Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Follow the Yellow Brick Road ~ Using Tactics to Deepen Awareness, Promote Reflective Practice and Increase Coaching Engagement

We are pleased to share an article entitled “Follow the Yellow Brick Road~ Using Tactics to Deepen Awareness, Promote Reflective Practice and Increase Coaching Engagement ” written by Debra Kasowski.

As a coach, I consider the powerful questions I ask to be the quest.  A quest is a journey toward a specific goal or destination. It can be a path of self-discovery, awakening possibilities, and unlocking opportunities. 

In their quest, I support the coachee as they face obstacles, denounce assumptions, and look beyond self-limiting beliefs. 


Among the greatest films of our time is the 1939 motion picture, The Wizard of Oz where the quests are for a brain, a heart, courage and a way home. 

The yellow brick road is the path of discovery where each brick is a symbolic tactic or action taken. The bricks can also represent trials and tribulations that a coachee might face. Each yellow brick represents growth through adversity or challenge. 

A coach must pay close attention to the trap of saving or rescuing coachees from experiencing some of the emotions that come up while processing new awareness. It is natural for a coach to want to help, however, if the coach “saves” the coachee from their

experience they do not develop the skillset they were meant to learn and “the brick” cannot be placed in the path forward. 


Self-awareness is the ability to reflect and acknowledge oneself independently from your environment and others’. It is about understanding what your wants, desires, and needs are and it is to experience your own words and actions from a perspective outside of yourself; to see yourself as others see you.

You become self-aware through a willingness to look at yourself honestly. Recognize your strengths and challenges, what needs improvement and what you do well.

Debbie Ford said, “Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” 

“Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.”

In the Wizard of Oz, while Dorothy and her friends journeyed together, each experienced a different path to self-discovery. Their learning “bricks” of discovery along the yellow brick road were a result of introspection, reflection, challenges, conversations, and questions.   

“You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Every conversation is an opportunity to make an impact. In a coaching session when a coachee gets quiet and thoughtful, I can sense a shift in their energy and awareness. These moments of impact tell me something has changed, most noticeably in how they engage and respond – even I adjust my own presence.  

A mentor once shared with me, “You can make an impression, or you can make an impact and have an opportunity to influence the world around you.” 

I have developed systems and tools to deepen awareness, promote reflection, and engage my coachees in their quests to follow their yellow brick roads. 


  1. Granting Permission to Dream Exercise

Time: Beginning of Coaching Agreement

I use this exercise to map out the “critical” path or the “yellow brick road”. 

Through my coaching experience, I have learned that few stop and pause to reflect or assess where they currently are in their life or career and where it is they would like to go. 

Using an Appreciative Inquiry approach to explore the coachee’s desired future in identifying tangible and intangible outcomes and to gain clarity around strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. 

I ask the coachee to share what their desired future could look like with the use of metaphors, images, and describing their feelings and best past experiences. 

The exercise can be revisited during and at the end of the coaching time frame. 

2.  Motivational Interviewing 

Time: Enrolment into Coaching or Beginning of Coaching Agreement

Motivational interviewing is an effective tool used to speak with coachees about change and I find it opens the conversation to explore and consider personal and compelling reasons to change. 

This tool deepens the reflection of choices and alignment with their desired future, and it significantly builds on the readiness to change and strengthen the commitment to change and make a change plan. 

The simple scaling questions can gauge a coachee’s readiness, confidence, and motivation to move forward and take different actions. 

Ask – “On a scale of 1 to 10, 

Readiness Level: How ready are you to make a change?
Let’s say, the coachee says, “5/10” What made you select a 5 versus a lower number? This question helps coachees identify some of their existing strengths. 

Confidence Level: How confident are you that you will be successful with this change?
Let’s say the coachee says, 7. You can ask what makes you a 7 right now? What would it take to make it an 8? Again, they can identify strengths, beliefs, or resources required.

Motivation Level:  How motivated are you to make the change?
You would continue with the same style of questioning to focus the coachee on their strengths and ability to change. 

3. Reflective Journaling

Time: Recommended daily or at a minimum after coaching sessions and before coaching sessions.

As a coach, reflective journaling is one of my favorite tools. I encourage journaling and have experienced the impact as a great tool for coachees to discover what is working for them, what is not working for them, and what needs to be stopped, started or improved. 

Journaling can help your coachee identify patterns, beliefs, and develop situational awareness. The process of writing out thoughts, feelings, actions, and results can uncover knowledge and skill gaps and ways of thinking. This practice can solidify what your coachee already knows and have them reflect and celebrate their win! 

As a coach, I highly recommend you do the same for yourself. 

4. Check Ins 

Time: Beginning and end of each session, self-evaluation mid-way and at the end of the coaching agreement. Check-ins can help establish priorities.

Random check-ins can lead to disinterest in the coaching experience. I believe for check-ins to be effective measures of impact; they must be conducted regularly and do not have to be time consuming. 

Simple questions,” What is your greatest takeaway from the session?” or “What did you find of greatest value?” are valuable – and influential questions to ask. 

Ensuring that I meet the coachee’s goal (their “want) for the session is key in the coaching conversation. It is a windfall when they arrive at “their true need” which they did not even know they needed! Sometimes you do not know what you don’t know until the right question is asked. 

“Sometimes you do not know what you don’t know until the right question is asked.”

5. The Action Plan

Time: Beginning of Coaching Agreement – first sessions

An action plan is one of the most common tools used.

The action plan helps establish clarity, awareness, and accountability. It guides the coachee toward a specific goal or outcome and completing goals quicker and more efficiently. 

This tool helps coachees stay on track and lends to an opportunity to discuss perceived obstacles and challenges, and to brainstorm solutions and opportunities. 


There are many tools that measure impact. What is measured can be managed or course-corrected if required. 

It is important to work in partnership with your client as they walk their yellow brick road of self-discovery. 

  • What tool or strategy will help support them? 
  • Deepen their self-awareness? 
  • Promote reflection? 
  • Engage in meaningful conversations? 

The strategy is to get them from where they are to where they want to be, and it starts with one yellow brick at a time. A journey within to follow their heart, open their mind, and have the courage to discover. 

“True courage is facing danger when you are afraid.”
~Oz to the Lion

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