How to Use Visuals to Help Coach a Client

by Coaching Out of the Box

Some clients will inevitably be more vocal than others. This isn’t a flaw but a character trait and it can become frustrating if getting to the root of their problems is blocked by a communication issue. These clients may try to speak their mind and define the issues with words, but they may not have the verbal skills necessary to make their points clear. This is where visuals may come in handy. These do not necessarily have to involve the client creating elaborate drawings, but can be as simple as inanimate objects in the room or props on hand.

Here are some examples of visuals that may help the client open up or progress past the point of being stuck:

  1.  Ask them to focus on creating their dialogue in pictures or flow charts. Have them brainstorm a flow chart for how they see themselves progressing. Perhaps there are even roadblocks they could create in this flow that could be further identified and solved in conversation.
  2. Have a flow chart created on hand to show clients what the process of discovery might look like. This visual may help them realize the steps necessary to progress.
  3. Encourage the client to create an image of where they are now and a separate image of where they want to be by the end of the process. Help them identify the steps in between to accomplish this goal. This may also allow them some introspection on what exactly they do want, beyond what they may have already thought about.
  4. Have clients create image reminders of their plan that they can keep on hand or place around their house. Visual reminders can help motivate clients to stay on target more-so than auditory or word cues may.

 Complex thought processes can be like a family tree – they are difficult to keep straight when verbalizing the relationships, but if they are sketched out on paper, everyone can be on the same page and see the proper connections. Using visuals can assist clients not only with keeping their own thought processes straight, but it can help the coach with much needed insight into how the client is thinking about the situation and what avenues might be available to problem solve these situations.

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