A Coaching Power Tool Created by Shelley French Davis
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Have you heard these quotes? “Every cloud has a silver lining.” How about, “When a door closes, a window opens?” These quotes, and many quotes like them ask that you change your perspective from concentrating on a negative to focusing on the positive or in the case of this power tool; change of perspective from loss to gain.
A loss is defined as, “The state of being deprived of or being without something that one has had or something that one has sought.” With a client, this might manifest itself as a person that has decided to retire and fears the loss of friends and social interaction. Perhaps this client loses out to another competitor on a contract or a job. A gain is described as, “To get: to acquire or to obtain something or to arrive at ones destination.” The challenge for the coach is to help the client find these gains when they appear stuck in the loss or not able to see past it.
One of the greatest losses we will ever feel is the death of a loved one. This loss can be so overpowering that it is beyond the scope of our job as a coach. When the trauma of loss is too great, and the client cannot move on; the coach should suggest seeking help from professionals that can better serve them.
Focusing on gain is a perspective that we can choose as a change agent. To see what is possible for our life that was not possible before can bring about a positive change to our lives. By shifting the perspective from focusing on what is lost to what can be gained, we can change a situation from one where we are powerless to one where we are empowered.
When someone faces loss it is easy to focus on that loss and the ramifications of it. What does it take to change the perspective? Loss versus gain also pertains to career changes and retirement. Mark was banker, his father had been a banker and though he did not find the job particularly fulfilling, he thought it was what he would do for his entire life. 10 years into his career his bank was bought out, and Mark was out of a job. Mark’s first instinct was to find another banking job but that was not easy in the current financial atmosphere. He was at a complete loss of what direction to take. He was able to look at the loss of his job as an opportunity to do something else, something he might like better. Mark went back to school and became a Math teacher, a job he now finds both rewarding and fulfilling.
Even after preparing for a foreseeable loss, such as retirement, those changes can still be overpowering and leave you unable to face what is happening. Sue was now dreading her daughter’s graduation from high school. Her last child would be leaving for college and her days of football games, prom shopping, class plays and driving to competitions was almost over. What was she going to do? She was very afraid of what her life might become. Her family was her whole life and the sense of loss she was feeling was nearly overwhelming. She could not see past the loss. That year, when Mother’s Day arrived, Sue’s daughter gave her painting classes. Her daughter even went to the first few classes with her. Sue met some people and she found out she really liked to paint. Encouraged by these painting classes, she began to see that her spare time gave her the freedom to do many things.
With some work, Mark and Sue were able to see that their loss enabled gains. They were able to shift the perspective to find their silver lining. Their loss enabled them to make a fresh start, find a more fulfilling life, devote time to themselves and rediscover what they could do and even who else they could be.
If a client sustains a loss and wants to move on, but either: can’t get past the grieving; does not have a plan; or cannot shift their perspective from the closed door to the open window, what can you do?
- Visualization-What would you like your life to look like in three months
- Powerful Question – What would you do if you could do anything
- Status Quo check – Are you happy with how things are now
- Extremist Question- Is there anything good that might come out of this loss. Is there even a small silver lining?
Helping your client shift the perspective from focusing on the loss to focusing on the gain can give him or her power over the loss and put them back in control. By finding this shift in perspective the client can change from something happening to making something happen!