Let us start by making a huge statement; advice and recommendations are overrated. What?! Yes, as a coach, always have it in mind that your clients are not looking for advice or recommendations regarding the challenges that they face.
Coaching clients are subject matter “experts” on the issues facing them, so what they are looking for from you is help in finding new ways of thinking so that they can become unstuck. Giving advice and recommendations will not do that since the suggested solutions aren’t coming from within the client.
It is worth repeating here that the solutions the client is seeking are within the client himself or herself, so the coaching relationship has to be conducted in a way that teases out those solutions and triggers lasting change.
As a coach, you also need to be aware that some clients will come to you expecting advice and recommendations, while others may come to you when they feel so defeated that they aren’t even sure it is possible to climb out of the abyss.
This is where your skills will be called upon to ask the client questions that build excitement and anticipation in the quest to get unstuck.
If you want to know how powerful anticipation can be, think about a 10-year old child who sees boxes under the Christmas tree and they are eager to know what gifts those boxes contain. That child will spend an entire week trying to guess what the contents of the wrapped boxes are, and they may even lose sleep while waiting for Boxing Day to arrive so that they can open their gifts!
That child will be willing to do anything during the waiting period if only they can be given hints about what the gift boxes contain.
In the same way, you need to pose questions that build anticipation in your coaching client so that he or she can be a willing participant on the journey to uncovering new ways of thinking and approaching the problems that they are faced with.
Here are some of the questions that you can use to build anticipation in the coaching client.
1.What is Possible?
This question invites the coaching client to imagine the numerous possibilities that would open up for them if they were successful in overcoming the current problem which has made them to feel stuck or to stagnate in their progress.
As the client sees all those possibilities in their mind, he or she will feel energized to go all out in the quest for a solution. For a coach, there is nothing as good as a highly motivated client!
2. What If Everything Worked Out Exactly As You Want It To?
Nothing happens until it has taken shape in the mind and that mental image has been acted upon to produce the desired outcome.
For that reason, it is important for you to ask your coaching client to imagine a situation in which things work out exactly as they want them to. How would they be transformed?
This question gives the client a push to dream again, and the result of the freedom to dream and wish for anything they want will build anticipation.
That anticipation will be the fuel which gives them the energy to work towards a solution with determination and focus. Your job as a coach will get a whole lot easier as a result.
3. What Excites You the Most About What’s Next?
This particular question, or its variants, can be posed during different stages of the coaching session or process in order to keep the initial burst of excitement going.
As Zig Ziglar put it, “motivation is like taking a bath; we need it daily!” In the same way, it isn’t enough for you to build anticipation at the start of the coaching process and then leave it at that. You need to stoke the fires of anticipation as often as you can so that the momentum is maintained throughout the coaching process.
For example, after you have asked the client questions that make him to think about and clearly define the problem, you can then ask them to share what excites them most about the next step of the coaching process.
Similarly, you may also ask the client to share what excites them the most about what’s next after a successful session in which one approach is selected as the best from a pool of possible remedies to the challenge faced by the client.
In this case, the client may express excitement about getting to work and implementing the action steps that will resolve the challenge.
4. What Does Your Intuition Tell You?
The intuition is usually free from the limitations created by our conscious minds and the experiences we have had in the past.
Consequently, when you ask your client to share what their gut feeling or intuition is about a current dilemma, he or she is likely to reveal that their intuition tells them to go forward and take certain steps to remedy a challenge.
Asking the client to tune into their intuition is another way to get them excited about moving forward with the coaching process.
It is also good to help your client to learn how to tap into their intuition since this is a great way to quickly make the right decisions in different situations. This ability will stay with them long after the coaching relationship ends, and that is the kind of lasting transformation that you would like to see as a coach.
5. How Would Your Life Be If It All Worked Out?
This question also builds anticipation because it allows the client to imagine all the good things that would happen in their lives if they overcame the challenge that they are currently facing.
Some clients may not immediately be able to imagine how their lives will be transformed for the better. This is most likely to happen among clients who have been stuck for so long that a certain part of them has come to accept the limitation as an integral part of their reality.
In such cases, use some of the tools and techniques at your disposal to help the client to dream again and have lofty goals.
As that picture of the kind of life they want becomes firmly planted in their mind, the client will develop excitement and anticipation to get to work in order to bring that dream life into reality.
As a coach, you should never proceed with any step of the coaching process if you haven’t built anticipation and excitement for the step to come. You are like a doctor helping an expectant mother to deliver since you cannot deliver the baby on behalf of the mother.
Anticipation gives the impetus to the client to play their role and you, the coach, can stay in your lane as the guide overseeing the needed transformation in the client. That is a big (yet rewarding) responsibility on your shoulders. Use the questions above to ease your work and watch your client blossom!
To Your Success,
Jairek Robbins + Team PCU
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