Vision based coaching draws from Intentional Change Theory. This theory generally stipulates that when a person focuses on his or her future aspiration it helps them to consolidate and draw from the resources – psychological, cognitive, neurological, physiological – that they require in order to achieve that future state.
You may have experienced a situation where you really wanted something, and you couldn’t stop thinking about it. You seemed to see it everywhere, you seemed to meet people who have something to do with it, you seemed to see it written about everywhere, and you heard it spoken about all the time.
Vision based coaching helps you be intentional about imagining and articulating the future that you desire. You can articulate this imagined future by writing down a description of what you see, or creating a vision board, talking to someone about it, any combination of the three., or any other way that works for you. There is no right or wrong vision, it is what you imagine your future to be, how you see yourself, what you are thinking, how you are feeling and what you are doing in the future. It is about discovering and articulating your ideal self.
The role of visioning in life coaching
Coaching is about helping people to develop and people develop in the direction of their dreams. Vision based coaching focuses on a client’s personal vision, that is the person’s future aspiration and core identity. The emphasis is on the exploration and articulation of the client’s ideal self as the driver of the developmental process. It combines focused goals with long-term vision and in this way builds emotional commitment to sustainable effort over an extended period of time. This leads to enduring personal change.
Emphasis on personal vision does four key things:
- Facilitates the client’s identity expansion it helps the client to explore how else they can be that they are not currently being.
- It increases the energy for change when clients realise that there are possibilities out there that they have not explored.
- It activates learning oriented goals because clients understand that they may need to gain new skills or develop new habits in order to become their ideal self.
- It enforces a self-regulatory stance in the person because they become aware of situations where the way they are being, or the way they are behaving, hinders access to their own ideal self.
I will illustrate this using the metaphor of a journey, once you have determined where you would like to end up, you can begin planning how you will get there. Making the destination decision affects the choices you make about several other things. Like when do you want to arrive? How do you plan to travel there? What does it cost to travel one way or another? How long does it take to travel? What do you need to take with you – for example what clothes are suitable, which means knowing what the weather is like. In fact, the destination decision helps you become more deliberate about the choices you make, because you want to make choices that will help you achieve what you desire, which is to arrive at the chosen destination on a given day, in a certain manner and within a certain budget. It also eliminates distractions – if you have selected north as your destination no need to think about south.
What kind of clients benefit from visioning?
In vision-based coaching the emphasis is on the ideal self, so it can work for anyone who seeks to Students who are preparing for exams, which is usually a transition to a higher level of schooling, or the end of formal schooling, or the beginning of a career, envision their exam results. They do so alongside a vision of who those results can help them become. Then they work towards achieving that. That vision compensates for the drudgery of long study hours and reduced social distractions, for example.
Executives who are looking to get promoted, to improve effectiveness at work, to become more impactful leaders, or to change careers see themselves with more authority, more expertise, more recognition, and more enjoyment from future roles. This is identity expansion – they see themselves are more than they are today. As such, they look at eliminating self-limiting beliefs and developing supportive habits. They also work on gaining skills to benefit them in those desired roles. These are learning oriented actions.
Vision based coaching helps clients through 4 steps.
- Discovery of and articulation of the ideal self. This is painting a desired vision for the future,
- Assessing the difference between the ideal which is the future and the real which is the present.
- Formulating a learning agenda which is a plan of action. What do they need to believe and do differently? How can they get to believing and doing that more consistently?
- Practicing and experimenting with the actions they have chosen, to examine the outcomes and to refine them as needed.