A Coaching Model Created by Kyle Anderson
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
As a Wellness Coach, avid cook, gardener and devoted foodie, it only makes sense that the coaching model that I developed for my practice, Nourish Wellness Coaching, would be built around food. Perhaps you have heard the term,
peeling the onion.
This refers to peeling away the layers of a problem or challenge in order to deeper address issues that lie beneath the surface. The artichoke and the onion both have multiple layers, but the artichoke is much more complex.
Artichokes are curious plants. They are beautiful, tasty, and versatile in cooking, gardening and decorating. They have thorns, many layers of bracts (that resemble leaves), a choke and best of all, a heart. The artichoke is actually the bud of a plant from the thistle family and at full maturity, an artichoke can grow to a width of six feet and a height of four feet. If not harvested from the plant, the choke (resembling hair) will eventually blossom into a beautiful, blue-violet flower.
When we first meet with a client, they may resemble a newly harvested artichoke, the bracts, or leaves, tightly closed guarding the choke and the heart. As we establish rapport with a client, those bracts open up and client and coach can begin to explore and clarify, raise awareness, plan and grow. The choke of the artichoke represents action. If the client decides a particular behavior/thought is not serving him, he can choose to remove the choke. If the behavior/thought is serving him, he can nurture it and watch it grow into an amazing flower. Another analogy is that the choke represents a problem or challenge. That challenge can spark action, change and growth resulting in development and resolution. The heart represents the sustaining and supporting structure of both the artichoke and the client. It is here where successes will be celebrated and where the process will begin again.
Anatomy of an Artichoke Coaching Model
- Establish rapport with client
- Identify & prioritize the wants and needs of client
- Appreciative Inquiry
Providing a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space for the client to be heard will allow the client to open up and set the ground work for the coaching process. The appreciative inquiry builds on the positive attributes of the client and continues to build rapport and a foundation for growth.
Raise Awareness – First Layer of Bracts
- Underlying Beliefs and Emotions (thorns of the artichoke)
- Internal and External Critics
- Potential obstacles
During the coaching process, it is likely that powerful underlying beliefs will be uncovered. These “thorns” can reach out and hurt us when we are least expecting it. They may have been holding the client back for many years. The coach will work with the client gain new perspectives on these limiting beliefs and emotions. In addition, the coach will work with the client to bring awareness to critics and help shift negative self-talk to realistic, positive self-talk. Obstacles are to be expected, so identifying them before we hit them is helpful in overcoming them and learning from them.
Goal Setting, Planning & Preparing – Second Layer of Bracts
- Set SMART goals
- Self-education or training in needed areas
In this step, the coach will challenge the client with powerful questions and will work with the client to set SMART goals. Oftentimes, more education or training is needed to have the skills and knowledge to meet these goals. This is an important step in the overall process since the education/training and the development provided through the coaching process are both valuable for the rest of the client’s life.
Action – The Choke
In this step, the client begins to make changes and take action. The client will decide what thoughts and actions are serving him/her and what thoughts and actions are getting in the way of progress. Those thoughts that are serving the client can be celebrated, cultured and encouraged to grow just like the choke of the artichoke does. The thoughts and actions that are not serving the client can be eliminated as many people eliminate the choke before getting to the heart of the artichoke.
Structure, Sustainability & Celebration – The Heart
This is where we have reached the heart – success in meeting goals, progress and growth. It is important to build structures that will continue to support this progress and encourage self-management. Re-evaluation of goals, continued coaching, and new goals are all important in this stage. Celebration is also a key part of the success here. Celebrate, evaluate, set more goals, and celebrate again. Repeat!
Green & Purple
The colors of the artichoke also have meaning in this model. The green of the artichoke represents growth and potential which lies in every client. The purple that beautifully swirls through artichokes represents the continued acknowledgement that we as coaches provide to our clients to keep them fueled.