During this workshop participants will experience the power of personal photos in building positive narratives about themselves, understanding their needs, values and the essence of their life experience, of what makes sense for them in life. In a process of a self-reflection based on “The Most Important Photo” that is facilitated with the use coaching techniques and personal photographs, life achievements, relationships and character strengths become visible and expressed. I will teach how personal photos can be used to connect to inner wisdom, a sense of meaning and build bridges between past achievements and future possibilities.
The Most Important Photo? What is it? The Most Important Photo is a photo that the client is choosing deliberately from his or her photos that are kept to remember important moments and people in life. This is a photo connects you to something meaningful in your life and the essence of who you are and what is your life experience. It can be used as a gate for reflections about someone’s values, needs, future career choices, or life changes, etc. It is generic process.
During the workshop, I will also show two examples of using active photography to support wellbeing.
The first one is a case study from a one-to-one coaching process with a client who struggled with low energy in life and blocking self-beliefs. Daily morning photography and grounding practice helped the client to regain a sense of purpose, joy and self-drive in life. It resulted in significant changes for better in life.
The second one is a project reflecting my practice of photo-walks that I offer in order to support clients in connecting to themselves, supporting habits of self-care, finding joy in life.
I hope that I will start offering this workshop soon as an open-enrollment workshop!
Photographs are the records of our life. Photos are made from light and time, but they are also made from people’s perceptions and memories.
Each photo we take has a beginning. It is an impulse from our mind as we see, feel or do something. Each photo has a unique meaning for us. It presents our achievements, relationships, dreams fulfilled. It shows what we like in the world and what inspires us. Each photo is a way to remember what we are proud of and what we create in life. While looking at our snapshots, we can talk about our motivations, values, needs and most of all, what is important for us.
There is a story behind each picture. Someone once took it. Maybe someone gave it to someone else on an occasion. Someone has kept it for some reason. Someone chose to show it to you. So, what’s so important about it?
This is the question that I ask to start a meaningful conversation when looking at a photograph.
Personal photos connect us to ourselves, our inner wisdom, what we know and learned through our lives. Using powerful coaching questions, these photos can provide unprecedented access to deep thoughts and important insights.
How did I discover the power of personal photographs in coaching?
In 2007, I started a family search project. Old family photos, portraits of people and places helped me collect information and memories about my family from relatives and friends scattered around the world. Photos helped me to connect to them. During my search, and many travels, I realized how photographs trigger long-term memories and bring the past to the present. In my work with photos I see every day how personal pictures help to start meaningful conversations. They provide us with memories and stories to tell. Once an important photo from the past lands on the table, an immediate connection is made between people, engagement is increased and very often, joy or intensity appear on people’s faces.
Through my family project, I discovered photography as a vehicle for thinking and communicating.
I remember one day when I was arranging my photos from when I was younger, a short time after I had married, and my husband entered the room. He saw my work and started telling me about his memories related to the photos lying on the floor. I was very surprised to hear that his memories and feelings about the same images were different from mine. He sat on the floor with me, and we started talking about how we remembered those moments from the past. It became clear to me that talking about old photos is a great exercise for people who need to listen to each other. It is a dialogue exercise that has transformative power. It can help people to hear and understand each other.
Working with my life and family photos was only the beginning of experiencing photography in personal development. In 2011, I started my blog on reflective photography, jerozolimskie.wordpress.com. It is a life photo-journal that I’ve been writing for 10 years which has led me to develop a practice of active photography with my clients. “One photo a day” is an example of a technique I use that supports life coaching and well-being. The idea is to go outside every morning for a walk and take one picture on a topic that is related to the client’s coaching process. It can be about seeing the positive side of life, appreciating beauty, feeling gratitude, connecting to oneself, or developing self-esteem.
All these experiences helped me to become confident about using photography as a means of communication in coaching. In the beginning, I proposed to team members to bring their own photos for ice-breaker activities. I wanted people to open up a little bit more than usual with their personal stories. Also, I wanted to create space for authenticity and appreciation of others.
When we show our personal photos to others, we show ourselves more than we do it in our everyday work. It is engaging because everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is unique. Everyone can be a “hero” for a moment. Personal photos open a gate to people’s hearts, minds and souls.
Over the years, I developed several coaching processes with photography and regularly teach them to other coaches. These include: “The Most Important Photo,” “Life Photo Album,” “Profile Photo,” “Photo Poem,” “Relationship Photo” and “Self-Portrait in the Future.”
I will be presenting one of these processes during the 27 EMCC Global Coaching, Mentoring and Supervision Conference, together with my colleague, Bara Belova, coach, mentor and manager from the Czech Republic. The title of the presentation is “Photography in Coaching. Making the Future Visible.” Here is the link to the conference: LINK
I also invite you to see us and listen to the “fireside chat interview” by the EMCC: Link to the Interview
It will be our honour to host you at our presentation. Please join us on May 12ve, at 12:45 UTC+1.
With very special thanks to my Friend, Shelley Lippman-Lewkowict, a certified professional coach, based in Montreal, Canada for reviewing and editing this article.
This was the case of Kate. Kate’s issue was that being a mother with small children and working full time as a therapist she was finding no time for herself and felt often stressed.
Following the idea of a photo-walk she went out and looked for frames that give answers to her issue. When she returned from a 15-minutes photo-walk she said: “I found a lot of answers on the way. Just from what I saw before my eyes. I saw a cup of coffee in the kitchen and thought that I can enjoy my coffee every day. Then, I went towards the window, saw the blue sky and clouds and thought that I can stop for a moment at my window and watch the sky with awe and pleasure. It is all about using small opportunities and moments to stop and sense that I’m with myself.”
It is so simple and beautiful, isn’t?
When you have a dilemma and it is hard for you to find solutions right away, go for a walk, stand at a window and just watch, listen, sense. Notice subtle signs from outside. The answers can come when you stop focusing on being confused. Stop taking “I don’t know” or “I don’t have” as an answer from yourself. When you observe the world around you, when you are open, not stuck, answers come from outside and from within.
You can use photography to become mindful. Once you formulated your question or dilemma, start looking around, observing and taking pictures that seem to give answers.
This activity combines concentration, mindful observation, thinking with ease, fun and letting go of pressure. This is when moments of insights – called “aha” moments, take place.
Written with gratitude for an inspiring example from Kate. Thank you – Kate for allowing to publish it!
I’ve been reflecting a lot about the importance of Beauty in life in recent days. I found out that Beauty offers calm, serenity. Beauty is like a healer for a mind lost in a daily hustle. When I go out to the park every day, and I’m out in nature, meeting trees and birds, being immersed in the fresh air and experiencing a perfect harmony of the surroundings, I feel almost divine. As I was touching to perfection without an effort.
Also, some of my clients brought the topic of Beauty to our sessions in the last weeks. They spoke about Beauty being important for them to feel happy in life. During a deeper reflection on personal values, Beauty appeared as supporting a sense of meaning in life.
Beauty is connected to our spirituality, transcendence, ability to feel connected to the universe and bigger meaning. It is also connected to the need for Excellence.
Many of my clients take photos. Taking photos of Beauty provides them with moments of joy and hope. They say that they feel connected to their soul thanks to photography.
So maybe the importance of Beauty explains why so many people take photos of nature, nice arrangements at home, or selfies when they feel awesome.
Finally, appreciation of Beauty is about recognizing it in yourself and others.
A photo taken at sunset a few days ago while walking along a river. The beauty around helped me to be present in a moment, head empty without any thoughts or concerns.
Yesterday we celebrated the end of the October-November edition of the ONE IMAGE MANY WORDS Photography in Coaching course.
Just to wrap up, these are the ingredient of the course:
This course is about coaching, not therapy. It is also about photography in coaching, not photo-therapy techniques.
All you learn in it, like silence and listening, not interpreting nor advising to the client, formulating and asking powerful coaching questions, or clean coaching questions for session summary, using STOP-START review as well as the specific use of clients’ photos is used in COACHING.
Coaching is focused on assisting and helping clients make changes in life they wish for themselves faster and easier. It is about people future and future starts now, the moment they stop and reflect on what they need and want.
To live as they want, people don’t need to understand the „why” about their past-present. They need to understand the „why and how” about their future-present. And this is when coaching helps perfectly.
In this course you will learn coaching skills, coaching tools, coaching processes with clients’ photos, coaching attitude and the power of coaching.
And of course, the power of photography in coaching.
What a extraordinary activity to take your Self Portrait in the Future! The last module of the Photography in Coaching course was dedicated to the Self-Portrait in The Future.
The Self-Portrait in the future is a powerful process that invites you to imagine yourself in the future and live it now..
By arranging and taking a portrait in the future they already move into their future and dreams take physical appearances.
The future already happens. You are already there. You can see it, take a picture of it and look at it.
It is a real experience. The only thing you need to do is to start living it right now.
Self-portraits are a way to look at oneself from the outside in. The process of making a self-portrait, which includes posing and snapping the picture, is a way of getting to know oneself, to make contact, to express oneself. It’s a pursuit, examination and attempts to understand what we’re made of. It’s the start of a continuous internal dialogue, an approach to uncovering one’s secrets and getting friendly with oneself.
A self-portrait doesn’t merely consist of reproducing one’s appearance. It will never be objective in that regard. It is, rather, a representation of our ideas on how we’d like to what we’re about.
I hope you found this insight useful. If yes, you can leave your comment under this post. Thank you for reading this article and stay in touch! There will be more.
Yesterday, we had a beautiful module on photography and creative writing called The Photo-Poem. I’m very moved by the pictures and their meanings that participants created. There were two chairs on the street ready to offer a moment of pause and an encounter of two people. There was a toy calling to do simple but creative things in life. There was a book calling for giving oneself time to do what they dream of.
Spirituality, appreciation of beauty, and hope have been my medicine all my life. They help me today to live through these difficult times. I’m going to the park every morning at 7 am to walk, meditate and watch.
Taking photos is my mindulness practice.
Mindfulness practice is a practice of peacefulness. It improves mental health. It can be yoga or meditation. Photography works the same way because it puts you in a state of awareness of the outside world and your own thoughts, thus:
immediately reduces stress,
stops the race of thoughts,
with longer practice, it also improves memory and concentration.
Taking photos is also a source of positive emotions. It brings satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, because by taking pictures a person stays in contact with themselves, goes out to the world, exceeds the limits of confinement in their own thoughts and, as a result, expresses something from themselves in a creative way.
Hi, this is Dorota :). Again, this week I collect and share valuable insights from our group sessions in the ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS course on photography in coaching with you.
Yesterday, we looked at the Life Photo Album made from a selection of 20-30 personal photos as a record of our resources. We discovered:
Character Strengths that we have – such as courage, wisdom, humanity, spirituality, and many others,
Experiences that we can use as case studies to become self-confident about our future goals,
Relationships that support us, ensure belonging, are sources of love
Positive impact on others that we have and how we serve them in life,
Sources of gratitude in life,
Doors to a sense of abundance in life.
It is a completely new way of looking at our photos and comprehending what they truly can mean for us. Those photos collected throughout our lives, stored in parents house, or on a computer.
Usually, our first reaction is to look at old photos as memory of something that happened in the past. But in coaching and especially in the Life Photo Album coaching process we contemplate photos to find elements of who we were in the past and you we are now that we can accept and treat as our strengths, and enablers of self-acceptance and growth.
We can use this process of the Life Photo Album in life coaching, career coaching, relationship coaching, when a person is losing self-esteem, self-confidence, parallel to psychometric tests, when we need to uplift spirits, gain new energy for growth., motivate.
I hope you found this insight useful. If yes, you can leave your comment under this post, please. Thank you for reading this article and stay in touch! There will be more
Hi, this is Dorota :). Again, this week I follow the idea to collect and share valuable insights from our group sessions in the ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS course on photography in coaching with you. I think it is a great idea to learn from recent experience.
Today, it is about finding inspirations in your own photos. This insight was born during our session on ‘The Most Important Photo’. The point is to choose one photo that you consider ‘the most important’ for you. And then, the coaching session is based on the self-exploration inspired by this photo.
The task to choose ‘the most important photo’ triggers lots of reflections and questions about how to choose such a photo, what does it mean ‘most important’, what is ‘most important’, what criteria to use…
As always, working with clients’ personal photos in coaching that involved choosing pictures before the session, creates additional spaces where people can learn and deepen their self-awareness. I’m fascinated by how the preparatory work is useful and insightful for us.
And this is why I include them in the process and there always happens a lot before even we started our work together.
Anyway, coming back to the initial insight, when we contemplate ‘the most important photo’ that was chosen from our personal photo-album, or a personal collections of photos, we find inspirations for our future in our own past. We learn from that photo something that we can use today to become a change we wish. Memories from the past can be a great source of knowledge that we can use today to make choices and take decisions about us that will shape our live today. And each day, today, tomorrow, next days… is our future.
It’s cool to find inspirations in our own biographies, isn’t it? To learn that we have knowledge, experience, and other resources available here and now! For many of my clients, it makes a good difference to discover something useful in their own photos.
I hope you found this insight useful. If yes, you can leave your comment under this post, please. Thank you for reading this article and stay in touch! There will be more
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