Session 2
Let’s get started with ROSA

Welcome back!

How are YOU? How is your LIFE? 

You are just about to start a second journey, a journey that has the potential to be different and equally meaningful. This part is about action, about your next level and – as always – about:

Who YOU dare to be and which IMPACT you wanna stand for? 

Questions? Just contact us here.

ROSA Coaching Intro | The letter R | The letter O | The letter S| The letter A | Homework

Meet ROSA, our beautiful 4-letter coaching (euhm… counselling) model

A small improvised demo of ROSA

The ROSA Coaching Process

Miss Rosa – who is this beautiful lady?

  1. The idealist says…

Well, with the help of Miss Rosa we will boost the souls and minds of our clients, unleash their emotional and physical resources, basically: flabbergast the universe!

  1. The cynic says…

Then again we might say: Rosa is a very lame and irresponsibly basic accumulation of letters that serves as nothing more than a reminder when we structure our coaching talks – just so that we do not forget any of the essentials we should discuss with our clients.

  1. The pragmatist says…

Rosa provides a guideline, a framework but is nothing hammered in stone. We use it not because it is pure theory, but because it works.

ROSA is a tool, a way of structuring coaching talks …

…comprising several steps that are designed to both open up and focus the perspective of a client in order to shift the client from a state of passive reaction into a power state of active choice.

The steps of ROSA involve 1. to explore the reality of the client (open up your mind), 2. then to deduce an objective from that (focus your mind), 3. to come up with as many solutions of how this objective can be reached (open up alternatives for action) and 4. to pick the best action at hand (focus alternatives for action).

Unlike in most conversations we have ROSA increases the client’s motivation for action.

Why? Usually what happens in conversations where someone encountering a challenge talks about it with someone else is that people give advice.

The problem: This tends to be an advice which might work for them, which reflects their map of the world. However, the probability that it reflects the client’s map of their world is – strictly speaking – zero. When we do however help our client to understand what he really wants, why this is so important and what solution is most efficient getting him there rather than just suggesting what would be easiest for us ourselves, the client’s commitment to any sort of action will be much bigger.

Unlike in most conversation ROSA also produces more sustainable results.

How so? When someone walks up to somebody else with a problem, this second somebody usually gives advice. We do that because we find it hard to not spend energy on understanding the reality, goals and possible ways of reaching these goals that might work for the one WITH the problem.

We do tend to find it easier to take our reality, our goals and the possible ways of reaching these goals adequate for us, project it onto the other person and call it advice.

What we do is to jump from a problem (reality) to an immediate answer (action). Usually we do not ask the other one: well, what would be YOUR goal in this process and what are the answers YOU can come up with to solve this.

By jumping from reality to action however we commit two mistakes: one is that we take over responsibility for our advice i.e. for the solution we propose rather than the other one.  We also assume that we know what is at the root of the problem and offer a recipe which has a high probability of being just wrong. In any worst case we might be even harmful: Indeed radically speaking the person with the problem is wasting time asking for our advice and could invest time much more efficiently by spending energy on actually solving that problem rather than trying to get comfort from us.

To sum up, ROSA is trying to take care of two aspects:

1st to have the one with the problem always be in charge of it and be responsible for solving it,

2nd to increase the level of accuracy of the produced “action”.

ROSA itself consists of four letters each of which stand for a certain set of questions. Let’s find out what each of these letters  mean. 

The letter R

The process starts with R … like R-eality.

We start ROSA by exploring reality. We discover the map of the world of our counsellee. We want to understand, understand, understand what it is that bothers them.

So we ask questions, we mirror back what we understood (we paraphrase).

When do you know that you have truly understood the reality of your counsellee? Well, the truth is: You likely never will 😉 but as soon as you think you have enough information to understand the situation yourself (for now) let’s assume you are ready to go on.

Why are you here? What do you need coaching/counselling on?

How does your compass look like and what is your section of direction in the ocean of emotion? What made you pick this section?

Can you give me a bit of context? What’s the story behind?

What is the challenge we are talking about? For fun, let’s be super concise: In which situations is this popping up and how is it limiting you?

How has this all happened? Where are you stuck?


What kind of thinking has brought you to that situation?

What beliefs have inhibited you from pulling yourself out of this situation already before? How do you have to change your thinking?

Imagine clearly in your inner eye a situation where you face the challenge you are talking about. Can you describe what self talk is going on in your head when you are in that situation? Can you describe any emotions that are associated with that feeling? From where else do you know them?

Do you know which conflicting values and/or needs are competing for your attention?

The letter O

The letter O … like O-bjective

It is not impossible. Make it POSSIMPIBLE!

Once having got a broad insight on what the reality of the client is we focus on setting an objective. How? We look for one big fat motivational, divine, super-awesome, orgasmic objective (guru objective) and we look for the next level.

Official definition of a guru objective:

A goal so big, so big that there is a tiny little voice inside of your head that says it’s impossible.

Your guru objective is your ultimate motivator. The thing that gives you goose pimples, your light at the end of the tunnel.

Official definition of a next level:

Something that – if you have reached it – will inspire yourself and others. It is daring i.e. you maybe have to work really really hard or you might have to dare something that currently scares the heck out of you.

Yet, there is a pretty big voice inside of your head saying: It is totally freakin’ possible provided that you really set your mind to it.

At The Arc Circles we DO bear in mind our guru objective, but the topic of the counselling should be our NEXT LEVEL!

It has to excite you

If your next level isn’t exciting, you’ll likely lack the motivation to do it. Duuhh.

A good question to check back: How crazy are you about this particular thing on a scale from 1 to 10? Sure, some cultures are more inflationary than others when it comes to giving 10s, maybe for YOUR particular counsellee a 6 is already heaven. Yet, we recommend to not settle for less than a 7.8

You should be somewhat able to recognise that you reached it

If your next level is to feel fully blissful, you might struggle to recognise WHEN that state has actually manifested. For starting counsellors this is a free ticket to a potentially frustrating and endless coaching process (if your counsellee doesn’t know when the objective is reached, you won’t know either).

A good check up question is: How blissful on a scale from 1 to 10 do you wanna be? What does it mean to be at (for instance) an 8? How will your life have changed concretely? What would serve you as evidence that you are at an 8 versus just a 7?

It should be contextualised

Often times we think only about our section of direction when we counsel. Yet, there might be other sections that are highly important to reach your next level.

Just to make sure you are working on the right section: Which other sections are important to reach your next level? What preconditions need to be met so that you can really crack on? Are you maybe already too busy? What other important goals and objectives dominate your to-do lists? Are you ready to make your next level the next priority or is there something even bigger that needs to be dealt with?

It’s not an easy task to finish this criterium as it will potentially open the box of pandora where all the stuff that also should be dealt with comes up. Busy people have busy lives. BUT you need to make sure that – as a counsellor – you don’t have one big fat topic that will always lurk from behind.

It should avoid negations

I don’t wanna cheat on my partner anymore. Nice statement but not a good next level. By saying that we know what you DON’T want, but we haven’t learned anything about what you DO want. Do you want to be happier in your relationship? Or would you like to quit and be with someone else?

A good question if someone comes with a next level that includes some sort of “no”, “don’t” or “never”: How would you phrase this in a positive/affirmative way? How would it sound if we cut the “no” out of your next level?

It should be in your control

Let’s assume your counsellee wants to win elections or win over a harsh disease. If you are faced with a next level that is largely out of control (and we’ll count to your judgement here), it is good to shift our attention from “output” to “input”. For instance: A better next level to “winning elections” or “winning over a disease” might be “to candidate for elections” or to “find the best expert in the country to heal X”. This might save you and your counsellee from bad surprises.

What would be your next level? How excited are you about it on a scale from 1 to 10 ? ( 1 = totally bored; 10 = totally flying; Recommendation: 7.8 or more)

What exactly is exciting about it?

How would your life improve if you have reached it? And why does it matter to you?

How would it look like in a short phrase? Make it short enough so that your brain can actually remember! Can you even put it into a mantra?


Go through the points mentioned under “what makes a good next level” and reformulate your next level accordingly.

Let your counsellee visualise a situation in which she/he reached the next level: What do you see? What do you hear? What emotions do you feel? What self-talk is going through your head? What alternative story are you telling yourself compared to the story you are telling yourself now?

The letter S

The letter S … like S-olutions

If you wanna climb a big mountain, you gotta start with a first step – don’t you?

Once an objective/next level is chosen we start brainstorming. We come up with baby steps that will bring us closer to our next level. Start with 5-10, but feel free to go for many more. (Arc trainers have learnt to brainstorm around 40 per session – and indeed, as hard as it is: If you brainstorm 40 solutions on your hardest problem every 2 weeks, you can witness brains change from fixed mindsets to growth mindsets)

Official definition of a baby step:

A step so small, so small that you are TOTALLY and 100% you can do it. It is super, super easy!

For instance: If your next level is to write a script for your next book, “Going through all your notes and coming up with a general idea for the script” is a step, but not really baby. Actually, it will likely take long. Better: “Go through 2 notebooks and jot down 2 general ideas”

Make your counsellee brainstorm baby steps. The goal: to get the counsellee thinking. We should not forget that it was the counsellee’s thinking that got him into trouble, so we should be uncompromising in getting her/him from problem mode to solution mode. Quoting Einstein: “You can’t solve an old equation you haven’t solved before without having changed your way of thinking.”

In this phase we are looking for fluency (many ideas) and flexibility (different ideas). We can start with the obvious, but we are as good as a counsellor to the extent our counsellee experiences a paradigm shift. By a paradigm shift we mean a new way of looking at things, a new perspective, a re-assessment of the past, present or future, to change one’s assumptions on a situation. For instance a client who enters the coaching room thinking “I am very shy.” and leaves the room “I have been raised in order to be shy.” or a counsellee shifting from “Paul never listens to what I say.” to “I do not provide space for Paul to listen to what I say:”is likely to have experienced a paradigm shift. The deeper the level at which this shift takes place the more revolutionary for the client – of course.

Thus, in the solutions phase we use all official and unofficial methods, instruments and tools provided to us by creativity techniques – and in case anyone intends to make up anything else: go ahead! As long as we get the client thinking, the sky of craziness is obviously unlimited.

Some practical grandmother truths about solutions:

  • Do not forget brainstorming rules. Rather than “no judgement” we go for “I love, love, love each of your ideas! So much! Give me more!”
  • The crazier the ideas, the greater the possibility of experiencing a deep paradigm shift.
  • Counsellees might not like you as a counsellor during this phase. Lead them! Think of yourself as a personal trainer in a gym. You are helping to exercise your counsellee’s thinking muscles in order to get  better. And it will get better! Once the counsellee gets the idea that at each session she/he needs to brainstorm own ideas (rather than just relying on your advice), she/he will get used to it and come up with ideas more easily. By that we teach the brain to think in terms of solutions rather than problems.
Give me 44 ways of how to reach your objective? (for beginners: 5-10 ways ;))

What would you do, if you had all the money/ all the time in the world / not have to deal with xx to get there?

What would someone you admire/ someone who did it/ someone you are really close to do or tell you to do?

What would God/ Allah/ love/ your whoever-guru say?

Think of a situation when you already did something similar: What would you advise yourself to do?

What’s your favourite animal? A rabbit? How do rabbits solve this problem?

If you had only 3h to reach your objective: What would you do?

If you were talking to a 3-year-old? What would you tell that kid of how to get there?

And if you are really running out of ideas, you can always say: Wow, what a great baby step! What else?


For lazy counsellors:

Switch on the counsellee’s favourite song and let her/him brainstorm in a piece of paper!



Use creativity techniques – like these ones or the ones you know from elsewhere.

The letter A

The letter A … like A-ction

We haven’t done it until we did it. Innocent until proven guilty. Proactive until proven lazy.

After the exhausting, but also enthusing phase of generating solutions we have to tidy up the mess. We have to focus again, nail our solutions down to a single few, and translate them into feasible action. Whilst S is about what we COULD potentially do, A is about what we will ACTUALLY do.

There are several things we can do in order to make sure that we included the most relevant bits:

  1. Let your counsellee pick one out of the baby steps that she/he thinks will have the biggest impact
  2. Integrate this into the counsellee’s life
  3. Create a small reward system around it
The moment of truth.

Let a the counsellee pick one baby step

If you can now keep only 50% of the baby steps you brainstormed, which ones would survive? (repeat until there is only 1 left – feel free to alter the percentage if at some point you end up with an uneven number for instance, but do end up with 1 preferably).*

Integrate the baby step into the counsellee’s life

How much time will it actually take to do this? How many hours? Minutes?

When will you create time? Monday? The day after tomorrow and at what time of the day will you do it? 4 to 6 pm? When exactly? (We ask this cos it is easy to make commitments, but many times we are not thinking about the cost of freeing up time in our lives to honour those commitments.)

Write DOWN any homework! We underestimate how fast we forget things!

Create a small reward system

When you have done your homework? How will you reward yourself? Will you take a bath? Watch something on Netflix? What is it?

Or introduce some sanction: Would it help if – the day that your homework is due – we agree that you let me know via facebook, whatsapp or whichever other channel that you have completed your homework? What would you like ME to do if – at the end of that day – I haven’t received anything from you or if I receive a negative message?



*Counsellees are likely to want to stick to their baby steps (“Oooh, so many great ideas, I wanna implement them all!”). Remind them that if an idea is truly great, the counsellee will likely remember it later.

Once the counsellee has picked one baby step that is really hitting it, you may offer: Ok, now that you have your priorities clear, we can log this in as an obligatory homework and add something else from the array of the other baby steps as an optional “candy” homework. If you like.

Some homework

Whohooo! That was fun! Let’s practice!

Get in touch with your partner and schedule 2 ROSA-counselling-conversations of around 60min each: One conversation in which you are the counsellor and your partner is the counsellee. A second conversation where you switch roles. If you wanna have more conversations, go ahead. The topic is:

My next level!

A small gimmick: If you are the counsellor, tell the counsellee a couple of things that you found really impressive/positive about her/him.

If you are the counsellee, give some feedback to the counsellor. What worked? What else would you have needed?

This will be your first proper counselling session, so chances are that – in the process – many questions pop up. If you have questions: Try solving it by using your common sense and continue the conversation. Afterwards feel free to ask questions to The Arc.

The whole ROSA process might feel a little clumsy at first, but you have the advantage that both of you are likely to be new to it. So just try to crack on as far as you can with the conversation. Make sure everyone finishes the conversation with a good homework.

We will go through each phase later in this course.

As always: WORST CASE JUST HAVE FUN! We deliberately put a time limit on this (obviously, if you are really loving it, feel free to talk through the whole night). But: No need to be extremist, perfectionist, cynicist or anything else that ends in “-ist” at this time. IT IS JUST THE FIRST SESSION! Nobody’s next level will get lost.

Stay tuned, the next session is coming soon!