Last year we went skiing and every morning, on the 15 minute journey up the mountain in the cable car, it was time to get mentally prepared for the day. Some days the sky was clear and I could see for miles, which gave me a sense of perspective. Rather than thinking about my sore legs, or what ski run I was going to tackle that day, I looked around and appreciated the scenery.
So often we get caught up in our own view of the world, thinking that our solution is the right one, or that our issue is overwhelming. It’s not until you consider the situation from a new vantage point, that you are able to generate different thoughts and therefore have greater choice as to what action you take.
“What if” Questions
WIth my coaching clients I regularly ask them questions such as:
- If you were in the shoes of X, what would they say about the situation?
- What if you already knew how to solve this issue, what would you do?
- What’s really going on?
- If you asked your best friend for advice on this issue, what might they suggest you do?
- What if you were in charge – what would you do differently?
Many of these questions are “what if” type questions, so they provide hypothetical responses, which enables the person to think about the issue differently without committing to any particular action. This gives them more choices before making any decisions.
Intuition is powerful
You can also provide your perspective on their situation by using your intuition as a coach. For example, one client I worked with was considering a change of job, and they eloquently provided me with all the reasons why the prospective new employer was better and why they should take the job. However, all their non verbal communication (tone of voice, energy, enthusiasm) was telling me that they were not convinced that moving was the right decision. So I offered my perspective based on what I observed. “You say you want to move, but I am noticing……- which is interesting. What is that telling you?” They realised that their gut feel was telling them that it was not really the best thing to do, but they had been flattered by the job offer, great salary and other perks.
So the next time one of your colleagues or coaching client feels stuck or limited in how to move forwards, help them take the cable car view to generate a new perspective.
For more ideas see the Personality Workbook