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April 18, 2014, 7:46 pm

Our life is what it is - as a result of how we think.

George DeVack

Life Coaching..
Building Focus, Energy & Courage - to Make a Better Life for You

The Real World:
You Live in a World You Invented
- so Invent a Nice One!



I thought I would share some of my client coaching techniques with you by talking about a particular client. I've changed the details to protect their identity. These general elements are found in many client relationships, and they illustrate a general approach which I hope you can apply to some degree when coaching yourself.

This client was a struggling dance teacher; betrayed by business associates and unable to find a suitable new partner. Suitable venues were difficult to find and he was unable to fill them reliably, anyway.

When things aren't going well, it can be very difficult to stay focused and to positively work your way out of the problem. It's tempting to become despondent, negative, and defeatist, and that's where my client found himself.

It's easy to over-generalise from experience:

  • If you've been cheated, you may feel you can't trust anyone. But that's wrong.
  • If you've looked for a partner and have not found one, then looking again may seem pointless. But that's wrong.
  • If you've struggled to fill venues then struggling some more may seem like the work of an idiot. But that's wrong.

When things get this way, it's almost impossible to pull yourself out of the negativity, and re-apply yourself to the challenge you're facing. To his credit, this guy followed my favourite motto:

When the going gets tough
the tough get coaches!

When I discussed the situation with my client, he was adamant that nothing would work. He knew the way the world was, and it was pointless to think otherwise.

The first thing I did was to restore my client to what coaches call "a resourceful state". So I asked him to recall a time when things were going well, and we loitered in those memories for a while, allowing him to see and feel success again. Tension reduced, and along the way, of course, he re-absorbed the notion that other realities were possible, and this attitude shift was fundamentally important.

Then we re-affirmed his goals. He still wanted to be teaching dance, and still treasured the same dreams. So we set out on course to his goals.

My external perspective allowed me to question the conclusions he was jumping to. He was feeling tired and frustrated, but he wasn't, as he said - past his prime. It turned out that his arch competitor was older than him!

His over-generalisations were also re-calibrated - he wasn't swamped with competition, but there were three other players in his area. And he hadn't tried everything but he had worked really hard in one particular way. We found other things to try.

And we were able to re-frame some observations. For example - the fact that one competitor was doing very well indeed, though potentially depressing - also meant that the area could clearly support clubs of the kind he wanted to run.

So, working together, we built a more accurate view of his world which in itself freed him from a lot of his doom and gloom - allowing him to be more positive, creative and energetic.

Of course, the next thing he tried didn't work either. But with patient tenacity we were able to look at why it didn't work, and to refine the approach.

After just four weekly sessions, my client is back in the game. He isn't a raging success - yet! But he is happy with his efforts, and some small successes have convinced him that he is on track for success.

At this point, he's saving money, and we've dropped our sessions to monthly. Just enough to stave off negativity and provide those insights which will help him the most.

Did we change the world? No. But we certainly changed his view of the world. And that amounts to the same thing.

Over to You

It's extremely hard to do this work on your own, but here are some things you can try:

  1. Put yourself in a resourceful state by re-living some successes. Re-visit your goal. Do you still want what you're working for? If so, try to imagineer your wonderful future. See yourself as having "got there" - with all the trappings that come with success. Feel the confident satisfaction. Take at least 10 minutes.

    Now you're ready to apply yourself with new energy and enthusiasm.
  2. Write down a list of what's wrong now. Do it in neutral, accurate language. For example, are you "rushed off your feet" - or are you just "bewildered and consequently un-productive"? Read everything back as though someone else wrote it, and make sure it's scrupulously accurate. Try to catch yourself out, then correct errors.
  3. Write down the beliefs you are currently operating under. This is really tough to do alone, and this alone, is reason enough to hire a coach, who can listen to what you say and tease those beliefs out of you. But give it your best shot. Once you have them written down, ask yourself - are any of them ill-founded or untrue or exaggerations? Re-write them until they are completely correct.
  4. Now ask yourself this powerful question:

    What is the most audacious, arrogant, thrusting thing I've ever done to move my life forward?

    - use your answers to open up your mind to new possibilities which are normally outside your behavioural repertoire and comfort zone.

Good Luck!


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