"Creativity” is one of those words used in so many varying contexts and with so many different meanings that it can end up conveying little. As I use “creativity” n the context of coaching, I adopt the definition put forth by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love): “The strange partnership between a human being’s labor and the mystery of inspiration.”
I think the reason I like Gilbert’s definition so much is that it effectively conveys the simple fact that creativity involves both effort and inspiration. You can have great ideas about a new way to develop a project in your office or even imagine a totally new product line, the outline for a book or some other artistic achievement but unless you put in the work – sometimes with great persistence required – that idea or inspiration is likely to remain in the realm of your own mind.
Coaching can help you find your own resources of creativity whether you wish to apply those in a business or organizational setting or simply to further your own self-expression through any number of creative outlets from dance to photography, music, writing and the like to less conventional arts such as clowning and crafts. It’s the special enjoyment that working creatively provides which “creatives” of all types report again and again as the reason they pursue their creative outlets.
Creating for Income
Many of you with creative instincts and talents want to use those abilities to generate income through full-time or part-time jobs. If it’s a matter of adding your creativity to the performance of traditional employment, those concerns are often best addressed through the same career coaching approaches discussed on the “Work” page. However, if you want to make a living out of your specific creative interest or talent, that challenge can present an entirely new set of issues.
Because, as I coach, I focus on the doable and the actionable, we may start out with a focus on your financial needs. Once we have an understanding of what your basic personal needs are, we can then focus on not only where you want to be as a creative income-producer in X years but also on the next steps you need to take to get there.
For an example, a photographer-client with regular local shows of her unique art photography worked in retail sales to earn a living and made some additional money from student photography projects she had developed for local K-12 schools. In order to have the life she wanted, she decided to leave the reliability of her retail job to put more time into obtaining the grants and contracts that could take her school projects to the next level of predictable, reliable income and with the added potential bonus of more time for her art photography. The first step was getting bigger contract engagements and a Foundation grant.
Creating for Pleasure
If you’ve had a life-long interest or activity in a creative area but never expected to earn a living from its pursuit, you may still want to take those efforts to the next level. For many, and I include myself here, the basic need is to find more time and to commit more effort to the creative work. This may involve something as mundane as a time inventory and readjustment of daily schedules. In other cases, you may be ready to start sharing your output with others and want both guidance and encouragement in doing just that.
I’ve always loved the simple admonition to would-be and practicing writers that the first step to actually write something is always “Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair.” Coaching for creativity often involves helping the client implement just such simple techniques to help you move forward. And, when you’re stuck or feeling discouraged, we may try some “play” or loosening-up techniques to return your creative energy to a more free-flowing, childlike state.
Your creative expression should be a source of pleasure so if that is not happening for you, I help you identify the reasons. It may be that the critical judging mind has taken over and overtaken the pleasure you derive from the creating. As with effective coaching in most areas, the concern bringing you to a coach first needs to be clearly understood. Then we work to develop a plan that addresses the concern and achieves the behavioral changes you want. As you implement the ideas and plan to accomplish your desired results, you determine your additional coaching needs.
Coach’s Philosophy & Services
While regular one-on-one meetings with clients are the center of my creativity coaching, I periodically offer workshops and programs focused on aspects of creativity. When you sign up for email contacts at the bottom of this page, you will be notified of such upcoming events. In addition, I offer reading circles for books on creativity, both those considered classics of the field as well as some new titles.
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