Enhancing coaching conversations: harnessing the potential of visuals and drawings


When it comes to coaching, conversation is king.

But talking has its limitations. Its linear path often misses the interconnectedness of our experiences and beliefs. It’s those hidden connections that hold the key to real change and personal growth.

That’s where drawing comes in.

Humans are wired to connect with visuals. They offer an opportunity to enhance coaching conversations in a more impactful way. Using them creates a shortcut to the conversation happening in someone’s mind and by including visuals, coaches can reflect information in a simplified way that helps clients tap into their thoughts and insights.

Drawing can take different forms, such as metaphors, visualisations, templates, and visual prompts. But the most powerful technique is real-time sketching. This technique creates a visual map of the topic, translating dialogue as it is shared.

Let’s dive into seven ways drawings can support coaches in their work:

  • See Your Thinking
    The visual mind has a unique perception that allows clients to uncover aspects that words can’t express. Words can be hard to let go of, whereas drawings are neutral and objective. By visualising their thoughts, clients gain distance from the problem and actively engage in finding solutions.
  • Declutter the Mind
    Drawing is a powerful tool for overwhelmed clients. Putting their internal complexities onto paper brings order to chaos. More effective information processing leads to clearer thinking.
  • Engage and Captivate
    This technique helps both coach and client maintain attention without exerting too much mental effort. It allows for easy digestion of information and reduces cognitive strain.
  • See the Future
    Drawings empower clients to bridge the gap between their long-term aspirations and their current reality. Visualising the future helps them hold onto their long-term vision while taking steps in the present. It creates a kind of internal roadmap.
  • Easily Conceptualise Ideas
    Drawings allow clients to see their challenges as mental models that organise their thoughts and ideas. Visual representations offer deeper understanding of complex information by editing out the unimportant.
  • Memorable Insights
    Combining drawings with words creates a lasting impression, making insights and conversations more memorable. This all leads to change that’s easier to make. This is similar to the principles of dual coding theory, where visual and verbal information reinforce each other and improve the retention of coaching insights.
  • Open Doors to the Imagination
    If a client is drawing, this stimulates creativity in the brain, which brings forth new ideas and problem-solving. Visual expression taps in to the imagination and clients unlock fresh perspectives and discover new possibilities.

Drawing is a revolutionary tool that coaches can use to unlock insights and accelerate personal growth. It’s not about creating a masterpiece, it’s about map-making.

By embracing visuals, coaches go beyond the limitations of dialogue, which allows clients to tune in to a broader perspective. Whilst it stimulates creativity and declutters the mind, it also clarifies complex concepts. Bringing drawings in to coaching conversations enhances the experience and lands the memorability of insights.

So, why not embrace the power of drawing for results with your clients and transform your listening potential?

About the author

Rachel Smith is a qualified coach and the founder of Eye Think. She helps leaders unlock growth using visuals.

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