IDENTIFYING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL OBSTACLES
- What do you think is stopping you from dealing with this issue head on?
- What makes it hard for you to be proactive about this issue?
- What external resources do you not have access to that would make a difference in this situation?
- Is there one key obstacle here that if you could conquer it would make a decisive difference in this situation?
- What tool do you think you need to handle this situation that you do not have?
- When you think about this problem where do you feel it in your body?
- How does that part of your body feel?
- Tell me what this part of your body is telling you about this situation? About you? About the other person?
- What would you lose in this situation if you don’t change?
- What belief is driving your current response?
- How is that belief bringing you closer to your ideal solution?
- What is your inner critic saying to you about this situation?
CORE VALUES AND STRENGTHS ASSESSEMENTS
There are many core value and strength exercises available to the coach. An easy and simple exercise is to have a premade list of value words and ask the client to circle 20 words that describe their core values. Then ask them to make a check mark by the 10 values they absolutely cannot or do not want to live without. Then ask them to choose 5 values that specifically pertain to the issue at hand.
Once these are identified by the client go through each core value and ask them what strengths they currently have to help them put that value into action. For example
Core Value Strength I have to put this value in action
Understanding I am a good listener
Compassion I understand what it is like to suffer
Adventure I am willing to take calculated, intelligent risks
By doing this activity you will help your client focus their attention on their empowering traits. At this time the coach can use acknowledgement techniques to help the client experience pride and appreciation for themselves. The coach can also move into appreciative inquiry at this point to help the client remember times they utilized these strengths. The coach can then reflect back with positive feedback about what they are hearing the accomplishment was and ask the client how they could apply these strengths to the current situation.
EMPATH SKILL DEVELOPMENT
In the case you feel your client is identified with being an Empath the following questions and techniques can be used to help the client develop skill and increased comfort. Some consider being Empathic a curse until they develop an increased skill at dealing with it and then it be seen as a gifting and maybe even part of their special function in the world.
Questions – The coach may ask these questions and coach the client to ask themselves these in the moment.
- Is this feeling or thought mine?
- How do I know this is or is not my feeling or thought?
- What do I want to do with this feeling or thought?
- Is this mine to take care of?
- If it is mine to take care of, am I feeling grounded and competent right now to do that? If not, what do I need to do to take care of myself to be able to deal with this in a healthy balanced way?
Techniques – These techniques can be used to help the Empath get grounded, centered, empowered, and focused in their own experience, and empowered.
- Breathe deeply. With each inhale see a white beam of light extending into the clouds from the top of your head and as you breathe out see roots coming out of the bottom of your feet growing deep into the earth. Continue this breathing until you feel comfortable in your body.
- Ask the client if they would be willing to do a visualization technique to help them have an experience of what it would feel like to feel differently about this situation. If they agree follow the process below:
a. Ask the client to give you the disempowering words about how they feel about the situation. Write them down in your notes.
b. Then read the words to the client one by one and ask them how they would like to feel instead to each word. Say “Instead of Happy how would you rather feel?” They may say Happy instead of Sad, Engaged instead of Bored, etc. Write each opposite response next to the original response.
c. Guide them to close their eyes and imagine themselves in a pink bubble, see labels with the disempowering words they are feeling on the label wildly flapping around the inside of the bubble slapping them in the face and being very uncomfortable. Tell them to see themselves waving their arms to get the labels off their face and body. (Each word is a separate label. Repeat each disempowering word out loud so they can see the word on the label in their minds eye)
d. Tell them to see a door in the pink bubble and to put their hands on the doorknob and step out. Tell them to look back at the bubble and to get rid of the bubble anyway they would like. It can be blown up, dissolved in the rain, etc. but to get rid of it anyway they would like.
e. Tell them now to see themselves in a gold bubble and tell them to see labels with the empowering words, (repeat them one by one) gently floating around the bubble like feathers. Tell them (one by one) “The label that says _______gently floats down and falls on your body.” “Show me where it lands by putting your hand on the body part it falls on.”
f. Complete the visualization using each empowering word until each one has been placed on their body. Ask the client to stand inside this gold bubble and to really feel what it feels likes and to allow the labels to sink deeply into their body and for the energy of those words to be absorbed into the organs, tissues, and cells of their body.
g. When you have completed ask the client to open their eyes and be present in the room with you when they are ready. Ask them how they are feeling differently about the situation and if they have any insights about what do differently in this state.
- Music – Listening to music can help reset an Empath’s energy and emotions. Ask the Empath to tune into what they are needing in the moment and to select a genre of music that induces that state for them. This simple technique helps reset their focus very quickly.
- Silence – Sometimes silence is the only thing that can help an Empath get “reset” back into their own experience. Even in a crowded place retreating to the restroom can provide the necessary pattern interrupt when they can practice breathing and grounding techniques in private.
Getting the client to reflect on how they are taking care of themselves helps them put into perspective their overactive caretaking roles that may be present in codependency. Using a set of questions to raise awareness and help develop an action plan will go a long way in helping a codependent make life long sustainable change towards making themselves as important as everyone else in their life.
- On a scale of one to ten what is your stress level?
- When was the last time your stress was lower? What has changed?
- What physical signs do you need to pay attention to right now?
- What is driving you to keep choosing this pace and/or stress level?
- What would the ideal pace look like?
- Describe an ideal day to me?
- What one change would make the most significant difference for you right now?
- How do things that are not your priority end up on your schedule?
- What high-priority area of your life is working best right now?
- What low-priority area is stealing time and energy away from you?
- How well does the way you spend your resources align with your values?
- Where in life do you need more effective boundaries? With yourself? With others?
- What is stopping you from saying no?
- What do you fear you will lose by setting this boundary you want to keep?
- What need or drive in you are people taking advantage of when you say yes?
- What would it take to say no?
- What would help you find the courage or energy you need to stand your ground?
Codependents need strong, sustainable support systems to help them walk the journey from codependency to interdependency. Questioning the client to discover who they have in their life now that they see as a role model for healthy, balanced behavior and helping them find local recourses is an important part of devising effective action plans. Without the proper support follow through can be very difficult and may cause delays in the transformation process.
Codependents may also need extended maintenance coaching packages. Providing codependents with package options that include monthly, every other month, and quarterly maintenance package options keeps them engaged with coaching while they are becoming individuals who are able to take self-directed action. Questions relevant to creating support systems:
- Who do you personally know that you feel is a healthy balanced person?
- What qualities do you admire about them?
- How can you find out how they developed those qualities?
- What resources and support groups do you have in your area?
- How can you find them?
- What kind of support do you need to help you stay on your transformation journey?
- What are you looking for in a support person or group?
- What will you ask this person or group to do for you?
- What support has worked for you before? What hasn’t worked?
Beattie, M. (1986). Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.
Cruse, J. & Wegscheider-Cruse, S. (2012). Understanding Codependency, Updated and Expanded: The Science Behind It and How to Break the Cycle.
Hung Li, K. (Author), Popp, F.A. (Author), Gu, Q. (Editor) (1992). Recent Advances in Biophoton Research and Its Applications
Kaszniak, A. (Editor) (University of Arizona, USA) (2001). Emotions, Qualia, and Consciousness, Proceedings of the International School of Biocybernetics Casamicciola, Napoli, Italy, 19-24 October 1988 (Biophysics and Biocybernetics)
Lacoboni, M. (2008). Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others.
Stoltzfus. T (2008). Coaching Questions, A Coach’s Guide to Asking Powerful Questions.
The HearthMath Institute, http://www.hearthmath.org
Mirror Neurons: PBS, Nova Episode on Mirror Neurons: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/mirror-neurons.html
Mirror Neurons: TED Talks, The Neurons that Shaped Civilization
This is Your Brain on Sports: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7179471/this-your-brain-sports
Biophotons, The light in our Cells:
VS Ramachandran at Berkeley: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/do_mirror_neurons_give_empathy