In the Professional Coaching Diploma Program the most frequent feedback our students get from us is to inquire the vision in the coaching session.
Coaching follows client’s agenda. The client brings an agenda, an important goal to the session. A very new coach tends to take the session goal as it is and start coaching. A more experienced coach tends to inquire about the SMARTness (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) of the goal and then start coaching, a wise coach always explores the vision before setting the goal.
Why is exploring the vision important?
An important thing to know about humans is that we are motivated through our emotions. We are intellectual animals, yes. But we first get convinced through our emotions and later justify our decision with our thoughts.
If you want to make any long lasting change for yourself, you need to activate your emotions. If you want to support your coachee to make the change she wants, you support your coachee to activate the emotions.
Types of emotions
- The “negative” emotions: fear, shame, anger etc.
- The “positive” emotions: joy, compassion, hope etc.
The negative emotions are there to help humans survive and stay alive. These are stress emotions which cause the release of stress hormones, which make changes in our body such as rushing blood to the places in our body that are vital for our survival and shutting down everything else. We lose our capacity to be creative, empathetic, compassionate.
The positive emotions on the other hand are there to remind us what to have more of. When we have these emotions, happiness hormones are released which make us more receptive to people and changes around us, more present, more creative, more loving and compassionate. We are better communicators too.
How does this relate to coaching?
The session goal the client brings is usually a problem they want to solve. They are in the “problem” mindset which creates stress. It involves negative emotions which create a state as described above that is not very resourceful and productive in coaching. The capacity to be spontaneous, to be loving, to be creative, to sense, to see is limited. It is more difficult to find new point of views and be motivated to change.
Whereas if the coach explores the vision, helps the coachee to create vivid images for herself that creates positive emotions of hope, excitement and joy, she will easily access her bigger resources: She will be in her maximum creativity, she will be using all her senses fully, she will be communicating at her best and she will be seeing her strengths and her resources easily. She will be more playful, courageous to take a step to experiment.
How to use vision in the coaching session?
Next time when the coachee comes with a session goal ask her “Imagine you have solved the problem, you have achieved what you want to achieve, and all the other things after that How will your life be? Who will you be?.. Let her imagine, let her think of all the things that she wants to have in her life. Some clients might not feel comfortable imagining the future as it is something they rarely or never do and new things can be uncomfortable. Ask you client to stay a bit longer there. Continue asking for details. Ask her about how she feels. Share with her how you observe her and how you feel she feels. Now from that point ask her what you can do in this session to come closer to this vision? And throughout the session and all the future sessions connect her to that vision and support her to use the power of hope and joy.
Isil Uysal Calvelli, ACC
Co-founder and Trainer of BeCoach Academy
P.S. This blog article was inspired by the The Science of Coaching Webinar of Richard Boyatzis at the WBECS Pre-Summit
P.P.S. If you’d like to learn coaching, join our Professional Coaching Diploma Programme.