One of the most effective ways to help yourself or your coaching clients reach their goals is to reverse engineer the actual steps needed to reach those goals.
This is done by first visualising what it is like once you have achieved that goal. And in the coaching world, we call this identifying someone’s ‘Future Belonging’.
So how do you do this? Well in order for us to be able to find someone's future belonging we have to take them into the future.
Day to day we are unconsciously making links between our own identity and that of other groups we aspire to belong in. And the highest form of transformation any human being can have is the level of identity.
For example when someone has a near death experience, they change their identity, nothing else. And that cascades through everything else in their life... their values, beliefs, the whole thing.
So unconsciously making links between our own identity and the success of other groups of people makes you think to yourself.. "Oh yeah, that group has achieved some great things. If I was part of that group, I'd have a pretty good life."
That's why when you see like a tennis player come from some remote country and they win a gold, everybody in that country starts playing tennis, because they all want to belong to the group.
We see this time and time again. Future belonging in action, where they just activate this spark and they go, "I want to belong to that," and then whole tennis schools are just flooded with people.
Certainly soccer in Brazil, when the soccer players go and win the championships you can imagine the influx of people wanting to play soccer, wanting to belong to the group of people that win soccer and they see that and they want to be a part of that.
When we see someone in a group we aspire to doing something meaningful we say to ourselves, "Those people over there are doing something terrifically worthwhile," which in turn activates future belonging.
So in order to identify our clients future belonging, get them to imagine they are 80 years old and being interviewed about their life. Then ask them to imagine the interviewer asking them the following question, "Tell me, what is it like being such an incredibly successful ...," and they just fill in the blank.
This to me is the fastest way I've been able to find someone's future belonging. I've tried many different processes and questioning techniques but the easiest is to just go straight to 80 years of life were I'm there interviewing the person for a magazine and I say, "All right, so tell me, what's it like being such an incredibly successful ...," and they just fill it in. Husband, speaker, author, and I just keep asking it over and over and over and over again and we just keep getting answers.
As a coach, what I do then is I allow myself to tune into the one that I felt was the most congruent for me, so I decide on which one I felt was the truest for me, but then I ask the client, "Out of all of those you mentioned, which one was the truest for you?" If we both get a match, that's a nice signal but remember the client's always going to be right. They will then say, "This one felt the truest for me." You go, "Great." Once you've done that you run them through what we call a five times why.
Then after they've answered it five times, I ask them, "Which one has the feeling of the greatest long term commitment to you? Which one feels like it has the greatest chance of long term commitment in your life? At this stage in your life, because it can change later, but right now what feels the most congruent?"
As an example, when I was running through this with a client recently, the person said, "Wellness coach. Wellness coach is the one that has the greatest chance of long term commitment from me." I said, "Fantastic."
Then I asked them the question, "Why is being a wellness coach important to you?"
This person said, "Because I can make a real difference in people's lives." I said, "Great." Then I got the answer, make a real difference in people's lives, and I feed it back.
The next question becomes, "Why is making a real difference in people's lives important to you?" She said, "To be totally fulfilled."
Then I said, "To be totally fulfilled? Why is that important to you?" She said, "It's true to my mission." "Being true to your mission? Why is that important to you?"
Do you see what's going on? We just keep going, going, going and then she said, "I can finally feel love for myself."
We basically just call this values chunking, where you're chunking up and up and up to the highest value. When we got to that we were pretty close.
Now all we've got to do is break down some actual steps that are required to create this, so together we brainstorm all the tasks that allow this person to become a wellness coach.
As we were brainstorming we came up with creating regular blog posts, starting relevant wellness articles, creating press releases, constantly refining interview skills, posting weekly updates, designing and etc. Now what we've got is a whole bunch of action steps that we can set at the end of every one of their sessions. If they come up with 50 of these, you've got all your action steps for a full year with this client done.
Then every session you just give them a maximum of three, or ideally one and they've done the whole process themselves.
Let the client do all the work. It's the most important part of the process.
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