A Coaching Power Tool Created by Rachelle Triay
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
There is often a point in life where increased awareness highlights an area that would benefit from change. As coaches, it can be important to identify the impetus surrounding this change and to be aware of underlying beliefs and other factors that may be associated with it. Is the change motivated by conviction or through condemnation? With this paper, I will set out to define the Conviction vs. Condemnation Power tool and delve into practical ways to apply it both personally and to your coaching practice by giving insights, examples, and applications. It can be a powerful, life changing tool to help identify and reframe perspectives from negative to positive and bring about transformation in our clients. Let’s begin by defining our terms.
What is conviction?
For the purposes of this coaching tool, conviction is defined as a person’s awareness and acknowledgement that a change would be beneficial in their life – whether it be an omission of something from their lives, negative thinking, changed behavior that was hurting another person in some way, a bad habit, etc. – or, a new awareness of an area that needs improvement – for example, healthier eating or stopping smoking – with the intention of wanting to make it right, because, according to the person’s personal beliefs, it is the right thing to do. When a person is convicted of something, they want to correct whatever mistake they made, and through the new level of self-awareness, learn, grow, and inspire to become a better person from it. This conviction comes from within, is filled with positive energy, and ends in positive growth from the individual. Conviction is forward thinking, like a light bulb going off in the client’s mind that illuminates a new potential path.
When a person has conviction about something, it is a positive experience. They want to acknowledge it, improve and grow.
What is condemnation?
Condemnation also starts with a person’s awareness and acknowledgement of a change that would be beneficial in their life, but instead of using this awareness for positive growth, the person instead uses it in a disempowering way. For the person living with condemnation, awareness brings about negative thinking and self-hate. The person will beat himself up for messing up and cannot seem to leave it. Condemnation often stems from external sources – such as societally imposed goals, or people in our lives being critical or expressing contradictory views (imposing their personal beliefs on the person). Condemnation can lead to —or stem from— negative underlying beliefs. The person gets stuck in the past. Condemnation is backwards thinking. Feelings such as guilt, shame and hopelessness come from condemnation.
|CONDEMNATION is:||CONVICTION is:|
|Problem focused||Solution focused|
|Past focused||Future focused|
|“I am a failure”||“I have room to grow”|
|Self hate||Self love|
Case Study #1: Condemnation
Sally is a stay at home mom of two toddlers. She has fallen into the habit of spending time surfing the internet, reading articles, checking out Facebook, etc., for an hour or two a day. Because of the images and articles she is exposed to, Sally starts questioning her parenting, and feels like she does not measure up. Her family looks nothing like what she sees in the virtual world, so something must be wrong with her. She concludes she is lacking in her mothering skills and hires a coach to help her become a better parent.
Her coach starts probing into Sally’s parenting. Sally feeds her children healthy food, reads to them daily, plays educational games with them, and brings them on fun outings with a group of moms that do playdates together. She has trouble acknowledging herself for the positive things she does. When asked more questions, Sally’s language is filled with words like SHOULD, SUPPOSED TO, OUGHT TO. She has filled her mind with unrealistic expectations. By creating awareness, over time, her coach was able to shift her perspective around this, and Sally no longer beats herself up over her parenting. She is a more confident mother because of it.
Case Study #2: Conviction
John is a middle-aged banker. He joined his son’s boy scout troop on a camping trip. John soon found out he could not keep up with the boys on the hiking and canoeing excursions without becoming short of breath. He had allowed himself to get out of shape. John realizes a change needs to be made and brings the subject of his physical shape up to his coach.
John’s coach starts asking about the reasons behind John wanting to change. He wants to exercise and eat better not only because he knows he will feel better, but because he wants to be able to share outdoor experiences with his son and be able to keep up. He wants to be around to enjoy his grandkids, too. John’s impetus to change came about from an internal conviction. Because of this, John will be more likely to achieve his goals and make life-long change.
When our clients bring an area for change and improvement to a coaching session, it is important for us, as the coach, to guide our clients to examine the impetus of the change. If a client has internal conviction to change, success is more likely. If a client is wanting to change because of a root of condemnation, then more questioning may be needed to uncover underlying beliefs or other things that may get in the way of lasting change. Often condemnation is filled with key words such as “Should,” “Ought to,” “Supposed to.” As a coach, if we sense such negative energy in our clients, it is important we dig deeper to find out the root of the presenting issue before moving forward with an action plan, to set our clients up for success.
Some possible questions to ask:
- What are your feeling around this?
- What would this change meant to you?
- What is this purpose of this goal?
- What will happen when you achieve this goal?
- If you had this goal, How would you be different?
- How important is this goal to you personally?
- Is this goal only for you?
- How does what others think about your goal affect your view of the goal?
- Who are you trying to please with this goal?
- What is triggering you need for change?
Uncovering whether the push to change is coming from a place of conviction or a place of condemnation can be very important in the coaching process. Not only can it be a barometer for long-term success, but also has the potential to lead to transformative change.
- How do you define conviction?
- When has conviction played a part in your growth?
- What are you convicted to change in your life right now?
- How does it feel to be convicted of something?
- Where have you dealt with feelings of condemnation in your life? What did you do about it?
- Is there anyone in your life that you are making feel condemned for something?
- How does it feel to live in condemnation?
- How can you support your client when they are living with condemnation?