It is so cool to have a dream and vision in life. And to go step by step the direction you want to go. No rush. You will get there if you follow the direction. I feel like I can say these words. Some years ago I started using photography that is my passion in my professional coaching practice. And I had the vision to share and teach about it to other professionals from all over the world. To connect and belong professionally regardless of nationality, country or culture. And I’m doing it. Last Thursday, on July 9th I made something really big. I hosted a large group of wonderful people from 23 countries at the “Photography in Coaching” webinar.
It was very moving to see all of us from so different places and cultures connecting, sharing and exchanging.
“When I read the list with so different countries, I start to cry…” – wrote one woman.
Yes. It was really special, inspiring, energizing. And I felt that my dream is coming true. People connected from Brasil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA.
I’m grateful to all the people who joined the event and co-created it with me.
Moreover, it made me think that one of the strongest needs that we have as humans and which drives us through our lives, is to belong, connect, be together. In the times of isolation, this need prompted us to connect regardless of obstacles like closed borders, no flights or public places open, mental barriers to show up online. We are so creative, adaptive, and open.
May those strengths help us to build an accepting and protecting place for all the creatures on our planet. That’s my dream.
I’m very excited and happy to invite you for a free webinar on Photography in Coaching. 🚀Date and time: 9 July, at 4 pm CEST time. Agenda: 🔴 What it is really “photography in coaching” 🔴 A unique value created by clients’ photographs in coaching 🔴 Examples of techniques with clients’ photos in coaching 🔴 Examples from my real-life practice
😀 About me: I’m Dorota Do Raniszewska 😀. I’m an Accredited Coach and Mentor – EMCC Senior Practitioner. I’ve been developing my practice of photography in personal growth since more than 10 years already and my experience includes coaching, team facilitation, personal growth programs, teacher education. My course on photography in coaching is approved by the ICF for 18.5 CEE. I’m the author of a unique book in this field “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey”, available on Amazon.
Hope to see you on 9 July with full energy for this inspiring meeting 👌, Dorota Raniszewska
Dears, photography is a way to calm yourself and return to a state of internal harmony by focusing your mind on observing the world around you, creating images, framing, moving … Notice that when you are busy taking pictures, you don’t think about the future. Your mind is busy and you are now and here. So take a walk outside or inside, move slowly and mindfully, stop here and there, breath, enjoy the sunshine or the rain, light and shadows, create, feel gratitude for the moment. Positive emotions and the state of flow are healing. The level of cortisol drops down while doing art.
Wishing you all the best! Dorota Raniszewska – Coach
“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).
✨Imagine a client comes to you and sais: I can’t put it in the right words but since you use photography in coaching, I took a few pictures after our last session to show how I progressed. I’m sure you will understand. This happened to me yesterday! ☺️ I was very impressed by what she showed to me. And I decided to write about it because it can be inspiring to you. At the end of our session three weeks ago, I suggested to my client to start observing time. Her life challenge is to be able to pause, to stop feeling constantly on a hurry. Yesterday, she came to the session and first, she opened her coaching diary (I usually ask my clients to have a coaching diary during the process). I saw several photos inside, that represented plants and bread. What is on these photos? – I asked. By the way, this is an example of a good coaching question about a client’s photo. “I planted flowers at home and baked bread.” “What was important in it for you?” – I asked another question. “I always dreamed about having flowers at home but never had time for it. The same about the bread. – there was a time, I used to make my own bread but with time, I forgot about it. In the last weeks, I observed flowers and took the time to bake my own bread.” “How do you feel about it now?” – I asked again. “I have satisfaction. And I feel joy and calm.” I hope you will find it useful and inspiring about using photos in coaching! Do Raniszewska
Hello😀! It is Sunday morning in Warsaw where I am now. Let’s open this day with a beautiful quote from Aaron Siskind, an American photographer who said: “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
I have to tell you – it is a very true sentence! I often witness how photos remind us, and my clients about things we forgot, but once we see them right in front of our eyes, memories come back! And we can return to our most important moments.✨
And how about you – do you keep photos you made time ago? If yes, why keeping photos is important to you?
Today, I offered myself a moment of pause and watched the photos I’ve taken this year. These were the photos from my holiday and work, showing unforgettable moments with my son, friends, places that inspired me. I posed myself a question: What are the most precious photos of this year? I chose five which you can see below. Then, I asked myself another question – Which was the most important picture of this year and why? Ane what is important to me in this photo?
The most important photo is the one with my son. I took it in Summer when we went on a one day trip together to a beautiful nature reserve that he loves very much. I saw him outside, far from home and city where we live. I saw how he was able to navigate in nature, take decisions, be fully engaged. I saw that he became an adult. I was fascinated by how wonderful he looked, strong, beautiful. And I realise how tiny I am on his side, his mother. I still keep the image of his little body when he was born in my heart. The picture is now on my desk, and I watch it every moment with love. This is the most important picture of the year for me.
“The image is an essential element of how I experience the world. From birth onwards, I see and observe the world. When a child is as young as one year, one-and-a-half, two, he or she begins to draw, using drawing as a form of expression. Creating. Composing answers using lines, circles, triangles, tangled lines. Painting his or her own thoughts, reactions, observations. Parents show their children picture books or family albums. They take pictures of the child on occasions both minor and major, the fleeting highs of family life, each new step the child takes, accomplishments, amusing situations. This is how memories are made. Until the day this child, sitting with his friends from school or with his or her own children, takes out an album, opens up a folder of pictures on a computer and… begins to remember a multitude of little stories and events. And a legend is born… And becomes someone. Someone with a history. A prankster. The hero of a certain tale. An album is a form of proof. And the moment any self-doubt begins to set in, these photographs are a reminder of what that he lived through, what was created in the past and the path that was travelled. Possibly, it can play a part in raising someone up after a fall or to make the decision to change one’s life. Or, simply, to share this valuable souvenir with one’s grandchildren.” – this is an excerpt from my book ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing, and education. Notes from a personal journeythat you can find on Amazon.com
I don’t want to put the picture with my son on my blog because it is too personal. Besides, it is an image of him, with his face and body so I decided to not to publish it publically. You can see the other five most important photos, however. Each of them tells a story of a trip or inspiration. Each of them is a record of my life and my values.
And you? What is your most important photo of the year? Choose and take a moment to reflect on why it is so valuable. Stay open to surprises!
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.
Is your professional GOAL to always become A BETTER COACH?
What creative tools and techniques do you use to make the coaching stand out as memorable? What results are possible when you introduce new stimuli into your work? How do you break the ice, get out of a rut, shift perspective and create aha moments?
Look, PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE LANGUAGE OF TODAY. The human brain is engaged by visuals. Research shows that when our brain detects images, dopamine is produced which increases interest and engagement. And photos make it easier for people to communicate and to express thoughts in a free, non-judgmental way. Simply, because it is easier to say something about what you see than about what you can’t see YET. And because they provide metaphors. Photos catalyze coaching communication. But there is another important fact about photos in coaching: In coaching, clients’ snapshots can serve as records of clients’ resources and as ways to better understand the self. Ever since personal camera became widely available, people used it to create records of themselves and their lives in photographs. Personal photographs mirror, materialize and document the experiences of human life: biography, relationships, dreams, accomplishments.
An OPTION that you have to become a better coach is to use photo-based tools and techniques during the coaching sessions.
I’ve been using photos and clients’ snapshots for a couple of years already and I know that they are very helpful in enhancing self-reflection and deeper insight, finding new perspectives, giving the voice to intuition, the raise of emotions and lead to engagement, aha moments.
In 2016, I have designed a 3-day course for coaches and supervisors about using photography in coaching and personal development. I’ve been offering this course since then in Poland, my home country, and there are already hundreds of coaches how benefited learnt from me. Also, in 2019 I published on Amazon my BOOK entitled ‘ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey’. The book is in English and you can get your copy on Amazon.com.
Below are some feedback quotes from the participants from Europe:
High quality, variety of topics, profound, authentic, practical. It enlarged and deepened my insights on a personal and professional level. Powerful. Very good balance between theory and practice. Training location like home. Food very healthy, made with love. I would absolutely recommend to anyone who wants to expand their perspectives and deepen their insights. This training is a gift, personally and professionally. Dorota is a very special woman – warm, creative, intelligent, so much in contact with herself. I’m inspired by her as a person. Nikole Woltmann, Germany
Very good variety of themes, good balance of input and practice. Very convenient. Lot’s of material that is perfect for further studies. Very comfortable location. Delicious food. Yes, yes, yes. Great workshop, lots of learnings and wonderful atmosphere. One of the best workshops I ever attended. Dorota is a great inspiration and very empathetic. Sina Niemeyer, Germany
Very dense, a lot, great ideas and strategies. Beautifully designed. Trustful, non-judgmental atmosphere. Dorota does her work absolutely great and fantastic. Location perfect!!! Even if you do not want to become a coach, it’s a great learning experience not only for you professionally but also for your private life and relationships. Kelly Snoeck, Belgium
Dorota Raniszewska, is a life and motivation coach who made her mission to inspire people to fulfil their dreams and dare to self-realize. She developed her coaching practice with the use of photography and clients’ personal snapshots. She teaches coaches and supervisors the use of photos in coaching. In 2019 she published on Amazon her book entitled ‘ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey’. She is also a certified Points of You® Trainer and a licensed Motivational Maps™ consultant. She graduated from Professional Coaching at Kozminski University in Warsaw.