How Can Coaching Help You Flourish?

Dr Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Associate Professor at Henley Business School, outlines a model aligned to Islamic culture.

Coaching is a great way to support people to find their own solutions and a way of enhancing your own confidence and self-esteem.

However, some Western models of coaching are not aligned to Islamic values and principles. For those who want to find ways to grow, develop and flourish within an Islamic culture, reframing the coaching model can be powerful, as the pursuit of meaningful goals can help improve your wellbeing. Ershad, the Islamic word for guidance, is a co-created model appropriate for Islamic culture.

It provides a powerful way of having conversations, tapping into your existing strengths and connecting work activities with personal motivations and values. This helps develop a stronger relationship between employee and manager, and provides a vehicle for conversations around meaning and purpose.

The Ershad coaching framework is made up of three components: the partnership conditions, the conversational process and the alignment wheel.

Mutual trust and respect

Relationships are so important in this region, but some Western leadership models undervalue that. The partnership conditions of mutual trust and respect are considered pre-requisites for effective Ershad coaching conversations. This leads to a sense of collaboration in which each person considers the other a competent and trustworthy partner.

Pursuit of meaningful goals

During the conversational process within Ershad, the facilitator demonstrates their coaching skills and way of being. The coaching skills include listening with purpose, asking powerful questions, summarising and paraphrasing and giving and receiving feedback. Effective facilitators will demonstrate the “coaching way of being” during the conversational process. In Ershad coaching, this coaching way of being is characterised by patience, humanity, humility and positivity.

There are four phases of the conversational process:

  • Discovery: In this phase, you will be asked to reflect on yourself, your relationship and your experiences. The facilitator will support you to understand your existing resources. The aim here is to help you see your current situation from a new or different perspective.
  • Intention: In this phase, you’ll be asked to articulate your intention for the future. This intention could be: boosting your influence across the organisation; being a better provider for your family; or becoming a better role model. Understanding the intention is important; it’s not just about what you want to achieve (which would be a core element of a Western coaching model) but what you choose as your intention needs to fit into your life comfortably rather than create conflict.
  • Pathways: In this phase, you are supported to explore a number of ways in which you might be able to move closer to your intention. The facilitator’s role is to encourage you to generate as many ideas as possible. Following this, you should identify one pathway to pursue. The alignment wheel is usually introduced at this stage, so you can assess whether the pathways are aligned with your beliefs and values.
  • Effort: In the last phase of the conversational process, you should consider the level of effort required to follow your pathway. The facilitator’s role is to help you relate the proposed effort to your intention. You will need to consider the necessary behaviours as well as ways of thinking.

It’s likely that you’ll move between the phases as appropriate for the situation. However, each conversation should cover all four phases, concluding with a decision about what actions will be undertaken between sessions.

Having support to work towards positive intentions and aspirations in a way that aligns with your values, and takes into account important relationships in your life, will, ultimately, help you to be more engaged and committed at work, as well as enhancing your overall well-being.

The alignment wheel

At the heart of the Ershad coaching framework is the alignment wheel, which supports learners in making choices and decisions aligned with their own beliefs and values. When appropriate, the facilitator should ask the learner questions relating to how decisions will impact on important relationships in their lives. As a learner, you can reflect on how a decision might affect your relationship with:

  1. your beliefs
  2. yourself
  3. life or the universe
  4. important people in your life

The primary role of the alignment wheel is to ensure your self-selected pathway is the most appropriate one to follow.

This article first appeared on Changeboard.ae