Gozo (M.C.P.C) and Anthony Lopez (M.C.P.C). talk about GIFTS, a new coaching model that is sure to liven up your client's holiday season.

G - Goals

Seems like a pretty straightforward way to start a coaching session. Especially during this season, people are going to tend to think about goals for the future or worse...🤢New Year's Resolutions. Most clients are going to be in a goal oriented mindset when they get to you.

You want to ask them:

  • What is it they want to achieve?

  • When do they want to achieve it?

  • What are the milestones in achieving it?

  • What does the goal feel, see, sound like? Maybe even taste or smell like?

This is where sadly most coaches stop the gift wrapping. Their model for coaching is an endless series of talking about goals, asking questions about goals, and strategizing ways to achieve them.

When we start to coach this way, we start to lose sight of the essential nature of coaching.

We aren't coaching a goal, we are coaching a person.

And every person with a goal also has an...

I - Intent

This is where coaches can (with kindness & candor) challenge and ruffle the feathers of our clients. As coaches who are naturally curious, we want to look at the why of our client's goals.

Let's make a distinction while we are here. We are not just exploring the goal; we are not just exploring the client's psyche. We are exploring the client's values in-relation to the goal. Through this process of revealing the intent, a client will contend with their emotions and how they anchor themselves to this goal.

In this step you will ask:

  • Why is this goal important to you?

  • What benefits does this goal bring you?

  • How does this goal serve you?

  • How do the blocks serve you? (Trust us, they do)

  • How will you feel once this goal is achieved?

Now there is a good chance that this introspection will blow their original goal right out of the water, and that's okay!

When a client hones in on their intent, they may come to realize that their goal doesn't actually align with who they are or the kind of person they want to be. This is what we mean by coaching the person, when you start to do so, the goals almost become irrelevant.

If this happens, it's time for the client to find goals that do align with their intent. And when that does happen, we move on to...

F - Future

So the client has a goal and their intent is set. But that winning moment where they get to unwrap that gift is 6-12 months away!

That is a lot of time from now to there, from the present to the future.

Let's make this easy for our clients and bring the future to them.

As Brooke mentions in our Live, this is similar to the psychological hack car salesmen use to get you to buy. They do this by getting you to test drive the vehicle in order to foster a sense of ownership. Which is a very clever way to manifest a possible future into the present moment.

In coaching, we want our clients to test drive their future and own every aspect of it. We can ask:

  • Again, what does your accomplishment feel, see, sound like? Maybe even taste or smell like?

  • What does this version of you do day-to-day? How do you feel?

  • Who do you have supporting you?

  • What is different now that the future is here? What has changed

At this moment you aren't just telling a client about a hypothetical future gift. It's now right in front of them. Waiting for them to take the steps to open it. Now we just need to...

T - Transition

The client has their gift in mind, they own it, they see it in front of them. It's right there!

All that's left for them is to take the steps going forward and open it.

What the client doesn't know is that they aren't starting from a dead stop. They have been building momentum for this transition the moment they hired you as a coach. All they need is the slightest of nudges and their inertia will carry them the rest of the way.

How do we provide that nudge? By asking:

Finally, as the client transitions, reaches milestones, encounters blocks, and hopefully reaches their goal, we should always remember to acknowledge the...

S - Success

The three S's of Success:

Support, Self-validation, Selebration! (Okay, celebration but you get the idea)

How does your client acknowledge their milestones and their effort?

The final key of the GIFTS model is when a client realizes that they are the ones who are giving the gift to themselves.

That gift can be celebration in victory or grace when they fall short.

In this space, the coach can give the gift of support. Here we acknowledge a client's perceived victories and failures and explore the emotional significance of their actions and feelings and how it relates to their goal.

To wrap up, GIFTS is a beautifully wrapped coaching model where the client begins their journey goal-oriented and ends being self-oriented. Through this process, a client gains a greater emotional awareness of their values and intentions and how it relates to their goals.


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, Sam Gozo, and Anthony Lopez!

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