Many coaches have experienced working with art and creativity in their practice and have also experienced the insightful and transformative outcomes that come from working this way. However, I feel that art in coaching is very much under-rated and I believe it is because we do not treat it in the same way as other interventions and approaches that we use. Perhaps this is because of our own perceptions and assumptions of art and our own creative abilities.
In reality, coaching with art is a very powerful approach that deepens awareness and understanding in a way that shifts perceptions and leads to tansformative change. It is invaluable to our practice in oh so many ways (more of that in future blogs) and I apply the same professional rigour in my practice of coaching with art as I do any other tool, methodology or approach I use. I do this through my Coaching with Art Framework.
This framework has come about through research, practice and in-depth case study work. There are aspects of it that mirror any other form of coaching such as contracting, managing ourselves and boundaries and ethics. There are also new aspects such as the five stages of coaching with art, the exercises we may introduce and the barriers we may encounter. Some parts of the framework, whilst mirroring coaching more generally, are amended such as preparing for a coaching session and some aspects of contracting. Contracting is particularity important as it essential that your client is very clear about how this approach works and the potential depths that art can take them. This allows them to make choices about how far they want to go and to stop if they want to.
I go through my framework in detail in the ‘how to’ part of my book Coaching Beyond Words – Using Art to Deepen and Enrich Our Conversations where case studies and client anecdotes bring it all to life and demonstrate the efficacy of coaching with art. As one coach on a workshop said…
‘I am a very ‘corporate’ coach and had some scepticism about how this might work for me. I am also the least artistic person that I know! However, Anna structured the day to move us from being wary of the materials in the room to being able to use them in a very expressive way. Specifically, Anna explained the underlying psychology of how art can work in coaching as well as how to work with clients in order for them to produce the most useful art…how to introduce art materials with the same rigour as one would use a psychometric test, using appropriate contracting, boundaries and professional standards. ’ Jo Smith, Executive Coach