Coaching doesn’t work on positivity
There is actually no requirement of positivity from you in order for you to get results from coaching. For some reason people still think that what happens in coaching is really just twisting things in their head in order to make something positive out of things that aren’t right. That’s not what happens.
And listen to this: You don’t need to believe in coaching, either! First time I ever got coached myself, I really desperately wanted the coaching to change things for me, but I didn’t really believe that it would. Just like one of my clients recently said: “I’ve failed so many times, why would this be any different?” But right from the first coaching session things started shifting and it all just escalated into a ridiculous amount of positive changes in my life that I would have never been able to create if I hadn’t asked for help from a coach.
What is there, then?
There is a very significant element of positivity in the way I, as coach, treat you, the client. It is called unconditional positive regard. What it simply means is that no matter how you are feeling or what you think of yourself, I will always, without exception, treat you as creative, resourful and whole. There is still no positive thinking required – this is not a way of thinking, it is a way of being that is expressed in everything I do as coach.
So it’s ok to start working with me even if you don’t really believe that things can change for you. I believe. It’s not just my job to do that. It is my personal stand as coach for every person to have at least one person who believes in them. And until you believe in yourself, I will stand by you and be that person.
The real requirement
The only requirement that I have for you is that you don’t want to accept ‘the way it is’ even if you don’t yet know what it is that you want instead. I work with people who are motivated to make a change, people who have something in their life that’s either clear as day or blurry as fog, that’s nagging to be looked at.
And what DOES happen when people are coached is that their view of themselves, their life & other people tends to shift. Sometimes very significantly. This may then have side effects like taking more actions which may lead to a happy, fulfilled life full of possibilities, love and joy… Beware.
What’s wrong with a ‘why’? We all like to know the reasons why people do what they do, say what they say, behave the way they do. ‘Why’ seems like the perfectly reasonable question for finding all that out. How else would we know?
“Why music?” is currently the question I get asked a lot. It thoroughly annoys me. It makes me squirm and want to run. Even though I have nothing to hide and the question is simple enough, something takes over me and I feel like I’ve been put on a spot where somehow I have to produce not just an answer but the correct answer.
The trouble is
‘Why’ makes people defensive. The only suitable answer to a ‘why’ is a justification. What you get for an answer is not more information. What you get is a person distracted from what they were saying into thinking of reasons that you might find acceptable. ‘Why’ is for prosecution!
There is very little constructive, encouraging or forward-looking about a ‘why’. As coach I know that most ‘why’ questions will only stop and distract the client and we end up taking two steps back for the one we’ve just taken forward. So I very rarely use it, apart from when I want to understand the importance of something or encourage the client to consider beyond what they currently think is possible: “Why is that important to you?” and “Why not?” are two questions that can help increase awareness rather than put people in a corner.
If not why, then what?
Well you could try the “what”. For example, “What’s going on with you?” and “What are you going to do about it?” and “What does that mean for you?”.
Or you could try a “how”: “How will you deal with this?” and “How does this change things?” If you asked me “How come you’re calling yourself a life coach when what you do is so much wider?” I would smilingly tell you that’s exactly the point. Life IS wider than any one thing in it. Everything is connected. Many of us think we can ‘sort out’ things in our lives one by one, but life doesn’t roll that way. The way it does roll is that when you make a breakthrough in one area you cannot help but see it impact other areas of your life as well. An automatic bonus!
Go be curious
Curious people are the blessing of this world. They help others move forward by exploring what’s really going on, what else is going on, and by wondering what else and how else could things be. Only with curiosity can we create breakthroughs in what we think is possible.
As long as we stay mindful of how we express our curiosity, there is nothing wrong with asking a lot of questions! So don’t hold back, go forth and be curious!
I’ve been running some workshops on listening. I had the very first one last night and came home satisfied with my decision to have started them – people were open and contributing to the conversation with their experiences and what they were noticing during the workshop, as well as supporting each other’s learning.
What’s it for
When I trained as a professional coach, one of the biggest revelations for me personally was how much I can change a relationship by just changing the way I listen. It was clear to me from the day I myself got to do an exercise that revealed how I mostly just listen to the voice in my head, that this is something that belongs to everybody, not just coaches!!
The group I had was twice the size I would normally have for a workshop – up to 20 people – so there was minimum individual attention but as the purpose was sharing not coaching, it worked really well as a platform for just that, and there was time for questions and comments to make sure everyone got the essence of it.
Listening in coaching
Listening is the most important tool for any coach. The impact that the coach makes in the coaching relationship with a client is in direct proportion to how well the coach listens.
As coach I listen to your words, sure, but more than that I listen to your energy, pace, tone of voice, patterns and body language. At the deepest level I listen directly and indirectly to your values, beliefs, possibilities and the resources that you have within you.
My job is to show you what I ‘hear’ so that you become aware of it. Because whatever it is that you want for your life, awareness is the key to choice, and choice is the source of change.