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Friday, 19 August 2016

Have you tried everything to find a solution?

What about collage? A process in my coaching toolkit.

Coaching means different things to different people. 

In essence coaching is about helping the client to know where they are, where they want to be, and identifying what they need to do to get from one to the other. Coaching may be required to identify all of these. Coaching may also be about helping the client work through the action plan, to take the first steps and / or journey towards their goal.

There's many different tools and techniques that can be used in a coaching session. One of the more creative tools I use is collage cards (that's one word for them anyway). They use the premise that metaphors are worth more than pictures and words, and can therefore allow us to observe a situation from a very different perspective.

To try it for yourself think of a situation you'd like more clarity on, and then consider the following cards. 

Don't be too quick to determine how the card relates to the current situation. 

Initially just describe the card, and perhaps identify any themes you might draw from it:


You might notice the endless road and the heat of the desert, and noticing the alternate means of transport out of there. Or it may be it's just about taking the clear path ahead? 

Or perhaps about returning to more psychedelic times?

Or climbing vertical cliffs to the top? 

Or looking for the easier path, already forged by the wind, rather than the harder one? 

What about this next collage? 
It's not about describing every element of the card as much as noticing what you notice about the card. Your unconscious will help you see the pattern(s) that align with the current situation. 

So it might be about having the physical strength, or being more playful, or connecting more to nature. Or perhaps noticing the natural timing of things - e.g a full moon only takes place every 28 days (or perhaps it's a sun). Or about reminding you to take time to smell the roses?

What about this even more obscure collage? 


The inner power perhaps? Or walking your own walk? Or surviving in an alien environment - perhaps even being yourself in such an environment?

As you now reflect on the original situation what are the summary themes you can take away from these cards? There's no right or wrong, and logic isn't necessary in that the cards may just have reminded you of something else entirely that relates instead. The mind acts in mysterious ways, and so long as you've got an insight, why worry about how you got there?

For me the cads message is about not making life too difficult but instead taking the clear path ahead. It's also about connecting with the elements, nature and remembering there's a natural order to much of life, and not to fight against but move with it. 

You may have got something totally different, and that's the reason it's such a helpful process. We're able to connect to the cards in a way that makes sense to us personally in relation to the current situation, and yet perhaps still also provides a different perspective. 

How did you get on? 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out

If you're wanting to find out more about the coaching offered for yourself or your team do please get in touch alison@alisonsmith.eu or +44 (0)7770 538159

Notes from a session at a Scottish Institute for Business Leaders meeting using these collage cards can be found here.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Are you in the right state of mind?

I love this image - a great reminder that at any point we need to be mindful of our state of mind and body. Perhaps more importantly to ask ourselves is that state appropriate to the outcome we're wanting. If it's not appropriate it's about doing what you have to do to shift that state. If negative what do you need to do to be a little more positive, if lacking confidence how can you be more confident, if muddled how can you get more clarity. Too easy perhaps to think we're stuck with the state we're in rather than realising there's lots we can do. 

What state do you need to be in today, and how will you ensure you achieve it when it's needed? 

This prescription for positivity might help give you some ideas. 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Do you have all the information?


For 3 months of the year my local beach is a blue flag beach which means it has life guards. Life guards with safe and not so safe areas to communicate to beach visitors. 

I was looking at the flag above and realised without a second flag the first flag is of no use at all. That is, without the second flag how do we know if the safe area is to the right or left of this flag. As it happens on this occasion it was to the right, although it might as easily have been left instead. 

Isn't that the case in many situations in life? 

We often only have part of the data, and need to ensure we look for supporting data to make sense of the first piece of data and not make assumptions. 

Please take care not to jump to any conclusions.

Alison Smith 
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out