My favourite coaching method in Q1 2017 is The Empty Chair Method.

The Empty Chair Method comes from gestalt therapy from Fritz Perls* and can be used in coaching whenever the coach feels that it may be helpful for the coachee (customer) to change their perspective and to see a situation from the point of view of a third person. It is often useful for relationship difficulties and conflicts or when the coachee is too strongly focused on their own perceptions.

This method is carried out by first taking an empty chair and using this as a dummy for a relevant person who is involved in the situation described by the coachee. The coachee is then invited to imagine that this person is sitting on the chair and then to begin a dialogue with them (step 1 in the figure below). Then the coachee is invited to switch places and sit on the new chair, taking on the role of the relevant person, and is questioned by the coach (step 2). Finally, the coachee leaves the role and goes back to the original chair. The situation is then discussed with relation to the coaching goal.

I particularly love this method as it is so simple and allows the coachee to really experience the feelings and emotions of the third person, enabling them to see things from a different point of view and develop new ideas for solving the problem. I find it really amazing what a difference it makes actually experiencing the point of view of the third person rather than just talking about the situation cognitively.

*Perls, F. S., Hefferline, R. F. und Goodman, P. 1979. Gestalt-Therapie. Lebensfreude und Persönlichkeitsentfaltung. Stuttgart  : s.n., 1979.

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