Just returning from my final residential program in Professional Wellness Coaching with lots of energy and enthusiasm about what’s possible next in my life! Coming home with more tools and knowledge to support my lifelong mission of helping people feel better.
One of my favorite tools was learning the use of metaphor in coaching. I love writing using metaphors, so this jumped right out at me! How can I use this in coaching, I wondered?
Here is what I learned. Use of metaphor is a way to communicate with fewer words, getting right to the core of the matter in what we are feeling or trying to express. Metaphor is a way to inject laughter and humor into the coaching conversation. Metaphors are to be explored deeply, looking into the meaning behind the words, which can be different for each of us. It is important to never assume I know what that metaphor means to the client.
For instance, what does it look like or what image comes up when you say, “I am stuck in the mud?” Where are you and what is going on when you say, “I am free as a bird?” So what is the “elephant in the room?” is a quick way to get to the “heart of the matter” without using lots of questioning and discussing. If you are in a “boat without a paddle,” so where is your paddle?
We were asked to write a metaphor we liked on a piece of paper and share it with the group. “Feels like I am pushing the river,” was mine. Here is where it is so important to ask, what does this mean to you? Someone loved my metaphor because it felt like I was pushing through hard times, forcing something to happen, going faster to get ahead of something.
When the instructor asked me what it meant to me, I said, “It meant I was pushing too hard, need to let go, see where the river takes me and trust the natural flow of life.” Maybe the age difference between the two of us was the big reason for our discrepancies. She was 40 and I am 65! What do you think?