Getting Clear About Coaching

Coaching is a transformational process in which clients can create greater success and improve the quality of their lives in the context of a supportive, non-judgmental, and accountable relationship. This blog is to help people better understand the process and benefits of coaching using the metaphor of photography.

In photography, as in coaching, the person behind the camera (photographer or client) gets to define the goal, depending on what they value most, what they want to achieve and what brings them joy or a sense of fulfillment.

Depending on the need of the photographer, they will utilize different kinds of lenses. In coaching, we often start with a wide-angle lens—looking at the big picture, getting clear about vision, and imagining all the possibilities, tools, and resources available. At times, using a narrower focus is helpful– such as asking clients what has worked in the past, or helping them pay attention to specific kinds of thoughts (for example, noticing the critical voice). For some clients, the lens they habitually use is distorted. The coach can help them notice the distortion and challenge them to consider if that lens serves them (for example, some clients focus on what they are afraid is going to happen instead of what actually has happened). Sometimes we need to use a telephoto lens—we need to zoom in on what is important and valued, to see it more clearly. For example, we can help clients zoom in and better hear from different parts of themselves so that they become clearer about different perspectives they hold so they can escape the muddle and make an conscious choice about the direction they want to go.

With cameras, you can utilize different aperture settings to let in varying amounts of light to achieve the perfect photo. It can be easy to get bogged down in chasing perfection to the point you miss the photo opportunity. A saying used in photography is to choose ‘F8 and be there’—in other words, it is better to use the f8 aperture setting and take the shot. This will lead to a good-enough picture. This metaphor-within-a-metaphor might help those struggling with perfectionism, who continue spending time making adjustments with diminishing returns.

In photography, as in coaching, success depends on preparation and planning—having a vision that is meaningful to you and having the tools you need to execute the vision. In coaching, we ask what are all the ways to achieve a vision? What help or support is needed? If clients are struggling with where to focus, they may need help figuring out what they really care about.

Just as it takes time and attention to learn to be a good photographer, it also takes time and attention to create a satisfying life, enhance your success or improve leadership skills. Coaching brings a host of tools and perspectives to help you on your journey.

Please contact me if you are interested in a complimentary coaching consultation to see if coaching is right for you. If you like this blog, please repost or comment! I appreciate your support.

©Peg Hunt, MS & Anne Garing, PhD

Share this post: