A Coaching Power Tool Created by Lynn Ann Barcant
(Executive Coach, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
The following statement is my belief and the basis of this Power Tool:
We look INSIDE ourselves to find TRUTHS and OUTSIDE of ourselves to find FACTS.
As Coaches we bring to our Clients a desire to help them to become empowered in all aspects of themselves and their lives. To be able to do this we need to assist them in discovering the difference between what Truth is in any given situation and what Fact is.
During our lives, especially in the early stages, we were given a set of beliefs, understandings and rules by our parents, teachers, religions and peers. This information was taken in and stored as our basic programming of how our lives should be lived, how we should think and how we should respond to any given situation or person. We were taught what we should believe as truth and more often than not we accepted these rules without question.
There comes a time for many people however when they are not happy or feel unfulfilled and they start questioning many things in their lives and life itself. It is during these times they may seek a Coach and the journey of self- discovery may commence.
The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates
How do we as Coaches assist our Clients on this journey? Firstly it is to be noted that at times when Clients come to us with a problem, challenge or objective they are not aware that they are not just in a time of transition but may be starting a journey of transformation.
We need to be mindful that once the process of transformation begins the coaching form may need to be adjusted at different times to accommodate the Client’s needs. It is also to be noted that some of the usual coaching competencies may need to be shelved for a while as a part of the process. For example asking powerful questions may be a bit too much for the client to deal with while undergoing a powerful transformation which might bring up their own questioning of many beliefs in their lives but also powerful feelings that they would need to deal with at that time. Transformation may bring up feelings of anger, grief, regret, bitterness, as well as excitement, joy, relief, and many others. The best thing at this time is to give the Client as much safe space as possible for them to go through this process in whatever time they may need. It is therefore important for the Coach to recognise the deeply transformational process which may be occurring.
How do we get our Clients to understand the difference between Truth and Fact in their life’s experiences and their conditions? The following are two examples of cases that show the difference between TRUTH and FACT:
No. 1 Example:
John comes to me because he very often feels depressed and does not understand why. In our coaching sessions I ask him to tell me about himself and his life. He goes on to say that he is financially very well- off, has a lovely wife, children who are doing quite well at school, and they live in a beautiful home. These are the FACTS as he sees them. He therefore cannot understand why he is not totally happy and gets depressed.
After a period of Coaching the TRUTH begins to emerge. His job no longer fulfils him it just brings him a great pay cheque, he has lost his emotional connection with his wife, he rarely gets time to spend with his children because of his long hours of work and he is not taking care of himself physically. He then begins to understand the difference between Fact and Truth. At this point John may be open to more options and opportunities as he is coming to terms with the TRUTH about himself and his life.
No. 2 Example:
Jane is a 57 year old woman who has spent her life taking care of her family. Her sons are all grown up now and her husband has told her he no longer is in love with her but stays because of duty. She is devastated and feels sad and stressed all of the time. She has never worked outside of the home and does not know what to do. She feels emotionally abandoned, unattractive and useless. These are the FACTS in Jane’s life.
The TRUTH, which Jane is realising through our coaching sessions, is that she is an attractive woman who is kind and gentle and wants to live life. Jane is now accepting that she has a right to be happy and fulfilled. A powerful question asked was whether she wanted her husband in her life because she loved him or was it because of needing to feel financially secure? The TRUTH of that answer, which Jane did not share with me, yet, however has helped Jane to love and enjoy herself and her life by beginning to participate in activities that she likes. She is finding that other men find her attractive and though still on the fence with whether she leaves her marriage or not, she has begun to have a sense of new possibilities.
In both cases above the Clients were led through Active Listening to Self-Awareness by getting in touch with their feelings. It was then possible to ask the Powerful Questions that brought them to the point of recognising that they had choices in how they viewed themselves and lived life. The choices were discussed with a view to changing their perspectives to those that served their well-being and deciding on Actions which could be taken to move them from their self-limiting habits physically, emotionally and mentally.
Questions that the Coach can ask:
- If you could see yourself in the perfect solution with regard to this issue, how would it look?
- What in your perspectives, goals, actions would need to change to bring about that solution?
- Where do you see yourself a year, a month, three years from now given these changes?
- As some of these changes start with a change in perspective, how could you assist yourself in grounding these changes in perspectives to make them your new default response programme?
- How do you measure success?
- What are your values and are you living by these values?
- Are these values serving your well-being from your point of view or do you need to re-evaluate them?
- Can you get the important persons in your life who are involved in these changes to assist you and if so how?
I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me – Simone de Beauvoir
I truly believe that assisting Clients to arrive at their TRUTH, that which lies within them, offers them so many more options and opportunities to change their perspectives and to decide what is the Reality they wish to live by….. Is it TRUTH or FACT?