Laura Komócsin combines her love of chemistry and coaching in her SPARKLE periodic table of coaching tools
When we actively contribute to a professional field, we will reach a milestone, after which we feel stuck, with an overflowing reserve of motivation but nowhere to channel it. Coaching is no different.
My story isn’t unusual in the world of motivated leaders who see obstacles as opportunities. I faced the challenge of expanding the local influence of my ideas to a global scale by contributing to the coaching profession worldwide.
I’d already created Hungary’s first coaching model (SPARKLE), trained some 1,000 coaches, received a lifetime achievement award for establishing the coaching profession in Hungary, published several books, and achieved the highest coach certification of the International Coaching Federation.
Helping our clients individually day by day has its own merits and benefits, but when our entire coaching clientele has been helped, who will help all the coaches around us? Can we help others before we help ourselves?
I tackled this dilemma by going back to my roots and facing my long-forgotten childhood dream of becoming a chemistry teacher. Thus the SPARKLE periodic table of coaching tools was born. Let me introduce the SPARKLE model on which the table builds.
The sparkle model
The model aims to assist the coach in following the natural flow and stages of a typical coaching process.
The acronym SPARKLE comprises the following seven stages:
S – Situation Coach and client assess the starting point – the challenges faced by the client.
P – Positioning The client, assisted by the coach, defines his/her desired vision, dictates the direction and the aim (positioning) with the coach helping the client decide on a reasonable objective that can be achieved.
A – Alternatives Here, we focus on identifying and drafting options and possibilities, to determine how the aim could be accomplished.
R – Route The coach supports the client in making a choice from among the available alternatives, culminating in an action plan describing what to do, when to do it, and how.
K – Key obstacles The coach supports the client in going the distance on the selected route to ensure that he/she would accomplish his/her aim, instead of retreating on meeting the first obstacle.
L – Leverage Here, the coach supports the client to tame self-defeating behaviours.
E – Evaluation A coaching engagement comes to an end ideally when the client has accomplished his or her goal. In this case, the coach celebrates the accomplishment, with the client and, if appropriate, report to the client’s manager on the joint efforts taken.
- More information: https://bit.ly/3vzGIG4
Coaching and the periodic table
The SPARKLE periodic table of coaching tools is arguably the most unlikely string of words ever put together. It’s also my unique and innovative solution introduced to an area of coaching that has a lot of untapped potential worldwide, and yet far too few useful contributions.
So many books have been addressed to coaches and students of the field, and yet few offer the chance to access coaching tools instantly.
It’s a universal challenge for coaches always to have aces up their sleeve in their coaching sessions. So when I, full of questions and motivation and unfulfilled childhood dreams, sat down between coaching sessions to flip through hefty tomes of coaching tools, the inner chemistry teacher in me, exclaimed. “If only I had a table for all these coaching tools…!”
The idea was merely entertaining at first – now, after months of hard work and rigorous testing, it’s become reality.
The road to establishing a connection between two professions is always a rocky one, and the connection between chemistry and coaching has been equally difficult to make. In an interview in a Hungarian HR magazine (https://bit.ly/30JULxn), I described my experience of abridging such a chasm as follows: “When selecting your coach, ‘chemistry’ plays a crucial role: how the coach and the client can connect on a personal level to create a working relationship. The idea of using chemistry both in the scientific and interpersonal sense inspired me.”
In my book, Toolful Coach (CreateSpace, 2012), I describe 150 different coaching tools. Now I wanted to organise and compress them all into a single page that any coach can have at hand at any time, just as chemistry students always have Russian chemist, Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table to hand.
I consolidated coaching tools into the periodic table of chemical elements using the logical organisation that Mendeleev applied in creating the original periodic table.
Treating each coaching tool as a chemical element, I categorised them based on the type of coaching processes or individual phases they’re useful in (ie, tools that are useful in any given coaching phase, tools best used in business and executive coaching, and visual or creative writing tools).
So what can the SPARKLE periodic table of coaching tools really offer, besides a shortened preparation time for coaches? Well, imagine unlimited and quick access to all the tools a coach might need in a session without having to spend embarrassingly long periods of time skimming through books. Think of how that would affect the productivity and success rate of your coaching process.
This seemingly simple solution, a compressed one-pager guide, is more than what meets the eye. It’s the perfect example of why the fusion of personal interests and work can team up to amount to something more. We’re encouraged to focus solely on our work, and more often than not, the personal interests section of a CV is not even considered when one applies for a job. In reality, versatile skillsets and a willingness to learn are key to an adaptive working style.
I hope my example inspires others to remember that limits often exist only in our own minds. Curiosity and a willingness to experiment – with ideas – is the best way to stay on top of productivity and remain a valuable asset in any workplace, not just those engaged in coaching.
While chemistry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, we should never stop experimenting. Who knows? We might discover a new reaction or substance that could rejuvenate, even revolutionise, our work.
- Download the table here: https://bit.ly/3C0Gqul
About the author
- Laura Komócsin is a senior executive coach and ICF Master Certified Coach