Aha! Moments - Exercise 1 - Working with Imagery to Access Intuition & Go Deeper with Clients | by Marcy Nelson-Garrison

Tree on rocks against stormy sky

We know things in so many different ways.

The most common way we understand our world is through our intellect and verbal fluency - traditionally more left brain skills. These skills are essential.

We can also access information and understanding through the body, visual imagery, metaphor, play, humor, music, stillness, prayer and meditation. These types of non-linear, non-verbal ways of knowing often serve up information and inner wisdom that are not always readily accessible to our very talented left brains.

If you are not currently bringing these types of processes into your coaching, your client may be missing out on the wisdom and knowing that lies within them. I've rarely experienced a deep internal shift or transformation without engaging in some way the body, creativity, non-verbal knowing or emotion. Verbal language and linear thinking play a part but are not always sufficient for a deep shift.

When you begin to leverage right-brain processes to increase awareness and tap into intuition you'll be amazed at the internal shifts in perspective, energy and mood that will happen with your clients. The exercise below is one that will make your coaching and group work powerful and memorable.

Exercise 1 - Working with Imagery to Access Intuition Go Deeper with Clients

Images provide access to intuition, expand awareness and allow creative solutions to surface. Expect new information to emerge and group conversations to be rich.

Use: groups, individuals, workshops
You will need: a source for images; card decks, magazines, found objects

1) Start With a Question

Imagery techniques work best when there is an open-ended question as a starting point. This could be a question that comes up in a session, one assigned as an inquiry or a question used to debrief a group process.

A few simple examples of open-ended questions:

  • What is your dominant style?
  • What does success look like?
  • Who are you becoming?
  • What is your relationship to…..love? trust? money? uncertainty?

As you can imagine - the possibilities are endless.

2) Select From a Pool of Images

You will need a source of images to draw from; magazines, card decks or found objects all work. Once a source of images have been selected, instruct your client or group participants to choose a card, image or object. You might say something like:

  • "Turn off thinking mind - turn on intuitive mind, hold the question lightly and allow yourself to be drawn to an image. Choose via your senses, instinct, urge – no 'figuring out' required."

3) Coach the Result

Use a series of coaching questions to process the image choice. Some examples of questions are:

  • What attracted you to this picture/object? (explore, color, shapes, mood, energy etc)
  • What associations come to mind?
  • What qualities does it reflect?
  • If this picture/object were a book cover or song title, What would it be?
  • What message does this image have for you?

Final Thoughts

Trust your coaching skills and your intuition in the exploration process. Avoid your own interpretation of the image by focusing on the elements; colors, shapes, textures - rather than the content. And trust your client's wisdom in choosing the images. Remember that your job is to help them find the wisdom within that the image represents for them.

©2016 Marcy Nelson-Garrison

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Contributing Author:

Marcy Nelson-Garrison is a transformational product mentor, certified professional co-active coach, visual artist and the founder of the Coaching Toys online store. Coaching since 1999, Marcy has a passion for applying creative processes to personal development. She is the Author of Creating Aha Moments, Creative Right-Brain Coaching Exercises for Individual, Group and Team Breakthroughs, The card deck: Q? Basics, Open-Ended Questions For Coaching Mastery and the popular Card Deck Master Class. You can sign-up for Marcy's newsletter and download the eBooks Creating Aha Moments and 10 Ways To Profit From Creating a Card Deck free here >>

Learn more about Marcy & see all their articles here >>

Image of Image of bare tree on rocks against sunset sky by Paul Morris via Unsplash


  1. Robin Lewis

    I used this with a client this week and trusted God to lead the conversation. The results were amazing. Thank you for great tools!


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