Visualisations can be a great technique to help support develop awareness or someone get unstuck. These are three of my favourite ones that I find myself going to quite regularly in coaching sessions. 

N.B. For all of the following imagery exercises remember to ask permission from the client first. You can suggest to the client to close their eyes if they feel comfortable and also to do a breathing exercise to help the coachee relax.

Exercise 1: Time Machine (adapted from Lazarus, 1981)
Aim: To support somebody picture goals more clearly that are intrinsically motivating

Brief Overview of Process:

  • Ask the client to imagine that they are getting into a time machine that will take them 6 months into the future
  • Ask questions to engage the coachee with bringing this new time clearly into perspective, e.g. What date is it? What are your normally wearing this time of year? What’s the weather like? Where are you?
  • Ask questions to the coachee to explore what is different in this future version of themselves, e.g. Do you notice any chance in you? What can you observe that is different to who you are now? How do you feel differently? What have you done to get there? What actions have you taken?
  • Slowly bring the coachee back to the now and ask them whether there’s any goals and/or actions they want to focus on.

Exercise 2: Camera Check (Maultsby, 1984)
Aim: To support the coachee identify a different perspective to a situation

Brief Overview of Process:

  • Ask the client to imagine that a video footage was found of the situation that they were in and get them to explore playing that footage
  • Ask questions to explore with the client if there is anything different between their perception and the more objective one that the video camera would have taken, e.g. Is the video identical to what happened? What differences would somebody else spot, who heard your version of events and also saw the video?

Exercise 3: Coping Imagery (Lazarus, 1984; Palmer, 2008)
Aim: To support the coachee picture themselves performing more effectively

Brief Overview of Process:

  • Ask the client to imagine that they are dealing successfully with a situation that they find challenging. It is important to stress to them that they might not do it perfectly but to a good standard they find acceptable.
  • Ask questions to the client to elicit images around which challenges they have overcome, ways they have overcome these and the strategies they have used, e.g. how are you now more confident in presenting in front of people? How do you feel in front of the audience? What’s making you feel calm? How did you find this calmness?