Sometimes by shifting the angle with which we view the world, we broaden our horizons and discover exciting possibilities. As an Executive Coach I have often found that using a camera lens as a metaphor amplifies a person’s perception and helps them have insights on how stuck (in the present) they could be. So, I might show my client the picture below:
When I asked my grand-daughter to tell me about this first picture she spoke about the ship towards the top of the picture. And that is how she saw it. And most of us most probably would have done the same, linking the fact that when I took this photo I appeared to be on a boat, looking out across the water. Our impression might have been that of ship in the distance. Then I showed her how different the picture looked when, remaining standing in the same position, I lifted the angle of the camera slightly.
Seeing this second photo, she was amazed at how, although she was so familiar with the Sydney Opera House, she hadn’t recognised the building in the first photo and had thought it was a ship. Having this slightly different angle changed her view of the world. Now seeing the first picture again she more easily recognises the object in context and knows it is a building, a very special building! Just for fun, I showed her the third picture where I had again lifted my lens a fraction higher.
This was far more easily recognisable. And possibly if I had shown her this photo first, she would more easily have recognised the object in Photo 1 because she would have been seeing my views in context.
This opens a whole range of quality questions from a coaching perspective. Examples could be:
- If you were seeing the world according to photo 1 only, what opportunities might you be missing?
- In photo 2 we have sky, shore, water and part of the Manly Ferry from where I took the photo. What does the balance look like? And how different is the balance to the proportions in the other two pictures?
- Using these views as a metaphor, what could each element link to in our lives? For example:
- Sky could be our rest and sleep
- Shore and buildings could be our work
- Water could be our time for family and friends
- Ferry could be ‘me time’ – the time we spend on sport, study, self-development etc.
- What happens when those proportions change? For example, in photo 3, the sky is absolutely beautiful, and often we need that in our lives. But on an ongoing basis, if the sky represents rest and sleep those proportions may not be advantageous.
- Seeing a recognisable feature in photo 3, without seeing photos 1 and 2, how might you be imagining how a broader or deeper picture might look?
You don’t have to be a coach to have fun reflecting on the angles of your camera and the questions that can cascade from the different views – or even from a single view. These can lead to great insights and reflection. However, as integral coaches appropriate distinctions that ‘land’ with our clients play an important part in amplifying the journey from current narrative to future narrative. Metaphors bring our coaching programmes to life. So, use them to broaden your horizons and help your clients to shift from where they are now to a brighter future.
For more information on Executive Coaching or Keynote Speaking please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 82 4993311.