Arrival Education’s CAUSE Coaching model explained: Part One

Arrival Education News, Coaching Skills

As we mentioned in our first piece in this series, we developed our CAUSE coaching model after trialing many of the leading models out there, such as GROW, FUEL and ASPIRE.

What we found was the models didn’t have all the elements we needed to help the socially and ethnically diverse talent we were working with, transition through some very challenging life situations.

Read more: Coaching Programmes

Similar to GROW, FUEL and ASPIRE, CAUSE does include important elements such as asking, listening and exploring new actions, but there are a couple of major differences; differences which we found crucial in enabling high impact coaching conversations between people from very different backgrounds, ages, cultures and life experiences.

As with all coaching models, CAUSE is not an exact recipe. That being said, our model’s principles have been proven to work time and time again, and most importantly, they have helped inexperienced ‘coaches’ quickly gain the confidence and skills necessary to create authentic and open coaching relationship.

There are lots of articles that define coaching and the value it brings to organisations, especially those seeking to become more inclusive and diverse. At Arrival Education, we see coaching as a way to enable ‘another’ to have insights, or ‘Aha moments, that help them identify and take actions and develop the behaviours needed to produce the results they want.

Alongside CAUSE, we teach our coaching programme participants some key exercises that they can complete with their coachee. We will be sharing these later in the summer.

In this article, we will focus on the first part of the CAUSE model: C – CARE, COMMIT, CONNECT.

Building Trust

Having a productive coaching relationship only happens if there is trust. Without trust, the coachee is likely to be guarded, and wary of any attempts from someone in a coaching role to ask questions. If trust isn’t gained, a coachee will simply give superficial answers which will lead to no real change and can lead to a very awkward conversation.

Trust between strangers is something that can be created more easily when both parties feel they are able to relate, in whatever capacity – values, behaviours, gender, TV shows, language, sexual orientation, interests, politics etc. The positive impact of finding out that we have things in common is hardwired in humans, and it has a huge effect on us letting our guard down.

“Oh, you do think that too…phew, it is safe to be myself with you.”

So how do you create trust when at a surface, or in fact, at a deeper much level, you are very different from the person you are coaching? Well, it’s up to the Coach to take the lead.

We must remember that in a coaching relationship the coachee has to do something extremely brave – they have to voice their ideas, feelings, concerns, and insights. This is even harder if the person doing the coaching is in a position of influence (such as a manager) or if the coachee perceives themselves to be very different to the coach. If the coachee is afraid of voicing their ideas, because they fear being judged or undermined, they simply won’t say what they are really thinking, which can make the coaching relationship a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

The coach’s role is to make sure that the coachee feels safe enough to articulate any thought or idea. If a coachee feels that they have to self-censor the coaching will be limited in its impact.

Building trust between people who are different runs throughout the CAUSE coaching model. It isn’t an action that can just be ‘completed’. It’s a process, always ebbing and flowing.

The ‘C’ part of the CAUSE coaching model is where the trust building begins.


The coachee has to know that the coach cares. If coaching is just a tick box exercise, or worse, a leader or manager is using a coaching style to get someone to do something they want, then the coachee will simply not engage.

So, how do you show someone you care? Most of it is just basic good manners. Ask them about themselves. Find out what excites them. Be interested. Give them space to talk about themselves. Listen, don’t talk over them. Don’t dominate the conversation and remember to ask them about it next time you speak.

Always find out what has been going on since you last spoke. Build this time into your conversations. And if between conversations, you see something that makes you think of them – something they shared about something they were doing/ interested in – let them know. This isn’t optional or even a ‘nice-to-do’, it is critical in terms of building an effective coaching relationship. Ahead of any coaching conversation let them know how much you are looking forward to speaking to them and after any conversation thank them and maybe summarise the main points from the conversation. Check in between any formal sessions/ meetings to see how they are doing.


At the beginning of any coaching relationship, we give coaching pairs the chance to make some commitments to each other. It’s important to stick to them! If the coach feels that they are being broken, they need to bring it up.

“I just want to check in with you – when we started working together we made the following commitments to each other…are those still the right ones?”

As a coach, you can demonstrate a lot about how much you care by sticking to the agreements you made. Yes, sometimes agreements need to be revised, but it’s important to have a conversation about that with your coachee.


We encourage our coaches to share a little about how life is going for them when catching up with their coachee. Obviously, we can’t spend too much time talking about ourselves, however, in talking a little about what is and what is not working in your own life, you will lead the way in terms of being honest and open.

It’s rare to receive immediate openness and full trust from your coachee. However, if you are consistent in these behaviours you will create the foundations for trust to be built.

You can read about the next element of the CAUSE coaching model, A: Ask and Acknowledge, here.

Would your company benefit from taking part in our inclusive coaching programme?

Arrival Education works with leading organisations to help unlock the power of difference. Our leading coaching programmes are just one of the ways in which we do this. If you would like more information about how your organisation could benefit from working with us, please get in touch using the form below.

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