A Coaching Power Tool Created by L’Shawn Howard
(Academic Coach, JAPAN)
When faced with a difficult situation, it is easy to focus on deficits, risks, and shortcomings. Many people are quick to find a problem and search for solutions, and in some cases, when faced with a daunting or complicated task, they may be tempted to use delay tactics to avoid the situation. When our clients start coaching, they come with a problem or an issue with which they are struggling. They are most likely in a low mood and may feel overwhelmed by the circumstances in which they find themselves, so it is important for the coach to work with the client to explore new and more empowering ways to approach the situation. Inviting the client to view his or her situation as an opportunity, rather than a challenge, is one way in which the coach can empower the client to move forward towards a satisfying outcome.
Finding Opportunities in Challenging Situations
When the client presents the coach with something on which he or she would like to work during the session, the coach can ask questions that evoke feelings of accomplishment or competency. This can be done when the coach gently probes the client for information regarding opportunities for personal growth in his or her situation. For example, the coach could ask one or more of the following questions:
“What would it look like if (offer alternative approach)”
“How could you approach A?”
“What could you learn from A?”
“What does that teach you about yourself?”
These questions help to reveal the opportunities that the situation may hold. For example, asking the client to imagine what the situation would be like if the client took an alternative approach suggests to the client that there is a different avenue to take, and encourages the client to use his or her imagination. Asking the client how he or she could approach a situation suggests that there are multiple options, and it empowers the client to consider more than one option and to view the situation differently. Asking about what the client could learn from the situation helps to illuminate opportunities for growth, which encourages the client to find something of value from what might seem like a situation in which he or she might lose something of value. These questions help the client shift his or her perspective and elucidate possibilities for advancement and attainment that the client may not have noticed. This may also shift the client’s mood from low to high, which enables him or her to see the situation more clearly and to make wiser better-informed decisions.
Finding the opportunities in every situation can help clients to feel positive and to be more hopeful about possible outcomes. It also empowers clients to take action to bring the desired outcome into fruition and to work towards creating a more satisfying and fulfilling life. When we view situations as opportunities, it is easier for us to approach our lives with joy and peace of mind. Problems, hassles, and upsets can transform into possibilities for personal growth.