I recently saw a post on Facebook that really hit home. I believe I’m aware of my position and my point of view, but this post caused me to pause and wonder how many of these opinions are actually my own. How many of these perspectives are truly mine–uninfluenced, unbiased and unfiltered through the perspectives of others–truly being seen with fresh eyes?
As we grow up, our perspectives are filtered through family, school, peers–and in this day and age, social media and media. In adulthood, we start to form or own opinions, independent of others, based on our experiences and values. Often these opinions are shaped by how something makes us feel (happy, sad, lonely, safe, excited etc.).
In CTI (Coach Training Institute) Coaching, “Perspective is one of the gifts that the coach brings to the coaching relationship — not the “right” perspective, but simply other points of view.”
“Part of coaching is inviting clients to see their lives or certain issues from different angles. When clients see things from only one perspective, they are less resourceful and may be victimized by their circumstances. When they are able to reexamine their viewpoints, to look at their lives or certain issues from different angles, they are able to see possibility and change.”
When I start working with a client, one of the first things we do together is discover what their “perspective” is from the context of doing (action oriented) and being (beliefs you hold). For example: What is your perspective about money?
Some common doing responses are:
- Spend, save, give, invest, hoard, earn, enjoy, win, gamble.
Some common being responses are:
- power, doesn’t grow on trees, work hard for it, no free lunch, it’s important, responsibility, philanthropy, the more you have the more you get.
From discovery we move into exploring, and then into the geography of the different perspectives. What does the given perspective really feel like and look like from this point of view. The client will then choose the perspective they want to hold as their primary one on a specific topic (such as money – used in the example above) and we create a plan with actionable steps. The plan includes ways to observe their perspective as they move forward with clarity and choice.
Whether you are looking at your life, a recent decision or a specific situation, some questions to ponder are:
- What is your current point of view? What’s it like?
- What’s another way of looking at _____?
- What is the payoff?
- What is the cost?
- How else can you view ______? (choose different perspectives: the magician, the architect, your pet, the boss lady, your best self, the 5 year old, the 95 year old, the wise one, the joker, your favourite colour – seriously, what would the colour yellow say about…)
- How can you BE with your choice?
- Where are you holding back?
- What’s else is possible?
Work through the above points using a specific issue or topic and then engage a friend or your partner in a discussion after you have your own clarity. To make it even more interesting, work through the exercise individually and then review together afterwards. This can be a great way to learn more about their viewpoints and gain new insights and understanding about people in your life, and might even challenge some of the perspectives you hold.