Image of a dry tree seen in water

At Change Elemental, we believe that growth and change involve a necessary cycle of learning and unlearning, of shaping and reshaping, of giving and receiving. We partner with our clients on this transformational journey towards love, dignity, and justice.

“The success of any intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.”

William O’Brien

Change Elemental’s Approach to Coaching

At Change Elemental, we believe individual and group learning and growth is critical to healthy and liberatory relationships, institutions, and systems. Coaching has the potential to deepen individual and group awareness and understanding of our beliefs and patterns of behavior in order to heal and create change in alignment with our values, purpose, and vision for the world. Individual and group transformation changes our organizations, networks, and movements as it supports us to embrace our interdependence, move towards cultures of shared power, and co-create systems of love, dignity, and justice.

Coaching is designed to support people and groups of people in exploring and creating movement on issues that are present and alive for them. Issues that might spark a desire for coaching could include but are not limited to:

  • leadership development
  • planning and life balance 
  • deepening equity with a focus on racial equity
  • relationships
  • spiritual discovery or growth
  • career changes or shifts

Together, coach and client(s) explore these issues and co-design structures that will support learning and growth to achieve goals. Guided by these structures and goals within each coaching partnership, our coaching approach is rooted in deep listening, curiosity, creativity, joy, healing, trust in people’s wisdom, and the elements of transformation. Clients and teams bring an openness to growth and discovery, commitment, and a willingness to try out new ways of being and doing. Coaching sessions typically address some combination of emergent leadership and management issues the person is currently dealing with and linking those to longer-term coaching coals. 

Coaching partnerships can foster a deeper connection to self and our interdependence with others: 

  • Inviting connection to our bodies and emotions to understand needs and values as well as to have a greater awareness of our reactions so that we can be mindful and choiceful about what we do and how we do it. See this blog from coach Alison Lin for an example of how coaches might bring connection to body into practice.
  • Recognizing how our historical and current context influences us (eg. our identities – gender, race, culture).
  • Deepening awareness by tapping into the wisdom of ancestors, community, and lived experience as well as our artistic and creative ways of making meaning, such as through metaphor or holding new perspectives.
  • Weaving in your own practices that connect you to your own humanity and that of others, and bring you joy and replenishment. 
  • Creating pathways to heal and open up new or previously blocked possibilities.

Coaching partnerships can support growing liberating practices for self and systems: 

  • Clarifying what aligned action is needed for you, rooted in your values, purpose, vision, and awareness of self. 
  • Navigating complexity, chaos, and working in emergence in ways that embrace interdependence and both imagining and living in our vision for the future. See this article by Associate Consultant, and former CoDirector, Susan Misra and Ana Polanco about emergent coaching for individuals and teams. 
  • Exploring how systems of oppression and white supremacy culture are showing up in beliefs, behaviors, and patterns. Continually guided by our relationship agreements and co-designed structures, we work to interrupt and shift those patterns.
  • Making meaning of the frequent emotional, psychological, and physiological tensions and openings associated with shifting patterns of behavior or making change rooted in your values.
  • Incorporating practices of celebration and loving accountability about the changes you are making.

Through this work, people are able to heal and step more fully into themselves with joy, authenticity, and wholeness. These individual shifts can create shifts in relationships as well as in organizational culture.

While our team brings this overall approach to each of our coaching engagements, our individual approaches will differ based on our style, training, intuition, and other practices we bring into coaching. We recommend you talk with 2-3 coaches to get a sense of our different approaches and see who you connect with. To read more about Change Elemental coaches, see more about our Core Team here. In addition to our Core Team, we also coordinate a pool of coaches whose approaches are aligned and will also be unique given their own training, intuition, and practices. If you are interested in learning more about these coaches, let us know.


  • Individual leadership coaching, including equity-focused coaching
    • This can include working with two coaches who bring different skills, such as HR systems, transformational leadership, and/or group dynamics
  • Group and team coaching  
  • Create peer coaching systems and practices
  • Facilitating affinity groups


Our approach has been informed by many teachers, approaches, and lineages. Here are a few:

  • Sarah Jawaid and Damon Azali-Rojas of Coaching for Healing Justice and Liberation.
  • The many coaches formerly of Leadership That Works including Belma Gonzáles, Johnny Mazon-Santos, Dewey Schott, and Kim Fowler.
  • Coaches Catherine Fitzgerald and David Coleman. 
  • And the trees, ancestors, mountains, bodies of water, and other beings that have informed our practices