Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity


A Coaching Model By Lori Penha, Life/Wellness Coach, UNITED STATES

Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Definitions

During my coaching education journey, I came to realize how important it is for me to keep things simple. My coaching model is very concise and simple. When someone is confused, foggy, or bewildered in any way, they need to explore the issues and get to clarity. Very simply this is how I intend to coach my clients.

              Bewilderment                        Exploration                                         Clarity

Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Coaching Model Lori Penha

A client comes to a coaching session with an issue. They have clouded thinking about something; they are not sure how to proceed. This is the first phase of my model, the “bewilderment” phase. The session agreement is reached; a clear outcome has been identified. Then we proceed to the issues that need to be addressed. We go into the “exploration” phase of considering all the client wants to address. During this exploration, questions are asked to help the client understand her feelings and values surrounding the situation or problem. We explore what the preferred outcome is and what that would entail. With simple questions, the client can move into discovering some answers. The client is able to move into the last phase of “clarity.” At this phase, the client comes to her own clear, concise actions or solutions. The coaching session can end with the client leaving feeling better and knowing what her next steps are.

The arrows show that this is not necessarily a step-by-step process. Clients can uncover issues that move them from exploration back into bewilderment or from clarity back into more exploration. The client is gently guided to get clarity on their intended session outcome. This helps them talk out the next steps to move forward. After the session, the client can and will ruminate on what she learned about herself and her growth continues between each coaching session. At the beginning of the next session, my coaching model begins anew.

Phases of My Coaching Model Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity

  1. Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Coaching Model Lori PenhaBewilderment Phase: The phase illustrates to the client what it may look or feel like when they have a problem that they can’t seem to solve. A big mass of clouds, foggy thinking. For example, in my niche of Wellness, a client may be baffled, or bewildered by the fact that she can’t lose weight or keep it off once she has lost unwanted pounds. She’s successful in every other area of her life but this food and weight issue plagues her. She is baffled. Another example may be that a client is not happy with her current life path. She feels there is something else out there for her to accomplish; her inner spirit is bewildered. Something is missing and she doesn’t have the space or permission to explore this feeling. She may have something she has wanted to try but keeps the notion hidden or secret. Or there’s a fear holding her back from taking the risk to try something new.
  2. Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Coaching Model Lori PenhaExploration Phase: The picture of the galaxy of stars, chosen for its beauty as well as its meaning, depicts the beautiful phase of exploration of all the issues a client may want to address. The phase is intended to be a calm, safe place for the client to talk out her feelings and insights into the situation. With clean, nonjudgmental questions, I will guide them to uncover anything that is holding them back. For the example of the client not being able to maintain her weight loss, I could gently guide her through the exploration of ask her underlying beliefs of worthiness, where she has been successful in the past, what talents she can bring to the issue, triggers that sabotage her health efforts and how to better react to triggering situation or conversations. In the Wellness niche, exploration of self-care, external environments, accountability support, healthy food programs, interesting activities, etc could be explored. This phase is important to develop a trusting calm supportive partnership, so the client feels safe and free to explore her ideas and dreams of a healthier future. This may be the first time the client has been given the space and time to talk with someone about her issue.
  3. Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Coaching Model Lori PenhaClarity Phase: The photo of the sun breaking through the clouds depicts clarity; that moment when the client feels something click in place. Perhaps she discovers a new realization of herself or the situation. The client realizes what opportunities are before her. The cloud has lifted, and she’s not stuck anymore. The intent of this phase is for the client to ruminate over potential actions she can take for success. She has time to talk over potential solutions and analyze if these solutions are right for her. In this phase, she’s more focused on potential and success as opposed to the initial bewilderment. In the example of the client unable to maintain her weight, she may realize that she was afraid of positive attention or discovered that she needs simply to clean out her kitchen of unhealthy foods. Whatever the issue, in this phase a new sense of clarity is discovered. She is able to nail down her next steps to get to a better place or understands what is in her way of success.
  4. Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity Coaching Model Lori PenhaThe free-flowing nature of the model: The arrows between the pictures in the model show that the coaching process is not a step-by-step process. With each discovery, the client may go back and forth through the phases. With the same example of the client’s weight management issue, she may discover that her weight is not the problem that she needs to discuss. She may discover that she needs to find an exciting activity to do after dinner rather than watching TV and snacking on high-calorie foods. At this point, we could renegotiate the session agreement, and move to the Exploration phase. Or she may find that she is truly happy with her body and just wants to be content and happy with how she looks now. The arrows show that this is not a rigid model. The client may feel that a solution she discovers is not really a good one for her. The client gets the freedom and space to explore further.

The Necessity of Simplicity of Bewilderment, Exploration, and Clarity

I began this paper with the necessity of simplicity for me. The pictures chosen are reflections of how I want to move the client through the coaching sessions: a safe and calm place to articulate the current Bewilderment, then a nonjudgmental place for Exploration and room to access possible solutions for Clarity.

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