A Coaching Power Tool created by Beth Wallace
(Transitional Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Helping Clients Make Core Changes Due to Taking the Time Thus Creating Meaningful Shifts Versus Knee Jerk
As coaches, we are charged with finding the unique way to help a client find their way to a more fulfilling existence at a certain point in time. Often, he comes to us because he feels “stuck”, inert, trapped, limited in his ability to see a way to move into any kind of action. It is important to distinguish between the state of actually “being” stuck, and the state of perceiving oneself to be stuck. Feeling as if he is stuck, although in reality it is simply perception, is a frame of mind. According to Oxford Advanced American Dictionary, the word ‘stuck’ is defined as “unable to move or be moved” and “in an unpleasant situation that you cannot escape from”. Oxford’s definition of the word ‘perception’ is “the way something is regarded, understood, or interpreted”. Thus a client’s self assessment of being stuck is most likely the client’s state of mind. If somebody wants to make a change in his state of mind, the coaching process would be applicable. A coach could use several tools to help the client make the changes.
One way of helping the client could start with reframing. This is helping the client to look at his thinking, his understanding of things in his life and how he sees them, discover that his thinking might be limiting himself to move forward. How to do this? An example might be a woman, Jane feels that she cannot get out of bed in the morning since her children have left home for college. She says she feels stuck and without motivation. A conversation might go as follows:
Jane: “I am tired all the time, I have no purpose anymore, I miss them and have nothing to do that is meaningful now that they are gone.”
Coach: “Could you talk a bit more about this?”
Jane: “I knew what I was supposed to do when they were here, I knew what my days would be like. Now I have nothing to do with my time so I might as well stay in bed.”
Coach: “You have very wonderfully explained your high awareness of why you feel like staying in bed in the morning. That in itself can be your beginning toward making a change if you choose to.”
Jane: “I want to change this, I just do not know how to!?”
Then is a time to begin a reframing step.
Coach: “Jane, how would this look to you if you were look at iy differently. If you were to take on the perspective of another person, even somebody you might know or know of who you feel is living a life similar to yours in situation, who seems to be freer to enjoy this stage of life…not that you want to be that person, but I wonder if you could see through another’s eyes what you might see?”
Jane: “Well, I know some women whose daughters left for college a while back.
They are different from me. They have always been busy doing things like working or volunteering so they seem to be doing fine. Lesley is heading up something at her church.”
Coach: “So you are saying that Leslie and others have already been busy outside of their homes, and are moving forward doing those activities?”
Jane: “Yes. I wish I had prepared more for this day. I have no idea what to do.”
Coach: “So do you think that Lesley was more prepared since she was already busy?”
Coach: “So you are saying that you feel like you are sort of behind? That they are ahead of you, therefore they are handling it better?”
Coach: “I wonder if you were to see through their eyes, perhaps they might be feeling the same as you, they just are handling it in a different way….is it possible that you are actually grieving the fact that your children have gone away, and that you have a right to feel that way?”
She goes on to see her grief as appropriate, thus feeling much better about hereself, and the coaching goes from there.
Another way to approach it might be to say “Can you tell me the dominant feelings you are having regarding this?”
Jane; “I feel sad…I feel lonely…I feel lost, as if the rug has been pulled out from under me.”
Coach: “Once again, you have an enormous awareness in that you can identify how you feel, and even add a descriptive phrase with it….that is a head start, and shows your self awareness. Can you tell me more about the sad feeling?”
Jane: “It feels lonely, I have no purpose, I use to know what I was supposed to do every day…I had a purpose, I have no purpose now. I miss loving on them.”
Now is the pausing time….perhaps make the “homework” be to let her mind go to times when she felt stuck before, and see if she can see how she handled it, and see if certain attitudes have hung on, and if some have changed. This is simmering. Letting the experiences simmer in her head, bringing feelings, ideas, questions…for her to write down and simmer on…answers do not matter, it is a way of creating awareness for the client. In the visits to come, the client brings her notes, each time celebrating the things she sees that she learned from, challenging the patterns that seem to reappear that can be changed in this way of seeing it from a different point of view, and going from there.