A Coaching Power Tool created by Wynoami Glasser
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
In life things happen. One is born, she is taught by her parents, she attends school, graduates, goes to college, starts a career, maybe gets married and starts a family, so forth and so on until the last breath. But what about those moments of heightened reality? There are moments we experience as human beings that create breakthroughs in life. These moments, or events, can be perceived as positive or negative to the perceiver. The event typically involves one other person. The event revolves around either a conflict or union between the person involved and the perceiver. The event stands alone as reality.
Example: Mr. X proposes to Miss Y. Miss Y says yes to Mr. X. Miss Y and Mr. X kiss.
The event stands alone. However, when Miss Y goes to tell her best friend the news, it’s not quite so cut and dry as the example. Miss Y adds the little details she noticed, the way Mr. X got on his knee, the emotions she was feeling, etc. Miss Y uses facts to tell the news to her best friend but adds a lot more; Miss Y adds her interpretation of the event called “Mr. X Proposes.” When Mr. X tells the news to his best buddy he describes how nervous he was, how he chose the ring, the way things worked out just as he planned, etc. Mr. X gives his interpretation of the event called “Mr. X Proposes.” Both interpretations are valid. However, Mr. X’s interpretation is far different from Miss Y’s, and yet it was the same event. To each individual the interpretation is the event and not separate from it and so it becomes their reality in an instant. The interpretation becomes reality when the individual adds meaning. The individual adds meaning to the event itself, the person involved, and to themselves within the context of the interpretation. For instance, Miss Y calls the event “Mr. X Proposes” romantic and joyful, she calls Mr. X her match made in heaven, and calls herself the luckiest woman on Earth. The meaning along with the interpretation then becomes her reality for the relationship with her new fiance. The meaning and interpretation become the context of the relationship between Miss Y and Mr. X until another event takes place. The interpretation and meaning become like a set of eye contacts that the individual puts on and then quickly forgets they’re wearing. Interpretation is like a lens through which we see ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us. With this example we can see how interpretation plays a real part in the human being’s life, but what about those not so happy events?
When an event revolves around conflict or threat, an interpretation is created as well. However, these events can have real negative impact upon one’s life when the interpretation creates barriers and limitations for the individual who creates it.
Example: Dad moved out unannounced. The event stands alone as reality. Interpretation and Meaning: Dad abandoned me. Men are liars, I am unlovable, I cannot trust anyone. The new reality.
We can see how the individual who’s father left has created barriers within their life through their interpretation of and meaning added to the event called “Dad moved out unannounced”. They have an underlying belief that they are unlovable and that no one can be trusted. How are we to break the cycle?
In the client-coach relationship the coach has the ability to identify the underlying beliefs of the client. When these beliefs are identified, the coach can then ask a series of powerful questions to get to the reality of the event. The coach can ask, “When do you think you began to feel unlovable?” The client will no doubt tell the story through the lens of their interpretation and meaning. The coach can then ask, “Who told you that you were unlovable?” This question opens the door for the client to distinguish the reality of the event apart from the interpretation they created, for no one told the client they were unlovable but themselves.
When one can distinguish reality from interpretation, something magical happens: creation of possibilities. Once the coach and client have stripped the interpretation from the event, it becomes clear to the client that they alone can choose how they interpret and add meaning to events in reality. The coach then has an opportunity to co-create a new interpretation for the client. The coach can ask, “What is another way to look at this same situation? How can you see yourself differently having experienced this?” The client can see and feel the shift when answering these questions creating a whole new way of being. The coach can then ask, “What possibilities are opening up for you now that you have the freedom to choose your perspective on what happens in life?” This question provides the client with a sort of empty page to play with. It allows them to create new and improved meaning, offering them freedom and authentic self- expression.
Understanding as coaches that events in reality are separate from the interpretations and meaning we give them serves as another valuable power tool to be used in session with the client. In order to clarify the difference, the coach can answer the following questions:
- What do I believe about myself and my personality?
- When did I decide this was true? What event took place?
- What actually happened during that event?
- Who was involved? What did I choose to believe about them?
- What is a new way of seeing this event?