Coaching must take place in an open and safe environment for coaching clients. Your biggest task as a coach is to create this open and safe environment right from the get-go when a client hires you. One way to achieve this is by incorporating some fun into the coaching session.
Every person has a child and an adult within them, and these two facets of their being have to be tapped at the most appropriate moments in order to create lasting change. This blog post will explore some of the questions that you can use to get the client to bring some fun into looking at the issue of concern or problem for which they have hired you.
Remember, creativity (a function of the right side of our brains) will be needed if the thinking that got your client stuck is to be replaced with a new way of thinking that helps the client to overcome their challenges.
That creativity comes out best when fun is incorporated into the coaching process, so look at the questions below as the keys to ignite the creative child in your client!
1. What Does Fun Mean to You?
We are the product of our different experiences (be they family upbringing, education, culture, religion, or dreams) and those experiences may have a link to how we define fun.
For example, one person may say that having fun is splashing around a pool with dozens of other people while another person may define fun as watching comedy clips in the comfort of their living room on a Saturday afternoon.
By asking your client what fun means to him or her, you will get insights into the different suggestions that may be helpful in getting the client to relax or momentarily push their problems away from their conscience minds.
This temporal detachment is necessary because it allows the subconscious mind to process the situation and come up with creative solutions to the problem.
Detaching from the problem also allows the client to recover their mental, emotional and physical strength if these energies had been sapped by their preoccupation with the problem.
2. What Do You See as Funny in This Situation?
This question brings the matter of fun closer home to the specific problem that your coaching client needs help with.
It invites the client to look at the lighter side of the issue, and by so doing, the problem no longer seems insurmountable if there is something to laugh about it.
Asking your client to tell you want they find funny in the current situation compels the client to transcend the problem and start looking at it as an observer.
They say that you cannot see the picture if you are in the photo frame, and this description holds true in coaching settings where the client is so immersed in their problem that they cannot look at it from different perspectives.
When the problem is looked at from a lighthearted angle, such a client will break free and start thinking differently, thereby finding the best solution to the problem.
3. What Can You Do to Make This More Fun?
Here, you are inviting your client to suggest ways through which exploring the situation and resolving it can be a more fun process.
The client may suggest putting their ideas in pictorial form or even writing a long letter to an imaginary friend who has asked for advice about how to overcome the problem.
The beauty of asking the client how they can make addressing this problem more fun is that you will not only increase their engagement but also learn their preferred way of dealing with the problem.
Related: What A Great Leader Looks Like!
For example, one person may prefer drawing while another person derives enjoyment from reading. Your techniques of helping the client can be tailored to accommodate their specific definitions of fun, and that is why every coach needs to have lots of coaching tools so that they can pick the one which is best suited to each individual client that they are working with. One-size-fits-all tools don’t exist!
4. How Do You Want It to Be?
By asking this question, you are putting the client firmly in charge of the search for a way out of the problem they are facing. The client gets to select a fun way to handle the issue, and you facilitate the entire process until the goal is achieved.
When you pose this question, don’t be tempted to offer your own suggestions just because the client has indicated an inclination to go with whatever you recommend. Coaching should be client-centered, and that includes allowing the client to choose how they want the search for a solution to be.
Of course you will retain the supervisory role of making sure that the session stays on course and is geared towards addressing the problem, and you can gently bring the client back on track by asking a question that draws their attention back to what is important in case they get lost in the fun and forget the main point of the coaching session.
5. How Could This Be More Fun for Others?
The search for a solution to a client’s problem is likely to involve other people, such as family members, coworkers and clients or suppliers. It is imperative that as you guide the client to add more fun into the solution-finding process they also think about those other people.
For example, if you were coaching a company executive who wants his or her teams to be more engaged and cohesive, then solutions that bring more fun to the workplace would be ideal.
This may include gamification (creating contests and awarding gifts to team members who win those contests), creating challenges and letting teams work together in solving those challenges, and so on.
As your client begins looking beyond himself or herself while looking for a solution to their problem, they will take some of the pressure off themselves and begin to work with others in a healthy way.
It isn’t very easy to bring fun into a process that is geared towards solving a problem that coaching clients regard as very serious issues. But, it is mandatory to take this step because it is through those lighter moments that you will cement your relationship with your client. Out of that strong relationship will emerge a healthy resolution of the problem, and make no mistake, clients will only open up if they feel a connection with you. So, please share in the comments how bringing more fun into the coaching process marked a turning point in resolving a persistent challenge for your client.
To Your Success,
Jairek Robbins and Team PCU
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