This is the first post in a series, where we look at common coaching questions through the lense of Soul-based transformation.
Why? Because the key things you have as a (future) coach are your ability to hold space, and the quality of your questions. These determine what your clients will gain from working with you.
You may already know questions are powerful. The reason for this is that our brain is wired to answer any and every question that is fired at it. Even if it is a question you don’t want to answer – your brain has to process it first, for you to be able to make that decision. It happens in a split-second, but when a question is asked, it triggers the start of the answering process.
And that answering process touches on thoughts, beliefs, prior experiences, emotions and feelings that are part of the coachees experience in the moment.
One reason why we are very particular about the questions we use in Soul-based Coaching, is that we want to make sure that the process that is triggered by asking a question, is serving the coachees desired outcome, and their most effective way of getting there.
Or in other words: we don’t want our questions to get in the way, or trigger unwanted responses. Especially not if there is another way.
Let’s look at this very common coaching question:
‘What do you need to .. (fill in the blanks with your coachees goal: feel more confident / launch your business successfully / incorporate what you find deeply important in what you do/….) ?’
It is a question that very often comes up in coaching after the client’s goal has been established, and the most immediate interconnections have been talked about.
It asks people what they know about the conditions that need to be fulfilled to reach their goal.
And it presupposes that once you know what you need to get to X, you are in a better place to make X happen, because you can start making sure those conditions are met. And this is true – up to a point.
How can this question backfire?
The biggest reason, is that this question is often asked way to soon. It’s a perfect question for a ‘trigger-happy’ coach to start firing away to ‘make things happen’. Asking that question is then an attempt to make the grass grow faster by pulling it. Hint: that doesn’t work. You will uproot the process of growing, healing and transforming.
When we look closer, this question presupposes that a client ought to know what needs to happen.
And this can trigger all sorts of internal responses in our clients, like:
- Oops, I should know this, what will he/she think of me if I don’t?
- #$%$, how on earth should I know, if I knew, I would be doing it
- I don’t even want to go there now! (indicating other stuff is in the way and needs to be addressed first)
These responses are not serving their most effective unfolding. They derail your coaching process, maybe even without you knowing about it. And it takes time, energy and skill to get back on the main track.
This question rushes in the to-do lists in people’s minds. It lines people up to start thinking about the actions they need to take. When lasting and factual change often don’t rely on action taking. (If that makes you curious, read on!)
This question often makes people aware of external factors that are outside of their control, so that part of the coaching session needs to be spent to help them navigate that. When the actual change is always an inside job that will have outside consequences. So don’t get side-tracked.
When you ask it too early, your client is still firmly in the conceptual part, the everyday logical part of their mind. Asking it now presupposes that the answer, can come from that part of your client. But the conceptual mind is not the driver, not the instigator and not the part responsible for actual lasting change. (If it were, we would all make our desired changes easily and very quickly. No more over-eating, numbing out on Netflix or social media feeds.)
What can you do instead?
Let’s talk this through with an example.
Say the person you work with wants more confidence. They will tell you about the why and what ~ the story they have about it. The story is interesting, but it is not the most relevant thing to focus on.
The key thing to do now, is to take your time to help them connect to this feeling of confidence.
Where is it?
What is it like?
And use these questions to:
- Help them find out more about this confidence that they want (hint: it’s not like a confidence you have seen or experienced before, because every person truly is unique)
- Help them access that feeling state of confidence in the moment. Here we use this principle that asking questions about confidence (the thing they want), requires their body/mind/soul system to access that state to be able to answer it.
- Help them find an embodied metaphor, their own unique representation of this confidence that they feel in or around their bodies, in this moment. It could be a safetynet, a glowing light that shines in their womb, anything. And treat that metaphor as if it were real and factually here right now. Because in your client’s experience it is.
In Soul-based Coaching, we know that once a client is embodying their metaphor, they have reached the level where the neurological pathways are created that correspond with the experience of their goal achieved. Simply put: they are creating what they need to feel confident. They are doing the change here and now.
And the longer we help them stay in that feeling, the stronger the neurological pathways are. The easier it is for this feeling of confidence to stick. The easier it is for your client to access it again once they have temporarily lost it. So your coachee staying in this feeling state now becomes your main coaching objective for the rest of your session.
And all of this can happen easily without that question of ‘what do you need to ..? And without any of the side effects.
There is more to say about how you can help a change like this, a change in your clients ‘operating system’, to strengthen and spread. So that your client’s system will renegotiate its relationship with things like fear, self-doubt, the condemning voice of a father, or a black pit in a stomach. But that is for another time.
I invite you to try this different approach, and see what happens when you do.
This is a doorway into the realm of Soul-based Coaching, where you learn to trust your client’s unique process of unfolding, and find yourself leaning into the power of Shakti intelligence showing the way. You will see that the grass does not need pulling, and changes are made by your client. Quickly and easily.
And it is bound to stir up some questions. Do tell us about them in our Community on Facebook, or send me an email.
And if you feel the need to ask the question ‘what do you need to …?’ in a session, here are some pointers:
- Check your intention: is it you wanting something to happen?
- Is it too soon? Does the person you work with have a solid felt sense of what they want – right here in this moment?
- Are you still curious about how this thing is uniquely working within your client? Or are you in ‘making things happen, let’s get to it’ mode?
The quality of the questions you ask the people you want to help, will determine what can happen in their lives, their work, their relationships, their health and their spirituality.
And of course the same is true for you: the questions you ask yourself determine what can happen for you as a (future) coach. Would you like to learn more? Then sign up for our Inspiration & Events newsletter now