Issue 47

UTD Coaching News

Permission to Doodle!

    by Ginger Cockerham, MCC

As a lifelong doodler, I am fascinated with recent research on the value of doodling. I remember being scolded as a teenager when I doodled all over the bulletin during a church service. My father said, “You didn’t hear a word the preacher said because you were drawing the entire time.” As dad was driving home, I started sharing all the key points of the sermon from start to finish.” He was astonished and told me I remembered a lot more than he had!

I have continued to have permission to avidly doodle in meetings and presentations throughout my life. I am delighted with all the recent research on how doodling engages the brain and helps doodlers remember much more information than non-doodlers.

Doodling made world-wide news in 2005 at the Davos economic summit when reporters gathered up some papers presumed to be left behind by Prime Minister Tony Blair. Among the papers were several pages of doodles. The media reported that instead of listening, Blair was engaged in doodling.  Several days later it surfaced that the doodles were not Tony Blair’s at all but Bill Gates’. Gates readily acknowledged they were his doodles and that doodling helped him stay connected to information that was sometimes boring but something he needed to know. He also uses doodling as a creative outlet for expanding ideas and possibilities during presentations.

Dr. Jackie Amgred from the UK has done extensive research on the brain and boredom. She asserts that it takes a lot of energy to concentrate when we are bored, and it is much easier for the brain to wander off in a daydream which takes us completely away from our focus. Her research shows that doodlers remember much more than non-doodlers, in fact as much as 29% more. So instead of being a distraction, doodling allows us to focus, concentrate and remember. You have permission to doodle away.

So the next time a coaching client shares with you a habit that doesn’t, on the surface, make sense, get curious. Explore with your client how their particular habit might serve a function that is key to their effectiveness. As you coach, you will discover many ways that your clients have used their natural talents and skills to achieve great outcomes. We can support, celebrate and encourage clients differences and discover through inquiry what has worked for them in the past and how they can take those past experiences  and translate them into present success. 




Ginger Cockerham, MCC, focuses in her company, Cockerham Coaching Group, LLC on coaching groups in companies and organization,  and individual financial services professionals and entrepreneurial women. She is on the faulty at the University of Texas Dallas and leads supervised coaching groups and serves as a UTD supervising coach for individual students.

Ginger served on the International Coach Federation and served on the Board of Directors for five years and as Vice President in 2007/08.  She is the author of Group Coaching- A Comprehensive Blueprint,  and Magnificent Masters in Financial Services. Her website is




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