Coaching Model: THE FIVE D’s


A Coaching Model Created by Bret Perko

A Coaching Model to Achieve Life Balance and Personal Change






It could be argued that finding the desired balance in one’s life has never been more complicated.  Before the COVID pandemic, technology had already blurred the lines between work and personal time; between the workplace, the commute, and home.  Now in 2021 after having spent over a year dealing with the pandemic, those lines are almost completely gone.  Many try to juggle working remotely, raising school-age children, starting a new business or side hustle, exercising, preparing meals, taking care of the home and aged parents, while trying to figure out how to pursue the things in life they are passionate about.

What is the answer?  How does one meet the obligations and responsibilities in life, while making time to pursue the things that really bring purpose, happiness, and fulfillment?  How does a person find the balance to do everything that one “has” to do and still find the capacity to pursue what one “wants” to do?  Obviously, the answer or solution is different for everyone.  However, a common approach or process can be applied to almost every personal situation to arrive at a roadmap leading to greater personal balance and fulfillment – The 5 D’s Coaching Model.


The first step is to DEFINE want is truly desired.  To achieve this awareness is much more difficult than one might think.  Many times, individuals are pursuing things, or want to pursue things, they genuinely believe will bring them more personal fulfillment, but in fact, are only leading to more frustration and disappointment.

The coach must help the client realize that the DEFINE step is crucial to success and that the client must commit to spending the required time to come to as much awareness as possible around what kind of life is desired.  What the client truly wants to seek in life may very well shift during the coaching engagement, but the client must get as solid a grip as possible on it upfront to take meaningful steps forward.


Not every situation can be changed.  Not every obligation can be off-loaded.  Nor do we want them to be.  That would be side-stepping a large part of life.  That is why the second step, DECIDE, is vitally important.   The coach must work with the client so that the client can make clear DECISIONS around what can realistically be changed to pursue the DEFINED goals and targets.  Those DECISIONS must come with a clear resolve so that the client feels compelled to seek and pursue the ways to make the needed and desired changes.  That leads to the third step in the coaching model.


What must be done to make the DECIDED upon changes that will lead to achieving the DEFINED goals and outcomes?  To DEVISE is to form a plan, to invent the means or methods to accomplish something.  Therefore, the coach partners with the client to formulate “what” the client must do to complete the transformation.  The coach must help the client gain deep clarity around what they will do to mentally, emotionally, and structurally approach the changes. 

  • What mental roadblocks will the client encounter? What has been tried before?  What has been successful and what has been unsuccessful?  How will the client stay mentally focused despite the challenges?  What stories will the client tell themselves that will derail the process?
  • What will the client do to cope emotionally with the inevitable setbacks that accompany any major change?
  • What structures and support systems need to be in place to ensure the client makes progress and stays on course?


The DESIGN step differs from the DEVISE step in that now the coach assists the client to take their plan or DEVISED methods, and develop a process or roadmap to implement the plan.  This is the “how” step in the 5 D’s model.  The client purposefully lays out a course of action.  The DESIGN step can be revisited and adjusted as often as necessary to serve the client.  The life circumstances of the client will change.  Challenges will arise.  The roadmap must be adaptable and flexible.  The coach must work with the client to help them see that a momentary detour or re-routing does not signal failure.  Adaptability in life is vital and it is an important aspect of achieving lasting change.


Finally, the client must feel compelled to DRIVE toward their DECIDED upon changes.  It is normal for the commitment level of the client to vary during the transformation journey.  However, the coach must partner with the client to continually reinforce why dedication to the goal is so important.  The coach needs to help the client regularly review the previous D’s in the process so that the client keeps the compelling reasons for the change front and center.  Strong desire on the part of the client, combined with a good plan and roadmap will lead to increased success in finding the desired life balance or making the desired change.


Define understand and establish the desired change or life balance and goals.  Become aware of what is truly desired.

Decidecome to a decision and resolve with clarity what can or must be changed.

Devise carefully investigate through deep and careful thought what to do to pursue what has been defined and decided upon.

Design create and develop the roadmap to achieve the desired goals and objectives.

Drivecommit to the journey; feel compelled and dedicated to follow the roadmap and stay the course to the destination.

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