I’ve had an unusual number of conversations lately with people who were interested in coaching, and wanted to try it out. And after a conversation or two, they walked away and changed their lives.
I’m not talking about a little change, either. These are people who come into a coaching conversation knowing what they wanted. And yet week after week, month after month, sometimes year after year, they just didn’t do it. These are smart, capable, interesting people. There is nothing wrong with them. So, is my coaching that amazing and miraculous? I wish I could say that it was, but what was happening here is simple. I asked them what they wanted, and they knew. So I gave them permission to do what they already wanted to do.
I use different tools.
"If I waved my magic wand right now and guaranteed that one thing would succeed, what would you do?"
"If you didn't have to worry about failing, what would you most want to try?"
"If you followed your heart, what would that look like?"
These questions are all the same, really. They ask you to set aside what you are worried about, or what you think the obstacles are, and simply think about what you want.
Not everyone can walk away from one or two coaching sessions and turn their lives around. Many of us--myself included--want to do a lot of hard work to fundamentally change our relationships: with ourselves, with other people, with money, with our jobs. We want to change long-ingrained habits, overcome fear, and figure out who we are and what we are capable of. That can take months or years. (I know I'm hopelessly biased, but it's also the best work you will ever do. It's the work that pays off in joy.)
Regardless of who you are, I would guess that there's at least one important thing in your life you simply haven't been doing. Perhaps you were scared, or you simply hadn't done this thing for so long that you had accepted that not doing it is just the way it has to be.
What's one thing you would love to do right now? Maybe it's learning a new skill, or taking a risk and asking for a raise. Or planning a trip. Or exploring a new interest. It could be anything. It's the one thing you know you want but you won't even let yourself consider.
Then wave your own magic want, and ask yourself, "If I really want this, what can I do to make it happen?" Give yourself permission to explore what's possible. Ask yourself:
"Who else might help me with this?"
"What are some crazy ideas I've never even considered to make this happen?"
"I know the reasons I can't do this... but what are the ways I could?"
Taking away the obstacles we've placed on our own paths frees up resources to tackle real obstacles.
Val Sanders is a coach in Lamorinda California. She helps her clients take ownership of their lives, overcoming fear, building confidence, and finding joy.