A Coaching Power Tool Created by Henry Hahn
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
In the Box
In all coach client relationships, the client brings to the session one consistent theme or issue I call being stuck “In the Box”! They may or may not even know that this is the case but they can feel it. Oh, they can describe this and that situation and why it’s an obstacle, but they just can’t seem to move past or through it, they can’t get out of the box. The issue just keeps banging up against the obstacle without any real change or awareness creating a stuck or closed feeling. The box can become a negative energy that exists in some part of their life and keep them from moving forward. Generally speaking, achievement oriented clients who want to become better in their professional and personal lives are the most coachable. They come to coaching to get out of the box. The power tool In the Box vs. Out of the Box helps people discover new ways of thinking about their current situation.
Initially, the coach invites the coachee into a comfortable, quiet, confidential space for expressing their issues, thoughts, and perspectives. The process of helping the client revolves around provocative questioning that helps the client begin the exploration of their own creative and resourceful thought processes. The coach is also determining whether the client has a level of structure and is willing to be coached. During this initial phase of the process the coach continues to ask questions around the issue the client brings to the session. Questions starting with what, how, and why are asked, probing to see if the topic brought forth by the client is the real issue or if there may be some underlying issue around the topic. When the issue is clearly established and the importance brought forth an outcome for the session is established and the coaching session moves forward. This becomes the guide post, cornerstone, or foundation for the coaching session with a client.
Now the coach can follow the client into the process of self discovery that makes this profession so meaningful! The power tool In the Box vs Out of the Box revolves around the client describing their box. How long, how big, how important is the issue (box). The coach then begins the work of discovery for getting out of the box.
Out of the Box – Coaching Application
How do we move the client out of the box? First, explore what fears, underlying beliefs, perspectives and disempowering thoughts keep the client in the box. Does the client react to their issues, blame others, or are they lacking commitment? The coach asks powerful, direct questions to see if the client is aware of any issues that could be holding them in the box.
- Where does this come from?
- How does it feel?
- What have you done to move through or around?
- What is under it?
- What does your intuition tell you about this?
- Have you decided to take action or are you just hoping you will?
The coach explores feelings felt by the client around being trapped in the box. Is it heavy, suffocating, or negative? What happens with these feelings, where do they take the client? The coach explores structures to see if there is a good foundation for moving out of the box.
When this self discovery is opened up, it is time to have the client discover how they can get out of the box. The coach then helps the client look for or feel a shift in their thoughts. Gently, dancing in the moment, listening for what is said and not said by the client the coach begins to reframe perspectives.
The coach asks questions like:
- What do you suppose the other person is thinking?
- What is missing that could make this situation better?
- What value for you lines up with this situation?
- How could this situation be right?
When the perspective is reframed we discover more empowering thoughts. Empowering thoughts bring light, peace and joy that gives rise to a new discovery for the client. The client then becomes more aware of the hindrances and the why, allowing them to take action to move through their own self limitations.
Now the box is removed and the coachee begins the new self discovery with action and goals! The coach often becomes an accountability partner to help them stay on their new course. New insights and discoveries are then brought back to subsequent sessions where the process either carries forward or begins all over again!
- How can you as a coach help clients with disempowering thoughts?
- What can you do as a coach to help clients get out of the box?
- What recent coaching session felt like an In the Box, Out of the box scenario and how did you help the client shift their thoughts?
- Could this power tool help you in certain coaching sessions?