In my coach supervision group, an ADD (attention deficit disorder) coach who has ADD and vision challenges made the statement "I can't see how to use drawing with my clients." The following exercise can be used by the coach for herself and with any client who tends to "interrupt" their movement toward a goal...which could be any of us!

I invited her to the whiteboard (large paper works just as well) and to select two colored markers. "Slowly start at the lower left corner and draw a line to the upper right corner. Make a mark with the other color each time you distract yourself." The first time she did this, the line was marked every few inches. The second time there were fewer marks. The last time I changed the instruction and asked her to focus on the upper right corner, the goal. This time, there were almost no distraction marks. She was amazed at having the physical experience which was like a meditation where she could notice more clearly what helped and hindered her focus. Did the distraction came from the environment or from inside her? Where was her attention? Now she was excited about the idea of using drawing with her clients of which this exercise is one of many possiblities.

The same exercise can be done kinesthetically ( "Move to a point across the room. Step off the line when attention wavers"). Or auditorily....make a sound. If you get distracted change the pitch....The coach can then choose to explore the distraction , possibly reframe it so it becomes a resource (example: Client is distracted by the sound of a car. Coach- imagine you are in the car. Where are you going? ) or simply "mark" it and return to the original focus. Either way, insight is produced through the physical and imaginal involvement of the client.

In a business setting, this approach can be used to help employees who are easily distracted from completing a task. Where is their focus? What distracts them? What is there about the task which does not hold their attention?

You can adapt this exercise to work in any setting with any kind of client and for yourself as well.

Author's Bio: 

Niela Miller, BA Creative Arts/ MS Ed & Communications, LCSW,(social work) LMHC (mental health counseling)


132 Butternut Hollow

Nagog Woods, Ma. 01718


Niela trains trainers, coaches, managers, consultants, helping
professionals and educators as well as individuals and couples to develop their creative and emotional intelligences in their work and their lives. She enables them to be vastly more effective,expressive and creative with their clients while empowering their clients to utilize many more tools for
attaining their goals, both personal and professional. She employs many innovative tools from her background in the arts and the human potential field.