It’s a while since I introduced a new guidance or coaching model. Here is one I came across fairly recently. It appeals to me because it is quite simple and has a strong metaphorical visual image which makes it easy to remember.
The model was developed by Positive Acorn a coaching consultancy spearheaded by Robert Biswas-Diener (author of a number of books on positive psychology and self-styled ‘Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology’ (perhaps he has a snake phobia). The main purpose of the model seems to be to give a structured way of thinking about factors related to individual growth and development.
Unsurprisingly for a model developed within the discipline of positive psychology coaching, the idea of strengths is pretty central. The various components of the model are:
- Earth = Supporting Resources. These are the things which nourish you and provide for your fundamental needs. This could include important relationships, particular experiences or achievements, physical health and fitness, opportunities for learning, etc.
- Roots = Values. These are the beliefs and ideals that make you who you are, the important principles you live by. These could include: honesty, kindness, respect, hard work, novelty, etc. The more closely connected your Values and your Supporting Resources, the more nourishment you will receive.
- Trunk = Strengths. This represents the activities and behaviours that you are naturally good at and enjoy engaging with. They are the methods by which you activate your Values. These could include: creativity, courage, problem-solving, etc.
- Branches = Life Domains. These are the various arenas in which you use your Strengths. This could include: health, family, work, leisure, etc. Each of the main limbs may have a number of sub-branches sprouting from it. At different points in your life, different branches will have particular significance.
- Leaves = Developments. These are the outcomes of your activities in the various Life Domains — the fruits and nuts of your labours.
In the free activity sheet that goes with this model (pdf), they ask a number of interesting questions to prompt thoughts about growth.