Cycles of improvement

The cycle of coaching and growth

Analyse. Experiment. Improve.

When we engage in a program of self-improvement, we often experience a wonderful sense of possibility - that there are many changes and improvements that we could make that will bring us greater feelings of purpose, of mastery and of satisfaction.

It's easy for us to step into ‘Superhero’ mode at the start of the journey, but we need to harness this energy and focus so that we can identify and prioritise the changes that will deliver the most impactful transformation. We know that the work to make these changes will come with some challenges - it's essential that we acknowledge our current limitations so that we can engage with our development with self-compassion and realism.

Typically, we will structure the coaching journey into 12-session blocks, in each block working through a cycle of improvement:

What happens in each phase?


During the orientation phase, we analyse the context of your work, focusing on your strengths and exploring the challenges you are facing. During this analysis we will be hyper-conscious of any tendency to become overly critical, and will be careful to re-frame challenges and perceived weaknesses to discover the hidden strengths that we can build on later.

We'll work to understand your thinking and communication styles, using mind-maps and tools like the Belbin Team Roles or Myers-Briggs Personality Types to gain a more objective understanding of your thinking preferences.

We'll identify the key areas that we feel, if developed, will have the most positive impact now.


We'll explore more deeply the key areas we have chosen to focus on.

We'll continue to analyse your current context, looking more deeply at the impacts of your behaviour, emotional responses, skills and capabilities within the focus areas.

We'll start to define the goals - thinking in terms of models like GROW and Antecedent-Behaviour-Consequence to shape what your desired future state will be and to understand what changes in your life and context might depend on changes that you cannot control.

We'll also explore and understand our coaching relationship - to clarify the distinction between mentoring and coaching and to understand how I can best support your motivation and accountability.


In the Action phase, we're refining goals, defining the actions and concrete changes that you want to make and working to create tangible actions that you can measure and analyse.

We'll focus on the rewards for change and consider your strategies for resilience and awareness of the movement from conscious incompetence to unconscious competence.


We'll review the goals you set and explore the journey towards them.

We don't think in binary terms of success or failure - we'll work to understand the outcomes and value that this period of focussed development has yielded. It's not unusual (and wonderful!) to discover that a goal or change that we felt was incredibly important has shifted in its priority or has had different or unexpected value for us.

We'll review the resources we have created and analyse how you have grown and changed:

  • Where have your strengths increased?
  • Where have you gained mastery or augmented strengths that you have previously under-valued?
  • Where does the potential for future growth lie?


As the cycle draws to a close, we'll focus on maintaining your new sense of mastery and purpose.

We'll understand the tangible rewards for change that you have gained:

  • What changes in your context have you noticed? What are the impacts and consequences of this?
  • Where else could you apply this insight?
  • As a result of this experience, what are you now aware that you want more of, or less of in your life?

Our final outcome is an understanding of what kind of shape the next cycle of improvement could take and when it would be appropriate to begin.