A Coaching Power Tool created by Dina El Nahas
(Youth, Educators and Family Coaching, EGYPT)
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – Jimmy Dean
Have you ever been lost before?
How did you feel?
What did you see?
Whom did you meet?
Why were you lost?
What obstacles and challenges did you face?
How did you react to these challenges?
Did you stop, think and act?
Did you find your way on your own? What helped you to find your way?
How did you feel when you found your way?
What experience did you learn?
What actions did you take?
What lessons did you learn from this experience?
Answering these questions will be the base of using my tool with my clients. What I noticed that some clients know they are lost but don’t know their way back, while others know they are lost and are looking forward to return back.
But those who are in complete denial of being lost and aren’t willing to come back, they don’t need coaching at this phase. As coaching is based on the self-belief of change and development.
In this power tool “Directed vs. Lost” we’ll explore several ways and directions that will guide the clients to be directed towards their desired destination and not being lost during their life journey.
Clients who are lost in their life journey but willing to be directed to their desired destination, which they will choose to reach, they have the minimum self-awareness about themselves. Moreover to go to their desired destination they need to stop by several stations in which they discover more about themselves and therefore to raise their self-awareness, they cherish their appreciative inquiries that they will gain through their self-discovery journey, and they take action steps towards reaching their desired destinations.
In this process of coaching, clients will be ACKNOWLEDGED for every achievement and progress they attain.
Acknowledgment is defined as “the action of expressing or displaying gratitude or appreciation for something.” Acknowledgment is an inspiring tool that is used in my coaching sessions.
To acknowledge my clients, this means I know them very well and know their capabilities and their skills. For my clients to feel the acknowledgment, they need to feel the power of the acknowledgment. It’s not only a word that’s being said in certain circumstances.
Acknowledgment comes deeply from the coach’s presence with the client during the coaching journey, the coach’s trust in the clients’ abilities, the coach’s active listening and hearing the unsaid words during the coaching sessions and finally from the coach’s belief that this powerful tool will add a lot to the clients at the right and suitable timing.
Between stimulus and response is our greatest power – the freedom to choose.” Stephen R. Covey
It’s up to the clients to choose whether they need to be directed towards their desired destination and reach their utmost self-awareness and move towards their self-actualization or to remain lost and have low self-awareness and keep their low profile.
Coaching is about change, the clients are the factors who are willing to change and the coach is guiding them towards achieving their targets or end in minds, besides motivating them to take action steps to celebrate the achievement.
Maslow (1943) stated in his theory of human motivation that humans should satisfy their basic needs defined as their physiological needs, safety and security needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs in order to reach their self-actualization needs.
To reach Maslow’s top hierarchy is to reach the self-actualization phase. Maslow defined the self-actualization needs as the essential needs for growth and development to the humans’ unique potentials, talents and skills. Gratification of the human’s self-actualization, gives the humans the purpose for their living, allows them to leave a legacy in their lives by finding their missions in their lives. It gives them the power to discover their unique talents and skills, to raise their self-awareness on their strengths and to be capable of becoming the one they desire.
Therefore, Acknowledgment is the tool that will motivate the clients to develop and become more self-aware of their areas of uniqueness and areas that need to be developed in order to reach the self-actualization phase thus celebrate their unique findings and self-discovery of themselves.
This powerful tool will be applied during the coaching sessions, when I ask my clients to visualize their journey with two scenarios:
a.) A Directed Journey
In this journey, my clients will book a ticket to go to their desired destination. They will go by the ‘COACH Express’. The COACH Express has several stations to reach their final destination. The clients become aware of their values, principals and their unique skills. Also they become aware of their areas that need development in the self-discovery station. They set smart goals in the goals setting station, then take action steps in the action station then reach the final station, which is celebrating their final destination and reaching their end in mind.
During every stop in the station, my clients will be acknowledged by powerful statements and phrases like “well done”, “yes you can”, “you are close to your target, a way to go”, “super, you did it, “I’m so proud of you”…etc.
The clients in this journey will be challenged with a set of powerful questions. I will ask them some questions in a context if they are in the train ‘COACH Express’, and its’ almost empty of fuel:
How would they feel?
How can they overcome this obstacle?
What are their immediate actions?
What would they feel if the train is full again with fuel?
What kind of perception they will have in order to reach their destination?
As a result of their answers, the highlight of the acknowledgment power tool will be present during our coaching sessions to motivate them to move to the next station and reach the acknowledgment wonderland and enjoy energizing their spirits. When I acknowledge my current clients, their responses stated that they feel assured, confident, safe and secured when know the direction and reach their destination. When my clients are acknowledged, they feel inspired and motivated to go to the next step, which is to enjoy the staying at the acknowledgment wonderland.
b.) A Lost Journey
It’s the journey were the clients are lost in finding their precious and unique selves. They have very low self-esteem and low self-awareness. They are in the contrary of the directed journey; almost know nothing about their unique skills, beliefs, principals or values.
When I had couple of clients who were lost in the beginning of the coaching journey, they expressed their feelings as depressed, unmotivated, unsecured, and their lives were meaningless. In this case, I strongly use the transition from the lost status to the directed status and the end in mind here is to reach the acknowledgment wonderland. By using the visualization tool and supporting them to openly discuss and share their feelings and thoughts.
I start applying the Maslow (1943) hierarchy of basic needs to motivate my clients who are lost. Whenever we fulfill one of their basic needs I start acknowledging them in order to motivate them to the next phase until they reach their maximum self-awareness and thus their self-actualization.
One of the meaningful exercises that I do with these clients who are lost and need the reassurance that they will reach their unique skills is to place an empty jar in their rooms or offices. I ask them to place all acknowledgments, compliments and some positive words that they receive inside the jar. After a certain period of time we discuss how they feel and what difference does it make in their lives to read these compliments. And believe me it’s magic!
When I use this powerful tool with my clients (youth, teachers, parents, and friends) I found it very influential. I couldn’t imagine the difference that reaching to the acknowledgment wonderland would make in my clients’ lives, until I noticed it in their way of dealing with others. Parents started to use the word “Acknowledgment” to motivate their kids at home. Teachers started to acknowledge their students on achieving great achievements, and started to catch them doing something good.
At the end, I would like to ask my readers the following:
Whom are you acknowledging now and what are you acknowledging them for? What challenging situation you overcome and would you like to acknowledge yourself for?