The Pileated Woodpecker

Whatever catches my client’s attention is a jumping off point for a line of questions, an analogy to their situation.

Today my client turned and looked out the window. “There’s a pileated woodpecker outside,” he said. “I haven’t seen one for many years.”

I don’t want to over-spiritualize the idea of getting “a sign” but it’s a place to be creative and play. We began to relate the pileated woodpecker to his situation.

Where’s the Pileated Woodpecker in your context?

He recognized an item he hadn’t been working on for a long time but had been an aspect of his organization’s past that he was thinking needed to be brought to the forefront again.

What makes a Pileated different from other woodpeckers, the normal ones?

–They’re bigger. More rare. Something seen before but very distinctive.

What is the distinctive thing your organization needs right now? He identified a certain type of person who could help his organization.

The client developed some things he thought related. In fact, his energy level increased as we spoke. Finally, I said, “What are your binoculars for keeping a lookout for someone like this who could help you?”

He spoke for a while and eventually said “I need to share about the Pileated Woodpecker with my team.”

“So, the team is your binoculars? They help you see a depth of field that you couldn’t otherwise?”


I like to play off my client’s surroundings, especially things they take special note of. Use them as creative places to ask weird, off the wall questions. See what happens, and trust the process.



Published by


The author lives in Goshen, Indiana with his wife and four children. He is self-employed as a leadership coach working with business executives, writers and other artists, and spiritual leaders. His clients enjoy business growth, increased vision and purpose, work/family lifestyle balance, and freedom from writer’s block.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s