A fellow coach posted this question online:
we had a young lady who declared she has no objective, does not know what she likes, does not identify in herself worthy talents or skills. She is a between jobs and is experiencing anguish for not having an objective in life or career. Any suggestions about coaching a person who has no objective? Thanks !
And I felt inspired to reply. So I thought I’d share that with you.
I love when this happens.
So often we are programmed that the client must have an agenda, objective, or goal in mind before we begin coaching. And we need to establish what that is in the first 3-5 minutes of our coaching.
Well, you just did.
It turns out that the agenda for the coaching is to discover what the agenda for the coaching is.
In other words, baby steps.
The focus and direction of the coaching at this stage is to work with your client to explore and reveal where she’s feeling stuck, limited, frustrated, unfulfilled and overall wanting change.
It may be that she doesn’t know because she’s just been beaten by life so much she’s forgotten to dream and want.
Perhaps she’s been “trained” by life to not want because then you’ll be disappointed.
And maybe she’s standing on a precipice on the breach of unfamiliar territory and just doesn’t know what to make of that.
And many other reasons for why she’s in this place of “I don’t know.”
And there are many tools you can use to help her discover.
(I, for one, am not a fan of the formula response, “And what if you did know?” Sometimes it works… sometimes. But usually it just helps the client further into their I don’t know place.)
However, you can explore the wheel of life (always a great “go to”)
If you’re not familiar with this (as not all coaches may be) it’s simply listing the major categories where we devote the majority of our time and energy.
HEALTH and WELLNESS
FUN and RECREATION
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT (home)
SPIRITUAL and PERSONAL GROWTH
There are many variations and if you explore on line or talk with other coaches, you’ll discover that each of these can be swapped out for something else. There is no “One Way”.
The trick with this is to guide your client to resist the urge and temptation to compare with others, or how it’s “supposed to be” or anything like that. What we’re rating here is their own sense of satisfaction.
ON a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being “this is miserable. Everything about this must change” and 10 being “This is exactly perfect for me. I wouldn’t change anything” we can then realize it’s not about QUANTITY as it is about QUALITY.
In other words, it’s possible to have little money and give yourself a 10 rating of satisfaction, whereas someone else might have lots of money and be miserable and frustrated, so much they give themselves a “1”.
Personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
Sometimes your client may identify themselves as a 1 in one of those areas (maybe a couple, but rarely more than two or three, though they may have others lingering in the 2 and 3 levels. And sometimes your client will give themselves a 9 or 10, perhaps in a few. But again, rarely more then 2 or 3. Often they land somewhere in the middle. And some are higher and lower than others.
(This is important).
Whatever number they give, help them find something about that to celebrate. Find one teeny tiny little thing that is positive about it (sometimes there isn’t, so don’t work too hard on this) that gives them that 2 when it could have been a 1.
Then ask them to explore what the next number up would be like. Before we get to any problem solving and “this other person or circumstance” would have to change (thus giving away the client’s power) have them instead explore the experience. What would it be like? How would it feel? What would need to change or shift for this to be able to happen.
And voila! You have some agendas and goals to now choose from.
I hope this helps.
In fact, once again, I’m inspired by this post to help. Last time I offered to take any coach through a VALUES exploration (thank you to all those who took me up on that complimentary offer), now I’ll open up and invite anyone who wants to go through a Wheel exercise with me, I’d be happy to give you a comp session. (No obligation or sell, this is just my way of helping coaches).
Perhaps you’ll discover some new goals, agendas or directions you’d like to explore with your coach or own your own.
Maybe you’ll even feel more confident using this with your own clients.
If you’re up for it, just use the scheduler link below to choose a time that works for you and we’ll talk then.
The Wheel of life is just one of the may tools we can use to explore, uncover and discover our clients goals, agendas, desires and directions.
(Kathy offered a wonderful list already)
The whole point being, before you can move forward, you have to decide what direction you want to go. So don’t be afraid to take your time and explore with your client. It may not look like the coaching you were trained to do, but it’s coaching nonetheless.