A Coaching Model By Beth Ostrander, Life Coach, CANADA
The“Reach-Release-Embody” Coaching Model was birthed from my journey. I have continued to refine it over the years as I have supported clients in my blended coaching practice.
The Reach-Release-Embody Coaching model has a MACRO level and a MICRO level:
The Macro Level Emphasizes Structure
At the Macro Level, practice the cycle of Reaching, Releasing, and Embodying. Practicing this builds awareness and capacity to align all areas of life to your authentic self. The outcome is resiliency to authentically enjoy each moment of your life.
The Micro-Level Emphasizes Flow
At the MICRO level, practice three skills within each phase.
- REACH: Clarify ->Expand ->Receive
- RELEASE: Notice ->Name ->Honor
- EMBODY: Pause ->Move ->Enjoy
Becoming mindful of where you are “flowing” within each phase builds dexterity to apply the most effective skill in each moment. The outcome agility is to “go with the flow” and move through any situation with authenticity and ease.
Within both the MACRO & MICRO levels, the phases are sequential yet can overlap at times.
- Clarify what you desire by aligning to your authentic self
- Expand your vision and uncover new possibilities
- Receive inspiration and energy from within
Many people come to coaching wanting to fix something about themselves or in their life. They hope this will help them get unstuck. Beginning here can get someone into action however, this approach is rooted in shame and comes with a cost.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. Brene Brown1
Fixing something means you perceive it as wrong or broken. If you are fixing yourself (or an aspect of your life) then you perceive yourself as wrong or broken. This introduces the energy of shame. Living with shame is exhausting and saps your energy. On top of this, you may also find at the end of all your “fixing” you are still not satisfied with yourself or your life.
The “Reach-Release-Embody” Coaching Model is an alternative approach that has you FIRST take a step back to clarify your heart’s desire. By aligning to your heart’s desire, your authentic self is engaged, your creativity is awakened, and your actions are infused with intrinsic energy.
Consider when you take a vacation. As you prepare for the enjoyable time away, you become energized from within. You take on tasks with new vigor such as, finishing up your paperwork, emptying your in-box, and completing the laundry so you can pack. Without the anticipation of the pleasurable vacation ahead, these tasks often feel exhausting. Tasks that previously took effort and discipline (often rooted in “shame energy”) are now fueled by motivation from within because they are connected to your heart’s desire for the vacation.
This phenomenon can show up in career situations, family commitments, and many day-to-day scenarios. By REACHING for your heart’s desire first, you tap into energy and inspiration that propels you into actions that are aligned to your authentic self.
- Notice sensations and patterns when blocked
- Name blocks and beliefs beneath the sensations & patterns
- Honor your inner wisdom and wholeness
The RELEASE phase is your opportunity to notice and identify what unconsciously holds you back from living the life you authentically desire. Observing your physical and emotional sensations allow you to uncover hidden beliefs and patterns that block you.
In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. Once you have captured this, you have captured the world. Deepak Chopra2
Like buried artifacts being uncovered by archeologists, over your lifetime your authentic self has become buried under dust and debris. This may be from conditioning, traumatic experiences or simply moments left unexamined. Whatever the cause, along the way we make sense of life through the creation of belief systems. These belief systems are sometimes based on faulty premises or are simply outdated. As you gain more self-awareness you dust off and chip away at these layers, much like an archeologist, to uncover a treasure. You are the treasure. Your authentic, whole self is the treasure!
- Pause to connect and ground to yourself
- Move to deepen and balance within yourself
- Enjoy the experience as you integrate the new awareness
It is easy to bypass the EMBODY phase. We tend to forget to pause a moment to take it all in. Intentionally taking time to EMBODY each new awareness allows for a deeper and more sustained transformation.
Bodyfulness practices provide the means through which we can increase our wakefulness and make our actions more conscious and contributive. Caldwell, Christine3
By embodying each new awareness, you anchor into your authentic self on a deep level. You increase your sense of dignity and self-worth. Through the continual practice of the skills within the EMBODY phase, you become more confident, purposeful, and joyful in each moment.
This Model Is Especially Effective…
- When guilt and shame is present
- For those who have experienced strong dogmatic upbringings (e.g., religious/cultural)
Bringing attention to your heart’s desires in any area of life can be challenging. Children are often conditioned to shift from dreaming, playing, and pleasure to hard work, fixing problems, and getting serious as they grow up. There is nothing wrong with the latter. The problem is when an imbalance exists.
The Reach-Release-Embody Coaching Model is designed to bring you into balance. It is designed to shift from using shame-based energy to fuel your actions to accessing intrinsic motivation that energizes you to act in alignment with your authentic self.
Brown, Brene “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.”
Chopra, Deepak “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential”
Caldwell, Christine “Bodyfulness: Somatic Practices for Presence, Empowerment, and Waking Up in This Life”
Meyer, Paul J: Creator of Wheel of Life https://pauljmeyer.com/
Chapman, Gary “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Gallup & Roth, Tom “StrengthsFinder 2.0 Discover Your Clifton Strengths” https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths
Cameron, Julia “The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”