SAH: A Powerful Coaching Tool


The most powerful tool in the hand of a coach is powerful questioning. Powerful questions will move the coachee a great distance by creating insight and allowing him to see a new world that was underneath his feet. Experienced coaches know once the coachee gets his insight, he thinks in hindsight: So near yet so far.


So near yet so far is the art of coaching, and the coaching community works very hard to make this journey of far to near enriching, eventful and exciting.


We all know the power of words in our thinking and conversation.


SAH tools attempt to make this process easy. S stands for synonyms, A stands for antonyms and H for homonyms.


Knowing what words are similar or opposites helps people to understand the same when it comes to ideas. Ideas are impossible without words, and words are impossible without ideas. The more you think about the interrelationships of one, the better you are able to think about the interrelationships of the other.



Synonyms are words that share meanings with other words. There are many reasons why synonyms are great. Here are three:


They make it possible for coaches to create a reward response and insight to make “far” come “near” very fast.


Destiny is different from intention. Intention is different from purpose. It is use of such differences that create insight. The differences are in the mind, and when a coach is trying to paint a picture in a coachees mind, those differences can make or break the insight in a coachees’ mind.



Antonyms are words that mean the opposite of other words.


The antonym of big is small. Well, slow down there, there’s something to be learned in this. English conversation lets its speakers make their own antonyms just by adding a prefix. The ability to make up one’s own words and have them be real words is something truly lovable about the English language in coaching conversation.



Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. They’re great. They are source of entertainment and inspiration and can remove confusion. When used in coaching, they become playful, prolific and plentiful.


Using antonyms, synonyms and homonyms will certainly expand our vocabulary and make far come near for coachees.


Application Process:

Step 1

Pick carefully a specific word the coachee uses during coaching conversation. For example, if the coachee uses “destiny,” ask coachee or present him a SAH for this word. As you can see in the picture, it will move coachee in a different direction.




Step 2

Map the word in the honeycomb as shown below.

Put the word in center and the synonyms, antonyms or homonyms around it other honeycombs.


Examples for synonyms for destiny are: purpose, vocation, intention, call, calling, fate, fortune, lot.




Step 3:

Ask coachee to choose the word that will be more appropriate description of what he wants to say.


If coachee is not satisfied with presented options, pick a SAH for each of the words around the comb. The list will become endless.


Use a thesaurus to make your job easy.


Step 4:

Antonyms are more powerful in creating provocation. Examples of antonyms for destiny are: free will and choice.

Step 5:

Portray the antonym as shown below.




One low and 10 high or one near and 10 far as the circumstances requires. Keep the conversation with coachee progressing. Now, to make far near, invert the above diagram and pay special focus on the inverted scale also.



But remember to keep 10 high or near and one less or far. This process makes the coachee with innovative and fast solution. Try and have fun!



R.R. Krishna has about 30 years of work experience, in Human Resources spanning different industries. He is a PCC, – ICF, RPCC – RCS, CMC – BCI/ICC and a CPC from Fowler International Academy and Executive Masters in Neuro Leadership with 15 years of coaching experience and also member of International Association of Coaching, Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches and Association of Coaching. Find more about Krishna at