The Spiraling Up- Educational Planning and Social Change


A Coaching Model By Isabelle Boucher, Adults with ADHD, CANADA

In this paper, I will begin by presenting the inspiration behind my coaching model.  I will continue with presenting my coaching model titled “The Spiraling Up Coaching Model” and its steps for a successful coaching session.  I will end my paper by explaining my niche and how I came about my choice.

During my studies with the International Coach Academy, I noticed similarities to the field of adult education and most importantly, popular education. My background as a workplace workshop writer, course designer, and facilitator, made me realize that there are similarities in both fields – coaching and adult education – that cannot be ignored. 

The spiral model of popular education is a:

“Tool for planning social change education, which goes through the following phases: starts with people’s experience, identify patterns in these experiences, adds and deepens information and theory, practices new skills and leads to action.”[1]

The Spiraling Up Adults with ADHD Coaching Model Isabelle BoucherI’ve adapted the Spiral Model of popular education to coaching. The adapted version of this coaching model is titled “The Spiraling Up Coaching Model”.

The Spiral represents exploration at all levels; Up means moving forward and upward. 

I chose a spiral staircase as a visual representation of exploring all levels to move forward and upward.

The Spiraling Up Coaching Model has 6 steps:

  • Establishing Goals & Objectives
  • Inquiring about the client’s past experiences
  • Finding Similarities
  • Looking for new information
  • Planning for action and next steps
  • Moving to action
  1. Establishing Goals& Objectives

This is the most important step of the coaching session. As the coach, this step is for the client to clarify the direction they want to take in the coaching session, the topic of the session.  It also establishes the what in “what do they wish to achieve by the end of the session.”  In other words, the goal of the coaching session.

This first step of the coaching session also allows the client to clarify why it’s important at this place and time, and how they will know that they’ve reached their goal & objective at the end of the session.

  1. Inquiring about the Clients’ Past Experiences

The second step of the coaching model is for the coach to ask thoughtful questions to look at past experiences. These experiences may be similar to the current challenge.  They could potentially inform the client of learnings that may be transferable to the current situation.

A note of caution, it is important to avoid staying in the past or reassess the past experience.  This step is strictly to inform the client of past learnings that could be used to move forward.

  1. Finding Similarities

This third step of the model is used to help clarify the challenge the client is experiencing.  Perhaps there are similarities in the client’s past experiences that can be found in the current challenge.  This may help bring a new perspective, a better understanding of the situation.  This would lead us to the following step of the current coaching model, Looking for New Information.

  1. Looking for New Information

In the coaching process, new information and new learnings come from the client.  The coach supports the client in discovering new information and learnings about themselves – the client – through the coaching process.  The client’s new information or learnings can guide them towards finding the next step through the coaching session.  It supports the client in reaching the goal and objective of the session by gaining clarity.

  1. Plan for Action and Next Steps

This step is for the client to plan action or the next steps. It allows the client to identify what they would like to do next, how they would like to move forward, and also identify support and accountability in terms of a person or activity.

  1. Move to Action

This is where the client actively puts the plan or next steps into action.  The action takes place once the coaching session is over.  It is meant to empower the client. They will go out and do what they determined needed to be done when planning for action.  This may be carried to the next coaching session if the client requested support from the coach with regards to accountability.

Coaching Niche

Although it has been difficult for me to identify a potential niche, the process of creating my coaching model has helped me “shed a light” on my past experiences, skills, and strengths.

My coaching niche is working with adults in the workplace, more specifically it is working with adults who are either diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or have ADHD tendencies.

Approximately 2 years ago, my doctor suspected that I may suffer from ADHD.  I have been thoroughly tested to determine if indeed I had an attention deficit disorder because of some of my behavioral challenges. 

Having this experience and because of my education and experience in the field of adult education, I feel that I am well equipped to help adults with ADHD who may find work challenging.

Also, I have experience and education in project management.  This particular knowledge can help me work with my niche clientele to better support and coach them to be successful in their workplace. 

I believe that my coaching model will allow me to work with clients in achieving their goals.  My experience and knowledge will help me as a coach, in establishing trust, empathy, and a non-judgmental environment with my client.  These three items are key, I believe, in establishing a solid coach/client relationship.

In conclusion, I am excited to have been able to use past experiences and skills to inform my coaching model and my niche.  It has been a rewarding experience to find that transferable skills and previous knowledge are important to consider in planning for the future.  This speaks well to The Spiraling Up Coaching Model.


Education for Changing Unions; 2002, B. Burke, J. Geronimo, D. Martin, B. Thomas, and C. Wall.


Rural Support Partners:

[1] Page 8; Education For Changing Unions; B. Burke, J. Geronimo, D. Martin, B. Thomas, and C. Wall.

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