How often do you acknowledge what you are already doing?
Last week I spent an enjoyable day training aspiring coaches in London. In preparing for the day I reviewed a large number of coaching models. I was struck by what seemed to be a pattern – most of them focus on 2 areas:
- What do you want?
- What are you going to do to achieve it?
Very few encourage any review or acknowledgement of the skills and capabilities we have accumulated to get us to this point so that these can be used as a launchpad to propel us forwards (or upwards). This is similar to habits I recognise in many clients (and myself).
Think of this example. Imagine I had a client who wanted to be more self-confident in social situations. A useful question might be:
“On a scale of 1-10 how confident have you felt up until now in social situations?”
Let’s say they give a score of “3” (interestingly clients very rarely score themselves a “zero”). The temptation would then be to ask:
“What could you do (or not do) to increase this score?”
A perfectly valid question which directs attention to future possibilities – but it ignores their current situation and the obvious fact, that if they knew what to do, they’d probably be doing it already! as well as missing an opportunity…
Imagine that I asked this question instead:
“So, you are at a 3 – what is it that you are doing that means you have scored yourself a 3 rather than zero?”
In order to answer the question the client will have to conduct an internal audit of positive behaviours – things they are already doing. I might even add a couple of “and what else?” questions to encourage further searching.
Usually what happens next is a realisation from the client that they had “deleted” or dismissed what they were already doing. They certainly didn’t acknowledge it or give themselves credit for it. This recognition generally leads to the development of a more positive state which encourages more creative thinking about what else could be done, and how the foundations that are already in place could be built upon, used as a springboard, developed and enhanced.
So, next time you are asking yourself “what do I want”, ask yourself “what am I already doing that will assist me, or that I could use as a launchpad?”