Coaching Tip – The Power of Metaphors

Sections of this topic

    Metaphors are powerful tools for your coach’s toolbox. A metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. With few words, metaphors instantly convey a picture which captures the essence of what is being said. They are particularly effective to shift a thought pattern or evoke more clarity in a situation.

    Metaphors take a little practice and are really fun when you start using them. Just trust your gut and blurt them out. They don’t need to be profound or make sense – your client will naturally modify it to fit their situation.

    I had a coaching client that was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I asked, “Your life is like a piano, what tune are you playing now?” Immediately she focused and realized she had control over her situation.

    Here are some examples of metaphors that you may want to try:

    • It sounds like you are stuck in the muck
    • You are focused like a laser
    • You’re jumping in the river and are going down the rapids
    • Why not soar like an eagle?
    • Your situation is like a marathon – take one step at a time
    • Sounds like you hit a bull’s eye

    What metaphors do you find effective?

    For more resources, see the Library topic Personal and Professional Coaching.