Coach: “Someone in your position may hire someone to help them, talk to their client to scale down the project, or possibly ask for an extension, what would be the best approach for you in this situation?”
Client: “I guess I could hire someone temporarily to help me finish… (thinking) Actually… I got most of the difficult stuff done, I just need some help with the little things that keep distracting me, like documenting the process.”
Brainstorming is a powerful tool for coming up with solutions even when the client feels stuck. Milton Erickson calls the technique above the “Chinese Menu Approach”. He believed that providing an open-ended list helps the client to “compare options, brainstorm new ones, mix and match, and springboard from one item to an even better idea that is appropriate for them” (Atkinson, Chois, 2007, pp. 46-47). This tool does not tell them what to do but provides alternate choices and possibilities. This can be a starting point for the client to continue to explore and discover new solutions by overcoming their limiting beliefs.
Client: “I’m not sure where all my time has gone! I didn’t get anything done this week towards building my business, it’s never going to happen!”
Coach: “Ok, let’s look at yesterday, tell me about your day.”
Client: “Well, I got up to work out but I got sidetracked with a few emails I had to get out, then the kids woke up and once they were feed and off to school Cindy called and asked if I could pick her kids up after school and watch them for a few hours – she was really in a bind so I said ‘yes’. Then my husband called and needed me to take his truck in….”
Coach: “What do you notice in the events that happened yesterday?”
Client: “I’m always busy, I’m always going non stop, people keep coming to me for help and it takes me away from building my business.”
Coach: “Tell me exactly what you feel is taking you away from your business?”
Client: “I don’t know, looking after other people’s kids and running errands for my husband.”
Coach: “On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is getting your business going to you?”
Coach: “And how important are those things that take you away from it?”
Client: “Ha! Fact is they aren’t important to me, I just feel bad so I allow myself to get sucked in to it, I guess I need to stop that.”
Coach: “What would be the best way for you to do that?”
Every person has a story, but are they writing the story or are they allowing others to do it for them? A person can discover the limiting beliefs that are holding them back when they tell their story, what part of the story they are in control of, and what parts they are not. They are then able to step away from it and see it from a different perspective and explore ways to overcome these obstacles.
Another great tool to help entrepreneurs with their limiting beliefs is forward thinking. This tool works by asking the client to visualize their future by telling the story from their future self’s perspective.
The coach asks the client to imagine they are 10 years in the future and all of their dreams have come true. They get an email and they are invited to their high school or college reunion. The school has built a website called “where are they now?”, what does their page say? Their page can say whatever they want; they don’t have to be modest since they did not write it.
This creates a space for the client to look at their future life through a different lens allowing them to see their limiting beliefs that might otherwise be obscured. Once these beliefs have been identified they can begin to take positive steps toward overcoming them.
Limiting beliefs can be self-sabotaging to an entrepreneur. If these beliefs are deep rooted, they need to become aware of them and explore them so the entrepreneur can move forward. They need to move from “helplessness”, “hopelessness”, and “worthlessness” by aligning their heads and their hearts. Once these are aligned it becomes much easier for the entrepreneur to see the big picture and discover all the options they have. This is how they will make the best possible decisions and chose the right path when they are at that fork in the road.
Coaching plays an important role in the self-discovery and exploration of limiting beliefs. Through powerful coaching conversations the entrepreneur will begin to feel more positive and empowered about their future.
Buchanan, Leigh. (2012. February 28). What Drives Entrepreneurs?. Inc. Magazine. http://www.inc.com/magazine/201203/motivation-matrix.html
Fredrickson, Barbara. (2009). Positivity. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Wasserman, Noam. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Atkinson, Marilyn, & Chois, Rae T. (2007). Inner Dynamics of Coaching. Canada: Exalon Publishing.
Atkinson, Marilyn, & Chois, Rae T. (2007). Step-by-Step Coaching. Canada: Exalon Publishing.
Atkinson, Marilyn, & Chois, Rae T. (2011). Flow, The Core of Coaching. Canada: Exalon Publishing.
O'Connor, Joseph. (2001). NLP Workbook. Hammersmith, London: Harper Collins Publishers.