Gestalt is a German term which means ‘whole’ or ‘holism’. The idea being to take a holistic approach. In Gestalt coaching this means that the focus is not on the individual, as it is in many other forms of coaching. Instead with Gestalt the focus is on how we interact with others. Gestalt coaches look at the network of relationships that we function in and believe that it is only possible for us to understand ourselves in relation to the people around us.
The other major idea which distinguishes Gestalt is its focus on the present moment. Gestalt is focussed on how people are feeling and behaving right now rather than on how they have felt or behaved in the past, or how they might feel or behave in the future. A key part of the therapeutic approach of Gestalt is the use of ‘experiments’. This often takes the form of testing out different thoughts and ideas to see what impact they have.
How can Gestalt help my business?
Gestalt coaching is useful in a number of different business contexts, but especially in change management and in situations where trust and communication has broken down.
With its focus on holism a Gestalt approach will not try to find an individual to blame for business problems, or try and find a single magic bullet to make changes work. Instead a Gestalt approach will look at the relationships between the whole team and see how those are impacting on individual behaviour. By identifying the team dynamics that need improving Gestalt coaching can then work with individuals to help them make changes that are needed. This approach is very much not about blame, it is about making improvements.
Although it is not identical the Gestalt idea of focussing on the present moment is similar to ideas of ‘mindfulness’ which are currently very trendy among technology startups in Silicon Valley. Within the focus on the present moment Gestalt does not get bogged down in why a business decision has gone bad or why a department is not functioning efficiently. Instead Gestalt will focus on what feelings and behaviour are present now and the use ‘experiments’ with the members of staff to test how positive changes can be made. It is very much about encouraging ‘awareness’ of both internal feelings and external actions.
Overall the Gestalt approach helps to foster greater self-awareness among employees and discover obstacles to change in a business. It helps both employees and managers to see the bigger picture, build confidence and make positive business changes naturally.
At MCS and Partners we use Gestalt coaching as one of our business coaching approaches alongside PRINT® Profiling, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and other methods. Our team of business coaches have a range of expertise which we can use to help your employees, and business, perform more effectively. To find out more about how we can help your business give us a call on 01469 531580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org