Coaching Technique: Reframing


This particular reframing technique is useful when my clients are stuck. It enables them to think differently about a situation and gain a new perspective for moving forward. Reframing enhances creative thinking, increases ownership of situation and allows for facing and releasing emotions in a logical and systematic way.

Using a piece of paper or flipchart, follow these three steps:

  1. STORY – ask the client to tell you the story about the situation, including all experienced and perceived emotions (write each statement in a column)
  2. ASSESSMENT – next, go over each statement with the client deciding if the statement is true, false or if they don’t know (write the answers next to each statement in the second column)
  3. REFRAME – then, go over it again asking the client about what they DO know is true about each component making their story (write the reframed story in the third column).

Here are few examples of how to use reframing technique in coaching:

  • I’m so angry with her (story) – which is true, although it is my anger, not literally with her (assessment) – I’m angry (reframe)
  • He’s was just sitting there quietly doing nothing (story) – which is false, as he was breathing/listening/watching/thinking (assessment) – I couldn’t see any reactions from him (reframe)
  • As always, he didn’t back me up (story) – don’t know, he may have been backing me up silently during the meeting or afterwards when I wasn’t present (assessment) – he didn’t intervene publicly at the time (reframe)
  • She knew I needed her to stand behind me in that meeting (story) – don’t know, she may have/or not/maybe realised it after the meeting (assessment) – I wanted her to stand behind me, but I didn’t ask her to do it beforehand, maybe I could have (reframe)
  • It’s just him all over again to shy away from standing up for what is right (story) – which is false, as this may not had been important for him to stand up for (assessment) – I’m frustrated that I wasn’t able to stand up in a effective way for what I think it’s right (reframe)

Reframing can be a lengthy exercise. The client often needs a bit of time to see the true reality of the situation. A healthy argument is desired for pushing the thinking forward and gaining a wider perspective. Reframing gets right to the heart of the situation and helps to handle conflict differently next time.