“Learn how to wire the brain for lasting change”, “Change minds effectively”, “Break negative thinking”, — sentences we read in marketing blurbs for coach training. See me sigh.
I get that marketing needs to promise something and maybe also that marketing language is not necessarily written by those who are being marketed. BUT…. ok, better: AND… it still makes me cringe.
David Epston (one of the founders of narrative therapy) coined the phrase: “to ask a question is to propose a universe”. So what universes are we proposing when we are talking about the coach “wiring the brain” or “changing minds” or “breaking someone’s negative thinking”?
We are drawing a picture of the coach as an electrician “wiring” your spare bedroom, maybe a truck driver (or someone else) “changing” gears, or a wrecking crew “breaking” a building that is in the way.
Are these the metaphors we comfortably use to describe our work as coaches? In all of them, the coach is active, the client is passive: they are being rewired, changed, broken. Who in their right mind would hire a coach to do that?
Personally, I prefer metaphors that are more collaborative: I am inviting my client to a conversation. Maybe I am like a participating anthropologist, a completely connected observer, or me and my clients are co-authoring a new story, painting a picture together, walking some miles together on a journey to a destination of the client’s choosing. David Epston and Michael White created the metaphor of a “gift exchange” which speaks to me.
Maybe that does not sell: “Learn to walk with your clients to where they want to go!”, “The 7000 $ course to finally understand how to get out of the client’s way”, “Extend loving invitations with your questions! Only 999 € for a consultation of 20 minutes, book now, limited offer!”
What are your metaphors for coaching?
Do come and explore with us in our free coaching meetup and exchanges — guaranteed inspiration and connection! Free! Every Week! 🙂