A Coaching Model Created by Jenny Toh
(Christian Life Coach, SINGAPORE)
When you embark on your coaching journey with me, it will be an exploration of the various facets in your life which led you to this present moment. As your coach, I will be supporting you through the coaching process by using the analogy of a river.
What comes to mind when you think of a river? It is dynamic and powerful and yet, quiet and serene, depending on the part of the river that you are thinking of. You may think of the speed of the movement of water in a river, whether it is fast or slow, still, or clogged up. Does the idea of a river bring a sense of peace and awe to you? Alternatively, do you feel like you are caught up in the rapids, losing control of even the direction that you are heading?
The starting point is to think of a river as a part of a larger ecosystem. Just like you and me, we do not live in isolation. The decisions that we make and the actions that we take in our lives affect those around us and our communities. We are also influenced by the ecosystem of our lives – words said to us when we were young, experiences that shape the way we see our world, and our responses to these experiences.
The River Source, Tributaries, and the Main River
The river source is the beginning of the river. A tributary is a smaller river that feeds into a larger river. There may be many tributaries eventually forming one main river.
In my River coaching model, the river source symbolizes your values. Values are universal. They are the attributes that are important to us like equality, peace, love, honesty, integrity, generosity, respect.
The tributaries form your beliefs. Beliefs originate from our life experiences and the way we see the world around us. Beliefs are our assumptions of what is true in this world. Beliefs are, therefore, contextual as they arise from learned experiences at the relevant moments in our lives.
The main river is your life purpose. It is a reflection of the decisions that we make in our lives based on our values and beliefs. These decisions will inevitably direct you to your specific purpose in life, just as the main river will eventually end up in a lake or ocean.
The following questions will assist you to explore your thoughts on your life purpose:
- If there are no obstacles, what is your ideal life?
- What are the baby steps that you will take to live your ideal life?
- What areas in your life that are not aligned with your values?
- What are the beliefs that are holding you back from living your ideal life?
The Flow and Meander
The flow refers to the water running in a river. There are two important aspects to a river’s natural flow. Firstly, there is the amount of water that flows in the river. Depending on the amount of water, the river’s natural “ups” and “downs” are called pulses. Just like a human being’s pulse, a river’s natural flow is the life support for the animals, plants, and fishes.
The second component of a river’s natural flow is how water moves through it. In a natural, wild river, the water runs freely. In more developed areas, the rivers have dams or other structures built on it to slow or stop a river’s flow.
Thinking about the natural flow in your life in terms of goals, aspirations, and dreams, is it similar to that of the natural, wild river which flows freely, empowering you to be a strong pulse to support and encourage those around you? Do you, on the other hand, have restraints, fears, and obstacles “blocking” the flow in your life?
The following questions will give you awareness of the state of flow in your life:
- What energizes you?
- What discourages you?
- What are you in control of?
- What are you not in control of?
- What are the things in your life that you currently do that support you?
- What are the things in your life that you currently do that do not support you?
A meander is a loop in a river. A river may have many meanders. A meandering river winds back and forth, rather than following a straight course.
Is your life like a meandering river? Instead of having a straight path to your goals, your journey has been one that is long, at times, misdirected and filled with U-turns and stop signs? Do the “meanderings” discourage you or are you able to stay focused on your ultimate goals and enjoy the journey?
These questions will help you take stock of the “meanderings” in your journey and guide you back to a straight course:
- What can you learn from this?
- What are you grateful for from this journey?
- What can you do to make the journey fun/light?
- What small steps can you take to get back on the straight path?
- What support structures can you put in place to straighten the path?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to this course of action?
The River Mouth/Delta
The end of the river is its mouth or delta. At a river’s delta, the land flattens out and the water loses speed, spreading into a fan shape. This happens when the river meets a lake, wetland, or ocean. As the river slows and spreads out, it can no longer carry all the sand and sediment that it has picked up along its journey. These sediments deposited at the delta help build fertile farmland, provide breeding and nesting grounds for animals, birds, and fishes.
When you reach the end of your coaching journey with me, you will have gained awareness of your values and beliefs. You will have gleamed clarity and direction of your life purpose. You will also see the bigger purpose of your life to positively influence and inspire those around you to live fulfilled and purposeful lives. Like the delta, you will be a source of encouragement and hope to those who need it. I am truly honored to have traveled on this coaching journey with you. Thank you.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso
Image 2 – taken from Earthy Abstractions Prints from Creative Market
What is a River System?
What are the Key Parts of a River’s Anatomy?