A Coaching Model Created by Caroline Drake
(Leadership Coach, UNITED STATES)
Development and growth of the Self are iterative with seasons of hibernation, renewal of life, fullness, and decline. I draw on the beauty of the life cycle of the tree as a basis for my coaching model.
My primary focus is leadership coaching. I came to coaching having experienced the power and careful intention of creating a non-judgmental space to reflect and challenge myself in the presence of community. The opportunity emphasized the courage it takes to lead each day and the importance of standing fully in one’s True Self in order to lead effectively with compassion, love and purpose. Alignment with one’s soul and a role were of utmost importance.
Leadership is a challenge and often leaders can feel isolated in their position, full of doubt in their decisions, and wondering if they are capable. The Rooted Coaching Model acknowledges the leader for where they are right now, what led them to be there, what drives them, and what it means for them to be a resilient, courageous leader able to withstand the storms and seasons of leadership while honouring the deep well of wisdom they possess within.
The growth of a tree is complicated and enormous just as it is for human life and one’s own evolution. In the Rooted Coaching Model, the tree represents the client and the Rooted Coaching process moves from roots to treetop. The process starts at gaining clarity then moves to align new awareness and finally achieving the desired transformation. Surrounding the tree or client – the earth, sun and atmosphere -is the coach. Each element representing an essential part of the coaching relationship: the earth being powerful questions; the sun as presence and relationship; and the atmosphere as deep listening.
Client and Process
The client, represented as a tree, relies on its roots for essential nutrients and water. Initial growth and future growth is all dependent on the health of the roots. In the Rooted Coaching Model, the client and coach begin by developing clarity or awareness. What are the visions and goals of the client? What is holding the client back? What values and core beliefs does the client hold that may be impacting what they want? Not only does this phase reflect on the core and foundation of the client but reflects on the ideal conditions to achieve desired growth and goals.
The trunk is vital to transferring nutrients and water up to a treetop and also transferring energy from sunlight down into the roots. The alignment phase of the Rooted Coaching Model integrates learning and awareness into the life of the client. Whether it is building good habits to support the ultimate goals, identifying and coming to acceptance around realities that had gone unacknowledged, or planning for consistent reflection throughout the future; alignment is essential for translating the inner voice, wisdom, desires into the outer transformation, action, achievements.
Depending on the season, the treetop is desolate and bare or robust and breathtaking. Neither is better or worse than the other if it is in the natural cycle of the season. The treetop – or the outward manifestation of the client tells a story about where they are right now and can be a visual for the future they want to achieve. When full of leaves and flowers, the treetop is gathering all the energy of the sun and the atmosphere to strengthen the roots. When growth has ended and the treetop becomes bare and quiet, there is still essential and necessary work happening. Transformation is slow and at times subtle and at other times vibrant. The Rooted Coaching Model acknowledges where the client is now, where the client wants to be, and the natural necessary cycles we all experience along the way.
The Coaching Relationship
Sun. The sun provides energy and warmth to the tree as it grows. The sun signifies the warmth of a trusting relationship and the presence of the coach who is steady and always focused on the client and the client’s growth.
Earth. The earth provides vital nutrients and water to the client. In this way, the coach provides tools and techniques to facilitate the client’s deep self-exploration including powerful questions, reflection, and acknowledgement.
Atmosphere. The atmosphere receives elements being expended off the tree. This receiving can be likened to the deep listening a coach provides – quietly, without judgement, and holding a sacred space for the client to do the hard, gritty, deep work of self-discovery and growth.
The Rooted Coaching Model is committed to working with leaders to trust themselves, lean into the community more fully and to lead with resilience.