Category Archives: consulting/coaching/training
How to rediscover yourself and others through art
The language of art and images is powerful. Usually we talk about images in terms of a message to be communicated by the image, whether to ourselves or others. It’s less common for us to think of entering into a self-reflective dialogue through an image or a work of art. But there are paintings that literally invite us to step inside and wander around in them, be it because they exude harmony and beauty or because their spatial depth draws us into a seemingly endless field. This quality of certain artworks can lead us towards previously unrealized potentials through a process of self-reflection. If we look at a painting playfully and intuitively with the attitude of the beginner’s mind, we can begin to see beyond our conscious thoughts. A story about ourselves that we didn’t know before emerges, showing us different paths of action for the big and small decisions of professional life. The harbor and landscape paintings by Claude Lorrain used in the innovative Symbolon® method are especially beautiful examples of images that invite us to immerse ourselves in their worlds. A harmless aesthetic question leads us to play with our associations and ideas in the language of the painting, giving us new metaphors to translate into our work situations.
- Where in this painting do you want to be? Your preferred place is your own individual choice. There is no right or wrong, it’s only about the place where you feel most comfortable. What do you like there? What positive feelings are awakened there? How does your choice relate to your current work situation?
- What do you see from this position? Depending on where you stand, you have a better or worse view of other sections of the painting. What is the view from your chosen place? What visual axis are you presented with? What can you see and observe? What path of action arises from this view?
- What don’t you see from this position? No matter where we stand, there is always something blocked from our sight. Your position shows you precisely what you can’t see and where your potential for development lies. What is your blind spot? What information is unavailable to you, and what are the consequences in the language of the painting? How can you tap into the potential of this information? Who or what in the painting might need to move, and how or where would they need to go?
- How do others in the painting see you in this position? Finally, take a look at your position from the perspectives of other areas in the painting. How visible are you for others? How close or how far away are you from each other? How does your position appear from the perspectives of others? How do you communicate from where your stand?
In this way, you get a 360° artistic feedback for the position of your choice, with its strengths, weaknesses and potentials including self-perception as well as perception by others. The more open you are to the process, the greater the chance that you’ll learn something new about yourself and your situation. When you translate the language of the painting into your work situation, new ideas for drawing on previously unseen potentials will develop almost by themselves. The scope of action for achieving your goals will broaden.
Where your team stands
The power of this process of reflection also unfolds when members of a team choose their places independently of each other at first, according to the questions above. In the second step the team can reflect upon its choices as a whole. A new team constellation appears that was not visible before. A team can zoom out from its members’ individual positions to recognize how it is distributed within the painting and what key themes show up. Thus, the questions above can also be used in the context of team building in order to learn where untapped potentials for teamwork might be hidden. Whether on your own or as a team, reflecting on the painting allows you to embark on a deeply individual journey that originates in your specific situation. Creative metaphors come up almost automatically and have a way of lingering in your mind with long-term effects. In this way, art can become an integrated aspect of your work life.
Photo credits: Claude Lorrain, Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula, (1824), National Gallery, London
… with countless opportunities for personal and professional development!
Exactly 30 years ago, on July 10th, 1989, I founded my consulting and personality development company in Vaduz. With a lot of life and work experience in my baggage, I said goodbye to my parents’ company and my first job. I started a new life. From then on it was my vision to accompany people in their self- and potential development.
An exciting and fulfilling journey began. Many in the Liechtenstein area and environment reacted to my radical change of plan with incomprehension. A valuable companion was my mother, who always supported me, although she often did not understand what exactly I was doing now. At that time, I was considered exotic by many, someone who was believed to be sensible again soon. But it turned out very differently: I had great success with my consultations right from the start and flourished more and more in my job. My courage to follow my vocation has given me 3 educational and fulfilling decades with many sensational heights and some learning-intensive depths.
I have learned to give room to my feelings and wishes. My decisions were, and still are, heart decisions. Although I have experienced many times that more reason would be helpful, I am still hardheaded and continue to listen to the voice of my heart. I feel most comfortable in a harmonious and benevolent atmosphere. If I sense tensions and blockages, then I feel the need to understand the background and overcome my own insecurities. I was always aware that clarification and change must first take place within me. And I have set myself an effective strategy for this necessary self-development.
Since I was 25 years old, my motto in life is: “The way always goes along the path of fear”. I realized that my fears are usually unconscious and subjective. That if I recognize my associated patterns and beliefs, I can transform them as well. As soon as I’m scared of anything, I focus on the challenge. As a result, I immediately expand my thinking, feeling and actions in everyday life. This has turned out to be the development booster for me! The personal and professional extension of borders helps me to achieve maximum performance. So, the limited person from Liechtenstein became an almost unlimited citizen of the world. With oneself and others on the constant search for knowledge and the exploration of potentials. That I could experience all this at some point, I would have never imagined in my early 20s.
Central milestones were my exciting and informative education and training courses with the very best experts, among others at the Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich. The then absolute coronation was the development of the Symbolon Method® and the successful market implementation in the executive suites of international corporations. This was followed by the university evaluation of the method, the founding of the Symbolon Academy and thus the training of Symbolon specialists. Over the years, I was able to publish two Symbolon books and finalize the development of the e-learning platform with around 60 hours of training modules. With all these innovations, the connection between my two core disciplines of psychology and art in the economic sector was and is my passion.
I came into contact with the job profile of the business coach for the first time around 2001 in Zurich, in conjunction with the International Coach Federation (ICF). An ICF coach from England started organizing regular meetings. Quickly the ICF Chapter Switzerland was founded, in which I became a member. I have always wished for an international network. The intensive connection also with ICF Austria and ICF Germany brought to me, last November, the honorary work of participating in the presidency of the ICF Germany e.V. for 3 years. In my work as a board member, I can bring my experiences and the happiness, that I am allowed to experience as a coach, into the international coaching world. As President, my job is to work with presidents from around 145 countries worldwide. The annual meeting in Texas will take place next March – I’m really looking forward to that.
Working with counseling, reflection coaching and the Symbolon Method®, my life has become diverse, challenging and exhilarating. I am indescribably grateful for the many wonderful people who have gone the path with me. Because encounters, relationships, growing together and everything I can learn with and about people are my lifeblood. It is extremely important for me to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all companions this path has brought me. You are the most important and precious thing that has shaped me into who I am today. I look forward to everything else that may arise and to an exciting future full of encounters!
Image: Symbolon AG
When the doctor says: Visit the museum!
Why not go to the museum more often?
It is proven to increase mental well-being and your physical health!
What may initially sound like a marketing strategy for artists and culture professionals, has now been scientifically proven. In a long-term study London researchers have found that cultural activities have beneficial effects on people’s health. A regular visit to the museum, a theater performance or a concert, for example, reduces the risk of a depressive illness. Read more about it in the article
Your doctor recommends: culture in “Psychology Today” (German language).
Now, doctors in Canada are going one step further: working with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, they can now offer their patients a prescription for free museum visits. It has become clear to doctors since the 1980s that both the mental and the physical condition of a patient can be improved by the hormones released during a visit to the museum. In the case of prescribed art, several people are helped at the same time: the patient as well their companion benefit from healing and preventative measures.
Read the article “Doctors in Montreal can now prescribe a visit to an art museum“.
What has now been scientifically proven is what the Symbolon-Method® has been showing since 2000. With a reflective approach to art, not only new and unforgettable experiences and insights, but also the understanding of one’s own multi-layered personality and the understanding for other people become possible. Artworks provide a platform which, through the association method, provide each individual personality with the leeway to easily lead their own self-reflection processes.
So why not regularly go to the museum and get involved in art while floating from artwork to artwork with the help of newly released feel-good hormones?
With the Symbolon Art4Reflection, you can experience extraordinary tours through museums worldwide with various Symbolon specialists. You will encounter 3 selected masterpieces and immerse yourself in reflection processes that will make your visit to the museum unforgettable.
To professionalize your reflection skills, online reflection training is available for you.
Book a package, log in and independently experience about 14 hours of theory and practice.
Image: Christine Kranz, Symbolon Art4Reflection guided tour, 2018, Kunsthaus Zürich
(with approval of the participants)
This is a translation of the German blog article Kunst und Kultur per Rezept posted on June 4th 2019 by Christine Kranz
How reflection helps to identify ballast and to leave the comfort zone
Personal and organizational developments require planning, patience, discipline and a clear vision. For this, we must recognize the meaning and the essential issues, usually bring high levels of commitment and be ready to give everything.
This is often difficult because our culture of prosperity and fear makes us lethargic and paralyzed. Fear of loss is nourished; potential development is prevented. Far too many “ifs” and “buts” stand in our way.
You might recognize statements like these from your own thoughts and feelings “I cannot do that because someone or something …”? Often blockages and failures are justified by external factors. But these thoughts or attitudes are immature and self-preventing. Because external and internal factors impact each other.
In the following film high goals are symbolized with the mountain and recognizing the hidden symbolized by the crescent moon reflecting. Even if the moon disappears from our view in the meantime, it is always there. With reflection we clarify the height and breadth of our actions and enrich it with depth and meaning.
Reflection helps in the overabundance of possibilities to remember that central changes are not primarily about what we amplify or augment, but what we reduce or eliminate. Efficient is who in cooperation encourages each other to create clarity and to throw unnecessary ballast out the window. Lightweight luggage allows agility indoors and outdoors.
In joint action, it is crucial for success to constantly make ourselves aware of blind spots, to allow self-responsibility and to leave the comfort zone with determination. This opens up new perspectives and powerful opportunities for the future. To also set high goals through reflection with others. To be optimistic and at the same time to expect that the desired may not be achieved.
Extraordinary goals, be it for yourself or your organization, need an innovative attitude and infectious inspiring spirit of optimism. After all, something not achieved is a smaller loss than a missed opportunity.
Let’s go with less, for more success!
Film: © shutterstock Wilderness Snow Mountain Peaks
This is a translation of the German blog article Mit weniger mehr erreichen posted on January 31st 2017 by Christine Kranz.
A team development in which patterns and core themes are addressed and solved.
“My management team does not really work together. For my department to be more successful, I need a top-performing troupe.”
On further inquiries, the divisional head of a group explains: “They are lone fighters. Everyone starts from his point of view. They all work well, they are top people, but when it comes to finding consensus where one or the other is said to be weak, there are conflicts and vanities that complicate daily processes. I’ve taken part in several development processes and workshops with them and they have helped with collaboration, but nothing hits the nail on the head. This lone attitude and the competitive thinking always lead to tensions and cost us time and money. We could be much more efficient if we approach each other differently and really work together.”
When is a management team really a team? What makes the difference between a collection of individuals and a team?
The quality of the connections to each other, the relationships. If they are superficial, the cooperation is also superficial. If they are binding, the cooperation is also binding. The way of dealing with each other shows the quality of relationships and vice versa. Missing interpersonal connections are usually compensated with a counterproductive hard gait and selfish behaviour. For a successful strategy and team building the relationship level must therefore be tackled:
– What does the management team stand for?
– Do the managers know each other?
– Do the managers know what strengths and weaknesses the others have?
– Can the managers empathize with the others?
– Is there a mutual level of understanding?
– Do the managers know what the others need or what they can handle only with difficulty?
– Do they treat each other with respect and appreciation?
All these questions are addressing the relationship processes and how they treat each other. By reflecting and answering such questions, one’s own personality development and interpersonal quality become visible. Obstacles, misunderstandings and tensions are illuminated honestly. What are the core topics? What repeats, what are the patterns in the collaboration of the team? All participants face the core issues that can be solved.
In the reflection process, the managers see where they are similar and where they are different. Suddenly one recognizes with respect to his colleague: “Now I understand why you block when I push! I always thought that you did not want to give me the information. It’s just the pressure that you dodge. We are different and approach our work in a completely different way.”
In order to achieve such “aha-experiences”, it requires protected development spaces and time to immerse in reflection processes. The different needs and intangible issues of how to get to work are made visible without assumed value. Due to the resulting clarity, the findings of these processes are transferred into everyday life. The quality of relationships is more genuine and therefore more binding in every respect.
The joint coordination and cooperation will improve efficiency in the long term. The managers develop appreciation for themselves and others. The reflected and thus clearer strategy-orientation causes everyone to strive towards the supra-personal goal. The new and stronger WE-feeling motivates to achieve top performance and pushes everyone forwards.
This is a translation of the German blog article Reflexion schafft echte und somit effiziente Zusammenarbeit posted on January 28th 2013 by Christine Kranz
Lead authentically and differentiated with high level of awareness
In the context of leadership and career, mental illnesses such as depression, ego weakness, personality disorder, burnout syndrome and narcissism are often used as a matter of fact. This led to the concept of resilience meteorically gaining prominence. What is quickly and superficially thematized and put into boxes, can in no way do justice to those affected. The inner life and the resulting external effect are the result of a long, incomparable life journey. The sum of all experiences makes the uniqueness of people. With all our unprocessed weaknesses, strengths and applied potential.
To expose the inner potentials, a profound personality development is required. This includes reflecting on one’s own psyche. As self-evident as body care and hygiene are embodied in our culture, the treatment of mental stability requires differentiated attention with a focus on self-development. Anyone who neglects or even negates the “psycho-hygiene” with its contained fears, patterns and weaknesses risks becoming mentally and physically unstable and unwell over time.
100 years ago, the Austrian artist Egon Schiele presented psychological content with the most intense expressiveness. The following digression with two of his self-portraits shows profound topics and development potentials with the help of symbolic translation and associative contemplation. Not Schiele’s thoughts are interpreted, but rather attention to the symbolism and his own feelings are paid, which triggers the depicted. If the viewer leans on personal associations, he succeeds in bringing inner patterns and processes to light.
This self-portrait created in 1910 symbolizes the expression of the intellectually controlling abilities as well as the power of action and locomotion through the concise shaping and intensive coloring of the head, the hand and the leg indicated on the lower edge of the picture. The angular lines, the strong expression of the face and the red eyes represent insecurity as well as dominance. Schiele renounced entirely on the painting of the robe. This associates a reduced body or a floating shell which, in contrast to head and limbs, has an incredible effect.
This emptiness symbolizes people whose inner personal areas of feelings, needs and instincts remain empty and unfulfilled. They have lost contact with each other by identifying with performance and successes in the outside world. Usually these people are dependent on the feedback of others and therefore function reactive and undifferentiated.
In the outward-looking business
world of superlatives of more, faster and bigger, the inside look is pushed completely to the side. The inner voice is silent and meaningful questions remain unanswered. The original source of life and energy is drying up. Psychology offers ways inwards and gives answers to psychodynamic processes that work in people and are constantly triggered from the outside. Because everything that moves a person, be it in a pleasant or unpleasant way, has to do with oneself. With a low level of awareness, one’s own problem is projected onto others and the potential for conflict is increased, which in turn makes it difficult to find constructive solutions. For example, critical feedback might be met with defense. With a high level of awareness, it is possible to reflect the subjective insult and to understand that, for example, the lack of self-esteem led to the pain and the defense. The self-responsible analysis of the triggered inner pattern and the potential for development contained therein is dealt with. For example, this can lead to a healthy self-awareness. Accordingly, the event is dealt with objectively by all participants and an adequate further development and design of the work situation is possible.
In this self-portrait, which was painted three years later, Schiele emphasizes the use of gesture and color in contrasting ways, as in the previous work. The orange robe stands for a strong, personal relationship to the emotional, physical and instinctive life force. The sensual expression with the closed eyes represents the attention directed inwards. Through the forehead wrinkles the inside look does not appear passive at all but rather a search and struggle for deeper essential insights.
If a person directs the self-critical discussion too much inward with too little distance to the subjective feeling, this can have an inhibiting effect on the spontaneous development of potential. Constant self-doubt and questioning absorb the power that would be necessary for a lively exterior design.
The balanced psychological confrontation with oneself is an invaluable benefit for executives and decision makers. Because everyone has their sunny sides and shadow themes, which are destructive, preventing and exhausting in displacement. Even if a very difficult person gets along relatively well with themselves, they usually pose an unbearable burden on the environment, especially in their role as superiors. If they are also taken over by a selfish omnipotence, they can be unaware of the responsibility they have and the burden they put onto others. When too many stress factors come together in the individual, the psyche compensates with counter-reactions or breaks down.
The development of inner processes should be accompanied by coaches and counselors with high psychological competence. Their own reflection competence and personality development play a decisive role here. For only those who have explored and integrated their own depths can surely accompany others in their deep development of personality and potential. The way inwards is not only worthwhile for those affected. The companies also benefit. Executives and decision makers get through the serious, individual confrontation with strength and support. They are clearer, more decisive and more authentic in their attitude and all their actions. An immense amount of valuable potential lies on the inner levels, waiting to be activated and used on the outside.
Self-portrait, 1910, Egon Schiele, privat collection;
Self-portrait in orange jacket, 1913, Egon Schiele, Albertina, Vienna
This is a translation of the German blog article Wie Schieles Werke psychologische Kompensationen aufzeigen posted on January 27th 2015 by Christine Kranz
The time has come that the business community understands and uses reflection processes.
The economy and training systems increasingly deal with reflection and self-reflection. Often it is not understood how effective reflection is in the world of business. Only a few know the exact difference between reflection and analysis. The time has come to explain what is to be gained by the inclusion of reflection processes and to provide clarity in the differentiation between the two. Only in this way the reflection competence can be specifically measured, developed, applied and utilized.
Analysis is an active thought process in which you combine numbers, facts, occurrences, put them into context, derive results and draw conclusions. You almost exclusively use your intellectual and factual approach to the world.
Reflection is a passive and sensing process, in which you perceive impressions, intuitions, moods, … you approach and realize them and gain insights. You almost exclusively use your intuitive and emotional approach to the world.
When analysing, you personally stay on the surface, on the outside, at a distance, with those aspects which are measurable and visible. The process of analysis itself is fast and extensive.
While reflecting, you personally go beneath the surface, to the inside, get in contact with aspects which are intangible and invisible. The reflection process itself is slow and pervasive.
The differences between reflection and analysis can be understood with this artwork by Claude Monet. Imagine yourself standing on the bridge in the picture, looking at the scenery. You analyse every visible plant and animal. When you walk of the bridge towards the bank and look into the depth of the water, you only see a blurred vision of what inside. A reflection process corresponds, to the situation, when you take time to get a closer look. Gradually, you can see what is happening below the surface more clearly.
For one’s own personal development, it is important to know the difference between self-analysis and self-reflection. During self-analysis, you think about yourself, without having to enter an intimate relationship with yourself. In self-reflection you dive into your inner personality levels. There you will find your strengths and weaknesses and at the same time your needs and drives. You meet yourself authentically, without changing artificially through a behaviour control. Understanding turns to insight –knowledge becomes certainty.
For example, a manager has determined through self-analysis that she has trouble getting in lane and adapting. This knowledge is nothing new for her. Despite her efforts she did not manage to resolve the tensions, which she created through her behaviour in her work environment.
Through self-reflection, she could see that she has a fundamental problem with proximity and distance and that once her decision space is limited, insurmountable resistances arise in her. The manager realized that she needs a clearer definition of her area of responsibility to increase her efficiency and that, whenever appropriate, she needs to communicate her inner “No”. In this way, she can prevent tensions and resistances, which otherwise would arise in her and others. The manager has achieved clarity in which suggestions she will communicate to her supervisor in order to change the working conditions so that her work environment fits her optimally. She took responsibility for her situation by considering her own strengths and associated weaknesses. She decided to change, which was based on certainty by her inner personality and was implemented in a solution-oriented way.
If you have developed your skills for self-reflection, you become clearer and more confident in your realizations. Expand your skills as leader, decision maker or specialist by activating your access to self-reflection. In many ways, your life will become richer and more successful, not only for you but also for your environment.
Images: Pen and calculator on paper, Evlakhov Valerity, Shutterstock
Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte, 1899, Claude Monet (1840–1926), Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This is a translation of the German blog article Reine Analyse übersieht Wesentliches — Reflexion geht tiefer! posted on November 25th 2010 by Christine Kranz