How coaching works

Coaching may not be mysterious to you, but it was to me before I got started with it, and it sure is not mysterious, once you understand how and why it works.

That’s why I wrote this brief nuts and bolts introduction, because it’s the best way I know to give you a feel for it.

The fundamental process consists of six steps. This process is used with both individuals and teams, but can also be used in meetings with customers, employees, internal meetings, etc.

Step 1 is about finding the want. What do we want to work on in this session? But it wouldn’t be coaching if we took the first answer at face value. Instead, we go deeper.

Maybe we want to reduce stress. Then you ask “what will reduced stress give us?”. The answer may be “less turnover”. You can keep going, and in life coaching you would, but in business you typically don’t. Less turnover is good. We all agree on that. The point is that maybe there’s a way to reduce turnover directly, without going via stress. If so, we can chose to focus on that instead.

The reason it matters is that we humans don’t tend to go very deep on our own. We think we want more customers because it’ll give us more money, but we never really thought about what we need that money for. Coaching forces the brain to go to places it doesn’t go naturally.

Step 2 is about finding out what prevents you from getting your want. We keep asking and asking until you can think of no more reasons. Again, left to their own devices, most people stop at the first one or two reasons not to act, and leave it that. We ask until we have them all. The reason we do is that we often find important mental preventions towards the end that you weren’t even aware of. The brain kept them from view to protect you, to keep you from acting.

Step 3 is about motivation. What happens if we don’t get past our preventions and thus never achieve the goal? What would it be like if we did? This gives us motivation and momentum to look at the preventions in a new light and overcome them.

Step 4 is where the action is. That’s where we look at each prevention and get to the bottom of it. You say it’ll cost money? How much money? It’ll be painful? How much pain? For how long? We don’t know how to do this. Do you know someone who does?

Sometimes, preventions are founded in deep beliefs. Perhaps someone believes her or she has to be perfect. Someone else is overly afraid of failure. These kinds of limiting beliefs will often be broken simply by exposing them in their entirety, and seeing that the worst that could happen is not nearly as bad as you think it is. If not, there are other ways to work past them.

Sometimes a prevention is real, and just needs to be mitigated, or you need to come up with creative ideas for how to get around it.

The bottom line here is, again, that by ourselves, we don’t get to the bottom of what prevents us, so we just don’t know. By getting honest and specific about it, we can make a conscious choice: Given the consequences, do we still want it?

Step 5 is where we look at new creative ways to move forward given the new understanding. Perhaps there are new habits that need to be established, books that would be good to read, people we can contact for help, something we can do to make the process more fun. This is really an open process, and people often come up with great ideas when prompted to look for them. If not, one of the things we coaches love to do is collect ideas for this phase from all over the place.

And in step 6, we wrap up and get commitments on who does what next. It’s important to get very specific. Annette will contact customer X. When? By phone or email? By getting speciifc, it gets harder to put it off.

Why this process works

The process works because it is designed to get around specific blind spots in the human brain:

  • The brain doesn’t get specific about things like the end goal, the root causes, etc.
  • The brain doesn’t get precise about how much time or money or pain.
  • The brain doesn’t see its own beliefs
  • The brain finds safety in not acting, so it will make preventions seem bigger to keep us from acting

When you, individually or collectively, have a belief, you tend to really believe that it’s true, that is, it’s true for all people all of the time. So true that you don’t notice it. A coach can help you see that.

There’s a lot more to it than this, but I hope this has given you enough of an understanding of the nuts and bolts to picture how it might work for you.

Find out what I can do for your business.
Email or call +45 27 28 47 07.


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