“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”
Just because you're a coach …
Jul 26 2012
Mar 21 2012
In last week’s coaching post I asked “Do you use quotes in your coaching?” In that post I talked about why you may want to use a quote in a coaching session.
I was then asked a great question on twitter about if I had any tips about how to remember quotes. Many potential answers sprang to mind, all longer than the 140 characters I can use in a tweet so today’s coaching post was born. Feel free to add your own method and thoughts at the end of today’s post.
I will share some ways that I personally have used to remember quotes as well as offering some thoughts around this in general. As you read this, I invite you to notice which ones are most appealing to you.
Firstly, don’t presume that you have to remember them word for word to be able to use a quote. I know that may seem an odd place to start in a post about remembering quotes but I think it’s worth pointing out. There are several situations that can let you refer to a written form of the quote.
This may be down to the situation that you are coaching around. I used the example last week of coaching a customer-facing employee in a business where you may choose to quote a specific customer – is that a quote you wrote down at the time of observation, or is it a quote that you have taken from a written piece of feedback etc?
Can you incorporate reading a quote directly? Either from notes you use/take during a session or other methods.
For example, if you coach via the phone, can you pin some quotes within sight to glance at when needed? If you have written the quote down/it’s in a book, could you just reach out from where you are working and grab that so you can read out the quote?
Be prepared. Perhaps your client sent you a completed pre-session preparation/ exercise of some form in advance and a particular quote sprang to mind as you read it. What’s stopping you from having that quote to hand to use in case it’s still relevant when you talk to that client?
Last week I also spoke about using quotes to “borrow authority” to focus your clients attention or increase their willingness to answer a question or do an exercise. It can be used as a convincer to add extra-perceived credibility. If this is an exercise that requires you to print materials, could you add the quote onto the page in advance?
Make use of the strategies you already use when you coach – if you make a point of using the precise language and phrasing that a client uses, how do you do that? How can you use that same approach to use the same precise language and phrasing in a particular quote?
How much attention to quotes are you paying? It’s a lot easier to recognise that you are using quotes if you have acknowledged that they are quotes in the first place. It’s also easier to remember to use “a quote” if you have mentally thought of that phrase/saying etc as a quote.
Over the years I have used various methods that have led to me memorising quotes. Some of these methods have been a conscious attempt to easily recall a quote. On other occasions it’s just been a by-product of another event/activity.
Some of the most popular tweets that get shared from this blogs twitter feed come from song lyrics, films and TV. Consider the quotes you already have in your memory.
When I was still in education, one of the ways I revised for my history exams was to learn various quotes to back up various historical perspectives of events. I had turned this into a game – I wrote each quote on it’s own card, the quote on one side and a brief description on the other. I could then use those as a memory aid and just play, often involving repeating what was on the card.
On other occasions I’d use them to play and draw “Pictionary” style representations of the quote that stuck in my memory (often because they just looked ridiculous, after all I was studying history not art )
I also remember learning one set of quotes stood in a different location in the room – so when I came to recall the quote I imagined standing in the location that I’d connected to that phrase. I was even known at one stage to replace the lyrics of songs with the quotes instead.
I’ve also found that I’ve learnt quotes purely because I’ve heard or seen something over and over again – maybe because it’s stuck to the wall in a prominent place. Perhaps I’ve heard someone else say it many, many, times over.
My suggestion would be if you decide to actively memorise quotes to use a method that appeals to you and is fun and easy for you.
What other methods would you add to these suggestions? Has something popped into your mind as you read this that you want to go and play with?
About the Author
Jen Waller is on a mission to support, nurture and encourage coaching skills and talents from non-coach to coach and beyond.
She has created a free 7 day e-course about how to create your own unique coaching welcome pack that works for you and your clients. Get your copy here.
Jan 03 2012
Nov 18 2011
In this weeks guest post, coach and psychologist, Colin Clerkin shares some thoughts about confidence. Could these be steps you use personally or with clients?
by Colin Clerkin
When you think about confidence, what does it mean to you? It is an attitude, a belief, a sense of assuredness that permeates your being and allows you to feel that you can achieve anything. A confident you can nail that presentation, make that sale, ask for that raise.
But an un-confident you… now, that is a very different story, is it not? Self-doubt, uncertainty, anxiety; an inability to function that often makes little sense to you because you know you have the ability, but the self-belief is just not there when you need it.
There are many things that we can learn to try to address our lack of confidence. Coaches and psychologists can help with psycho-educational training that looks at assertiveness, stress management courses, social skills training, etc. All of these can make a positive difference to how you perceive a situation and your response to it, but I would like to introduce another, simple idea, one that approaches the problem at a physical level.
I would like you to consider how your body shape reflects your inner state — and then recognise how you can start to overcome problems with confidence by actively, physically, making the changes I will introduce to you in this article.
When we are NOT confident, we all know that it shows. The people around us can tell. For example, the un-confident me will tend to close in on myself: my shoulders droop; my head drops; my eye contact becomes poor. I might rub my hands, or chew my lip, or yawn even though I am not tired. All of this occurs unconsciously in response to some perceived threatening situation. This is not threatening in the sense that my physical well-being is at risk, but threatening to my self-esteem and my sense of competence as a person.
So, let’s begin to address this by looking at how adjusting the frame of the body can lead us to positive change in how we feel in certain situations, and we can learn to use body posture as a priming cue for confidence.
Body posture creates the scaffolding upon which we can hang positive imagery to help shift our perceptions of ourselves — if we can learn to project our confident shape onto our body framework, we can use this to start altering our response to challenges to our confidence.
By paying attention to and altering our body posture in line with our desired functioning, and building onto this scaffold, we can cue associated desired, confident responses.
The first place to look is in our own experience. Think back to a time when you did feel confident. Spend a minute or two recalling that experience; what it felt like and, importantly, how you held yourself at the time. Notice how your shoulders were set strongly, your head up. Felt good, didn’t it? This is the core of the confident image that I want you to project onto the body scaffold I described above.
If your life experience has not been of confidence previously, then take some time to think about someone that you admire whom you consider to be supremely and positively confident. They can be a real person or someone from fiction; it does not matter. But notice what it is about their physical presentation that causes you to perceive them as confident. Notice how they hold themselves, the way they meet the gaze of the person they are speaking to, or their voice tone when they speak. Imagine this confident posture projected onto your own frame and pay attention to where in your body you first notice the spark of that feeling as it takes hold.
Breath in deeply and focus on that part of your body where you feel that confidence once again. With each deep breathe in, allow yourself to experience that confidence growing. Physically allow your body to mirror the posture of that confident you of old or that admired role model. Feel the shape of confidence as it takes hold of your frame and inhabit it.
With a few simple deep breaths and the application of a memory from another time or an impression of another’s poise to your current body posture, you have boosted your own confidence. It may only be by a matter of degrees this first time, but imagine how, by practicing this technique regularly, you can enhance this experience and learn to apply it readily at those times in your day-to-day life where previously you have felt your confidence escape you.
Learn to do this and you will soon see how your confidence can take on this new and exciting positive shape.
Dr Colin Clerkin is a psychologist and coach based in Chester, in the North West of England. Colin has been involved in helping people tackle challenges in their lives for 20 years, initially as a clinical psychologist and, over the past three years, as both a personal and a parent coach.After his own experiences with cancer in recent years, he has also been inspired to coach cancer survivors as they look to adjust to life after cancer.
He launched Mirror Coaching in 2010, and provides face-to-face or Skype-based coaching to parents, individuals and small business owners. He is currently creating an on-line coaching programme to help people in the early stages of setting up their coaching and therapy practices.
Apr 22 2011
In this week’s Friday guest post Lenny Deverill-West, returns for a second time. This week he shares his thoughts and knowledge about memory and how new discoveries in neuroscience can be helpful to coaches and change workers.
I am still blown away at the amazing results coaching and many other types of change work get. And for a long time I had no idea why or how what many of the techniques and approaches, like coaching, NLP and hypnosis really worked. Of course I had all the metaphorical explanations, which I was given, but at the time no one really knew exactly what was really happening in the brain and why people changed?
It was explained to me once that it was like the brain is a black box and we don’t know what happens in the black box. At one end we can use suggestions, coaching or techniques and what come out of the black box, is the result, which gives us clues weather what we are doing is having the desired effect.
And you can work this way and still be a coaching or therapy genius. For a long time I did this learned what worked and what didn’t work and often acted intuitively sometimes with no idea as to why used a certain technique or asked a specific question. I just sort of knew what I had chosen to do would probably work.
However, we really do live in exciting times where neuroscientists are making discoveries in how the brain really works which can provide us with an understanding to help us use our skills even more effectively.
One of discoveries in neuroscience that really made a difference to the way I work is reconsolidation theory.
Reconsolidation theory came from some experiments in memory consolidation by researchers Joseph LeDoux and Karim Nader.
In this article Ledoux describes the tradition understanding of the mechanics of memory (consolidation)
“Most neuroscientists, myself included, believed that a new memory, once consolidated into long-term storage, is stable. It’s as if every long-term memory had its own connections in the brain. Each time you retrieve the memory, or remembered, you retrieved that original memory, and then returned it.
Reconsolidation theory proposed a radically different idea—that the very act of remembering could change the memory.”
Ledoux and Nader researched this theory with a series of experiments on laboratory rats. The rats had been conditioned to associate a darken box with an electric shock and very quickly the rats learned to avoid the box, and became fearful and froze each time the box is introduced. When the rats where given a drug that prevented them from creating short term memories, the rats still feared the darkened box, because it was now in their long term memory and remained stable.
However if the rats were shown box just before they were given the drug, the rats would lose their conditioned response, they a forgotten that they were scared of it and the memory had been erased.
Our brains record an experience by firing of a sequence of neurons, which leaves them connected. This memory trace becomes more permanent as synapses connect it with other parts of the brain. This memory pattern is built deep in parts of the brain like the hippocampus and eventually migrates out in cortex.
What Reconsolidation Theory shows us is that not only do memories move from the hippocampus to the cortex during consolidation, but are also returned back to the hippocampus by calling them, at this point they become unstable and can be changed, in effect memory is plastic.
It’s a bit like opening a new word document on your computer so you can see it on the screen and then typing on to the new page. Consolidation could be likened to then saving the document to your hard drive.
Reconsolidation would be like opening this document from your hard drive so it appears on your screen at this point you can change the document so when you save it, it will disappear from your screen and be saved in your hard drive.
As coaches and change workers many of the problems we help our clients with, will often to be connected to how they perceive past events in their life, because our brains like certainty and will quickly create behavioural patterns to maintain this.
It’s pretty cool that when we recall a memory that is the reference experience for a problem we have later in life, the possibility exist to change the meaning of that experience so it is no longer a problem.
So if you’re working with a client with a memory or belief that is a problem for them in someway then here’s some ideas of you can use this.
Lenny Deverill-West is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner, Coach and Corporate Trainer based in Southampton.
Lenny spends most his time seeing clients at his Southampton practice and is also developing trainings courses and Hypnotherapy products that are due out early next year. For more information about Lenny Deverill-West visit www.startlivingtoday.co.uk.
Read Lenny’s first guest post from 2010 here.