I found a one-minute video that highlights the power of a new perspective. Click here to watch it. Then come back and finish reading the article.
A key benefit of coaching is the unique opportunity to explore alternative explanations for observed events with a safe-thinking-partner. Let’s face it, we all have our own perspective of the situations we face. Coaching helps people gain a new perspective, but more specifically, asking powerful questions leads to perspective change.
We don’t just look at something; we look at something from somewhere. We have a line-of-sight. When the person you’re talking to feels like they’re swamp-jogging, it’s often as a result of the angle from which they’re viewing the situation. Asking powerful questions can help them see their situation from a new angle. It’s this change in perspective that jars them loose and gives them new energy to keep moving forward.
Matthew Elliott, in his book, Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, demonstrates the power of a new perspective. “If I tell you there’s a five-hundred-pound grizzly bear 15 feet away from you, you would be terrified; your heart would beat like crazy, and fear would overwhelm you, Now, let me add one little piece of information: zoo.” (p. 145)
Personally, I’m feeling much better, but I would feel even better if one more piece of information was added: cage. Now I’m really feeling much better. One question can change your perspective, and a coaching conversation is designed to help the other person make that kind of discovery.
Think about a situation in your life where you are feeling stuck, confused, frustrated, bewildered, afraid, or a mixture of these. How might you benefit from a change in perspective? Here are some powerful questions to help you, or a friend, gain a new perspective.
- What is the story you are telling yourself about your situation?
- Where are you unsure of the validity of your perspective? How could you test it?
- What other facts would be helpful in gaining a new perspective?
- Who has a different perspective about this situation, and how is it different from yours?
- What suggestions would you give to someone who came to you with a similar situation?
- How could you change your vantage point?
- If you could think of this as an opportunity, how would you describe the opportunity?
Perspective change is what turns an obstacle into an opportunity, and powerful questions are the catalyst to gaining a new perspective. Go back and watch the short video again and think about your situation. Listen for the word, Zoo!
That’s the way I see it.
Tim Cosby, CCC
About the Author:
Tim is the President of Empowerment Coaching Network, Int’l. a coaching, training and consulting company serving non-profits and corporations since 2010. ECN was the first Christian Coaching Training school to be recognized by CCNI in 2013. ECNI provides a range of services from a 2-day Empowerment Coaching Training workshop, to equipping Certified Professional Empowerment Coaches. ENCI formed Real Retention in 2016 as their corporate training arm, assisting companies to retain their key talent through their proprietary Conversational Management Development program. Tim has served as a pastor since 1976 in several churches, and served as Chaplain at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI for 10 years. Tim is also Co-Author of Coaching Based Ministry: Transforming Ministry through Empowerment Coaching, Credo House Publishers, 2011. He also coaches leaders in transition through his private coaching practice, Terra Nova. Tim resides in Grand Rapids with his wife of 42 years, Diane, their 4 children, and 8 grandchildren.