How do you create a collage that will capture the essence of coaching?

My Personal Model in Coaching
By Stephanie Sebag

When I start a new collage I need to stay focused on 2 steps that will have a big impact on the result. First, I need to stretch the canvas to make sure paint and/or glue will adhere completely. Sincecollage is all about layers, I need to make sure to spend some time on the bond. It needs to stay bonded for a long  time.

Then comes the second step, priming with a uniform color. This color will give a background to your collage. You can never go wrong with blue. Blue is the color of trust. Then I start applying my blue oil. It takes me some time to blend it and add two more layers of oil to reach a uniform background. Then I need a week to let it dry. You need to be patient in order to get the best possible results.

Since it is not in my nature to be patient, I go to yoga to help me. Yoga has this wonderful gift of helping me to be in the moment and be prepared for something new – but this is in  my case. Everyone must find what helps them be in the moment and centered. 

Once it is dry and the layers come together in some kind of harmony [?], I feel that I have a better sense my client’s story: where he/she is in his/her own story?

It’s like finding him/her on sheet music. The notes never really start at the beginning of the song. They lead you in and guide you to many facets. As a jazz singer I got to learn how to improvise within the cords of a song that act as a frame. It is like having an agenda for a meeting but putting it away in the back of your mind when you are in front of the client to leave some space for his/her  own improvisation. But you know it  is  there as a guide to keep you on track.

The breathing exercises that I practice before singing help me to also developa warm and inviting tone. Because when you step into someone’s world you have to be delicate, especially since you can have some kind power in the eyes of your client. Maybe your client is expecting a big revelation about him/herself and feels very vulnerable right now.

At that moment I think about what I am bringing to my practice in addition to my artistic side. Executive recruitment  at an international level gave me the opportunity to manage the relation between HR, the manager and the client. I have to say that  taught me to ask questions, to investigate. Not coaching in my language originally felt like a weakness but is now becoming a strength and a very helpful tool.. I have no  choice but to listen carefully, and listen, and listen and rephrase ensuring I clearly understand my client. 

I also infuse my own story , everything that I have experienced from growing up in Lyon; studying in England; singing and working as an executive recruiter in Paris; being an artist in New York, etc. New York has always been a place for me where the differences are not merely tolerated, they are  celebrated!

My layers includethe fact that I am the mother of three girls and I have I learned how to not take things personally. I have also learned that helping someone is not about carrying  them on your shoulders, but helping them getback on their own feet.

A collage is always unfinished, but you have to stop at one point, or else you can cover the whole canvas and then where will the harmony be? This, for me, is the end of the coaching. To know and accept that there is always more you can do and you decide that for now, you have to stop and enjoy what you have created.