Collaborative Coaching … The art of Inspiring Together (Ver. 1)

As I and Ark dive deeper into the incredibly magnificent world of Coaching, indeed the depth of being, we are discovering newer layers, nuances of what we call Radical Coaching which gave birth to quite an intriguing Radical Coaching Journey. Somehow this image really spoke to me. My beloved teacher, Rajee who is walking me home with so much love- often speaks of simply having a cup of Chai. Collaboration is simple and profound. Natural & yet, often missed.

As the world is getting polarized on one hand and there are energies of fear in the air, it is also inviting a dive into Love. Out of a challenge that we encountered in a client assignment, there was a lot of churning. And if wonder is alive in the churning and a willingness to meet all the feelings, however difficult.. to stay in the fire.. something deeper opens up. After a few difficult nights and several conversations, and being vigilant not to jump into “Problem Solving” but truly explore the terrain to unfold the Problem, Collaborative Coaching is taking birth.

The obvious question is that..

Is Collaborative Coaching (CoCo) just another fancy name? Old wine in new bottles or is there something that is distinct. As you read on, you will arrive at your own answer. In my view, this epiphany that happened, made it clear that Radical Coaching is evolving. Both in the Ark context and in the CoEvolve context. And we are clearly letting go of the name Radical Coaching. In the next month or so.

The heart of the matter: I will spell out some aspects with examples so that it will become clear how and why this is the next orbit of Radical Coaching (RC). If you are not familiar with RC, please do read the blog post linked above.

Even before I get into the nuances of how CoCo is unique and yet honouring all other Coaching models I want to emphasise something. For some readers and Coaches the enormous possibility of this might overwhelm.

So it is important to mention that Coaches and Coachees & their intimate ecosystems can take on the Collaborative aspect to the extent that they have an appetite. I will also outline the baby steps for anyone who wants to explore this. And in fact, I am also a beginner even though I have explored this more than many coaches would have- and will be taking baby steps. Hence, I have call this blog Ver 1.

And this is promising to reveal the song I was born to sing. Somehow.

The 5 key elements of CoCo are:

  1. The shift of Coaching to Inspiring (includes Coaching) & beyond :

CoCo expands the scope of Coaching to essentially making a difference and doing & being what it takes. At Ark, we have never had a very rigid definition of Coaching. In fact, we have considered calling what we do unCoaching. Which is not in opposition to Coaching. Just like unSchooling is not opposed to Schooling but simply willing to look at the UNiverse outside what is defined as Schooling. This morning I also made mindmap on What is this art of Inspiring Together? That should come in Ver 2 of this post. or as a link here soon.

At the Apac Coaching Conference Aug 2019 when we conducted the session on Radical Coaching, we realized that a better way to describe what we do is unCoaching from Love. unCoaching honors the state-of-the-art of Coaching and yet invites us to broaden the field.

22 of us are currently participating in a Deep Coaching Intensive being conducted by Leon VanderPol openly speaks of how Healing is very much a part of his approach. And invites the Coach and the Coachee to make  A Shift in Being. (the title of his beautiful book).

Each of these perspectives- healing, inspiring & beyond into an invitation to wake up to a consciousness that is not ego-based. A region beyond mindfulness.   

2. Coaching the Intimate Ecosystem of the Coachee

The key distinction is that in Collaborative Coaching, we are seeing the Coach and the Coachee not just as an individual but an ecosystem. So we leverage the client ecosystem.

An example is that I am coaching a kind-of celebrity – and-  with the permission of all concerned..  I created a wsap group with his wife (personal front) and another one with his Admin Asst. (Professional front) – this may at the very least build a support system, Coaching by design for him to make the leap. And on occasion also enabling them as they are willing to be a fertile soil for him and them to be more happy & fulfilled in that professional and personal relationship. So I am also in some ways Coaching not just the individual but the relationships slowly. All with their permission.

3. A few Coaches Coaching the Coachee.

I have had the blessing and challenge of having multiple coaches, healers, friends at any point of time. Enabling me to deal with deep stuff. While this can have a shadow of going overboard in trying to fix myself, it obviously has been a gift also. This is just an example again- and depending on the resonance that anyone feels, more than one channel can be explored. In my case, currently I have a gifted homeopath who is also a sensitive human being, a friend who is a gifted healer who works with energy, a few friends with whom I can be deeply vulnerable.

4. Integrating & “Essencing”

Another aspect of CoCo is that it is a synthesis of several beautiful bodies of wisdom and masters and frentors (friend-mentors) who have touched my life. To mention a few- (and they became many as I started listing them)

Rajesh Dalal (passed on a few years back), Raj Mali, Rhea D’Souza, Dola Dasgupta, Sangeeta Bhagwat, Arun & Anu Wakhlu, Manish Jain, GD, Prativa Pradhan, Deepti Rupani, Nithyashanti, Arun Dev. Maybe forgetting a few – and will add as I remember.

Certain people who are also friends and their bodies of work have touched the work of CoEvolve & Ark –  Byron Katie, Richard Barrett, Gay & Katie Hendricks, Leon VanderPol and more.

And of course my beloved brothers and business partners..  Rohit Sasvehalli (Artistry of Awakening), Arjun Som. And Krishna Iyer as a friend. I had written a poem about Ark

Precious Biroo.

And finally, beloved Rajee (Joy of Clarity). Who is walking me home in the most deep and intimate way.

And also each of my teachers & frentors is pointing to the Essence.. so even though.. a friend of mine in a tender moment said he used to judge me to be a “spiritual ragpicker” .. I know and I feel he will also now acknowledge that each rag has been a “raag” and somehow has helped me to discover my raag.. my song. As may be evident in this blog.

You may want to see the various elements of this Raag .. this heartsong in a blogpost I wrote a while back.. in a beloved friend, Briji (Brijbala- a name given by Papaji) more popularly known as Anna’s house in Goa.

5. Deepening Friendship is the Spirit

The very core of CoCo is an ever deepening friendship with ourselves, with other friends, family, the intimate & wider ecosystem & all of life. Friendship is a simple and yet a profound journey. Of intimacy- of love. Togetherness. And hence CoCo is about exploring unknown dimensions of togetherness.

3 Key levels (not hierarchical but heterarchical) of Collaborative Coaching:

  1. Foundation Collaboration (one to one) : This is the beautiful regular state-of-the-art one-to-one Coaching. And this has two levels/ layers:
  • Coach is primarily Coaching
  • Coach is an active Co-learner

2. Deeper Exploration (Triads) : When we dive deeper into CoCo, we are willing to explore with

  • One Coach coaching two coachees- who are somehow related… maybe a life partners or business partners/ colleagues- and look at the multiple possibilities of synergy- especially learning together as friends.
  • Two coaches who know each other coaching one coachee separately or collaborating.

There is a certain depth and beauty that comes alive in a triad configuration.

3. Deeper Collaboration (More than triad & Groups)

Here we move

  1. beyond the triad into a group. We can have 3 coaches who are aligned coaching the same person in turn and also along with other coaches- so that there is scope for Group Coaching and learning together. Like we do in Ark. The beauty is that as we start seeing how everything is a mirror, each person learns from each person.
  2. beyond Coaching into Healing etc.-  and multiple possibilities of learning emerge. It is important to keep it simple and see what is the appetite of the Coach and the Coachee to play and experiment. We can bring in functional expertise also.
  3. beyond an individual to the ecosystems of coach and coachee interacting more freely with each oher.

To mark the birth of Collaborative Coaching, I plan to launch a one month journey which can then become longer starting 5 Aug 2020. If interested, please contact Arun Dev by wsap (+918921769044).

(Photo huge thanks to Julien de Salaberry on Unsplash.)

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