Miles Downey shares the simple ‘Model T’ tool in Effective Modern Coaching. It’s a really great way to get past the initial thoughts of a coachee, and to really dig into the issue that’s most important to them right now.
It’s a model to enable us to move further up the coaching spectrum, following interest rather than giving advice or guidance. It’s especially useful for novice coaches, who may find it easy to latch onto the first suggestion from a coachee, rather than spending time to explore other options.
If you find yourself jumping on the first suggestion offered by a coachee, starting to move into problem solving too soon or falling into mentoring modes, then pause and use this model to move back to a coaching posture.
The model has two stages, first we Expand, which forms the cross bar of a capital T. Here the questioning is aiming to put more options onto the table, empowering the coachee to share anything that may be of interest:
- Tell me what else you notice?
- What else?
- One more thing?
Then we Focus, diving into the most important topic, the downstroke of the T. The questions are driving this focus, selecting the most relevant area for the coachee:
- What’s most interesting?
- What stands out?
- What’s most important to you right now?
Use this simple model to help set the topic of a session, to expand on goals or options, or anywhere else you need to spend more time understanding the coachee’s thinking.