Coaching in Communities: Observations for India
By Leslie Brown with Jagruti Gala
Aura Eagle Group
In my recent travels to Mumbai and Baroda, I had the opportunity to observe innovative coaching happening in various communities, including a learning center in Baroda, called Aura (www.auraplace.com). Aura was started in 2007, by Leadership that Works’ faculty member Jagruti Gala, who saw a need for supporting young people across all economic backgrounds in her city. The core areas of the work are to impact the way young people create, communicate and connect.
After her graduation from Coaching for Transformation in 2012, Jagruti’s vision of success was fueled by the idea that coaching could play a major role to create this impact. She has since trained her entire team on the coaching approach, and they have begun to integrate in all areas of their work. During my visit, I had the opportunity to observe three groups that are all supported by the Aura team.
Group 1: Eagle Group
The Eagle Group is made up of children between the ages of 18 months and 8 years old. These children come from the poorest socioeconomic class and have been historically overlooked for educational opportunities. Using storytelling and drawing strategies, these young people are embarking on a journey that is supporting them to critically think and build voice. The staff uses coaching techniques including asking empowering questions and future self as two core strategies that are introducing a new way of thinking and a new way of life. The issues that are covered by this group include but are not limited to health, hygiene and happiness.
Group 2: Bridge Group
The Bridge Group is made up of children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. These children come from working class parents who are able to send their children to public schools. Historically, these kids have not had access to afterschool enrichment programs and Aura is helping to fill this gap. Using strategies such as homework help and community activist’s projects these kids are building confidence through action. The staff that are supporting this group are calling out their power by challenging them through play and edgy coaching. The issues that are covered include but are not limited to giving back, confidence building, empathy and future self.
|Aura Bridge Group||Aura Intergenerational Learning Community|
Group 3: Intergenerational Learning Community
The intergenerational learning community is comprised of Aura faculty along with a mix of community members representing youth and adults. I had the opportunity to sit in on a conversation that talked about the path from youth to adulthood in India, and was wowed by the depth in which the community used coaching to approach community issues. In 60 minutes we were able to build a conscious community, uncover values, move through empowering questions, begin visioning and use coaching activities to step into our future selves. The entire discussion was supported by several coaching trained facilitators who used acknowledgement, validation and noticing to create a safe environment.
There is lots of wonderful work happening at Aura and this organization is representative of the cool and exciting things that are blooming in Coaching for Community Transformation (CCT) in India. I will continue to collect more stories of CCT work happening around the globe and will be sure to report back.
About the authors:
Leslie Brown is using her unique mix of analytical and creative skills to support next generation leaders—new and seasoned leaders who are working to design innovative systems of support for communities—to move beyond current frameworks to truly revolutionize their work.
Jagruti Gala’s central focus over the past decade has been to bring change into the world of children (new consciousness) through educational spaces and family life. She is the founder and active director of two non-profit organizations in the space of education in India.