Last week, I facilitated a session at the Lean Coaching Summit on choosing and using the right metaphors in your coaching. During the session we practiced creating metaphors and stories that would connect with the people we’re teaching and coaching by using words that help them ‘create a picture’ in their mind of the concept we were working on. For instance, using the metaphor “Taking the group’s temperature” would resonate in healthcare. Creating pictures with words is one of the ways I help people ‘translate’ lean concepts into their own ‘language’. Drawing – yes – actually drawing – with pencil and paper – is another! This works especially well when helping people clarify their vision. Although we tend to rely on words to describe a ‘vision’, in truth, the word ‘vision’, itself, implies a picture. So, I regularly ask the people I am coaching to ‘draw-out’ their vision – get it down on paper in a simple, visual format so that they – and those around them – can ‘picture’ what’s imagined. I’ve found that helping people ‘see’ can often best be accomplished, instead of using words, by drawing a picture!

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