Coaches are like diamond polishers. Coachees are like a diamond in the rough that is polished so they reach their goals and sparkle. These are the thoughts from Laura Komocsin, Hungary’s best-known coach in her book “Toolful Coaching” that details the SPARKLE model.
This Hungarian model demonstrates the typical stages of a coaching process. This is not a rigid model, but provides a framework to assist understanding and serve as a reference as to what a coach can do during the various stages of the process. SPARKLE relates to Situation, Positioning, Alternatives, Route, Key obstacles, Leverage and Evaluation.
- Situation. The coach and coachee assess the starting point and an objective map of reality is created. Perceptual filters and sources of bias are acknowledged. The challenges faced by the coachee are explored and rapport is built between the coachee and coach. Typical coaching questions at this stage might include, “What is the present situation and what would you like to change?”
- Position. The coachee identifies their vision, their direction and aim. Objectives are created from existing goals or created during the coaching session. The goals may be ‘final goals’ or ‘performance goals’. For example, a final goal might be “becoming market leader.” Although achievement of this goal links to personal effort, success is determined by forces outside the control of the individual. Performance goals, on the other hand, focuses on factors that an individual can influence. For example, “a 5% improvement in performance compared to last year.”
- Alternatives. Options are identified and possibilities considered. Instead of jumping to a decision, options are considered. Ideas are not discarded and not deemed unrealistic due to time, cost or ability. The coach is a catalyst for idea generation, and this is the gap analysis between the Situation and Position stages.
- Route. The coach works with the coachee to select the most appropriate option. Pros and cons are weighed up, and at the end of this phase the coachee will have a clear route that will lead to the achievement of their objective. Coaching questions might include, “What can you gain or lose if you select this alternative?”
- Key obstacles. During this stage the coachee is likely to leave their comfort zone as they consider the real obstacles that stand in their way. Coaching questions include, “What are you going to do to prevent obstacles or overcome objections?” This stage is summarised by the quote “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” by Paulo Coelho.
- Leverage. The coach works with the coachee to tame self-defeating behaviours. Skills, strengths and successes are leveraged to support the coach towards achieving their goals. Coaching questions include, “How can you leverage this into other areas?”
- Evaluation. There is a celebration of accomplishing the goal and the coaching is evaluated. An old habit is replaced by a new one. Questions such as “To what extent did you manage to change?” help reinforce the learning through the journey.
There are similarities between the GROW model and the first four stages of SPARKLE. But SPARKLE goes further with ‘K’, ‘L’ and ‘E’ to address areas that are not considered in GROW. The Key obstacles stage is of particular importance and a crucial aspect to recognise when coaching.
The “Toolful Coaching” book outlines the SPARKLE model and is incredibly practical detailing 150 models to support coaching through the stages of the process.
While delivering a Challenging Coaching masterclass in Budapest it was great to meet Laura Komocsion, author of Toolful Coaching and Nandor Makos, both from Business Coach Ltd, Hungary’s leading coaching company.. I would like to thank them for their warm welcome and hospitality “Köszönöm”