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  • Coaching Forum, May 2014: Using Metaphors in Coaching
May 2014

Join Pat Williams as he discusses using metaphors in coaching with Kristen Truman-Allen.

Coaching is a relationship developed for the purpose of creating some change or to achieve a specific goal. Metaphor is an imaginative linguistic tool representing one thing in terms of another. This phenomenological study explored the experience of 10 coaching clients who participated in a qualitative telephone interview using semistructured openended questions. To qualify, each participant identified a moment in coaching in which something significant had happened and remembered that a metaphor was used in the conversation. Research revealed four themes; new awareness, personal shifts, life changes, and reminders—and eight subthemes: shifts in perspective, shifts in emotion, shifts in action, changes in way of being, transformations, physical cues, emotional cues, and verbal cues. The data revealed a cyclical pattern, proposing a model of self-generated change. The cycle begins with the metaphor evoking an awareness that generates a personal shift, followed by life changes. The metaphors become reminders to stimulate a re-awareness, thereby perpetuating the coaching conversation over time.

Kristen Truman-Allen PhD, RN, PCC is a health care leader serving as an Administrator of Nursing in Cheyenne Wyoming. She brings her experiences as Emergency nurse, Outward Bound expeditionary learning instructor and Organization Development professional into her coaching as a formal leader in organizations. She earned her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education and a Masters in Human and Organization Systems and in 2013 completed her doctorate in Human Development focused on professional coaching. Kristen uses metaphor and intuition in her coaching of teams and individuals to help create powerful personal growth. Kristen is the proud mother of four children ages one to 17 and is passionate about living boldly and authentically.

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