Whose Frame is It Anyway?

2nd August, 2017

I loved a short film I saw recently about a photography based social experiment… six photographers created portraits of a man who offered each a different life story… the results were astounding, each captured a very different persona… The link to the short film is here.


The very fact that their results were so different shows how each of them truly allowed their client to lead their creative pursuit… Using their skill to draw out a reflection of their client’s narrative in visual form… allowing their client’s story to suggest the light, shade, textures and frame.

It reminded me of a Frank Pucelik quote…

“The talker controls the movement of the conversation, whilst the listener controls the outcome…”

When training Coaches I often phrase this… “The client creates the direction, whilst the coach selects the content…”

Errrm hang on a minute… ?… The coach SELECTS the content?

Controversial… Yes, of course – it is a statement to provoke discussion…

What I mean by this is that the coach impacts the content by choosing (if we move back to the photography metaphor) the depth of field and where to point the lens… Whilst we can use methods such as clean questioning to widen our angles, if we are not fully engaged in our client’s direction our questions can leave truly progressive insight languishing out of shot.

Of course the content shared by the client can be surprising and is ultimately within their control… and as we all know if it is important enough for the client it will emerge again and again until somebody pays attention… but if we are skilled at moving we will ensure our questions are lead by their flow.

This is exactly why coaching for emergent wisdom is the very opposite of being a directive process. Whilst we have some structures and skills (much like a photographer understands his / her technical craft)… offering attentiveness that is absolute… observing without judgment, listening to the analogue nuances of speech, breath, silence and movement will extend our coaching practice to incorporate both “the law of requisite VARIETY and law of requisite KNOWING”… informed in the moment by the person we are currently sharing space and time with.

THEIR intention…, OUR attention…, SHARED action!

About Lizzi Larbalestier

Professional Blue Health Coach, mBIT and NLP trainer specialising in coastal coaching. Creating meaningful conversations, facilitating action and change for the results that you deserve. #bluehealthcoach #oceanempathy #bluemind