How to help them find answers by creating space
One of the most effective tools you can have in your arsenal, is the ability to help your clients create space for themselves. To help them to find ways to look at their life with curiosity, rather than criticism. To see what’s truly happening from almost an outsider’s perspective, so’s not to make the rash, quick decisions that they would normally make.
This, helps them find their own logical answers to their issues.
In essence, we all want to be better people. But, our drive to be better, often leads us to believe that what we are now is sub-standard.
This can make us critical of our current situation. It’s unfortunate, but the human psyche tends to generalise issues and problems, which only increases the problem.
For example; you might have a client who comes to you with a particular problem and after briefly explaining the issue says… “…and this always happens to me”.
The ‘always happens’ aspect is a generalisation of the issue. If you were to ask the question… “is that really true?” They would quickly see that it doesn’t ALWAYS happen.
This is a very simple example, but just by asking a simple question, you can help them see that a different alternative exists.
One of the most popular worksheets to help with this negative generalisation issue is ‘Balance Negative Thoughts – Build Positivity’. The exercise is designed to help your client identify the negative thoughts they’re having, then give them the space to find better, more positive alternatives.
It’s often a good idea to dedicate a session, or at least part of a session to helping them discover where they are in their journey. Asking questions such as,
- “where do you want your life journey to take you?”
- “Where are you in that journey right now?”
- “Where would you like to be 12 months time?”
- “What is stopping you getting there?”
- “What can you do to change that?”, etc.
That final question… “What can you do to change that?” could be used to set up their first goal, or set of goals.
The whole purpose of creating that space, is to allow the client to be objective. Not look at things as good, or bad. Positive, or negative. But, giving the space to see things just as they are. Observing the facts and making a plan to act according to those facts with an objective and open mind.
It helps them to evaluate in a compassionate way without judgement. Something that they’ve probably not done before.
It’s important to remind your client that removing judgement is paramount. That nothing is right, or wrong. It’s only what is.
Also, remember that you, as the coach mustn’t involve any of your own opinions about what should, or shouldn’t be done. What should, or shouldn’t be true. What should, or shouldn’t have been accomplished.
Your job is to support the client through making their own decisions, by giving them exercises, tasks, or by using effective questioning to help them reach their own answers.
The skill of creating space to find answers is only half the story. The skill to be able to hold space for them during a session, is something I’ll go into next time.
If you have any questions, or stories about this technique, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.