There was a post that appeared on the Co-Active Network (www.coactivenetwork.com) asking questions about PROCESS work in CTI and I really got into the reply. So much that I think it would be helpful to you as well. So please read, enjoy, learn and grow.
(For those who don’t know, CTI coach training identifies three major principles and directions that we typically bring to our coaching. Don’t worry if this is new to you. First off, my response below will help clarify I’m sure. Secondly, don’t worry. Whatever training you got, it’s just great. And there’s always more to learn and discvover to add to your coaching. So after reading this you might want to check out the Advanced Coaching class that I teach, The Fast Pass to MasterFull Coaching (www.masterymycoaching.com))
All right. On to PART 1 of this reply.
Some wonderful responses so far. So I’ll put my own little spin on this.
(Be warned, it’s been a while since I have posted, so this is a little lengthy. But hopefully very helpful.)
CTI’s PROCESS approach can be beautiful, powerful and life changing for our clients. What’s amazing is that when I began to explore other styles and methodologies of coaching, I discovered there are many who don’t have this as part of coaching. Hence the concern that it’s THERAPY.
It seems that every time we deal with exploring past experiences, emotions, and dipping into the “hard stuff” it’s suddenly THERAPY.
“So what did you have for breakfast yesterday?”
“Sorry, I can’t tell you. That would be THERAPY.”
“All right, so how do you feel about today being your birthday?”
“Sorry, we can’t go there. It’s emotions, and that’s THERAPY.”
“Ok. So what are you afraid of about perhaps exploring areas that might be considered THERAPY?”
“I can’t tell you, because that would be THERAPY.”
(By the way, before there is any backlash by my esteemed colleagues, I’ll state clearly. OF COURSE, we aren’t doing therapy with our clients, nor should we try to. But let me also state for the record that therapy does not corner the market on Emotions, Experiences and Fears. These things are part of our everyday, common and very healthy human experiences and are fair game for coaching. If our client is truly injured, scarred or hurt in some way, then they of course need specialized help. But if they’re stuck, like, oh, I don’t know, like 7 BILLION people, then we can assume that they’re just going through standard human experiences. And if that’s the case, we can definitely coach them.)
So let’s look more closely at what Process is (and what it can be).
It’s more than just taking your clients UP or DOWN a tube. It’s more than “getting them someplace”.
What we’re really talking about is helping our clients discover the full experience of what they are going through.
So often we go through life on autopilot, habit and just making our way through as best we can. And yet, if we are doing PROCESS work, we’re helping our clients slow down and take a clearer look at what is really going on.
So what does THAT mean?
So to touch into your specific questions:
I’m not sure what you mean by enrolling. If you’re already coaching then, and if you already have a clear partnership with them, then PROCESS is just as valid and available as FULFILLMENT or BALANCE.
However, if your clients are super-thinkers (as many are) consider it’s less about enrolling them (which actually sounds like a coachy word for “convince” and simply be with them.
Let yourself be curious about what is going on. And if they ask, simply let them know that one of the things coaching does is help reveal blind spots. And often those blind spots are easily available, but hard to see. So let’s just poke around and explore a little to see what might be here.
I’ll pause this for a moment to clarify something that might help. (this is in greater detail in my class, “The Fast Pass to MasterFull Coaching”, but it bears sharing here to help you better understand.)
There are four realms where we experience and express ourselves:
Intellectual – Mind
Emotional – Heart
Physical – Body
Spiritual – Energy
So looking at this with your client, we can assume that your client is very comfortable thinking. She (I’ll assume for brevity) intellectually processes her world, she figures things out and things need to make sense. And, when she’s faced with a problem she naturally tries to “think” her way out of it.
She’s a really good thinker, but that may also be where she’s gotten stuck.
(the same is true for other clients who are very emotional or very physical or are easily effected energetically.)
It’s important to note that an easy trap for us in PROCESS (and in coaching) is to take the client to emotions or body, because that’s where all the good stuff is. And while that may be right, we first have to meet the client where she is. We have to connect to her in the thinking world.
Just yanking her into “What does your body tell you?” or “What emotions are here?” creates problems in two big ways.
- You’re likely talking to her in a “language” she doesn’t understand or is comfortable with.
- You’re indicating that her current place is “bad” or “wrong.”
Most often, if we just slam her there she’ll respond with the typical, “I don’t know.” Because she really doesn’t know.
So first, what works well, is to connect with her in a “thinking/ intellectual” realm. “So what thoughts come up here?” “What memories pop up” (eek, I know. Memories=THERAPY!!!!!) “or even, “What do you make up about that?”
Once you meet her, and she feels you are with her, then you can encourage her to explore somewhere else. “So when you have these thoughts, what do you notice in your body?” (See, we’re easing her into it.)
And from there we can shift and explore what emotions pop up, what her energy level is like (positive/ negative, victim/ empowered, etc.)
The other great thing about this is that when we find ourselves getting stuck in circles in one area, (thinking around and around and you start going, “Crap, where do I go with this?”) then you can always shift to another realm to continue exploring.
All right, back to your questions.
Why do you ask clients to notice their bodies?
There are actually many reasons why this is so powerful. Too much to mention (so check out the class). However, one of the big reasons is that the body is very present. Thoughts tend to take us into the past or future, which (if we’re dealing with some sort of problem or threat) is tied in with a fear of some sort.
Connecting to the body is in this moment—right now. it’s what they are noticing.
Also, we can easily shorthand describe emotions (I feel happy or sad) and we know what that means.
Describing the body often requires a little creativity to interpret what the sensation is, often creating some sort of metaphor, which allows us to modify, expand, explore and play around with.
Also, if we’re fully present, in the moment, fear has a harder time sticking around. Our old stories have a harder time sticking around. Those old emotions have a harder time sticking around.
I’ll say that this isn’t an exact science, and it doesn’t always happen automatically, but when it does, this is why.
Yes, you are correct that is also can help the client to slow down and notice what other information/experiences they are having. The more they are able to clearly see what the full experience is that they’re going through, the more they can be at choice and empowered.
Again, we’re not trying to “get” the client anywhere, not do we “take them out” and try to make it all better.
After all, there’s nothing to make better. All we are doing is helping them to turn on the lights and explore themselves.
By the way, this would be a great spot to point out that I believe that everyone (I’ll repeat, EVERYONE) knows their bodies. After all, they’ve had it their entire lives, right?
Where clients often get stuck is how to read and interpret their bodies. So we need to find their language. For some strange reason coaches seem to think listening to the body is some mystical experience, only for yogis on mountaintops and David Blaine.
We all know our bodies. We all know pain. We all know pleasure. We all know tight. We all know loose. We all know energized, we all know dead. We all know sore. We all know healthy. We all know weak. We all know strong.
So that’s always a good place to start.
But what if (you might say) what if I ask them what they notice about their big toe, and they say, “nothing.”
Well, then perhaps it’s true. Just cause we point to the body doesn’t mean it’s brilliant. Just like every thought isn’t brilliant. And every emotion and every Belief may not have deep meaning for that issue. (Sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke, right?)
So perhaps check in with another body part. Or explore the toe a little more further with a different type of question. “Well, what does it feel like when you focus on your big toe? What’s surrounding it? How does it feel in relation to the other toes? If your big toe could talk, what would it tell you?”
Or, “If it’s not your big toe, then where is it?” And let them find the body part.
Also, body doesn’t have to be a sensation in a particular part. It could be how they are sitting or standing. Are they comfortable or uncomfortable? Slouching or upright? Are their clothes tight or loose? Heck, let your imagination fly with your client.
All right, back to the questions.
What happens when the client gets resistant?
Well, then the client is resistant.
There is no ONE thing to do. Often it depends on what’s creating and triggering the resistance.
- If things are coming up that make them uncomfortable, you could be curious as to what’s coming up for them. Stop digging further and just stay there. Explore that resistance. And let them know that there’s no need at this time to go further.
- You might have jumped the gun too quickly, trying to “get” them somewhere . they’ve consciously or unconsciously spotted your clever ways and slammed the brakes. In that case, you could simply back off and reconnect with them where they are. Let them be resistant and don’t try to force it. Be with them, and then get curious again as to what else might be there?
- It could be a saboteur (think the Wizard at the end of the “wizard of Oz” movie. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”)
- They could simply not be able to answer your question, they literally can’t see what you’re pointing to (which often happens if they feel that we have some sort of agenda, or are trying to “get” them to see it and they’re clearly not “doing it right.” In which case, reconnect with them. Don’t argue your point or try to convince them. Simply be with their client.
- You might even get curious about where they wish to go instead. “Ok. So if it’s not in your body, then where is it?”
- And sometimes, now is not the right time. Perhaps your client needs you to do some FULFILLMENT or BALANCE instead, or something else. After all, a whole session isn’t always ONLY one principle.
I hope this helps.
PROCESS can be uncomfortable not only for clients, but also coaches. We’re dealing with sometimes raw emotions, unfiltered thoughts, unfamiliar body sensations and deep held beliefs about themselves or the world around them.
So the final thing I’ll remind you is that your client is a fantastic teacher for you. She’s giving you real time training to discover, explore and learn PROCESS. So the better and more solid your alliance is with your client, the more you’ll both to feel save to explore what PROCESS means. Try some things and notice what is working and what isn’t.
When in doubt, you can always go back to your client.
“What do you need from me, right now?”
“What is the thing you’re afraid I will ask?”
“It would be easy for us to stop. But is that the best thing?”
Your client is your best partner.
-ben dooley, MCC, CPCC
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