What I Learned From Art About Executive Coachingpar Carole Doucet, PCC
Do you remember the last time you looked at a painting, a sculpture or a photograph? What did you really see?
Every day we pass by works of arts and we are often too busy to stop and take the time to look. Then one day, unconsciously or consciously, we notice colors, textures, lights, shades and dimensions. Because of that, we will or will not connect with the artwork, depending on our interests, perceptions, values and preferred styles.
Nevertheless, we will experience emotions and discovery. It will create an impact. This is why, as a professional coach and artist, I realize how much art can teach us about executive coaching. Here are some ideas worth sharing and spreading!
Let’s explore the three fundamentals I learned from art about executive coaching:
A sparkling river that never ends, a mysterious path in the woods catching the eye … perspective in a painting or a photograph can be fascinating. It makes us feel as if we were there.
From the Latin “perspectus” – seeing clearly – perspective in art is the capacity of representing on a plane or curved surface the special relations of objects, to create the illusion of depth and distance.
Today, we can even see three dimensions on a canvas or a movie by wearing special glasses. A work of art invites us to see the different dimensions and realities of an object, an abstract idea or an emotion.
One of the benefits of executive coaching, as is the case in art, is the capacity to view things, people, and situations in their genuine relations or relative importance. We gain perspective with various points of views or mental prospects. This in turn contributes to seeing more clearly when taking actions and feeling more confident when experiencing situations. Perspective in business, as in art, can make us “travel” and feel good. Why? Among other things, it awakens the spirit and leads to more creativity.
Let’s imagine a deep blue sky in Provence, touching lavender fields and golden sunflowers. Our minds and eyes are attracted to colors. Very often, color is the first thing that gets our attention in a work of art or in a scenic view.
As the great jazz pianist Oliver Jones once told me: “I always see colors when I play music”.
Colors appear when light is reflecting on a colored object. The three basic colors, along with black & white, can create infinite combinations of tones, shades and brightness.
Similarly, each person creates and displays a unique combination of colors, giving him or her a specific character or distinctive quality, such as a particular tone of a piece of music. In executive coaching, each partner “colors” the relationship, bringing reflections of vividness, authenticity, individuality and light. And of course, some colors fit better together… So do coaching partners!
Be it abstract, impressionist, or surrealistic, we may wonder where artists get their inspiration.
Apart from colors and perspective, artists put together visuals, media, forms and space that will relate to each other. Although on a fixed support, these arrangements create movement, rhythm and a flow of energy.
The same exists in executive coaching where both the executive or manager and the coach create the relationship, putting together trust, engagement, enjoyment and learning. The coaching space is filled with explorations and conversations that have the power to create insights. Those insights will in turn result in thoughtful decisions, actions and positive impacts.
LEARNING FROM ART
For both a leader developing coaching skills and a professional coach, perspective, colors and composition from art embody inspiring metaphors.
They remind us of the extremely high value and the beauty of creating and “composing” the relationship, bringing authentic color mix, brightness and tone, and gaining perspective for powerful insights leading to successful actions, behaviours and performance.
How does art inspire you?