You Can Make Great Choices...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hi there,

Last night I was the presenter at a coaching circle in central London and the exercise was on helping a client move through a perceived block. So if client A says they have no confidence the exercise was to ask questions to find counter examples that help client A re-evaluate the claim that they have no confidence. After this exercise there was a well deserved tea break. The group had been listening to information and doing practise exercises for about an hour. Anyway as the group was breaking for tea Miss Y came up to me and said she had a problem with the exercise. We sat down and Miss Y told me that the frame of the interaction was around helping her with the issue of making the right choice.

Now when client Y mentioned making the RIGHT choice a red light went on. I asked her what making the RIGHT choice meant, puttiing the emphasis on RIGHT. She then put her finger on the problem. Making the right choice involves a certain amount of courage and risk followed by a certain amount of loss and pain. Now the frame of the previous interaction was driving Miss Y into a problem state where she was feeling bad at the beginning and worst at the end. Her coach in this exercise was literally driving her deeper into a problem state without realising it.

In NLP and in general coaching practise the idea is to help a client get into a more resourceful state so they can make better choices and take more effective actions. So I chatted with Miss Y and asked her if she had ever made a GREAT choice, putting the emphasis on GREAT. So looked around and was searching about for a time when she made a great choice and was struggling so I offered her some choices. I asked if she had ever chosen a meal that was great, i.e. no pain attached. She said yes, we were on the right track. I asked her if she had ever chosen a place where she had experienced a great haircut. She said she had and was visibly brightening. This went on for another 2/3 examples at the end of which I asked her if she knew how to make GREAT choices. She beamed and said yes and went off to tea. This interaction took two minutes.

The point of this is to highlight the need to drive a client into a resourceful state, one that can bust any idea of limitation or perceived lack of ability. If a client does not have a particular resource it is important to put them in a resourceful state where they can then think about an easy strategy to obtain the missing resource. Miss Y was thinking that she did not know how to make RIGHT choices. Moving the frame to making GREAT choices put Miss Y in a position where her thinking about choices were win/win for herself rather than win/lose.

Steve Nobel
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