Transformational Coaching- Finding Your Deliberate Journey

A Coaching Model Created by Evan Wilson
(Transformational Coach, UNITED STATES)

Transformational Coaching Model Evan WilsonIntroduction

Every one of us is on a journey – probably multiple journeys. As individuals, we might be working toward a better job, a degree, a new or closer relationship, enlightenment, or a project. As part of a team or organization, perhaps we are working toward a product launch, improved employee engagement, better collaboration skills, or increased productivity.

Whether conscious or subconscious, each journey we are on has both intent, purpose, and a destination. The Deliberate Journey Model is about recognizing the importance of every aspect of the journey consciously, deliberately, and intentionally.

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

Deliberate Planning

Step 1: Choose a Destination

Step 2: Determine Where You Are

Step 3:

Create a Roadmap

Step 4:

Determine How You Will Travel

Step 5: Gather Your Resources

Enjoy the Journey!


Transformational Coaching Model Evan Wilson

Sometimes we take a journey alone. Other times, we have travel companions, or we meet other people along the way. They may take the entire journey with us or just part.

Everyone holds a different perspective. Even when they are walking right beside us they may see the same thing in a completely different way, based on experience.

Other travelers and local experts are an invaluable tool, even when you are traveling alone. When you go to a new city, isn’t it great to get favorite restaurant recommendations from the locals?

Deliberate Journey Model

Every transformation is a journey – and sometimes we need to stop and ask for directions. The Deliberate Journey Coaching Model is a literal roadmap to keep you on track, handle changes more nimbly, and plan for roadblocks along the way.

To plan a journey, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller excursions. Let’s say you want to take a trip around the world. Where would you go first? What is the best place to start? What if you decide you want to stay in one place longer than others?

Step 1: Choose a Destination

Transformational Coaching Model Evan Wilson


There is an abundance of advice telling us to “forget the destination, enjoy the journey.” In fact, Zen Buddhism even says to ignore both and simply exist at the moment – everything else is immaterial. Having a destination does not mean we can’t enjoy the journey, or that the journey isn’t important. It simply provides a horizon on which to focus so we don’t get lost at sea. When we are confident in where we are headed, it can be easier to accept and enjoy the present exactly as it is.

A destination helps to give the journey purpose and meaning, allowing us to determine the quality of the experience we have. Without it, we wander aimlessly, exploring whatever happens to be on our path at that moment. As attractive as that sounds, we may inadvertently get lost, stuck, or never get anywhere. When we get lost or hit a roadblock, a destination can get us back on track and help us focus so we can get back to enjoying the journey.

The first step is to choose a destination. Keep it simple and achievable. Creating a roadmap for the rest of your life will be overwhelming and counterproductive. If you want to travel around the country, try a weekend road trip first, with a specific destination. The first time you attempt this model, it is recommended to start small – something specific that will take no more than a week. A household chore or small home improvement project, like painting a room, is often a good start.

Step 2: Determine Where You Are

To know what it is going to take to get where we want to go, we need to know where we are. This step requires an honest, realistic assessment of the tools that we have already developed or acquired, as well as those we will need before and during the journey. Understanding the gap between where we are and where we want to go helps us determine what will be needed.

Logically, you might think this should be first. How would we know where to go unless we can say where we are? This step is second for many reasons, but most importantly, it reduces the risk of compromising or canceling the journey before it even begins. Your current location should not determine where you want to be. Determining the destination first allows us to be future and forward motion focused.

Let’s say we’re in Chicago and we start with “I’m in Chicago – where can I realistically go from here?” We might look at places closer to home, what we can afford right now, what we can realistically plan for, etc. But if we have done some reflection and decided first, “I really want to go to Rome,” we are far more likely to figure out what it’s going to take to get there – budget, timeline, steps, blocks  – and we will more likely get where we really want to go instead of limiting ourselves to someplace we don’t want to go, but belief is as far as we can get.

Step 3: Create a Roadmap

Every journey requires some planning to get us from where we are to where we want to be. A visual roadmap is a powerful way to bring the journey to life. Visual roadmaps provide tangible assistance to…

  • Remind us where we are going
  • Show our progress
  • Get back on track when we diverge from the path
  • Identify and prepare for roadblocks or difficulties
  • Be more adaptable to changes
  • More easily make decisions

This is where you will spend the most time; to plot the course from where you are to where you want to be.

Grab a piece of paper – I recommend unlined or sketch paper. At the top of the page draw a circle with your destination. At the bottom of the page, draw another circle with your current location (think “you are here” star on a department store map).

Most often, the next bit will not be as simple as drawing a line from one circle to the other. Depending on your destination there will be stops, side trips, layovers, traffic, and roadblocks. Begin adding additional stops or decision points you will need along the way. If you are painting a room, this may include trips to the hardware store,

deciding on a color, and so on.

This is a good time to stop, reflect, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this journey (why do I want to paint the room)? To reach the end? To learn? To transform?
  • Do you want the route that gets you there the fastest and most efficiently? Or do you want the most scenic and enjoyable path? Too many paths will only serve to overwhelm and result in inaction.
  • What are the values that align with this journey? When our journey has meaning, we are more motivated to continue. We are also more likely to enjoy the journey itself.

Keep in mind the roadmap is a living document. Change is constant and our map may need to be adjusted, based on traffic conditions or roadblocks. This is where commitment comes in. Choose the path that most aligns with your goals and your purpose; and deliberately commit to it.

Step 4: Determine How You Will Travel

This is where deliberate thinking really comes into play. Consider the tools, people, and transportation you will need on your journey. Who or what will make decisions easier and get you to the next leg of the journey? Who or what will make the journey more enjoyable? Who or what will you need to get past roadblocks? Now is the time to begin planning what you will need to propel you forward when you stumble, get stuck, or veer off course. Write these items on the roadmap where you will need them.

As mentioned in the last step, change is constant. Don’t try to plan for every potential outcome. You are merely looking to get a handle on what is going to propel you forward along the way, and what to do when things change course or you get stuck.

Step 4 is also a great place to begin recording your journey in a travelogue or journal. 15 minutes each day to check-in is all that is needed. Set this time aside in your calendar and stick to it. The night is recommended, while the day is fresh in your memory. This is a deliberate activity that will make you welcome changes in your environment, as well as set you up for success every day. Options abound for what to record, but the simplest that most people have found to be effective is to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What went well today?
  2. What did not go well or as planned?
  3. What would I like to do differently tomorrow?

It is also recommended to spend a few minutes in the morning with an intent for the day and gratitude for where you are on the journey, at this moment. You may have an intent to be more compassionate of others or productive. Write these down in your travelogue if so inclined. Just list a couple of things for which you are grateful – again, at this moment. In addition to the daily check-in, these prove to be invaluable, especially in times of difficult change or when things don’t go the way you want them to.

If you stumble along your path or start down an unplanned detour (“look! Something shiny!”), record it so you can look for patterns. This includes what you may have been feeling at a particular point along your path. As you develop roadmaps for other journeys, this will help you see where you stumbled, got stuck, veered off course, or successfully cleared a roadblock – and you can correct course or plan accordingly.

Step 5: Gather Your Resources

In Step 5, you will gather the Product, People, and Process (PPP) resources you wrote down in Step 4.

Products are tangible items, like your roadmap or a planner. To paint a room, you will need paint, tape, brushes, etc.

People are those that you trust to help or support you, as well as potential experts you may need. Perhaps a friend will help you paint (great bonding time, by the way). Or maybe you will need a handyman to repair holes in the wall.

Processes are anything that you might need to do to complete a leg of the journey. Examples might be laying down a tarp before you begin painting or proper storage of photographs and artwork while the project is in progress.

The idea behind this step is like the chef’s mantra of “mis en place.” Loosely translated, it means setting up or everything in its place. It prepares you for cooking by laying out the ingredients and tools that you will need to prepare the dish, measuring the ingredients, washing and checking the equipment, and so on. The point is to prepare yourself as much as possible, so changes are less jarring.

Enjoy the Journey!

Transformational Coaching Model Evan WilsonShove off and enjoy the journey! There may be unexpected roadblocks and changes, but you are prepared. You know where you’re headed and why. You have written down the meaning and purpose of this journey to remind you why you are taking it. You have started a travelogue to keep track of progress and get you through tough spots. And you’ve identified those who can help and support you.

When things change – and they inevitably will – you will have the agility to adeptly shift. The peace of mind in knowing And at the end of this journey, you will have a written record to help you on the next journey.

Being Deliberate

Transformational Coaching Model Evan WilsonAll the steps in this model require a bit of deliberate forethought and action. You need to contemplate the destination you truly desire, as well as honestly assess where you really are. The act of planning – even if things don’t go as planned – is a deliberate act. As you go along your journey, your travelogue will help you to be deliberate, honest, and realistic with your progress.

Being present and enjoying the here and now also requires being deliberate. It is easy for our brains to ruminate about the future, jump ahead to the next thing we need to complete, or the next hurdle we need to jump. It is part of the human condition to be disappointed when things don’t go as planned, or to face change with fear.

As important as the idea of where you are going, is to stop and deliberately appreciate where you are, right now, at this moment.

Be Deliberately Present

“Your life’s journey has an outer purpose and an inner purpose. The outer purpose is to arrive at your goal or destination, to accomplish what you set out to do, to achieve this or that, which, of course, implies the future. But if your destination, or the steps you are going to take in the future, take up so much of your attention that they become more important to you than the step you are taking now, then you completely miss the journey’s inner purpose, which has nothing to do with where you are going or what you are doing, but everything to do with how. It has nothing to do with the future but everything to do with the quality of your consciousness at this moment.” (Tolle, 1997)

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