Visualization is a technique that has been in use for many years but it only started to come to the attention of popular media in the seventies and eighties. Since that time, its use has expanded to all areas of life. Athletes like Jack Nicklaus use it to excel in their sports. Actors like Will Smith use it to imagine success not yet achieved. On a less grand level, people use visualization to see and achieve goals such as planning the perfect wedding or acing an interview.
In coaching , visualization can be used to help clients identify, imagine and achieve their dreams. Whether that is achieved through the creation of a vision board or having the client write a detailed description of their ideal life, visualization is a powerful tool in a coach’s toolbox.
In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield asserts that consistent visualization causes three things to happen:
- It programs your mind’s reticular activating system to start letting into your awareness anything that will help you achieve your goals.
- It activates your subconscious mind to create solutions for getting the goals you want.
- It creates new levels of motivation. You’ll start to notice you are unexpectedly doing things that take you to your goals.
Use of Visualization in Coaching
The phrases “Mind over matter” and “Brain over brawn” are popular phrases. They assert that one’s intellect will win over one’s physicality. However, visualization is about mind with matter. It’s about bringing the mind and body together in order to achieve one’s goals. It is about training your body to naturally and automatically act in the way that your mind has trained it to act during multiple visualization sessions. Successful visualization is not achieved in one session. It is only achievable after repeated use.
When someone consistently repeats thoughts, those thoughts become impressed into their subconscious. Thereafter, their brain becomes trained to automatic send signals to the body to act in accordance with those thoughts. Visualization takes those thoughts out of the subconscious and bring them into the conscious realm. With visualization, the client deliberately selects the goal to be focused on. By selecting one goal to focus on , the client is able to focus all of their resources on achieving that goal. The method of visualization that works best will vary from client to client. However, two of the major visualization methods that a coach can use are vision boards and written visualization. This paper will examine each method and how it can be used in coaching.
Vision boards have become quite popular recent years. They are the visual representations of the clients’ dreams and goals. Vision boards work best for those clients who are visual people. They are people who remember experiences by reliving them in images or are visual artists themselves. They are people who primarily learn by watching things being done.
Vision boards are usually created on poster or cork board that is covered by images of the things that the client hope to achieve. The images are usually pictures cut out from magazines but they could be pictures drawn or photos taken by and of the client. There are two major categories of vision boards: the Focus vision board and the Idea vision board.
The Focus vision board is for the client who knows exactly what they want. They already have a very clear vision of their goal but have not been able to make progress toward that goal. To create this vision board the client will look for or create the exact images that project their specified goal and attach it to the board. Ideally, they would add a picture of themselves to the board so that it will be even easier to visualize themselves achieving those dreams. Then the board should placed somewhere the client would see it every day as a reminder of their goal.