Coaching models explored: VISTA

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Tim Hawkes is back with another entry in this occasional series dissecting the industry's popular (and not so popular) coaching models.

I’ve written before in this blog about the uses and value of models in coaching, but I won’t apologise for repeating myself: Models are a great tool when coaching, particularly when you are fairly new to the role of coach, as whatever model you choose gives you something to focus on and which can lend structure to the conversation, which might otherwise tend to ramble, and may not actually achieve much.

Within a coaching culture, at least in the early days of creating and cultivating this culture, individuals may be asked to take on the role of coach with only a little training or experience.

For situations such as this the use of a model is useful, as it gives the coach something to fall back on and to steer him or her through the intervention.

Today I want to show you a model called VISTA:

V – Visualisation: The client should build a clear mental picture of the subject of the conversation, whether that be the solution to a problem, a goal to be reached, a decision to be made; whatever is relevant.

I – Insight: The client is invited to explore the causes or the purpose of what has drawn them to seek coaching.

S – Self-Awareness: At this point the client should be asked to recognise what their contribution to the issue might be. For instance, in the case of a problem, were they in fact contributory to the problem having arisen?

T – Thinking: This is the point of the conversation during which the self-exploration turns towards finding a solution. An exploration of how much they already know about how to find and implement a resolution.

A – Action: Once the client has recognised that they may have one or more possible avenues to explore in order to take themselves in the direction of the visualised result, the coach invites them to define steps and timetables to achieve the stated goal, thus putting the matter firmly in the hands of the client, and giving the coach a means by which they can hold the client accountable should that become necessary.

As models go, I rather like this one. It’s elegant, and it encourages the client to focus on themselves and their own ability to recognise and deal with issues. It doesn’t shrink from having the client accept responsibility not merely for the fix, but also for whatever lies at the root of the matter.

I don’t know who originated this model, but if it was you, or if you know who is responsible, then please let us know in order that we can credit the appropriate person.

Tim Hawkes is managing director of Unlimited Potential

About Tim Hawkes

About Tim Hawkes

World Leader in Developing organisational coaching cultures

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