😀 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, email@example.com, photo-in-coaching.com, coach, author of the book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS” available on Amazon.com