A Coaching Model Created by Nivedita Das Narayan
(Life Coach, INDIA)
This Coaching Model emerged rather counter-intuitively, after reading a number of models on the process of individual transformation that centered on the analogy of a Butterfly and some mapping the evolution of the butterfly into the Caterpillar. The premise hinged on the natural process of evolution and the inevitable birth of the beautiful butterfly at the end.
It urged me to ponder about others who are perhaps already the butterfly inside, their inner beauty existent & intact. Beautiful beings but clouded by conditioning, self-doubt and beliefs and hence invisible to the outside world and often times to themselves.
We live in a world where self-perception is shaped by how others view us (or whether they view us at all). In such a milieu, some individuals gradually start to doubt their inner beauty. The lack of limelight allows worthlessness and self-doubt to take over. Instead of harnessing the power of their inner beauty their self-doubt makes them retreat to the background, silent, self effacing and powerless to optimize their own resourcefulness.
Reflections & Genesis:
This thought process brought up some simple questions and subsequent reflections:
- Is an individual always apparently a butterfly?
- What about the many whose self-worth and identity get defined & marred by how others see them?
- Does self-doubt lead to being ignored, unappreciated, unnoticed?
- Do we encounter numerous instances of individuals whose potential remain unrealized due to a lack of self-knowledge and self-belief?
These reflections dovetailed very meaningfully with my prior work & experience. I have had the privilege of mentoring and grooming many individuals with similarly unique inner incandescence, their individual inner strength, well existent. This strength, however, was unseen, untapped and unrealized; sometimes invisible even to the individual.
What worked to unfurl their latent potential was sincere engagement, understanding and empathy in bringing awareness around their gifts and harnessing their inner-strength to its natural expression. The way these individuals blossomed—once mentored—has inspired me to truly value and believe in the inner light of some seemingly ‘unseen’ people, who, when brought into awareness, excel to add value to a whole ecosystem of colleagues and peers. In my experience, it took a lot of involved inner engineering for their potential to outshine their obscurity and for excellence to manifest as their ‘authentic’ self.
Does that describe a big part of the work that we do, or need to do as Coaches?
This Coaching Model attempts to address this evolution from obscurity to optimize inner resourcefulness.
To elucidate, I will be referring to the FIREFLY as a metaphor for my Coaching Model. The Firefly is appropriate and unique not only because it carries the inner light in the seemingly simple body of a fly but more significantly uses this light to light up the path for itself and others in the pit of darkness.
The Metaphor & its Symbolism:
The symbolic meaning of the firefly deals with light, illumination and its usefulness. Although an important focus, the issue of light is not the only significant aspect behind the symbolism of the firefly. Rather, it is the messages this wondrous creature gives us while her light is off, that I find profoundly relevant to growth & transformation.
An ordinary looking creature during the day, undeniably, the firefly is a remarkable sight when it glows at night. This is a symbolic message to us humans that although our physical appearance may seem one way – it is our internal makings – that makes us shine from the inside out. That, which is within us, will always illuminate us and those around us.
*Symbolism of Fireflies: A detailed summary
- New Ideas
It is believed that the firefly primarily uses its light in mating ceremonies, and it is quite elaborate and intricate. Light signals are precise and exactly timed in order to attract the right mate. This symbolizes that if we are to attract the right people, places and moments in our lives, it is possible to do so by laying the groundwork, and being open to experiences during our journey.
It was interesting for me to note that the firefly does not produce heat in order to create her light. This is a message that we don’t need to burn out to excel. Creativity and development is an energizing, natural and easy-going process and it is not at the cost of sacrificing our essence.
It is believed that when fireflies come into our lives they are there to guide us to ways of living that are earth-friendly and soul-friendly. Fireflies teach us the value of relying on our inner resource for illumination. Fireflies also come to us with a message of creativity, and remind us that our paths are made lighter by the beauty that we allow into our lives.
With reference to the wider symbolism of the Firefly, this Coaching Model is widely applicable. I also believe it will be equally effective in shining light on the silent foot -soldiers, the sometimes-obscure though resilient individuals who voluntarily fade away from the limelight. The unnoticed and silent thinkers and doers, whose inner light is waiting to be noticed, expressed and manifested.
My Coaching Model lends well to aid Strength-based coaching and has its fundamental premise in innate individual resourcefulness. It is aimed as a simple yet powerful process of harnessing the unrealized and infinite potential of the Client.
To expand the metaphor for the purpose of my Coaching Model I see the Firefly in its moment of illumination as operating in its Zone of Genius. And the Client is coachable because of the transformation he/she can potentially make from the current state to his/her zone of Genius. The Coach, therefore, has to shine a mirror to the Client that helps reflect this latent potential.
My presence as a Coach through the process will be calmly supportive, fully holding the client in respect and honoring their needs and strengths.
The stages are fluid in nature; there is only a ‘beginning’ as the process of inquiry. Beyond that the grouping of more than one element in each stage suggests the ‘many’ possibilities in progression towards the ’zone of genius’. The Client can experience his journey into self-awareness in no defined order, towards the ‘authentic self’.
Inner Strength, Illumination, Inner purpose
Resource, Resolve, Restlessness
Evaluate, Energize, Explore. Emerge,
Find, Foster, Furnish
Learn your inner truth, Lighten up
Your own Yardstick of excellence & fulfillment
Fuel process of inquiry:
This is the warm up stage to generate self-enquiry, to scratch the surface of everyday life and peep into the unquestioned and dormant self.
- Describe yourself?
- Describe yourself, as you know you?
- Describe yourself as others see you?
This first level of awareness creation can be valuably interspersed with breathing & relaxation breaks (this could be the first time the Client is Querying and encountering the self so closely)
- Who would you be without these descriptions?
- What are you feeling?
- Is there something missing?
- What is keeping you from feeling complete & whole?
- What are you without that thought/feeling?
- What are you resisting?
- What have been your assumptions?
Investigate Inner purpose, Illuminate
This stage is to create awareness around the Client’s ‘perceived’ present and the ‘authentic self’. This phase will unfold an understanding of existing Values & Strengths that will guide the stages of transformation ahead.
Possibly apply Tools
- Strength Finder
- Top 10 values
A focus of this stage will also be to acknowledge all inherent strengths and harness that power for stepping into the Client’s authentic self (the best version). Confronting fears, doubts and inhibitions is a key part of this stage.
- How do these Strengths relate to your life?
- How do these Values manifest for you?
- Can you talk about its importance in the scheme of your life?
- So what?
- What could be better?
- What is just one more possibility?
The process of awareness creation is guided further:
- What are your options?
- If choice is yours, what will you choose?
- What other options can you create?
- What resources do you have to make it happen?
- What resources can you create?
Explore, Empower, Emerge, Energize
With the awareness created around strengths and values (authentic self) and visualizing the value of an aligned life ahead; this stage takes the Client to a zone of action and accountability:
- How do you feel having gone through these thoughts, revelations?
- Where else in your life do you feel that? When else have you felt that?
- Tell me more about it?
- Now where do you want to go?
- What might happen if you go that route?
- What is in your control?
- Who is responsible for how you will be viewed?
At this stage, we gently aid the Client through an assessment and exploration of pros & cons. We facilitate a walk-through into the stages and steps that harness the ambitions of the authentic self:
- How do you suppose it will pan out?
- What will that get you?
- How will you know you have reached your goal?
- What resources do you need to help you further?
- If the same doubts came up again, what would you do?
Lighten up (Let Inner Truth flourish)
It all might look a little overwhelming at this stage. As Coaches we can consciously shift the energy (tension) of accountability to the lightness of achievement and accomplishment:
- How does that accomplishment feel?
- What was funny about the situation?
- If you could wipe the slate clean, how would you re-start?
- If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
Your Yardstick of excellence
- How can we further energize this process of self-discovery?
- How can I aid your exceptional journey?
- What are you grateful for in this process?
The Coaching process will harness the ‘unique’ by making the Client question, experience, acknowledge and excel in his zone of genius. The journey through awareness to self-discovery will aid the process of expansion and expression in all areas of his life. As the Client grows familiar with his/her ‘unique’ and its expansive potential, he/she will be energized to counter the existing beliefs, limiting instincts and upper limit habits that she/he would have lived with so far.
Having visualized oneself in the zone of genius and now aware of the uniqueness, the Firefly is now emitting the inner light, freely and intently!