The first step in applying this power tool to coaching sessions with a client is to ask them to tell you or write down (or both) how they identify themselves. The client should know they can interpret this question however they choose and that there is no right or wrong way to complete the exercise. If they are struggling, suggest they write down a description of their personality or behaviour.
Next ask the client to identify any core beliefs they have about themselves. These answers can be brief and needn’t require too much detail at this point. Ask whether they view the qualities they listed as positive or negative.
Next, ask the client to list or state, should they feel comfortable, any major events or experiences that have happened their lives. Invite them to talk about, if they wish, how these events or experiences shaped who they are today.
Ask them to consider how they have identified or described themselves and compare it to the experiences they’ve described to you. Do they see any connections?
If a negative experience is touched upon, or if the client uses negative words to describe themselves, they may be asked to explore this further. Is there another way to interpret their experience in their present life? Do they feel it is part of who they are? If so, is it serving them in any way? Invite the client to view the experience from a detached or alternative point of view. They may also be asked “can you know for sure that being (a victim, for example) is who you are?” Further questions may be asked about what forms their identity and if they believe it is possible to choose their identity. If they could choose their identity, what (empowering) identity would they choose for themselves?
If a more direct approach is needed by the client or if the coach feels that the exercises are not producing positive results or clear progress, the client may be asked the above “reflection” questions.
The coach should be able to gauge what the best method of approach is for their client and should approach any sensitive issues or experiences with caution.
The coach should administer this power tool only if they feel it appropriate for the client and if they feel the level of trust between themselves and the client is appropriate for the exercise.
Robbins, A. (1992) Awaken the Giant Within: How to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial destiny, Simon & Schuster Ltd
For a follow up reading and activities on forming identity, see chapter 18, Identity: the Key to Expansion