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Image by Markus Spiske

Containers for growth


Creating free and safe space

Containers for Growth is a series of 4 two-hour workshops for coaches.

Together, we will explore a variety of metaphors and models. We will learn what constitutes a supportive environment – a trustworthy base from which the client feels safe to explore possibilities and design actions. Through engaging our imaginations, intellects and intuitive knowing, we’ll grow in self-awareness and gain a greater understanding of the potential power that safe and free space can offer our clients. We will consider how use of story (myth) and archetypes can evoke awareness in ourselves, supporting us to embody the coaching mindset. From here, we’ll consider how to ask powerful questions that support the client to reframe to move them beyond their current thinking. Additionally, the series offers optional meditation practices to support coaches and clients to be mentally and emotionally prepared for their coaching sessions. 


8 hours of live online learning  |  English |  Zoom | This material is being piloted for ICF accreditation

Series Aim:

To provide ongoing learning opportunities for those who wish to develop their coaching practice in creating safe and supportive environments, that allow their clients freedom to reflect and discover new things about themselves and begin to take action to reshape their lives. Sessions are supported by keeping a reflective log as homework.


Series Objectives 

  • Learn how careful planning and structuring of sessions cultivates trust and safety for our clients. 

  • Engage with metaphor to broaden our understanding of what safe space can offer.

  • Incorporate elements from the Adult’s Secure Base Model into our coaching practice to support the client’s exploration.   

  • Develop self-awareness and embody the coaching mindset through exploration of the way tension is held in the physical body, the Healer Archetype and metaphor of the “heart” as inspired by indigenous wisdom.

  • Consider how our learning can be used to evoke greater awareness in our clients.


Series Outline:

As coaches, we aim to effectively create a container - to hold safe space for our client(s), in which they may freely reflect, discover new things about themselves and consider how to act from their newfound authenticity. 

Session 1: Introductions

Annie will say a little about her background and experiences that have influenced the development of this course and explain why and how she increasingly incorporates right-brain activities like metaphor, symbol, imagination and silence, alongside more linear, concrete left-brain models into her workshops. Then we will consider how metaphor and history can enrich our thinking as we plan the location and timing of the sessions we offer. From here, Annie will introduce “Welcome All”- a key practice for our sessions together, that encourages us to be open to new ideas and learning. The session will end with an optional ~5-minute meditation that can be used by coaches to prepare for the session mentally and emotionally. 


Session 2: Safe Space as “Home”

Considering the need for our clients to feel emotionally safe and contained (held) during our work with them, in Session 2, we will look at the concept of “home” from two perspectives. Firstly, we will consider a Jungian description of home as a place to revivify creativity. Secondly, Annie will introduce her adaptation of the Adult’s Secure Base model. We will consider how our clients experience can be enhanced by providing a sense of “home”, as a place for creativity to flourish and as secure base from which our clients feel encouraged and supported to explore their inner and outer worlds during coaching conversations.


Session 3: The Adult’s Secure Base

Building on the last session, in Session 3, we will take a deep dive into the 5 elements of the Adult’s Secure Base - Availability, Sensitivity, Acceptance, Encouragement and Non-Interference – and consider how coaching can provide optimal conditions from which the client can “explore” confidently. 


Session 4: Safe Space Brings Healing

As a coach, we have a responsibility to our clients to know the state of our own being, so that we may contain and not project any of our own “unhealth” onto them. In Session 4 we will learn how to check and be aware of the condition of our hearts as inspired by indigenous wisdom. We will consider the use of archetypes as guides for personal development and review 8 concepts of healing, as offered by the healer archetype. By recognising the shadow aspect of the healer archetype in ourselves, we can claim the Good News! That behind the shadow, the positive aspects of the archetype are waiting to be revealed. As we develop awareness of the condition of our hearts, and claim our hidden attributes, the healing qualities of the space we hold for our clients will be enhanced.


ICF Core Competencies covered:

  • To provide ongoing learning and development opportunities to encourage a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centred (i.e., a “Coaching Mindset”) (Core Competency 2)

  • Provide opportunities to develop reflective practice. (Core Competency 2)

  • Support the development of self-awareness and intuition. (Core Competency 2)

  • Describe how to prepare for a session mentally and emotionally. (Core Competency 2)

  • Consider the client within their context (Core Competency 4)

  • Develops an ongoing reflective practice (Core Competency 4)

  • Use metaphor as a powerful tool for creating and holding safe and free space. (Core Competency 7)

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