Coach like the rain!
I have always been fascinated by tamarind trees lining some of the old highways on the outskirts of Bangalore- as a child sometimes we would go on trips not too far from the city and see these huge gnarly trees. It always struck me how these trees survived – no one seemed to be watering them, yet their foliage was thick and their fruit – abundant. It seemed that the only help the tree got from time to time was the rain, but the trees had somehow become independent. I’m no dendrologist but I’m sure the early rains, when the seed started sprouting had a critical impact on the young sapling taking root and ultimately finding independence.
I love the rain – overcast skies give me hope, the smell after the first rain – Petrichor- is exhilarating. A good coach will cause similar anticipation.
So when I was recently challenged to find a metaphor to explore coaching, Rain came to mind.
The Rain: Rain is nourishing for a plant, creates an environment for growth by clearing dead leaves and foliage of dust, and softening the soil to allow for expansion. I’ve witnessed first hand the amazing transformation rain can trigger – I lived in Lonavala for a couple of years and every year, come July with the first rains, things would change dramatically from a dry brown to a fresh green. The whole countryside would blossom. Even the walls around properties would be covered with green. This growth brought about by the rain was beautiful and nothing short of a complete transformation.
But enough about rain because in coaching, it is all about the individual being coached isn’t it.
The Seed (that will be a tree): Well first of all it appears that all seeds do not germinate at the same time, in fact, “Seed dormancy” is an adaptation that prevents seeds from germinating during unsuitable ecological conditions. Hence nourishing them can help.
So what impact does rain have on a seed? Rain kick starts the whole process of growth. The seed breaks out of its shell, germinates, takes root, and grows. Once it takes root, it is able to reach for nourishment through its roots from below and through its leaves from above, thus gaining independence. As it grows this tree is then able to provide shelter and food for a number of animals as well as for man.
The coach as the rain:
- The seed has everything it needs to be able to grow into a magnificent tree. It is all there in the DNA of the seed. The seed just needs a little help to germinate – to open it up to grow. A coach has a similar mindset about the person he/she coaches. As coaches we are guided by the Ericksonian principle, “People have real resources: They have many more resources than they know!” like the seed, people have everything they need to grow.
- The seed is aided by a more pliable environment. The rain softens the soil, allowing for growth. Thus the seed germinates and begins a journey of change that starts with the roots pushing through resistance to the stem searching hard for sunlight. Another Ericksonian principle is that ”Change is inevitable” – No matter how difficult, we learn, we grow, and we change. A coach helps the coachee to break free of the shell that is limiting him/her and realize his/her potential more fully.
- As the plant grows, the rain removes year-old dust that has been blocking the sunlight, thus allowing further growth. A Coach has a similar role as he/she helps clear biases, provide new perspectives, discover areas of improvement and enable the coachee to grow.
The world is full of seed-like individuals with much potential who are waiting to burst forth and grow into massive trees that will one day be an ecosystem in themselves.
The rain plays a part in that transformation.
I love that I can be that rain!