“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Just because you're a coach …
Mar 27 2013
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Apr 13 2012
Coach Gabby Mottershead shares, in this week’s guest post, a technique she’s used with a client feeling overwhelmed.
‘It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped’ according to Tony Robbins. I have been thinking about him a lot recently as I am working as crew at his Unleash the Power weekend in London soon. I am very excited about this, his events are always amazing. As well as helping the attendees with their goals, I know it will be a great time for me to reflect upon my own journey, and also to connect with some great people.
Helping clients who are stuck with decisions they want to make is an area I get a lot of personal satisfaction from. I know it is sometime easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of choices we have to make, and many people feel paralysed, unable to choose between two equally great choices, or two equally unappealing ones. This week I had a great result with a client using ‘Parts Integration’, also known as ‘Visual Squash’
This tool is very useful for coaching clients who have decisions to make, and let’s face it, that is most of them.
If you are not familiar with it the process is:
1. Identify the conflict and the issues involved
Key Questions: What does that give you? What’s important to you about that?
2. Create a visual image of each issue and place one in each hand
3. Separate intention from behaviour
a. Reframe (through questioning, what does this issue really mean) each part through chunking-up (getting to the ‘big picture’, the client starts with saying that they want a promotion, the key questions result in the client realising that they want to feel loved. Keep questioning until you find the ‘common intention’ of both sides of the dilemma, this is always the result that they want, which is usually a feeling.
A good example of this is ‘I need to earn more money’ being the issue. Questioning elicits that this means ‘visiting my son in Australia’, which means ‘I can feel loved and know I am a good mother’, which means ‘this will make me feel loved’ much more compelling, and once the client is conscious that this is the driving force, other solutions may appear to them.
b. Identify what resources (skills, knowledge, memories, etc) each side has that would be useful to the other part in achieving their highest intention
4. Suggest hands come together while the two images come together through a series of images that create a third image that is an integration of the two
5. Bring the third ‘integrated’ representation inside
6. Check ecology, to the coach shifts in thinking are very obvious, red faces are common!
7. Test and future pace
Once you have those key words from step 1, it is quite easy to play those back to the client as the driving forces behind the course of action that is right for them
Not only is this good for clients, it is a very playful way to work on your own decisions to be made. I realise that I suffer with serial incongruity, in plain English, I repeat the same patterns in my own behaviour, and just one example is yo-yo dieting. I believe once you recognise these patterns, it is easy to change them; it is recognising them that can be a challenge.
An interesting twist I was recently introduced to was the assertion that there is no thing as self sabotage, only competing intentions. Mmmm some coaches I know talk at length about the self saboteur, so who is right?
I would say, whatever works for you.
I hope this is useful, thanks to Kate Trafford for reminding me about this tool.
I would love to hear from other coaches who use this model, I love it.
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Gabby Mottershead, founder of Confidence After Cancer, an organisation that provides coaching and support for women after cancer treatment.
Gabby was inspired to start this support and coaching non profit based on her own experience, she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive breast cancer in 2008 aged 44. Following chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiotherapy, she suffered with depression and lack of confidence .She realised that there is lots of support for cancer patients during their treatment, but when that ends you are very much alone. She started to connect with other people on Facebook, and set up a support group, and was stunned by the numbers of women who contacted her saying they felt the same, and had nowhere to turn to.
It is a sobering fact that that breast cancer survivors are 37 percent more likely to commit suicide, and depression and anxiety are common (Source the Journal of Cancer Institute) and that this elevated risk continues for at least 25 years after diagnosis.
Gabby provides 121 and group coaching and has been approached by local hospitals to run sessions for them, as the medical teams acknowledge that they are not able to support cancer survivors in the way that they would like to.
Gabby is passionate about holistic care, Reiki, NLP and her mission is to inspire healthy minds and healthy bodies.
Twitter : @gabbymot
Website : www.confidenceac.co.uk
Mar 02 2012
Coach Richard Nugent shares his expertise and knowledge in today’s guest post as he invites you to:
I love writing articles for this blog. Mainly because I know the readers are like-minded and ready to learn. With this in mind this particular piece focuses on some of the beliefs that I often see coaches holding that can limit the impact they have with their clients or even their business.
My aim isn’t to offend or even to challenge your beliefs, rather to get you thinking about the ‘professional beliefs’ that you could review to help you to be even more successful.
Remember that one of the indicators of intelligence is the ability to comfortably hold two opposing views. Writing this has helped me to notice how much my beliefs have shifted over my coaching career and explore my intelligence! I hope reading it does the same for you.
Really? Who says? I am not sure exactly where the rule came from, but coach must always stay out of content is certainly a very commonly held view. In my experience, the ‘none content’ phase is a useful stage in a coach’s development. For example one of my clients is a large bank. As part of their leadership development we help them to have great coaching sessions that avoid tell. It makes a real difference to them, their people and their results.
AND…recently another client of mine called me. He is a football (soccer) manager and had an imminent meeting with his Chairman to discuss transfer budgets. He wanted influencing strategies and quick. ‘How do you think you should influence him’, just wouldn’t have helped in that situation, with that client. He wanted a strategy, I gave him it and it worked. Job done, and in my view still coaching.
My final analogy is cabin crew on an aircraft. When it comes to the drinks trolley they can coach me to my preferred outcome all they like. If we need to evacuate the plane, I don’t want them to use great questions to draw out the best route from me.
I recently heard an eminent coach say, “the problem with client outcomes is that they are normally sh*t.” A strong view and one that took me aback. However, think carefully about your coaching experiences, how often do the outcomes that the client brings end up being what you really need to work on? How often do they change? I am sure that you will have many instances where over the course of a coaching relationship the original goals and outcomes are forgotten.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t explore and agree outcomes with clients AND they shouldn’t limit us. A client I worked with last year was adamant that the focus of our sessions should only be building her business and that any beliefs shifts that were needed would be dealt with on the NLP Master Practitioner Programme she was attending at the time. I stuck to the agreement and regretted it. To serve her best I should have focused more on what was needed session by session even if it meant her original outcomes weren’t met in full.
Ok so we should never leave clients in the lurch. I have heard awful examples of coaches and therapists bringing issues to the surface and not having the time, energy or resources to help their client to a more resourceful place. Practices like this give our profession a bad name.
AND I believe that it is a healthy practice for coaches to end relationships with clients. Here are some signs that it’s time to consider firing a client;
If any of these seem a little hard-nosed then they come from a belief that we almost always get the best results with clients that we love coaching. We have a responsibility to test our relationships regularly.
In the opening to this article I mentioned that I wanted to help you to explore your beliefs and half-truth number 4 certainly led me to challenge and question mine.
I do fundamentally operate from a belief that people do have the resources to achieve whatever they want to. So that is a tick in that column right? What happens when they can’t see or feel that resourcefulness at all?
Take this example. Client A is a coach whose business is in trouble and as a result their finances are in dire straits. Their coach is not only highly successful – financially and otherwise – but also a longtime colleague and friend.
Is the coaches’ first step to help their client to be clear on what success looks like? Or to help them to into a really powerful and resourceful state so they can take massive action. Or is their first step to lend (or gift) them some money so they can get by?
Lending them money would suggest a belief that Client A didn’t have the resources, but if you were in a position to, wouldn’t you at least consider it?
Many moons ago I asked a colleague for some coaching after I led a pretty rocky workshop. She gave me the choice of a coaching session or just some time when she told me how great I was. She was building my resources rather than just believing in my resourcefulness but it was just the intervention I needed.
I told a group of budding coaches recently that “rapport in coaching is everything. Except when it’s not.”
I still get quite taken aback by the number of coaches with a strong NLP background who forget the ‘lead’ part of pace-pace-lead. I often find that a mismatch or purposeful break of rapport is the most powerful part of the session.
I spoke to a coach about this recently who was opposed to ever ‘stepping out of the clients world view.’ It seems an interesting thought when I have often seen the likes of Richard Bandler getting great results by going straight to ‘lead’.
Two years ago I invested tens of thousands of pounds in an intensive coaching relationship with Michael Neill. It was amazing, powerful, intense, world shifting and worth every penny. Yet I can’t really tell you what the end result was – other than a big shift. I can tell you some of the key learning’s but then that doesn’t really do justice to the power of the experience.
It is vital that clients feel that they are getting value for money and that they can express the value of the coaching relationship but the wonderful complexity of human nature and the fabulous array of ‘stuff’ that we do as coaches and with that nature leads me to question how often a specific end result is the most useful measure of a coaching relationship.
I would love you to have finished this article either having your beliefs challenged or reaffirmed. I mind much less whether you agree or not. This brings me onto the last point that I would love share with you.
In recent months I have experienced a greater degree of ‘crab mentality’ among coaches (click here to learn about crab mentality). Rather than celebrating and exploring other coach’s approaches and techniques I have found others in the field all too quick to label them as old, bad or wrong.
I think it’s a great time for us all to re-examine our approaches, beliefs and understanding and open up to what more we can learn and be.
Richard is the M.D. of Twenty One Leadership and has coached talented people from the fields of sport and business for the last decade. Clients have credited him with everything from million pound transfers to the creation of new market leading organisations. The return on investment from his programmes stretches into the millions of Pounds, Euros and Dollars.
Nov 25 2011
In today’s guest post Andy Lucas shares his coaching and therapeutic experience as he focuses upon beliefs.
by Andy Lucas
It seems to me beliefs are an intrinsic part of coaching and therapy, whether it be the belief by you, your client or both. And along the journey, during the dance between coach and client, all kinds of beliefs emerge, both generative and limiting.
When I completed my training all those years ago I remember being excited about using all the great stuff I’d learnt. But then as I actually worked with clients on a daily basis I didn’t always achieve the rate of change I’d anticipated. I sometimes got disappointed and even disillusioned about what I’d been taught, or at least what I thought I’d been taught.
Then things got really exciting because I became determined to understand what else I could do to become more confident about helping people. I became intrigued, even obsessed about the role of belief in coaching. As I investigated further I decided beliefs are probably just a string of thoughts giving meaning to what we see, feel and hear. As Plato wrote in Timaeus, we “should not look for anything more than a likely story”. And perhaps that’s all a belief is – “a likely story”.
If you’re going to make up stories then you might as well make them good ones.
As I continued to study and practise I began collecting a range of resources to work with beliefs. Some were just useful tips or ideas, others were entire approaches or techniques and all became part of an essential toolkit. And I wonder if this toolkit might help other coaches too.
A shamanic instructor once taught me the importance of staying out of the way when working with clients. Even though it can be tempting to offer advice or ask “content-leading questions” our work is generally more effective when we resist that temptation and allow our clients to generate their own solutions. So I have a rule for myself – do whatever it takes for the client to create their own generative beliefs. And if they’re thinking “stupid stuff” let them make it so stupid they find it impossible not to notice.
Belief follows experience so I reckon it’s a good idea to generate a rewarding experience for your client at the very first meeting. You want your client to believe in the work you do right? Creating a good experience for them at the outset is a good start, because experiences lead to belief. Perhaps there’s no better way to ensure your client believes in your work than to have them experience concrete or visible evidence at the very beginning. (And you might find you get to believe in yourself more too.)
I let loose my internal police from time to time, just to make sure I’m doing my job properly. And the chief asks me “Who are you treating, yourself or your client?” That’s all I need to hear to create total inner silence as the client begins to speak. I wonder what kind of ritual you might develop for yourself to create and maintain your external focus, the kind of state that has you pay close attention to your client’s communication.
Christian De Quincey in his book “Consciousness from Zombies to Angels” offers a simple seven step guide for “experience beyond belief”. Running through this process as a guided “closed eyes contemplation” can offer a useful foundation for your programme of coaching / therapy, because it gives the client an opportunity to develop flexibility in thinking and believing.
I like to find out how the client gets to be convinced about something, what they already believe strongly, how they “do believing strongly”. Help your client change their own beliefs, when they want to, by working with those structures of belief. I like Richard Bandler’s use of submodalities in belief change in his book “Get the Life You Want”, pages 19 to 30 Building New Beliefs: The Structure of Certainty”.
Perhaps a client is presenting an analogue rather than digital function of belief. It isn’t necessarily a choice of believing or not believing. Maybe there is a scale. How does a given proposition measure up against hope, intent, fear? What is their attitude to it? Does the client have a scale and how do they move things on that scale.
If a client wants to use compelling affirmations or self dialogue what kind of voice will have them pay attention and believe it? Michael Neill in his book “SuperCoach” demonstrates how to “make believe” something is true. In his exercise “Changing the Movie of Your Life” he illustrates a practical approach acknowledging the effect of the tone of the internal voice and of the kind of feelings when generating beliefs.
When preparing a session I ask myself “What are you doing to help your client move their focus from beliefs about problems to beliefs about solutions?” Even though it can be tricky for a client to resist focusing on a limiting belief some conversational approaches do the job. Robert Dilts, in his book “Sleight of Mouth – The Magic of Conversational Belief Change”, uses conversational skills to shift attention from a “problem frame” to an “outcome frame”. You can also read about focusing on solutions in Bill O’Connell’s “Solution-Focused Therapy (Brief Therapies Series)”.
Often the easiest way a client breaks free from the chains of an unwanted limiting belief is through humour. Frank Farrelly’s book “Provocative Therapy” is about using humour in therapy and coaching. Even though some examples in the book can be shocking it is still worth reading to explore the art of using humour to illicit rapid belief change. I often hedge my bets with this approach and start a potential piece of provocation by saying “If Frank Farrelly were here he might say to you…..”
I think there’s a good song about most things. I don’t know if it has anything to do with coaching but it makes me feel good. And don’t we all owe it to our clients to do that? So here’s some music from the wonderful Jocelyn Brown called “Believe”. She says “ …. all you need to do is find a way”.
Andy lives and works in Brighton. He is an NLP trainer (Society of NLP), coach, hypnotherapist and meditation instructor with a particular interest in Hawaiian Huna and Yoga Nidra.
Visit www.springtomind.co.uk for more details about Andy’s work.
May 07 2011
Dec 28 2010
If you feeling pressured with having too much to do in too little time you’ll be relieved to find that this book by Mark Forster is not only easy to read and is full of down to earth and common sense.
This is also NOT a time management book that is the size of a phone book! It is a short read so that you can start applying the content to your life to make a difference to your time crisis.
Dec 26 2010
This is the book that many credit as the beginings of coaching. Described as “how to improve your game and discover your true potential by increasing your concentration, willpower and confidence.” It doesn’t tell you what to put in a welcome pack but for many this book is classed as a classic. It is a book that explores how the author produced “dramatic” results in the tennis game of those he was working with.