A client approaches you with the question below. As the coach, how would you assist this client? Below is a script from Zahava Starak, LCI’s Master Coach.

What can I do to be more confident that taking a new direction in my life is the right thing to do?

A good question for a client to be asking if they are on the verge of making a life change. It is only natural for an individual in such a situation to have second doubts and want a bit more certainty that they are heading in the right direction.

You as coach in this situation, can ask a series of questions questions so both you and the client have a clear picture of this new direction. You can then act as a sounding board upon which your client can voice their concerns and in turn, you can provide feedback with your understanding, enabling your client to hear how another person perceives what they are doing.

What I suggest you do to get the ball rolling is to implement the WDEP acronym which is central to the Reality Approach. The core premise to this approach is the idea that regardless of what has happened in our lives in the past we can choose behaviours that will help us meet our needs more effectively in the future.

This approach helps individuals direct their own live, make more effective choices and develop strength to handle stresses and problems. The procedure below relates to the letters of the acronym WDEP in which:

  • W stands for wants and needs and reflects the inner world of wants that are the client desires.
  • D stands for Direction and Doing in which the focus is on what the client wants and what they are doing about getting that want fulfilled.
  • E stands for evaluation.  Here the client needs to assess whether their current behaviour will get them what they want and so they must evaluate each component of their total behaviour to assess the consequences of their actions.
  • And P stands for Planning and Commitment. The client can now explore specific ways to fulfil their wants.

By asking our client the questions relevant to each letter in this acronym, you may be able to validate that the client has isolated an appropriate need to be met, has determined the behaviours to meet this need and has decided on the right strategies to satisfy it.

I would suggest that you begin by asking you client some specific ‘want’ questions such as “What would you be doing if you were living how you wanted to? Do you really want to change your life? And “What do you want that you don’t seem to be getting?” 

To flesh out the answers to these questions, your client can be encouraged to paint a picture of a day in their life when they are living their ideal. They can tell you what they will be doing and how they will be feeling. Who will they be talking to and where will they be. How will they be experiencing any changes and what their intuition tell them about the place they are in.

If at the end of this discussion your client has a smile on their face and has indicated that they have sensed what they want in their entire being – and believe it to be a true reflection of their innermost want – then you have clarity that the direction the client has chosen is the correct one for them.

To build your client’s confidence, it is important to work through the rest of the WDEP acronym and ask the remaining questions. You can now explore what your client is doing to get their want met and pose such questions as:

  • “What are you doing about this?”
  • “What could you do as your first step?”
  • “What would you do if you had unlimited resources?”

These questions will help your client to either acknowledge that they have taken the appropriate steps to reach their objective, or that they need to give more thought to what they could be doing.

This then easily moves unto the next set of questions which aim to determine if what the client is already doing is actually working for them and is realistic to begin with. So you can ask your client upfront “is what you want realistic?”
To further evaluate the situation you could continue by asking “is your behaviour working for you?”; and to really get your client thinking ask, “is there a healthy congruence between what you do and what you believe?”

By this time your client most likely will know one way or another whether the direction they have chosen is the right one for them and if so, they can confidently move unto the last stage that of planning and commitment.

Here questions are directed at determining whether your client’s plan is appropriate and helpful and how willing is the client to do what it takes to reach their goal.

Chances are that if you were to ask your client to rate their level of commitment on a scale where 0 was no commitment and 10 was yes – I’m going for it – you client would say 10.

If along the way, while using the WDEP process, it has become evident that your client has been right to have doubts; you can now use the answers to the questions to find the client’s true direction.

But if this is not the case then with your client confident and committed you can take steps to action their goals. To build up your client’s confidence even further you can assure them that together you will be exploring any obstacles that stand in their way of goal attainment and therefore may be creating fragments of doubt in their mind.

It is not a bad thing for a client to have doubts when approaching a new direction and challenge in their life – and it is certainly exciting and exhilarating when a double check has resulted in the “right” way forward.