One of the most important resources we’ve been working to create for our network of farmers here in Europe through my work at Climate Farmers is what we’ve called our coach matching service. We’ve long since seen that one of the hurdles that farmers face in their transition to regenerative agriculture is either one of two things. Either not the right specific information and support based on their unique context, or as is more common in the internet age, too much information to the point of overwhelm, inaction, and self doubt.
The truth is that having too much information fighting for space in your farm management plan is often more damaging than not knowing what to do.
For this reason we’ve put a significant effort into finding the most reputable and experienced coaches and consultants in regen ag around Europe in order to help match farmers who are looking for assistance with the right professional for them.
I also put emphasis on the title of coach there because we recognize that these transition journeys are part of a long term strategy for the health of farm ecosystems, businesses, and the health of the people involved.
No matter where you are in your own journey it can be helpful to receive some dedicated support and assistance from someone with an outside perspective and experience in your challenges to get you over the hurdles in your way to break through to the next level.
At the same time, this represents a paradigm shift in the conventional attitude. Many farmers are used to receiving advice from consultants and “experts” who give calculations and recommendations which are to be followed precisely. Coaching relationships on the other hand assume that farmers and land managers know their land and businesses better than anyone and only need some guidance, new ideas, and structure to reach their own potential and that of their farm ecologies.
For that reason I reached out to one of the most prominent voices in this space, Nicole Masters, who is also a trainer of farm coaches to help me better understand the value of coaching relationships and journeys.
Though Nicole has been on this show a few times now, we’ve mostly explored the more technical details of water management and soil science, but in this episode we’ll look at her perspective on the work she does with growers directly as well as the programs she’s created for the professionals who are guiding farmers on their transition journeys.
Nicole talks about the paradigm shift in coaching that needs to accompany a paradigm shift in land management as well as how it can be approached from both sides. From the coaching side we talk about the abilities and characteristics that make for an effective coach. From the farmers’ side we discuss how they can prepare themselves for a successful coaching relationship as well as how to assess a potential coach to see if they’d be a good fit for them.