A Coaching Model Created by Shruti Sridhar Murthy
(Leadership Coach, INDIA)
LEAD – A Coaching Model for Personal Leadership
I got into coaching wanting to serve people who inspire me. These could be change-makers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, leaders in large corporates or even someone without the title of a Leader. What my clients have in common is an intent to make a meaningful difference in the world, while striving to become the best version of themselves.
These are people who are willing to go deeper within, even as they seek to take charge of a situation or make a change, much like a plant which grows not just above ground but also within for a strong foundation that allows it to stand tall even during rough weather.
As a Coach, I believe my role is to support these leaders do deep inner work on their personal leadership journey, one that’s about leading the self while leading others.
My model is called LEAD and it is described below. I have used the visual of a plant’s growth supported by the soil beneath as it brings alive my belief that growth is a continuous process, and that the coach can be an enabling partner in this process.
L – Lean In. Let Go. Learn.
Lean In – ‘Lean forward into your life… Catch the best bits and the finest wind. Just tip your feathers in flight a wee bit and see how dramatically that small lean can change your life’ – Mary Ann Radmacher
Leaning in is about the client choosing what their playing field is. It can be about leaning into their challenges as well as their passion. It can be about leaning into their support structures as well as their own potential. Most importantly leaning in is about trusting that, supported by coaching, they will be able to create the movement that they want for themselves.
Let Go –‘Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy’– Robert Tew
Letting go is about closing doors and drawing boundaries, both for ourselves and in our interaction with others. It is about uncovering what one needs to let go of not just in a significant sense but even on a day to day basis, to be able to make space for the change that they want.
Learn– ‘There is no such thing as a failure..only learning’– Tony Robbins
Irrespective of the client context, I believe one of the biggest outcomes that coaching can deliver on is learning – Learning from their mistakes, successes and experiences. And more importantly, learning about themselves.
E – Explore. Embrace. Emerge.
Explore– ‘Find out who you are and do it on purpose’ – Dolly Parton
Exploration of who we are, how we are and who we want to become is a journey that takes courage and openness. This involves exploring everything from our emotions to beliefs to what’s holding us back and what makes us tick.
Embrace – ‘Embrace the glorious mess that you are’ – Elizabeth Gilbert
Time and time again I find that the most capable people forget to be kind to themselves – In the pursuit of the high standards and expectations they have from themselves, they forget to appreciate all the wonderful things that they are already doing and the wonderful people that they are already being. Embrace focuses on self-love, self-care and just giving ourselves the respect we deserve.
Emerge – ‘Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge’ – Eckhart Tolle
For me, emerging is about reframing and coming out of disempowering perspectives to craft the ones that will propel us forward. As a coach, I believe that reframing is one of the most powerful ways in which I can serve my clients because once perspective has shifted it is difficult to un-see it and it becomes easier for them to take action. My research paper titled ‘The Power Of Stories And What It Means For Coaching’ helps with this reframing so that clients can emerge from the limiting stories they are telling themselves.
A-Authentic. Accountable. Appreciative.
Authentic – ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken’ – Oscar Wilde
Being authentic involves discovering our core values and using them as a compass to guide us in our decision making, not only when we find ourselves at crossroads, but also on a daily basis.
It’s interesting to find how many of us think we are very aware of our values, but end up discovering core values that surprise us and make sense at the same time, when we connect the dots for ourselves. One way in which this can be done is by:
- Looking back at instances in our life where we felt extreme emotion or unresolved tension
- Uncovering what made us feel the way we did in each instance
- Looking for patterns of thinking across these different instances
Accountable – ‘It is not only what we do, but what we do not do for which we are accountable’ – John Baptiste Moliere
As coaches, we need to hold ourselves and our clients accountable without judgement. For me, this starts with getting on the same page with respect to both of our expectations from and commitment to the coaching process, as early on as possible (perhaps even before signing the agreement when we are doing so directly with the client or at least during our very first session together if the sponsor and the client are different).
Appreciative – ‘Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary’ – Margaret Cousins
So often we forget to be grateful for and appreciate what we have, in the pursuit of something that we want. For me, appreciation is about pausing, stepping back from all that’s happening, practising mindfulness and expressing gratitude for all that we otherwise take for granted. This simple practice can provide much-needed motivation and confidence for the client to stay resilient on their journey.
D – Dream. Dare. Do.
Dream – ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
Dare – ‘Daring greatly is being brave and afraid every minute of the day at the exact same time’– Brene Brown
For me, Dream and Dare go hand in hand. When we were children, we were not afraid to dream or share our dreams. As we got older, most of us let ‘reality’ take over. When I ask people what their dream is, many hesitate – not because they don’t have a dream(s), but because they have been so focused on keeping it real that they haven’t really found the time, resources or energy to seriously consider them. The result – may end up living their fears instead. To realise our dreams, we need to start somewhere and go towards them one step at a time. It’s a choice very much in our hands and I believe a coach can help their client reconnect with their dreams so that they can start focusing on what matters to them in the long run, despite the fear. I have created a power tool called ‘Living our Fears vs. Living our Dreams’. This tool can be leveraged to work with clients on Daring to pursue their dreams.
Do –‘Get a good idea and stay with it. Do it, and work at it until it’s done right’– Walt Disney
All the thinking, reflecting, diving deeper, questioning we experience in a coaching session becomes meaningless if our clients don’t take action and DO something about the realisations and discoveries that they have had, not once but repeatedly till they get to the outcome that they want. This is challenging not just for the client, but also us as coaches, because real movement will happen only in ‘doing, learning, modifying, doing again’, and a lot of them doing mostly happens between sessions, not when they are with us. A key responsibility for us here would be to keep anchoring them back to the outcome they have identified for themselves and facilitating them through their learnings and reflections.
LEAD for Impact
In conclusion, I would like to call out that LEAD is not a sequential model. It is meant to be dynamically used depending on the client context, intention they have set for themselves, and how we are progressing on the journey. Some of the components of LEAD may take several sessions and some may need just a single coaching conversation. Either way, it will require both the coach and the client to push past their comfort zones and trust the coaching process.