You’d be amazed
I always am. It’s incredible what clients do with a button. All of a sudden the button takes on a persona, an emotion, a hurt, a meaning, a frustration. It can be tapped, and stroked, rubbed between thumb and fingers. It can be held up close and it can be kept at arm’s length. Sometimes buttons sit on top of one another or knock others off the table.
Why is that helpful?
Because, as Dr Pat Williams, co-founder of the ICF Core Competencies says, “it creates a discussion about that which is not said easily”
And that’s the real power of using creative, physical metaphors. It doesn’t rely on the client’s ability to articulate what’s going on for them. When clients are truly ‘lost for words’ inviting them to use other ways to express themselves provides them the opportunity to make new associations, gain new perspectives and delve deeper into the heart of the matter.
Clients will choose a particular button, a particular size, colour, texture to represent … whatever they want it to represent. And they will keep on selecting buttons as part of their story-telling, attaching powerful meaning and significance to each one. The joy for us as coaches or counsellors is seeing the shift that people make when the person in front of us finally expresses what they wanted and needed to say, and, reached a new understanding.
Box of Buttons
Your humble box of buttons can be used in as many ways as you have ideas – in fact your only your limitation is your imagination and willingness to experiment. A colleague uses buttons prior to his client’s hypnotherapy session because he finds it helps his clients explore their issue more fully and that enables him to work more deeply with them, resulting in real change. Another colleague uses buttons with her leadership cohort to help show shifts in learning through the weeks course.
In my own experience, I have used buttons to explore isolation, complex relationships, life and death, leadership conflict and much more. So, I invite you to create your own box of buttons and experiment with your clients, you’ll be amazed how it will help.
As with many coaching tools, experiencing it yourself is often the best way to know how truly transformational they can be and really understand what your clients will experience.
Creative Metaphors … “help clients to get to the unconscious part without words getting in the way”. Dr Pat Williams
Lindsey Wheeler works as a strategic sounding board and personal development coach for business leaders where they are free to express and explore thoughts, business and personal challenges.
If you want to find out more about how Lindsey uses buttons in coaching do get in touch with her.
More about ICF Core Competencies
Read more blogs from Lindsey Wheeler – “I don’t have time for this” – When TIME is your enemy
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Outplacement | Career Coach | Executive Coach - Strategic sounding board
2 thoughts on “What can a box of buttons do for your client?”
I really loved reading your article. I think there is so much value in sharing these creative approaches to helping clients. I have a client who wants to change career and do something completely different but is struggling to see the answers. She loves writing. I was wondering if there were any pearls of wisdom on how I could invite her to use her writing skills to help provide her with clarity about the future. A letter to her future self is one approach but I was wondering if there were any other ideas out there! I am in need of inspiration today!
I work with the 5 seasons as a metaphor for connecting to Nature’s cycle and our own cycles. Each season has its own particular flavour and purpose- Spring begins new possibilities, seeding ideas and plans, the rush of energy, Summer when there is a ripening and maturing, late Summer, a time of harvest what is already good and savouring and appreciating and really seeing the abundance, Autumn when pruning, and cutting back help to create new growth for the next Spring and allows for a necessary letting go and, finally, winter when we develop our reflective side, get inspired by taking time to go to a still place for inner wisdom. Clients love the idea that, like nature, we return to each season and its own beauty and the questions that fit so well in these seasons can help to ponder on where one is in choices in life, work, and purpose. I had an article on this in Coaching at Work magazine just before we presented this work at the Conference last summer, I can send you a copy of you get in touch.