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Envisioning the Future

By Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg,
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown

Coaching for Transformation
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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. — Eleanor RooseveltImagine your ideal life. Close your eyes and let your imagination soar. What does the future hold that’s exciting and fulfilling for you? What difference do you long to make in your life, for your family or in the world? Visioning helps get to the heart of these questions and more. In moving toward your vision, mysteries begin to unfold and dreams come to life. As the first step in the process of creation and world-changing work, visioning unleashes passion and offers new possibilities. Visioning sets the stage for creative action for individuals, corporate teams and communities alike—establishing the blueprint for creating compelling personal, organizational and social change. One of the things that sets coaching apart from therapy is a focus on the future. Visioning helps clients open to the expanse of possibilities and alignment with their core values. The process helps them connect with what’s waiting to be born and begin shaping their future. As the transformational self comes more clearly into view, both the coach and client sense the possibilities are truly limitless.

Vision work supports the mysterious coming together of desire: seen, felt or sensed. Born in the heart, vision comes alive through action. When vision grows out of an alignment with body, mind and spirit, it sustains us. Deeply rooted in individuals and communities, visions reflect what people long to bring into the world. Working toward the vision satisfies an inner urge for personal growth and contribution. For some, creating and working toward a vision is a way to honor justice and equity—leaving the world a better place for future generations. Vision can be cultivated. It is deep and profound. Simple and accessible. This chapter covers processes that lead us to our visions, and our visions to us.

Setting the Stage

Setting the stage involves seeing from a new perspective. We can prime the pump and fuel our creative juices using some of these suggestions:

Slow down. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing or long walks can calm the mind and support

presence, openness and receptivity to intuition and creative insights.

Explore edges. Dramatic events and powerful emotions can generate dynamic visions. What brings out anger? Tears? Joy? We can explore what we find on the edges of those emotions as a source for vision.

Stir. Look outside the comfort zone. Ideas often arise out of necessity, not just desire. Many of us avoid taking risks. We can stir things up and see what arises when we take a departure from daily habits, our long-time friends, our social status or our habits. Step outside our psychological comfort zone, and we can find new vistas.

Change. Consider making profound changes in our way of being, or how we live as inspiration for powerful visions. Change can feel difficult—especially if it can lead to instability or crisis. However, choosing change can be an opportunity for learning and seeing things in a new way—and can pave the way for creating a vision of what more may be possible.

Break the rules. We all have habitual ways that we get our ideas and make our plans. When those are not working, we can change it. For example, if we usually make a list of possibilities, try thinking without pen and paper. If we like to do things by the book, we can break the rules and see what opens up. We’re not suggesting breaking rules that could result in danger, bullying, violence, expulsion, getting fired or incarcerated. We break the rules with a purpose: to try new ways of doing things or seeing the world differently.

Play. Sometimes we’re trying so hard to create a vision that our ideas are afraid to come out into the light. The conscious mind, especially when it’s working full bore, can be an intimidating force. Play can give the delicate, ephemeral wisps of imagination a chance to make their acquaintance. Many of us have lost the habit of play, but we can set aside time for play and humor, and let go of expectations. We can allow play to be random, or unstructured, and can connect with our inner child who still knows how. We don’t have to worry about whether we’re “doing it right.” The playful part of us will guide us if we are willing to follow.

Retreat. Consider a change in venue—a place free of distractions. Magical things can happen in the heart and mind when the body leaves its customary domain. When planning a retreat or helping a client plan one, it’s helpful to set a clear intention and be open to what might be revealed.

As we look at the lives of visionaries, we see qualities that we all have in some measure. We can use the visionaries as role models. How can we use these qualities in developing our own vision for our coaching?


Are inherently curious

Convey a clear sense of passion

Explore their own nature unceasingly

Have the courage to dream

Open to the mystery

Expand the sense of possibility

Engage others in their vision

Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.

Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

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