Research Paper By Anne Hasselberg
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
This approach is to be aimed at helping clients to live in harmony with head and heart. While a lot of counseling emphasizes mind over mood I do propose that, rather than controlling or avoiding emotions, clients can learn from their own bodily reactions and begin to react sensibly on them. Expressing emotions in ways that are appropriate to context is a highly complex skill, and one that is rarely taught. This very specific approach offers a wonderful range for an action- oriented, holistic and playful experience with all senses, emotions in a safe space and setting.
The crucial advantage of the method is that theatre works on its own terms and I want to give you a short understanding of this idea.
The influence of Theatre pedagogy in coaching
The influences of Theatre pedagogy lead to a more action- and experience orientated method in coaching. Theatre pedagogy evolved from acting and means terms we use to help prospective actors to develop their professional skills in the best way.
The efficacy of the action- and experience orientated methods in coaching is amazing. We can use them where the regular approaches fail or don’t show the desired goal. Executive managers for example can be very much supported in getting a distinguished perception for problems. And the best thing is – there is almost no wrong! Social events and behavior patterns are transferred to an acting level. And thereby changes can be initiated and the client gets the possibility to develop and to experience an inner growth.
The human being is an entity of body, spirit and soul. Coaching can achieve its best results while coping with this holistic thinking.
Criteria for the use of Theatre oriented methods in coaching sessions
This approach requires a high willingness of the client to engage with the coach. The client is encouraged to connect his own associations with this method. In addition to this a different readiness than an only verbal communication is inevitable. This readiness depends on the client’s personality as well as on a trustful relationship between coach and client in general. Finally a very important precondition is a careful and diligent introduction.
This specific approach is basically meant to be used not in general but depended on the situation.
Generally there is more than only one good solution.
Acting is coevally doing!
Acting uses underlying inner resources.
These resources of the client are going to be enhanced in a holistic way with all senses and with this there become a part of his know-how.
This specific coaching process develops all behavioral competencies in a way that with achieving the problematic situation all skills for an autonomous solution already exist within the personality of the client.
All ‘new’ attitudes are coming from the client himself
All work on and for stage are per se solution and goal oriented, because at the end of this process there is a premiere.
The appreciations of all perceptions of the client are in the center of the coaching process as well as the appreciation of his goals.
And last but not least the basic property and fact that theatre works from within releases the coach from the very tricky double action to act during the one-on-one coaching and simultaneously hold his neutral position.
The use and the impact of the theatre oriented approach
The use if this approach is multifaceted. You can use the methods either in one-on-one coaching as well as in group- or team coaching; all involved persons have to agree on the use of the method.
The coach must be able to master and control the situation and the whole process what means that ideally he/she has a professional artistic education.
The improvement of the client’s inner balance and mindfulness is another valuable aspect of the method in order to regain vitality and ability to work under pressure through the experience of joy and fun.
The advantages of this practice are a holistic method of resolution and an integrated, overall learning experience of the individual as well as the team.
With this also apparently quite complex issues can be handled very effectively and rapidly. Another very positive side effect is the fact that many clients who learn to trust in this special process discover moments of real joy in the playful atmosphere. And joy as the essence of success is one of the strongest and most positive impulses we can work with.
Important elements of the method
‘The skill and the talent of the actor is the art of internal and external action’ (K. Stanislawski / Method acting). This means before your action is real and authentic it has to be justified and motivated from within. The action mustn’t end in itself.
The realness of emotion
Here the truth of passion is meant in the sense of that an emotion is always the result of an action or a thought. One has to work on the simplicity and directness of an action and a thought to create the appropriate and authentic emotion.
This means that the actor’s conscious psych technique stimulates the unconscious creative work of nature. All distracting elements have to be eliminated and helpful elements strengthened.
Contents of the method
The theatre oriented coaching approach focuses on a precise physical and expression and body language.
The inner, mental attitude determines the physical expression. It is the goal to clarify the inner attitude within the system of the client, so that the self-perception and the external perception become harmonized.
Part / Character
The part or the character is sort of a frame that surrounds the inner attitude and the mental status. ‘ “An actor must overcome problems to achieve the best portrayal of a role. To keep a creative mind, the actor must think round a problem and approach it in different ways. By doing this, an actor can find imaginative solutions to the problems of staging. (K. Stanislavski) ’While practicing this device the client finds to a solid definition of his part in the company and in complicated situations in his job as well as in his privateness.
Voice / Inner status
The inner status, the mental disposition defines the outcome and the volume, the quality of our voice.
Interaction / Cooperation
The cooperation of the clients and the coach is comparable to a concert of the inter attitudes of the team. The goal is to create a sustainable win-win situation between the participants while clarifying the trust in the relationship and working with the state of mindfulness.
Improvisation is a main part of the method. It means a form of theatrical element where most of what is performed is created at the current moment. In its purest form, the dialogue, action, story, and characters are created collaboratively by the actors or the participants as the improvisation unfolds in current time, without the use of an already prepared script.
Within this discussed method it aims at the creation of creative space.
A successful realization of the method is depended on a perfect attunement of the client.
Very reasonable is to start with a physical exercise, a warm up and relaxation exercises to reduce stress and to get centered. This phase is followed by a working phase which includes self-awareness and the awareness of others as well as during the sequences of the playful actions and exercises. After this phase there is a survey in form of an intensive exchange about the different communications that took place. Here the clients and the coach find the possibility to distinguish between action and reaction, acceptance and blocking.
It is important to start playing and acting quite right away after the warm up and not to start with tusks that are too complicated or difficult.
It is very constructive to encourage the clients to express their wishes, fears and doubts as well as their enthusiasm.
Summarized we can assert that the theatre coaching approach combines elements of a holistic systemic coaching and the concept of a holistic-systemic theatre pedagogy.
Issues coming from retracted actions can be changed by alternative playful actions and the new inspiring experience of creative practice in a special defined, safe space.
In order to learn and improve impactful leadership and emotions management the use of playing with the fictional situation in the limelight during the acting sequences prepares for the real situations in the job.
These interactive Theatre devices and the use of lively visual metaphors allow the client a deeper understanding of all relevant aspects of his professional and also his private performance. It is a challenge to think and act in a new way according to complex situations and imaginations which are an essential part of our daily professional and private life.
There is a profound chance of strengthen the client’s competency of solving problems and sharpen his individual personality profile by using the method of theatre oriented coaching.
And against the background of teams in companies stage action methods used in coaching are excellent ways for a team building process.