Visualization is a technique that utilizes the power of our will and our imagination to create mental images and feelings of what we want to manifest in our lives.
One reason why visualization can be so effective is that the brain cannot distinguish between an event that is real and one that is imagined. When you imagine yourself doing what you want and really feel into it, you start creating new neural pathways in your brain that begin to transform your physiology. Your body starts believing it is feeling the emotion and doing the action you’re imagining.
Visualization is a skill anyone can learn and improve through practice. In the coaching context it helps our clients see, feel and hear the end point, immerse themselves in it and eventually become it.
Visualization helps clients reframe their perspectives, helping them overcome any mental blocks they might have that are holding them back.
Before doing visualization with a client there are a few factors to consider:
- Always get permission first. Check in with them to see if the strategy is okay for them. We’re not here to lead but to support our clients highest needs.
- Establish trust. Trust is an integral part of the coaching relationship. If a client fully trusts us as their coach, they are more open to suggestions that arise in the moment.
- Know your audience. Who’s in front of you? What is there learning style? How do they want to work? Are they more left-brain or right brain dominant? Left-brain dominant individuals don’t respond as well to visualization as right brain dominant individuals do.
- Set the context for it: Explain the purpose, what to expect, etc…
- Speak from personal experience. Make sure you have worked with visualization first so that you are speaking from personal experience. Be comfortable talking about it.
- Choose a suitable visualization for the personality. Each person responds to different visualization styles. Know your clients and adjust to their preferences.
- Know the visualization within yourself. Make sure to know where you want to go with the visualization so that there’s a gentleness and confidence in your voice.
- Relaxed, focused, comfortable. Before starting the visualization it’s important that your clients are in a relaxed and comfortable state. A brief body scan meditation can be very effective.
Visualization can be a powerful coaching tool when used at the right time. Remember to always use your intuition to feel into to the emergence of what wants to happen and to let your client’s deeper sense of self lead. When you’re fully connected to your client and the coaching space you will know what is needed.
For a more in depth take on visualization check out Shakti Gawain’s classic book Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life.