Why Marc Chagall ’s paintings inspired my Coaching practice ?
Have you ever “fallen into” a painting? “Falling in a painting” is a little bit like “falling in love”: your eyes can detach from the picture, a powerful emotion comes over you, touches your soul and then suddenly, ideas gush… When the emotion causes Inspiration, Creativity starts to be activated. I want to tell you about my first meeting with”Around Her” by Marc Chagall during a visit to the exhibition “War and Peace” at the Luxembourg Museum in spring 2013. I’ll tell you why this painting lights up my job as a coach.
Why Coaching ?
In spring 2012, I wanted to give more sense to my work in my own business. As a management consultant, one recognizes me as a communicator of energy, an ability to gather and organize with enthusiasm. In fact, I’m very curious and I have a practical common sense, combined with the attention to detail and my friend “Excel,” allow me to have a clear vision of the tasks to organize in a constrained time. The success of an event lies at 90% in its preparation and in the ability to find quick solutions serenely to manage contingencies.
This is a skill: my “practical side”, organized and sociable!
I always find it fascinating to watch the alchemy or conflicts within a group or team. My taste for Human Relationship put me on the “coaching road”. My desire to support clients personaly by developing their behavioral and interpersonal skills had become evident.
So in March 2012, when I discovered the fundamentals of Co-active® Coaching trainning at CTI (the Coaches Training Institute) in London, I immediately understood that this method allowed me to use all my fundamentals resources: intuition, curiosity, creativity and courage to bring them to my clients.
To become a professional coach, I got involved very quickly in a Fast track trainning program and into a 6 month certification program, one of the more rigorous of the market , accredided by the ICF, the International Coaching Federation. This is an exciting period of training: experimentation with real clients in professional conditions, supervised by coaches -supervisors, work in peers group, personal reading and work until written and oral exams.
Art & Coaching ?
Passionate about art and painting in particular, I draw, I sculpt and paint for over 15 years. I can say that my artistic universe contributes to color my ideas and my life in general and above all allow me to translate my emotions and thoughts.
I did not really link between Art and Coaching until one of my first clients asked me to show a drawing I made during our previous meeting to illustrate a deadlock situation with his manager. As she had told me, I drew a box between them, because the communication between them was flat or empty wit a lot of animosity.
So at our next session, when she said “I finally decided to open the box! “. I rejoiced that this little “doodle” I have drawn has so much impact on her awareness and I just told myself that I was lucky to know how to transcribe in little drawing the experiences of my clients.
Meeting “Around Her”, Chagall : the revelation
And then there was the visit of the Marc Chagall exhibition at the Luxembourg Museum. With Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet, Chagall is one of my favorite painters. He uses a network of symbols from his experience and culture which, hinged together, teach the meaning of his pantings; and mingle harmoniously animals, acrobats, objects, buildings, religious symbols and evanescent lovers.
Throughout the visit, I arrived in front of “Around Her”, a painting in memory to Bella, his muse. In this painting reigns the Blue mixing Mystery and Nostalgia. Blue ? “The color of my soul,” said Chagall.
I did not know the genesis of this picture and I have to tell you the story : Bella is for Chagall the strongest connection with his native Russia. In 1915, after a stay in Paris, he returned to marry her in Vitebsk, his hometown. The deep love that unites the couple shows through in all the work of the painter. While in exile in the United States, Bella died September 2, 1944, struck down by a viral infection. Chagall was petrified with grief and he stopped painting for many months.
“Everything has become darkness,” he wrote.
When the spring of 1945, he can get back to work, he shares in two large painting, “The Harlequin”, and painted the left side which becomes the wonderful “Around Her”.
Obviously, I was very moved to understand what motivated the creation of this table. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one and yet I can not but admire the power of this painting that brings together melodiously symbols of Beauty, Love, Life, Sorrow and Death.
Marveled and lost in my thought, at this precise point , I have a revelation about my coaching practice which facilitates my work to this day. We all carry within us our own univers based on our values, our virtues, our “saboteurs” and personal or professional experiences. We all seek our compelling purpose to give sense to our lives.
Life offers sometimes uncomfortable or complex transitions that make us lose our bearings. By revealing their inner world to my client, I support them in their personal development for a more accurate understanding of themselves in order to find an “alignment”, a harmony to cross the hardship in their life (although they are not as dramatic as that lived here by Chagall).
How Art influences my Coaching
In fact, when I start a new coaching program with a client, is a little bit like starting to build a new painting. I have my palette, the solid methodology of co-active® coaching, my brushes are simple but powerful tools like Ofman Quadrants®, The principles of Emotional Intelligence and Non Violent Communication, The four Agreements, etc and find my colors in the paintings of the Masters to activate the creativity of my clients too often in the “grayness” and give birth to their metaphorical universe.
In modeling, I could say that my clients are my clay and my Inspiration.
Sometimes I make them “fall in the paintings” eventhough they don’t even know about Art – in fact, it does not matter at all ! For instance, when a client chooses several painting (I have a very large collection of postcards gleaned from all the world’s museums) to illustrate his mood, it is never by chance. Then it is “my knack” to know how to explore his univers and to lead the conversation to raise ideas. Beauty is useful: it causes emotions, opens minds and gives new perspectives.
So I have two strongly believes inspired by these two Masters:
“We must begin by experiencing what we want to express.” Van Gogh
and everyone can choose how he wants to color his life.
“If all life goes inevitably towards its end, we need during ours to color it with our colors of Love and Hope.” Marc Chagall
At CTI (the Coaches Training Institute) and at the ICF (International Coaching Federation), it is said that Coaching is an Art!
I do think so.