A Coaching Power Tool Created by Carol-Ann Furminger
(Life Coach, GERMANY)
For my coaching model and in posts on the ICA forum. I have explained how I live with the official title of “trailing spouse” as we are expats, due to my husband’s work. I hate this title as it conjures up images of a su bservient wife following in her husband’s shadow. In those posts I have mentioned changing the title to; Super Wife or Chief cheerleader etc. So when contemplating my power tool, super heroes seemed to be the obvious choice.
As a child we are not constrained by reality. We live our lives in the moment. We believe in magic and superpowers. We believe that we are unstoppable and can achieve every dream that we may have.
As Adults we often become weighed down by life, responsibility and cynicism. We see more the obstacles and problems; wanting to solve them in a formal, logical way, without creativity. We see our situation/problem through negative eyes, which can be disempowering.
When we look at the world of Super heroes they are often simple, colourful and humorous. Problems are solved in inventive ways, often alone but sometimes with side kicks. The hero has impressive tools and skills.
When we look up to people, whether that be someone famous, family member or friends. We are acknowledging their beliefs or values that we either have or would like to emulate.
We are going to use these values to produce our Coaching superheroes.
The Merriem-Webster dictionary definition of a superhero a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also : an exceptionally skillful or successful person. When trying to change our perspective regarding a problem or situation. It may feel like we need super powers!
We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.― Grant Morrison, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
Making Super Heroes
Using the values list (see attachment1) ask the client to highlight the values that are most important to them.
Now ask them to go through the highlighted values and list the most important five. Remind the client that these values will be the ‘soul’ of their superhero. (see attachment 2)
Ask the client to go through their list of 5 values. Do any connect or are they all very separate entities. Mark any connecting values. Such as laughter and humour, kindness and empathy etc These will be the coaching superheroes.
On the Coaching Heroes sheet (see attachment 3) ask the client to name and visualise their superheroes. The visualisation for each super hero can be a brief written description or a sketch. Eg Captain Confidence (Tall broad shouldered, smiling, in a vibrant purple lycra suit with a reflective negativity shield) This sheet will be kept for future reference.
As coaches when we can see that the client is ‘stuck’ and needs a different perspective, regarding their current situation or problem, we can ask them to use their superheroes. Firstly ask them to choose one of their coaching super heroes; to tell you the name, what he or she looks like and the tools/skills that they possess. The more creative they can be the better, as this will aid visualisation. So for example Captain Confidence may have a shield that protects him from the negativity displayed by work colleagues, ear plugs that shut out the voice of the inner critic, a protective suit so he doesn’t worry if people like him or not and the knowledge that he is good at what he does. Together you can visualise this problem solving saviour. The client again reviews the situation or problem but does so through the eyes of their superhero, with the ability to use the tools and skills that he/she has. So for example the client can now review the idea of applying for a job that a popular colleague is also applying for. By using Captain Confidence’s perspective, they are no longer concerned about how their colleagues may react or whether the decision will make them be disliked, they are not listening to their inner critic. They begin to focus on the skills that they do have and can look at any obstacles more objectively and goals needed to overcome the obstacle. The use of one super hero maybe enough or they may need to continue their review with different superheroes.
- What specific tools/skills does their super hero have?
- How do these tools/skills change the scenario?
- Is there now more clarity?
- Can this superhero work alone or do they need their team mates?
This power tool will help identify underlying strengths and values. By moving them from the subconscious to the conscious, the client is then able to harness these tools/skills to be able to see their current situation from a different perspective, one where they are strong, in control and empowered.