Let me invite to a recent talk with Bara Belova from the Czech Republic. Bara is a coach and mentor, and a yoga teacher. She took part in the ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS – Photography in Coaching course in August, 2020. I asked Bara about what fascinates her in photography and how it helps her to work with people in coaching. She shared many inspiring ideas! She also shared with generosity her insights about the course.
I’m grateful for this talk. I’m happy that I can share it with you.
Some inspiring ideas from Bara:
What fascinates me in photography is an immediate connection. Connection to the subconscious. Photography works like GPS for the mind. It allows you to go where it is safe to be. The picture that has so many things, so many stories behind. When I was preparing for the course, I looked at photo albums at home and it was funny to see how quickly I can remember things when I look at old photos. “O! gosh! I have this one. I remember it!” …
I’m a very visual person. I need to see things!
Photos also give you the time to reflect, to think. When a picture is stored in the mind, sometimes, people connect dots after a couple of weeks.
Whenever it is the right time, you connect to the right people and you take the journey. My personal situation brought me to your course right at this moment of time.
Bara joined the Polish taught edition as she can understand Polish very well. We spoke Polish and English during the course. And “we had photography – a connecting language”.
What was also great is the preparation for the course was important: I could answer many of my questions while I was preparing for the course.
A lot of beautiful processes. Great talks.
The answers are just around us. We don’t know. But our subconscious knows that already.
Dears, that you for reading this post and watching the video. Stay inspired. Listen to your inner voice, intuition, wisdom, and soul. Namaste! Dorota
😀 I’m happy about these three days spent together with you and your photos. For several years, in the last week of August, I have traditionally conducted the course on photography in coaching “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS”. It was a very inspiring time 💎 I’m thankful to you for your openness, courage, curiosity and mutual exchange 🔥
Some time ago, I followed my voice, dream, passion. I feel like I’ve come a long way with photography, and I’m still somewhere at the beginning.
One photo hides the whole story.
The Life Photo Album as a technique to work around your achievements, strenghts, supporting relationships in life and to plan next steps.
A photo as a Visual metaphor that helps to explain complex realities within us, such as feelings or emotions.
The Most Important Photo as a technique to work around your identity, values and current moment in life.
Taking photos as a technique to look for a new perspective on a defined coaching topic.
Our souvenir photo together. From the left: Olena, Marta, Joana, Marta, Bara and me, Dorota.
“I’ve run three times since the last session, I have it in the picture and it encourages me.” – one of the clients in life coaching.
How important can image and photography have for coaching if words are very important in coaching? The “Wonderful Ear” coach is the one who is present, consciously listens, hears. He hears words, breaths, sighs. He can hear silence. He listens to the customer. And he asks powerful questions.
Next to him sits a client who looks into his soul, listens to himself. The great value of coaching is that a person can listen to themselves and be heard.
But there are many pictures deep inside his soul. Because our long-term memory saves a lot of information in the form of image — and because our language uses the image as a metaphor to explain complicated or abstract concepts, feelings and emotions, the client often sees images when he thinks and looks for answers.
For example, a coach asks: Who are you, then? And the client replies that he floats like a bird on the wings of freedom, or that he boldly follows his path.
And just like the questions, the echo, the expressed feelings of the coach stimulate the client’s thinking, so do the photographs provide material for the thinking process. When I use clients’ personal photos in coaching, they work on their illustrated resources, materialized memories.
The visual channel of perception and communication is correlated with the need for tangible facts to recognize that I achieve something, that something really happened, or that I am right. It also allows you to better explain complex issues, because it reflects the relationship between their elements.
During the coaching session, the client can listen to himself and — thanks to photographs — he can see images illustrating his thoughts and feelings.
What does his independence, closeness or courage look like, for example? Contemplating a photo and telling about it holds a person in deepening insight and broadening perspective. This develops the inner feelings of the topic and increases the chance to get emotionally closer to your desire.
What’s more, when a client finds the effect of their own aspirations in a photo during a session, it means for the brain that the implementation is already happening. It is not only in the imagination, but also in current experience. In this way, the use of photography strengthens the motivation to act.
Using photographs in coaching, I ask questions to them. Powerful questions for photos, such as:
What is important in this picture?
To make this picture perfect, what will you change on it?
I will give an example of one of the last sessions with the client.
The goal of the session was to believe in yourself. It was in a specific context. She stated that at the beginning of the session she believes in herself at 50%, and she would like to believe in herself at 70% as a result of the session.
At some point, as she has already mentioned a number of things that she knows and believes about, such as being hard-working and systematic, I suggested that she look at her profile picture:
What is important to you in this photo? I asked.
She said that what is important in this photo is that she took it herself when she wanted to, and that in this photo she is in a car that she drives. This was not visible, but it was the most important thing. Then we touched the point, which was independence. And this independence, in which she had no faith, was already in the picture, she could tell about it, set an example when she experiences it. She realized this, though at first in disbelief. Tears appeared in her eyes. We talked about the values she wants to live and the goal she pursues.
Profile pictures are placed quite consciously, and behind each such picture is a decision, something we know about ourselves, feel or want to be present. That is why they are a great source of knowledge about ourselves: what we want, how we want to live, what is important to us, who we want to be. They are excellent in career coaching or leadership. The inspiring thing is that in the profile picture we see something tangible about ourselves. And this can be a big find. A portrait is an invitation to become what we want to be.
Customers’ own photos — those from their lives, as well as portrait and profile pictures — are useful in working on identity, authenticity, public, hidden and authentic self, life change and development direction. They let you realize your strengths, powers, resources and achievements. “I can see how much I have already achieved and that I am heading in a specific direction. It’s encouraging. ” – words of a client with whom I recently worked on the album of life.
What is important about taking pictures? That we store or destroy them? We show them to children, send them to family from holidays? … What is important in that we take a selfie on a mountain top or on the ocean shore? What’s important is that our LinkedIn profile “must” have a “good” profile picture? What is important about taking hundreds of photos of our newborn babies?
I think taking pictures is a largely modern way to talk about your life, and that’s what we just need. Through a moment to stop the moment. Once the chroniclers wrote the chronicles. Famous figures write down memories and diaries. And we all photograph every day.
I think that as long as photography accompanies people in everyday life, it makes sense to use it in development and coaching processes. Because there are our moments of reflection, sensitivity, and important information.
That’s why I support multi-session coaching processes by taking photos and writing a coaching journal. And that’s why I would like to mention the pictures that are created between sessions when the client is actively experimenting with the change.
One of the clients wanted to control her constant haste. The rush she had in her head still made her feel tense and it was difficult for her to focus on more demanding activities. I suggested that she watch the time. It was one of her tasks between sessions. I didn’t say how to do it, she was just supposed to watch time.
For the next session she brought photos in which there was sourdough for bread and plants in a pot. To watch the time, she planted flowers and bred sourdough. She photographed the effects of her work and stuck the photos into a coaching journal. I was really delighted and touched by the work she did.
I asked what she had learned through this. She said that now she knows that she can stop and accomplish something in the long run – decide, focus on it and be consistent. In that she took pictures, I can see her commitment, dedication and celebration. And something more. There is something poetic about it because photography stops time. And she just caught it, stopped it, watching her.
“Do not run too fast through life, because the best things happen to us when we least expect them.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Dorota Raniszewska, firstname.lastname@example.org, photo-in-coaching.com, coach, author of the book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS” available on Amazon.com
One of the training participants is Lars Neumann. Lars is a photographer and he works on personality in the portrait. Below I shared the link to some of his works: https://www.mylightphoto.de/mylightgallery/. Lars noticed that taking someone’s portrait is not only about photography and art but also the interpersonal development for both, the photographer and the person being photographed. Being a coach, I can add that the portrait and especially, a self-portrait is a very powerful technique in Photography in Coaching. It is especially useful in working on one’s values, identity and vision of the future. In my book I wrote that: “The portrait is an age-old topic of discussion. We’ve all had our portrait taken, in one way or another. Kings, queens, aristocrats and celebrities have all had their portrait done, like a painting or a photograph. To have one’s portrait taken often presupposes that it will be charismatic, representing a paragon or idealized vision of oneself. A person settled in their environment, within their role of wife, mother, artist, soldier or dancer. This is where I’d like to propose a different perspective on portraiture. In other words, a portrait that is a reflection of the self and helps a person understand him or herself. A portrait as a medium that allows us to look at ourselves through someone else’s eyes.” – “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education, Notes from a personal journey.” (Kindle edition, Amazon.com).
In October I am on a morning walk in the park every day. I take pictures of trees. The tree gives a sense of rest and security. It inspires me. It symbolizes life, strength, persistence and family. And the silhouettes of trees are like people. They express emotions. This leaning ‘feels’ differently than the soaring, which reaches the sky. Old massive oak raises other sensations and snow-white, slender birch the other. You can tell about yourself through photographs of trees. Man is like a tree, ingrown to the ground and crowned towards the sky. The more grounded it is, the higher it grows. I need roots – values to make the right decisions. I need a trunk – a fracture proof spine. And the entire network of relationships – the branches by which it exists. We are a combination of everything we receive from others and give to others.
ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS is a unique book on using photography in coaching and personal development.
The book received beautiful reviews from well-known and appreciated Gurus in the personal development, coaching and therapy world: Judy Weiser, Tammie Plouffe, Laurie Lawson, Julija Slaby, Inga Bielińska, Lidia Czarkowska. A subject matter review on PhotoTherapy Techniques was done by Judy Weiser, a world authority in the field. The translation has been done by Agnes Monod-Gayraud, a great writer and translator. The cover was designed by Ewa Stępien-Wyrod, an extraordinary graphic designer. Editing and production of the book for Kindle were done by Jacek Szczepanski, a true eagle-eye, a great programmer, my best Friend ever. The marketing part of the launch was done together with Katarzyna Manios, a marketing genius.
I’m being in grace and gratitude to all of those who made it happen with me, for me, for YOU!
Here you can read more about this book and see recommendations: LET’S SEE 🙂