The Art of the Possible: Picture Coaching Cards

How will these cards help you?

This set of 44 hand-drawn picture cards is a powerful tool to stimulate meaningful conversation, boost your creative thinking, and help you solve problems and identify clear goals and actions. They are an ideal way to add energy and interest to 1-1 coaching, networking events and consultation meetings. Click on the images to see them larger size.

  • The cards will help you in any situation where you need to break the ice and get conversation flowing quickly and without embarrassment.
  • They will help you get to the ‘heart of the matter’ more easily than a direct question will.
  • They are a superb tool for personal reflection.
  • They get people talking in networking sessions.
  • Coaches use them in 1-1 and group coaching settings.
  • They help energise ideas generation sessions.

“The Art of the Possible cards are brilliant – practical, inspiring and beautiful to hold, use and inspire. A vital tool in any coaches’ toolbox” Sandra Whiles – creative coach.

picture coaching cards metaphor cards

Watch the Video to see how these coaching cards add energy and depth to coaching, networking and consultation sessions (watch time 3m30s)

You can use the cards alone, with a friend or in a group. If you are a coach, trainer or skilled helper, they are an ideal addition to your toolkit. They are a really cool way for like-minded people to work together to generate ideas.

picture coaching cards coaching cards metaphor

The drawings on these cards are unique, intriguing and loaded with metaphor – so every user will pick, interpret and utilise the cards differently. They are unlike any picture cards you will have used before.

picture coaching cards metaphor

Here’s what people are saying about the deck:

‘I love the pictures/words and also the quality of them – both the feel and print quality’.  Lucy Hare

“Right off the bat, The Art of Work prompted our deep thinking, thank to the combination of words and artful illustrations. Our conversation was meaningful. We used the deck’s simple instructions as framework for the conversation. We walked away with clarity about our individual expectations and shared challenges related to our latest projects.”  Kate Hammer, story designer storyFORMing

picture coaching cards

How to use the cards – here are a few ideas:

To get started with a coaching session:

  • Choose 7, narrow down to 3. What’s the connection? Develop the story of the cards that were chosen.


picture coaching cards

A young musician spent a few minutes looking at the pack, then selected seven. He then narrowed his choice down to these three cards. I did not speak during his thinking time. I then asked him to tell me what thoughts came to mind when he looked at the cards. He said ” That’s it in a nutshell – I’m shy, and I avoid the conversations that might lead to me making money from my music”.  We were then able to have a useful coaching session built on that observation.


  • Let the client choose a card or two. Ask them to tell you what drew them towards those images. Take it from there!

On your own:

  • Spread out the cards face down. Pick one and turn it over. Think about it. How might it inform your approach to the day?

To generate ideas:

  • Working in a group, choose a problem you’d like to solve e.g. how do we get more clients?
  • Spread out the deck – everyone chooses a card which suggest ideas to them.
  • Individually, note down as many ideas as you can that are suggested by the card you chose.
  • Talke a round of feedback. Discuss and prioritise.

picture coaching cards

For mind-mapping

Spread out the deck. Pick a card that suggests a topic you’d like to explore. Place the card in the centre of a large sheet of paper, and then create your mind-map around it. Here’s an example:

picture coaching cards

With Children and Young People

Lily, (11) looked at the cards at breakfast time. She chose two – the ‘Just be You’ and ‘What makes you Happy’ cards. This is what she said.


“I chose the happy card because it looks like a football and football makes me happy. I chose the other one because I think we should just all be ourselves – why would we want to be someone else?”

Her Mum commented “Breakfast times can be difficult. We had a discussion about things that make us happy and about being ourselves. These are really great cards for connecting with children – sometimes as we grow older we forget to ask these philosophical questions. To be able to share these thoughts with our children helps us connect on so many levels.”

**If you already have a set and you’d like to tell me about interesting ways you have used your cards please tell me in the box below – the best suggestions will be added to the site, along with your link. Thank you!**

‘OMG, they are gorgeous! Really fantastic, congratulations! They are all beautiful and some of them have very specifically stayed in my head. I can see how I can use them alone, 1-1, and in pairs or groups.  Aly King-Smith, Bird Table Tech coaching

Like what you see? You can get yourself a set from the first edition here.

2 thoughts on “The Art of the Possible: Picture Coaching Cards

  1. Found the cards were a very powerful way to get managers talking about themselves and their careers in a training session on coaching conversations in the workplace. Gave people the inspiration to think about their ambitions and then a way to articulate these to their colleagues. They could see how to use the cards with their teams and get deeper conversations started around difficult subjects.

    My observation as a trainer was that we got to meaty individual values in a very natural manner so that people were able to listen well and appreciate the differences between individuals. So not the loudest talking the most!

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