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Perceptual Coaching is a coaching methodology that identifies and works to modify self and other’s perceptions of the Leaders we are Coaching – should our Coaching determine these perceptions are impediments to achieving our Leader’s personal and professional success.  Here are five secrets I have learned about Perceptual Coaching that may assist you in your Coaching efforts: 

  1. Perceptions Matter: Our perceptions of our own knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences shape how we choose to interact with the world. The Pygmalion Effect, also known as “Self-Fulfilling Prophecies,” theorizes that how people perceive themselves has a strong potential to introduce Limiting Perceptions that influence their conscious and unconscious behaviors. Likewise, other people’s perceptions of our knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences impacts how they choose to interact with us – to the extent that they apply reverse “Self-Fulfilling Prophecies” regarding their expectations of us. With all that said, it truly matters how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us! Perceptual Coaching works to identify and modify – if needed – our self and other perceptions – should they limit our personal and professional achievements.   

 2. Self-Other Disparities:  We humans go about our lives with an internal “perception” of who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.  Concurrently, the world has a “perception” of us – that may vary quite significantly from the view we have of ourselves.  We call these differences in perceptions “Self-Other Disparities.”  Perceptual Coaching and/or Psychometric Assessments can easily and accurately identify and then communicate these differences in perceptions.  In many cases, the Self-Other Disparities are simply interesting novelties, but quite often, they give Perceptual Coaches opportunities to work with our Leaders to change either theirs or the world’s perceptions of them. 

 3. You Can Change Limiting Perceptions: The Leaders we are Coaching possess both innate and learned methods of communicating and demonstrating their preferences – which in turn become theirs and the world’s perceptions of their life and leadership.  But these preferences are NOT our Leader’s destiny!  Through Perceptual Coaching, employing the tools of Coaching, you can facilitate the discovery of limiting perceptions (either self or other) that stand between our Leaders and their Goals, Objectives, & Key Results.  Once identified, you can then continue Coaching, again using the tools of Coaching, to remove or modify these Limiting Perceptions.   

4. Modify Perceptions of Willingness & Ability:  One of my favorite Coaching metaphors is the “Intersection of Willingness & Ability.”  The imagery of this tool is all about how Willing is your Leader to change and/or improve a Limiting Perception and how Able are they to change and/or improve a Limiting Perception?  For example, if a Leader I am Coaching states “I am just not good at X…,” then I might come back with a question such as “Is that challenge a Willingness perception or an Ability perception?   Over time, through Perceptual Coaching, you can work to modify your Leader’s Willingness and/or Ability with respect to self and other’s perceptions of their life and leadership. 

5. Coach to New “Realms of the Possible:” Another of my favorite Coaching tools to overcome Limiting Perceptions is the “Miracle Question” – which comes to us from the world of Psychiatry. In using this tool, you simply ask a form of “If you woke up tomorrow morning and anything was possible, what would this perceived outcome look like for you? The tool introduces the opportunity to perceive an entirely new “realm of the possible” without ANY limiting perceptions.  Once your Leader envisions the new perceived outcome, they can then introduce and overcome actual limitations that will get them to this new envisioned reality. 

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 Good luck to you and your Team! If there is ANYTHING my team and I can do to assist you in realizing your goals, objectives, and key results, reach out to us at 2RL@FlatterInc.com. If you find these blogs valuable, please link to us at www.FlatterInc.com so that others may absorb the same insights. Likewise, please listen to our weekly Podcast, with distinguished guests from the Coaching world, published every Thursday at noon, Eastern Time (USA) at The Secrets of Leadership Coaching.  Finally, I am personally interested in hearing your feedback – so please send your thoughts directly to me at JR.Flatter@FlatterInc.com.   

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