Art in Coaching

I founded ART in Coaching in 2016 as a space to share with other coaches my research, writing and experience of my own art-based coaching practice. As soon as I started to explore and develop my own practice, I realised the importance of and extraordinary effectiveness of working with art for clients. If you would like to know more about me and my practice you can find out more here: About Anna

As an artist and coach, I firmly believe art, as a visual expressive language, has an important and powerful place in coaching today.

Through ART in Coaching, I am dedicated to researching art-based coaching as a person centred, embodied and transformational coaching modality in its own right, as well as supporting coaches who want to develop, deepen and strengthen their own art-based coaching practice.


When thoughts are pushed aside, spontaneous images can emerge: symbolic aspects of the self in need of recognition

Liesl Silverstone, Art Therapy – The Person Centred Approach


What do I mean by art?

When talking about art in a coaching context, I am not talking about master pieces, I am talking about any image a client creates that holds meaning for them.

Art is a form of communication that pre-dates written, and verbal language and we human beings have been using it for tens of thousands of years to communicate our place in the world; our ideas, feelings and perceptions.

Art created in coaching is the client’s imagery made visible and tangible through using line, form, shape and colour whether it is drawing, painting, sculpture or collage. It is their personal self-expression through the visual language of art and it is something we can all do.

These are some examples of clients’ imagery and you can see more examples in the Gallery.




A person centred and transformational coaching approach

One of the key principles of my practice is being person centred. When we create and hold a truly person centred space for our client we are able to facilitate their exploration of, and connection to, their art in a way that gives them access to a deeper level of personal awareness, understanding and meaning.

This in turn deepens and enriches our coaching conversations in a way that pure verbal coaching cannot. It creates transformational shifts in perceptions and understanding that can lead to significant changes in personal development and growth.

The benefits for our clients

Using art in coaching provides many benefits for our clients.

One of the most powerful is giving our clients a language when words are not enough and fail them.

When we are unable to find the words for what are experiencing, feeling, or have that inkling of, it can cause us to become stuck; we cannot articulate what is important for us to recognise and therefore we cannot act on what we need to.

When this happens to clients, they cannot make the breakthrough’s they want and need that lead to the lasting changes they are seeking.

Another benefit is art’s ability to unlock the hidden, that which is just outside of awareness or that which we are not giving ourselves permission to recognise. This ability to go beyond our thinking minds is one of the fundamental aspects of art-based coaching that leads to shift and lasting change.


‘Normally I have to work quite hard to get through the analytic stage of unpicking (talking it through)… making the image visible through art by passed this getting me straight to the issue without any disguise…’  

Ann, Executive Coach 


Transformational coaching, art and whole brain coaching

Art also enables our clients to work with their whole brain.

Through the ART in Coaching approach we work explicitly with a client’s right brain, as creating imagery gives our client’s silent right hemisphere a voice helping them to externalise what is hidden, complex and sometimes paradoxical.

Being able to connect to our right hemisphere world, understand and communicate its perceptions, is crucial for transformational coaching. Hawkins & Smith in their Four Levels of Engagement say that for transformational change to occur we need to be working at the fourth level of engagement; values, beliefs, behaviour patterns, personal stories and moral codes. Neuroscience tells us that is mainly the domain of the right hemisphere.

This in turn ensures we are connecting to and recognising the personal truths for our client and then, in turn, they can utilise their left brain and its analytical power in service of what is truly needed to be done.

If you would like to know more about art and the brain I have written a series of blogs and have highlighted a few here:

Introducing hemispherical lateralisation and coaching with art

Giving our silent right hemisphere a voice

Working with the whole, as it really is, in all its complexity



ART in Coaching is part of Élan Coaching Ltd, my professional coaching practice. 

Élan Coaching is an accredited coach training organisation with the Association for Coaching.