A client has approached you with a frequent query: “I can’t seem to stick at one thing for long. What’s my problem?” As the coach, how would you assist this client? LCI’s Master Coach Terry Neal answers…

Overview

A client presenting you with this statement and question could be talking about a specific area of their life such as their work or a relationship, or they may have come to this point as a result of not feeling settled or content with their life in general.

This feeling that may have come from being aware that what they’re doing or noticing about themselves and their reactions to “people, places and things” leaves them feeling dissatisfied and/or disconnected from themselves and what they see around them.

If as a result of listening to and asking questions of your client, you realise that it’s a specific issue that they feel unhappy about continuing in its present form, then there are a number of models and techniques such as the GROW model, Reality Therapy or NLP that you could use to help them identify and set goals and actions to improve or change a specific situation so that they feel more connected with that specific area of their life.

On the other hand if your client feels that general disconnection with most things including themselves, initially there are two possible issues that they may have to deal with: First what the “one thing” is specifically, if that’s possible to define and second the reasons for which your client says it’s a problem of not being able to stick at this “one thing”.

You may have already realised that for your client these two issues are interwoven and one will change and start to become clearer as the other changes and becomes clearer. In a sense then it doesn’t matter which “issue” you start with in this situation; they are almost one and the same issue.

Techniques

There are a number of possible approaches you could introduce to assist your client with this situation but for the purposes of this article, we will narrow it down to two techniques.

They both require your client to be open and honest about themselves. However one technique is more practical and can be done by the client by themselves – while the other requires your client to be willing to “listen to their inner self” and will involve the active participation of both your and your client during a session.

The first technique has as its aim the creation of a Life Purpose Statement. This is a four-step process that will provide your client with a unique statement of direction in how they see themselves, what they can do best and how they’d like to see their ideal world.

  • Click here for more information on a Life Purpose Statement.

The other technique requires your client to be willing to listen to themselves and that inner talk that goes on within them at all times, without making any judgements.

You would need to ask your client if they’re willing to let themselves gain insights from themselves through setting themselves two questions that they would like some insights on.

Let them know that you will be acting as their scribe for all that they say as they talk their thoughts out loud. If they’re willing to try, then ask them to do the following:

(1)  Ask them to write at the top of a blank piece of paper or a new page in their journal if they have one the heading “I Want To Know” and then to write down all the questions that they have at the moment. Give them about 5 minutes to do this. The important ones will be there!!

Ask them to write them as open and not closed questions and you may need to explain this to them. Insights received will supply information rather than direct yes or no answers

(2)  From this list ask them to choose the two questions that have the most energy or attractiveness for them. If they state that there are many questions that they’d like information about, let them know that they can come back to this at other times and look at other questions.

(3)  Write these two questions individually at the top or two separate pages or pieces of paper. At the top of the third page in their journal or on a third piece of paper ask them to write the question: “Is there anything else that I need to know at this time?”

(4)  This is where you start to act as scribe for your client. Take their pieces of paper or journal and put yourself in a comfortable position to be able to both hear your client clearly and to be able to write what they say. Encourage your client to relax and to let their mind become peaceful and then to let you know when they’re ready for their first question.

You would also need to remind them that you’re going to write down whatever they say, that you may need to ask them to repeat if you didn’t catch it all the first time and for them to not judge what they may say out loud. When they’re ready ask them the first question that they’ve written down. If they talk freely just write but if they become silent for more than 10 seconds, repeat the question to them.

(5)  When they indicate that they have nothing more to say on the first question, move onto the second and the third question until they have finished.

(6)  Allow your client to read what they’ve said and to clarify with you any aspect of what you’ve written that they’re not able to understand. Ask them if they have any immediate comments about what they’ve said.

This could probably be the end of the first session with you client as this can be a long exercise. Ask them to take away what they’ve written and read it over a number of times between now and your next session and to come with any thoughts or insights that may have arisen as the result of doing this exercise and their subsequent contemplation of the results.

This activity could help your client to begin to look at future direction of their life and what they’d like to put their energy into in the future. They may also start to see that if they can allow themselves to focus on something that is of importance to them that they will be able to “stick at it” for a long time!!