A short introduction
The famous quote by the late Johan Cruijff is good to reverse;
“You only start to see it when you get it.”
The Bepper Balance Method assumes the opposite;
“You don’t get it until you see it.”
Change is of all times. Generations change in parallel with changes in society. There is a rapid pace of developments, innovations, familiarity with multiple cultures and customs, knowledge and self-knowledge.
This appeals to the human being to be able to adapt and develop at the same pace. Knowledge and access to knowledge is increasing exponentially, we often hear. Does this also apply to our own development? Our capacity to change? And is that necessary? Is it desirable? Or is it necessary to make a clear distinction? A clear contrast between tempo outside yourself and tempo inside yourself? Does a fast-paced world force the need for a firmer ‘I’? Is that why burnout is an accepted term faster than overstressed? Because it is more common and occurs more quickly because of an acceleration of everything? Everything is a lot. Often far too much.
Where some are concerned with geopolitical relations and don’t know their neighbors down the street, others turn away from the news and focus on the immediate. The sheer number of possibilities forces choices to be made. The decrease in communities and the increase in individualism and the trend that people must be able to function independently entails the risk of loneliness and exclusion. As a result, it forces development in the areas of communication, social skills and self-knowledge. That is hard work. And often it doesn’t work. Or it temporarily fails. People come up against all kinds of things. Problems, choices, confrontations with themselves, others or circumstances. Often we have the feeling that we have no influence.
From my own coaching practice, I discovered a way of exploring with the client that proved effective. Effective by unraveling a problem and weighing the parts. This increases the overview and considerations can become conscious and choices or actions can be made more consciously.
This way has been developed in practice into the Bepper Balance Method. A method that works with a tangible tool, the Bepper Board.
Sometimes people can no longer see how to move forward. How they can get out of a situation or feeling. When the overview is lacking or the insight is inadequate, it is good to realize that nothing stands alone. And that the whole always consists of a ‘sum of the parts’. In this case we call those parts ‘aspects’. Things that play a role in something or things that are a part of something.
And ‘something’ is then a feeling, a situation, a problem, a choice……
By unraveling or dissecting this “something” things become clear. Where you first saw a mountain before you, you then suddenly see the individual parts.
And ‘something’ is then a feeling, a situation, a problem, a choice……
It is the basis for the effectiveness of the Bepper Balance Method that is briefly described here. Below this (very) brief description you will also find an example from practice.
The goal of working with this method is to increase overview, insight and ownership. It puts the client in the best possible position to come to new insights himself, to discover for himself what stands in the way of the desired change and to discover for himself the options that make it possible to change and improve. From this follows an action or change in vision or experience with which the client can realize that change which previously stood in the way of the progress of a process.
This allows the client to feel their own power and potential which strengthens the I-strength and personal leadership.
Another goal of working with this method is to promote communication and lower the threshold for naming things or expressing emotions. It distracts the client from thinking and formulating and therefore imperceptibly provides more space for feeling and showing facial expressions, posture, intonation and unconsciously thinking out loud of the client. This allows the professional to get to the core faster, ask more focused questions and use interventions that are effective for the process.
Also when the method is applied to groups or families using the Bepper Team-Kit. So you can use the BBM with different target groups;
- For Individual clients
- In pairs (whether it is a love affair, ex-lovers, classmates, colleagues, friends, neighbors, relatives, or two organizations)
- With families, all types and compositions
- For groups and teams
The target groups that can be worked with using the BBM are very diverse. Age, level (intellectual or emotional), function, language and situation hardly play a role. The method can almost always be used effectively.
DIAGRAM OF THE BASIC APPROACH TO BBM
You can probably see a little schematic of a Bepper session here.
A conversation or session using the BBM and the Bepper Board consists, in the basic approach, of the following steps:
- MAIN QUESTION
This determines the client.
- ASPECT – question
This determines the professional.
- Writing down the Aspects
by the client, one aspect per circle.
- WEEG – question 1
This determines the professional.
- Weighting 1
By the client, with a number of gems in a certain color.
- WEEG – question 2, 3 etc.
- Weighting 2, 3 etc.
By the client, with some gems in a different color.
During this process from 1 to 7, the professional is listening, observing, summarizing/spinning and asking questions. Until your client discovers something, feels something or decides something that will take him a step(s) further. Whereby your client can unload, gets new insights or sees possible actions. Sometimes you will start at the top of this step-by-step plan a 2nd or 3rd time within one session.
In addition, in the meantime, as the client writes or weighs in, the professional “tastes” what the most effective next question might be in the schedule.
Working with the Bepper Balance Method is accessible to coach and client. Yet, it takes practice for the professional to ask the right questions, find the right combination of questions, and properly check the correct interpretations and findings based on observation of Board and Client(s).
All this is done to let the client make his or her own discoveries as much as possible. Assuming that what someone discovers and comes up with themselves, the person in question is better able to apply it in practice.
Below is an example of a (digitized) Bepper Board following a session on ‘Working from Home’.
You read a description of the situation and then a description of the steps according to the method that client and coach follow. Then you read briefly what this has accomplished for the client. Look at the signs calmly. What does it say? What chamois are there? What does that tell you as a viewer? Also consider that this board will look different for each client. Even if the same main question is being explored. With a different client with a different situation and character, the coach will (usually) ask different aspects and also have different weighing questions.
Learning to sense the right questions and using all your intuition and observation skills as a coach contributes greatly to the process that the client goes through when applying this method. Therefore, as often applies; The more experience the coach has in applying it, the greater the effect with the client.
Practice example: Working at home and influencing the situation .
Annabel discusses her situation in a coaching session:
Annabel has been working at home since the corona measures took effect. She has 2 children (8 and 10) who now don’t go to school or don’t go to school much and have to be educated (partly) at home but also have free time. Free time with limited opportunities. Annabel is single and has a job as a team leader at an employment agency. Annabel begins the session, which takes place at an appropriate distance in practice, talking at a fast pace. It overflows her. Nothing seems to go on for more than 5 minutes at a time and so nothing is completed to her satisfaction. Neither in private things nor in work things. She reacts differently than she is used to and this bothers her. She agrees to the proposal to lay a Bepper Board.
The question that she comes up with and wants to explore, her MAIN QUESTION is:
“How do I make it all work out, with that working from home.”
When we have checked the question (is this really the question you want an answer to and is it worded correctly?) I ask her an aspect question. I decide to choose an aspect question that (first) focuses on her work.
It reads as follows: “What are conditions for you to be able to work ‘well’ when working from home?”.
On the first board you see the 9 aspects that Annabel herself wrote down on the board (See quietly which aspects she wrote down). Because she has the board on her lap, I ask her to read the aspects quietly. Sometimes she explains herself, sometimes I have a question.
Then I ask her to divide 20 orange chamois among these aspects with the weighing question in her mind;
Weighing Question 1: “To what extent does this aspect currently get in the way of you being ‘pleasant to work with’?”.
Annabel holds the 20 orange chamois in her hand and feels. Pretty soon she puts her chamois in the board while following her feeling. You can see her weighing in the plate. As she says something about her weighing when I ask if she notices anything, she talks about some things and I sense a bit of a ‘what’s happening to me’ feeling. She feels a bit victimized by all the circumstances and external factors, it seems. Therefore I decide to let weighing question 2 be about her influence.
Weighing Question 2: “To what extent can you do something about this issue yourself?”
At first, before weighing, she says “Nothing”…but when I invite her to search inside herself, feel her gems and take her time quietly, green gems do come into the plate. With each gem she places, she has some idea of what she can do. What action she can take, what task she can delegate to someone, what she can ask for help with, how important it really is at this moment. After mentioning all the possibilities, we pay some attention to the question of what has stood in the way until now of using or thinking of these possibilities. And what she needs in order to get started. Several ideas and actions emerge from that as well.
After the session she has a completely different feeling. We briefly discuss her feelings and that which she takes away from this session. She leaves with energy. She has discovered so many possibilities. And so many aspects she has checked with herself to what extent it is truth, an assumption or the perception that feeds her conviction and feeling. It gives air, space and energy.
In the article above you will see a (digital and anonymized) real-life example of a coaching session with a Bepper Board. This is used when applying the Bepper Balance Method. In this way the supervisor / coach helps the client to see, feel and discover for themselves how things can be done differently. Because of the tangible and visual properties of the tools used, the head, heart and gut work together and insights and ideas are created that will stick with the client.
The method also quickly provides the counselor/coach with a clear picture of what all plays a role for the client in the question the client wants to explore (what the client wants to work on) and how these aspects relate to each other.
For more information, you can also order the book “Coaching Differently with the Bepper Balance Method” in a bookstore (online or offline). In it you can read about the method and why a change process is a challenging exercise in general.
If you want to work with this method yourself, it is advisable to attend a training course. Look here for more information about the training.
About the creator/developer of the method & tools and author of the book:
Liesbeth Bouwhuis is a former teacher, coordinator, project leader and since 2006 an independent entrepreneur. Since 2015 she has had her own coaching practice in Leiden from where she developed and elaborated the Bepper Balance Method into a full-fledged and effective way to help people with their change process. She also did research with other coaching professionals who applied the method in their own practice after a training. The results were very positive. Both client and professional see and experience the added value of the method and enjoy working with it.
She developed a number of physical tools, a training course for professional coaches and wrote a book with an extensive manual. The book contains many examples from practice. Also in this book you will find an introduction to the change process and how the method contributes to this in an accessible and effective way.