A change in perspective: the basics of good coaching

What techniques can we use to help a client change their limiting perspectives?

  • Re-framing: especially when they are at an extreme. One good question could be “What do you think your perspective is in this situation?” Follow up with “What is a different perspective you could take?”
  • Reflecting the language that they use, to show that the belief is limiting. Take note of words like always and never. Help them be aware of how they currently perceive a situation.
  • Empowering them by asking them to remember a time when they faced a similar challenge. Give them distance from the present situation. Mental and emotional distance is helpful in widening perspective.
  • Humor: if they are talking about a situation when you have a self-defacing humorous anecdote. Only use if feel safe using it with a particular client. Used when a connection has been created. Lightening up a situation is very sensitive and intuitive. Can find humor in the extreme perspectives. Can diffuse it by exaggerating until it’s humorous. When they laugh, it brings the wall down. Know your client well and find out if they understand your sense of humor, especially cross-culturally.
  • Taking perspectives from different people in the same situation. For example, “What does your mother think about this? What does your sister think about it?”  “How does another team member feel about this?” Helps them create more distance and space. “What would you think if this were happening to someone else?”
  • Challenging their beliefs about a situation. Are you sure that’s true? How do you know that’s true? How would life be different without that thought?
  • Creating awareness of your thoughts and see if they are true. When you regularly choose thought patterns that serve you well, your mind gets into that pattern instead of the negative one.
  • Use a game:
  • Mmake a list of everything in the room that is red. Close your eyes and remember everything that is blue in the room. Lesson learned: We see what we focus on
  • Think of a problem that you are experiencing. Stand up, turn around and project the image on the other side of the room. Sit back down and see if the problem looks different. Just having them move, can be powerful with visual people.
  • How would a giant see this situation? How would a happy Martian see this situation? What would the mango perspective be here?
  • Look at what is good about the situation “Loving Imperfection”. Love your husband for what you love about him, instead of picking out what you don’t like.

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