Tools for Coaching Mastery

This column is provided by an IAC Coaching Masteries®-Licensed School or Mentor.

How Can Your Clients' Dreams Help You Coach Them?
by Doris Helge, IAC-CC

Mastery #4, "Processing in the Present" includes helping clients use the power of their intuition. How many times have your clients made comments like, "I had a strange dream last night. I can't let go of it. I know it was important but I don't know what it meant."

Our dreams are an ongoing, essential source of guidance and wisdom. They provide crystal-clear clues about our best next steps in life—when we know how to interpret them. Our dreams also help us resolve the inner conflicts that cause us to unconsciously project our negative thoughts, intentions and other shadow material onto other people.

When we discover the connection between the symbols, pictures and messages in our dreams and our waking lives, we gain the self-awareness required to resolve many diverse inner and outer challenges. The key is to perceive parallels between our waking life and the endless dreamy images that float through our slumbering consciousness.

How do we help clients makes sense of sleepy symbols?

I doubt you will want to suggest to a client that they dive into a "dream dictionary" to discover the wisdom contained in their dreams. Why? Each client is unique. Dream interpretation is an intensely personal, intuitive experience. The visions your clients explore while they sleep are not designed by a committee. In the dream world, your client is a solo artist, flawlessly crafting a tapestry that is custom-designed for a specific purpose, with impeccable timing. Your client's unconscious intentions are often vastly different than the author of a dream dictionary.

It is important for a coach to avoid polluting a client's dream landscape with the coach's interpretations. Your client will interpret many symbols differently than you do, even the most common dream images like running away from something or being chased.

Avoid judging a dream as good or bad. All dreams are potentially helpful, as our brains are hardwired to provide this spontaneous service that helps us process information.

Dream Interpretation 101

Before helping clients gain wisdom from their dreams, practice interpreting your own dreams. This dream interpretation guide will help you get started.

Note that it's common to forget over half of the content of a dream within the first few minutes of waking. Most people dream 3-20 times a night and remember only a few of their dreams. After 10 minutes, most of us forget over 90 percent of our night visions.

To gain the most value from a dream, make a chart with two columns. Use the left-hand column to list all of the people, events, actions and objects in the dream, in the order in which they appeared. In the right-hand column, describe how it felt to be each of those people, events and objects. Each person, action, event and object represents a fascinating component of your consciousness.

Total honesty provides clarity and clues, so record both sensations and emotions. Example: Whether a wall seemed stable, empty, secure, or anchored is as important as whether a person felt joyful, angry, fearful, aggressive, shy or confident.

Read all of the adjectives you recorded, in the order in which each object or person or event appeared. Notice patterns and themes. Observe changes over time.

To gain more clarity, close your eyes and ask to receive a clue that will provide more inner guidance. Then make notes about your answers to the following questions:

1. How did you feel about each person, event, setting, object and feeling when you woke up?
2. How did you feel about each of these items during your dream?
3. What were the differences between your responses to #1 and #2 above?
4. What does this tell you?
5. How did your emotions change during the dream?
6. What do you think is the message or theme of your dream?
7. If you could change your dream, how would you do so?

Note: If you feel indecisive or incomplete about the clues you gain, close your eyes and imagine being in your dream again. One empowering choice is to use your imagination to re-do the outcome of a dream.

Since Albert Einstein often said, "Imagination is more powerful that reality," I also help clients discover how to use empowering questions to program future dreams. They discover how dream work can provide clarity about puzzling aspects of goal achievement. Of course, this is also a brilliant tool for you when you're wondering how to work with a challenging client or accomplish something in your own business or life.


Doris Helge, PhD, is an IAC-certified coach, mentor coach and President of the IAC-licensed training school, Confident Coach Connection. She teaches the IAC Masteries, Advanced Coaching Skills and "Confident Business Building." She created the New Coach Virtual Chapter of IAC and other mastermind groups that boost coaching confidence.


IAC Member Benefit: IAC members save 10% on all Confident Coach Connection training programs including IAC Certification Preparation classes and Advanced Coaching and Business-Building classes. Log in now to claim this benefit.

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