A Coaching Power Tool Created by Laure Makarem
(Youth & Family Coach, LEBANON)
The Power of Letting Go and Moving Forward
Joe is on his first day of work. He woke up with a sense of anticipation and excitement about his new journey as a junior creative. Unfortunately, he was greeted with an unhappy surprise. His colleagues were not welcoming, his superiors were dismissive of his ideas, and his tasks were tedious and unchallenging. He felt shamed and worthless, as if his seemingly inflated image of himself had suddenly dissolved.
Adam’s romantic partner was not acting like herself. He tried to initiate conversation in an attempt to better understand why their relationship was spiraling downhill, but she was blocking and pushing him away. He felt frustrated, defeated, and surrendered as the distance between them only expanded and became more hurtful.
Sarah is on a creative high. She has been enjoying a rush of inspiration and has been surrounding herself with high-achieving and successful people. Yet, she is unable to move forward towards actually implementing her ideas. She has written an action plan but is terrified to make that first move.
“Here-Now VS There-Then” is a power tool focused on reframing perspectives, creating awareness, challenging underlying beliefs, and taking action.
Where does the negativity described in the clients scenarios stem from?
Joe returned home that day and crashed on the couch. He felt the need to zone out and lose himself in mindless activity, but his thoughts were racing and overpowering. Why did he feel so bad? He could recognize the voice in his head judging him for being such a failure and scolding him for not pursuing a real degree just as his father once said.
Adam withdrew and lost hope in saving his relationship. He consciously avoided and shrugged away any intimate feelings towards his partner, and instead, he adopted a passive aggressive approach any time he was feeling rejected and tense. What was e thinking anyway? Of course he could not maintain a relationship as his own parents had not set a good example in the first place.
Sarah eventually just stopped trying. She regretted not finding a stable job instead of wasting her time jumping from one unrealistic idea to the next. She felt like all fluff and no substance. Now she had to face defeat in front of all those who never believed in her.
As demonstrated in the three cases, negative thoughts, feelings, and resulting actions stem from the clients’ beliefs being attached to the past, as they may unwillingly associate their current situations to triggering incidents or past realities. They may remain unable to systematically and critically cope with emerging problems or to break free from tricky situations that cause them to feel helpless and stuck.
How can coaches use powerful questions to assist the three clients in redirecting themselves to the Here-Now and working through their current situations?
1- Positively Connecting to the Client’s Current Reality/Situation:
- What have you achieved so far of which you are proud?
- What makes you ready to begin working on the matter?
2- Acknowledging the Client’s Coaching Goals and Expectations:
- What would you like to achieve? How is this matter important to you?
- How much are you willing to commit to your goals? How will you measure success?
3- Exploring the Client’s Skills and Resources:
- What have you tried so far? What has worked? What link is missing?
- What are other potential solutions you have not yet explored?
- What is preventing you from letting go and moving forward?
- What are you prepared to do to solve the problem?
- What needs to be present for you to solve it?
4- Challenging the Client’s Perspective:
- How can you resolve this matter from the perspective of a winner?
- What are the factors influencing your reaction/behavior?
- Which of your qualities will support you in your decision?
- What can you learn from this experience?
5- Creating Action Plan
- How does your goal align with your bigger purpose?
- What values would you like to demonstrate through your actions/behavior?
- What are the standards required for you plan to be effective?
- How can you employ your strengths into this plan?
- How can you utilize your resources?
- What is the final deliverable you wish to achieve?
- What is your next immediate step?
- How will you measure your success?
6- Establishing Commitment:
- What are your main takeaways from our session today?
- On a scale of 1-to-10: How committed are you to your action plan?
- What are the structures that will help you commit to the goal you have set?
- How will you feel once you have achieved the next step? How about the final goal?
How would the three clients feel, think, and act in the Here-Now?
Joe recognizes his strengths that landed him the job in the first place, and understands that problems of work are common and do not define or devalue his own competencies. He realizes that establishing trust with his colleagues is a process that is earned, and the value of his ideas will be acknowledged by his superiors as he seizes every opportunity to demonstrate it. He seeks to fulfill his tasks and demonstrate that he can perform with excellence on more challenging and thought-provoking projects. He sets out to go to work with a constructive attitude and plan to be the much needed positive twist at work.
Adam understands that his parents’ relationship does not dictate the results of his own life. He also understands that his partner has a life of her own and her troubles are not necessarily associated with him. He realizes his role in the situation is to approach his partner with an open mind and an open heart and support her need for space or just an understanding ear. He is also able to communicate his concerns and needs and work through them without fear of judgment, rejection, or tensions from either side.
Sarah celebrates her unique ideas and creativity. She finds value in her vision and realizes that in order to soar up that high she must begin with a single step. She identifies and disengages from her fears of failure and criticism and redirects her efforts towards concrete actions. She evaluates her resources, organizes her business plan, and builds structures that support her declared commitments. She also understands that her successes and failures are her own, and her energy will not be manipulated by others’ ungrounded opinions.
What is the value of the Here-Now versus There-Then power tool in terms of channeling your clients’ thoughts, emotions, and actions?
Powerful questions that work on reframing perspectives, creating awareness, challenging underlying beliefs, and taking action can help clients move past negative emotions (e.g. fear, insecurity, hurt, discomfort, frustration, anger, disappointment, jealousy, loneliness, hate…), communicate their needs, create their goals and vision, organize a systematic action plan, take committed action, and associate their drive for success with more positive emotions, e.g. gratitude, courage, pride, excitement, motivation, contentment, and fulfillment.