Written by Regina Gee of Wellspring Coaching

Accomplishing Change with the 5D’s

The Greek word methodos means pursuit of knowledge, it is also the root for our modern word method. The 5-D’s Cycle is a transformational change process & method informed by Appreciative Inquiry. The 5-D’s include: define, discover, dream, design, and destiny/deploy/deliver. Researcher’s Moore and Tschannen tailored the 5D model to fit coaching and individual change in 2016. This framework is a “strategic change agenda,” meant to act as a method for bringing about change in your life.

Define | Discover  | Dream  |  Design  | Destiny/Deploy/Deliver

Define: Clarifying

The first step of this change cycle is defining the topic (what needs to be learned) and the method (how you are going to learn it). Getting clear on your topic creates a structure for appropriate conversations about what you want to accomplish.

You can get clear on your topic by asking:

  • What is the problem and then consider what do you want to grow?
  • What do you want to see, hear, feel, or do more of?
  • What will success look like?

It is important that you imagine a behavior change goal, not an outcome goal. How are you going to change, not what is going to change. Once you are clear on what you need to learn, condense it down to two or three words; something accessible and will stick in your mind. Make sure you have identified an affirmative task, something that focuses your attention on behavior goals, not outcome goals, and adds to your life.

Define it: what you need to learn and how you are going to learn it. Condense it into two or three words.

Discover: The Best of What Is

Discovering is all about self-awareness and understanding. It is about identifying processes in your life that work well. What is happening when you are at your best? When you intentionally reflect on your stories of strength and best practices you create confidence and momentum that unleash higher levels of presence and performance. You can uncover your stories about your process and performance by asking:

  1. Discover Best Experience

           What’s a time when you’ve felt most alive, engaged and proud?

  1. Discover Core Values

           What motivates change or desire for change?

           What is most important to you?

           What do you want your health for?

  1. Discover Generative Conditions

    1. Element of Surprise: A new question or thought that leads to reflection.
    2. Touch Heart & Spirit: Connect to meaningful memories, touch the spirit of what matters most.
    3. Relationship Building: Change hinges on relationships. Create a “state” of connection through shared understanding.
    4. Reality Checking: Reframing an experience, perspective-taking.
“I hope you love yourself enough to recognize the things you don’t like about your life and I hope you find the courage to change to them.” Unknown

Dream: What Might Be

This part of the 5D’s is all about imagining a process that would work well for you in the future.

Two leading questions to help your dreaming are:

  • What is your life’s calling?

  • What possibilities generate excitement?

You can use this phase to embody the anticipatory principle: image inspires action. You begin to create your future by imaging in vivid detail what it could be. You can use stories, narratives, images, and metaphors to make your dreams comes alive. Giving yourself permission to dream is an act of bravery and vulnerability, and it opens the flood gates of what could be. Dreaming pulls us forward with optimism, hope, and motivation. When you are dreaming, take time to imagine what the details look like; what does it feel like? What are you doing? What are you saying? How is it impacting others? When is it happening?

JK Rowling says, “New worlds are important but you can’t just describe them. Give us the stories that make up the universe.” Dreaming is all about giving yourself the stories that make up your future world.

You can uncover visions of the future by asking:

  • Imagine everything went as well as it possibly could, what would that look like? Feel like?
  • If everything went as well as it possibly could over the next six months, what would be your proudest achievement?

Design: How Can It Be

Design is prioritizing and planning processes that would work well for you. It is in this phase you make a personalized plan for how you will live your future. This is the step that creates a map to turn your dreams into your reality. You prioritize where you want to put your energy and resources, identify what support and research you need to do, and explore obstacles and barriers that might get in your way.

Some helpful questions to get you started are:

  • What would it take to move from where you are right now to where you want to be?
  • If you could improve on where you are today by 5%, what are seven different steps you think you should take?

Destiny/Deploy/Deliver: Sustaining & Innovating

This last piece of the framework is what philosopher Soren Kierkegaard would call “turning the leap of life into a gait.” Once you know what you want to focus on, the best of what is, and imagine what could be, the work becomes living it. Brené Brown defines a practice as: a conscious choice of how we want to live. The implementation of your design is an ongoing process. You will come back to this cycle again and again as your dream becomes your destiny.

“Massive goals don’t require massive action. They require consistent action.” J. Mike

Using the 5D’s 

Cultivating change in our lives is how we live at our most beautiful, brave, and true. Consciously choosing how we want our lives to look is an invitation to do the work. It requires us to be vulnerable and take risks but also allows us to unlock belonging, authenticity, and connection. The 5D’s is one framework among many helping us to invite change. You can define, discover, dream, design, and deliver your way into the life you want.

Adapted from an article written by Karen Gregory-Mercado, PHD, MPH, MCHES, NBC-HWC

Flowchart property of Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine