A Coaching Power Tool created by Kylie Springman
(Empowerment Coach, UNITED STATES)
Quite often, people simply settle for what they have in life. They assume that they don’t deserve better circumstances than those they have experienced so far in their lives, and that they shouldn’t ask for (or work toward) more. In such cases, a coach can help them move, instead, to a position of claiming. With this new (and empowering) perspective, clients are able to identify what they actually want, know that they deserve it and that they can make it happen, and then take the action steps necessary to achieve it.
Settling: What It Is
Dictionary.com defines “to settle [for]” as “to accept in spite of incomplete satisfaction.” When someone settles for something, she takes what is given to her. Implicit to the verb is an assumption that this person is without power, or has very little power, over her situation. She accepts her circumstances, even when she experiences them as unsatisfactory.
There may be several reasons that someone settles. She may not know what she does want, and might, instead, simply know that her current circumstances aren’t that. This has to do with a lack of information. She may have an underlying belief that it isn’t possible to achieve circumstances that would be satisfactory. This often has to do with past experiences. She may even have a commitment (whether she knows it or not) to being someone who does not get what she wants. There are many other reasons that someone might settle, but these are the ones coaches are most likely to encounter. Luckily, there are many manageable exercises to help move a client from settling for less to claiming what she needs and wants to feel satisfied.
Claiming: What It Is
Among other things, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “to claim” as “to take as the rightful owner . . . to assert in the face of possible contradiction [and] to assert to be rightfully one’s own.” This verb is powerful and conjures up images of conquistadors asserting their ownership of land, whether or not it was rightfully theirs. But claiming something does not have to be violent or uninformed. Claiming can mean knowing what you want and knowing that it can be yours. This verb implies that the person doing the claiming has a great amount of power over the outcome of the situation at hand. It also implies a sense of sureness and confidence. In contrast to settling, which has a deflated, dejected energy, claiming is expansive, solid and definite.
Shifting from Settling to Claiming
Sometimes, people settle for something that does not satisfy them simply because they do not know that alternatives exist. Even though they can’t imagine something else, they know that what they have simply does not fulfill them. In the coaching relationship, it can be helpful to do some exploring. A client can do some work to discover what other options exist. For instance, if someone is unsatisfied at her job but doesn’t know what other jobs there are, she might search job boards and make a list of the various jobs that exist. She might talk to her friends and family and ask them if they know of interesting occupations she might explore. Alternately, the coach and client could spend some time brainstorming various jobs to start a flow of ideas.