Vision based coaching draws from Intentional Change Theory, which generally stipulates that when a person focuses on their 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 your personal vision, that is , your future aspiration and core identity. The emphasis is on the exploration and articulation of your 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 your personal vision does four key things:
- Facilitates your identity expansion – it helps you to explore how else you can be that you are not currently being.
- It increases the energy for change when you realise that there are possibilities out there that you have not explored.
- It activates learning oriented goals because you understand that you may need to gain new skills or develop new habits in order to become your ideal self.
- It enforces a self-regulatory stance in you because you become aware of situations where the way you are being, or the way you are behaving, hinders access to your 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 going south.
Here are 4 steps to help you work with your vision:
- Discover of and articulate the ideal self. This is creating an image of your desired future.
- Assess the difference between the ideal future and the real present.
- Formulate a learning agenda – what do you need to believe and do differently? How can you get to believing and doing that more consistently?
- Practice actions you have chosen, examining the outcomes and refining them as needed.
These steps are not necessarily linear, and you may keep going back to any one of them when there are significant changes in your life. As you approach the end of 2020, a year that will forever mark humanity, consider articulating your vision for the ‘new normal’ using a vision board.
Watch this video for step by step instructions on how to create a vision board