How We Look at the World

Contrasting Lenses of Coach and Client

How we look at the world is influenced by multiple factors. It is impossible to identify all the factors that condition our perceptions. Still, some variables are particularly likely to have a significant influence. Background characteristics or present life status variables affect how you and your client view the world. Individual differences that influence your work with a client might include age, gender, ethnicity, language, educational background, economic status, occupation or work, civil status, and spiritual or religious orientation. In addition, consider personality preferences or patterns, such as those in the following chart.

For each client, detail information you know to create a map of how your unique worldview meshes with your client’s and areas where it differs. Neither similarities nor differences necessarily represent inherent concerns, but seeing yourself contrasted with your client in concrete terms gives a useful perspective on your work.


Client’s Name_______________  Date______________________


  Identifying similarities and differences – Coach / Client

  Preferences, style, and personality

  1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator type
  2. Enneagram type
  3. Learning style (based on the model of Kolb)
  4. Preference for auditory, visual, or kinesthetic sources of knowing
  5. Estimated stage or level of consciousness (based on the models of Kegan or Wilber, for example)
  6. Locus of control (external or internal attributions)
  7. Conflict style (Thomas Kilmann Instrument, for example)
  8. Other?


  Identifying similarities and differences – Coach / Client

  Communication and somatic patterns

  1. Pace of speech (fast or slow)
  2. Volume or tone of speech (loud or soft)
  3. Variation in expression (monotonic or varied)
  4. Verbal communication (succinct or expansive)
  5. Consistency in the pattern of verbal expression (consistent or diverse)
  6. Facial expressiveness (high or low)
  7. Nonverbal expressiveness such as hand and body movements (high or low)
  8. Other?


  Background factors (list those you consider particularly relevant in your work)



Think of this tool as an awareness-enhancing visual that you can briefly glance at before your session with this client. Each time you coach this client, it will remind you how you might need to enter the relationship to ensure connection and the promotion of intimacy and trust. Awareness of differences helps adjust such things as your speech patterns, metaphors, and how you describe things to create more effective communication during the session.