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It's all a question of perspective

Perspective shifts are easy to explain, but not always easy to apply in practice. First of all, the theory: a typical change of perspective involves rethinking an existing problem from a perspective that makes the problem seem less big/threatening/insurmountable. As a coach, it is important to ensure that the perspective is coherent for the client. An imposed change of perspective does not get anyone anywhere.

How to correctly use perspective changes

The good thing is – for the vast majority of problems you encounter in everyday life, you don’t need professional coaching to change your perspective. Instead, you can follow these three steps as a small guide:

  1. Take in the problem fully, including all emotions associated with it (e.g. the anger when you just missed the train to an important meeting)

  2. Then focus on the question of what new opportunities you now have as a result of the problem that has arisen? (e.g. additional available time in the evening)

  3. Decide on a solution (e.g. announce to join the meeting online as you will not be able to physically be there on time)

What you should practice for successful changes of perspective

A certain degree of composure when problems arise and the ability to quickly shift focus to new possibilities. Many clients seem to be stuck in the problem mode for a long time even for relatively minor problems instead of quickly entering the search for solutions.  Depending on our personality, perspective shifts can be easier or more difficult – the rest is just a matter of practice. Let's look at two examples to demonstrate how easy changes of perspective can be:

Change of perspective 1: Climbing up a summit

Initial situation: The way up with over 1,000m of altitude gain and constant rain.

Problem: Your legs hurt, there is no beautiful view Idee to bad weather, your mood is at the bottom. The obvious solution is to start your way back down.

Mental perspective change:

  • If it rains now, it will probably be cloudless up there later

  • The pain in the legs shows that it’s a good workout

  • There are fewer people on the trail and it’s not as crowded because of the bad weather

  • Rain is relatively good weather, as there are no forecasts for thunderstorms or hail

  • I need less water because it is not so hot

  • The air is fresh

  • I finally have the possibility to test my equipment in the rain

  • I don’t have to use sunscreen all the time

  • The rain helps me to concentrate on my thoughts


Change of perspective 2: An important presentation

Initial situation: A major slide is missing from an important presentation. You have been resonsible for creating the presentation deck. Du warst für die Erstellung verantwortlich. The obvious solution is to cover up the mistake.

Mental perspective change:

  • The client does not know that an important slide is missing

  • The absence of the slide allows you to better present the important point

  • The change from presentation to free speech or to a flipchart provides variety

  • The change will be surprising and thus increase the attention of the audience to the most important point.

  • The mistake allows you to practice your improvisation skills.

  • The mistake will allow you to compare your presentation with previous ones.

  • The mistake allows you to redesign the slide afterwards with customer feedback and send it out for the first time.

It's all a matter of perspective

I hope I could give you an impression of the power of perspective shifts. They are one of my favourite tools for coaching and can be applied to almost any problem.

I look forward to hearing about your experiences with perspective changes


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