Beliefs Beneath The Surface. What To Do When Your Client Confuses You. Part 1 of 4
In this Expert Series, we’re examining BELIEFS – what they are, how they function, and how they impact your client’s behavior (… and your own).
Do you have clients who don’t do what they said they are going to do? You may offer them an assignment, or a practice, and they commit to doing it. But in their next session, they report the opposite. They provide a good excuse: they got busy, or ran out of time, or had to meet a project deadline. Or they don’t know why – they just didn’t do it, or they forgot.
Have you had a client suddenly quit in the middle of the coaching process? They may have even expressed delight with their forward momentum.
It’s easy to feel confused when these things happen. You may even feel incompetent, or consider yourself a failure.
What happened? And more importantly, what can you do about it?
Instead of feeling bad about yourself, or about your client, this is a moment to take a simple, proactive action. Don’t allow their behavior to throw you off your game. It’s an opportunity to awaken your client to a behavior pattern that has kept them stuck for years, or decades. When you do this, there’s a very good chance that they will become even more committed to the coaching process.
The secret to this practice is to know that your client has one or more beliefs beneath the surface – beliefs that cause the behavior – and you can help them shift that belief, and change the pattern.
Here are five steps to take at this important moment:
Step 1: Accept their statement, decision, or excuse without judgment or reaction. Reflect back what they said accurately, using their words, and check for accuracy.
- Example: “Okay, I hear you. You said that this process isn’t working for you, and you want to end our work together. Did I get that right?” Then pause. Let the impact of their decision weigh heavily in the space.
Step 2: Ask whether this decision, action, or non-action is part of a pattern.
- Example: “I have a question for you. Has this been a repeating pattern in your life? Do you commit to doing something important for yourself, so you can get what you really want, and then you find something wrong with it, and then quit?” Allow them to take as much time as they need to answer this important self-discovery.
Step 3: Invite them to look at the impact of this pattern on their life.
- Example: “How has this pattern affected your life? Has it interfered with other things you’ve wanted, or tried to get?” Ask them to remember and describe other times when the pattern occurred, and the result of the pattern in each case.
Step 4: Ask them if they want to clear the pattern so it doesn’t continue to interfere with their life. Focus on the benefits.
- Example: “Would you like to clear that pattern so that you don’t get stopped anymore, so you can really get what you want?
Step 5: Link that important goal to the belief beneath the surface, and your continued work together.
- Example: “I’ve found that there are usually some beliefs that cause this kind of pattern, and discovering them, and changing them, should be the focus of our next few sessions. If you could clear that pattern, your future would be filled with what you want, instead of what you don’t want. How does that sound?”
These steps will penetrate through the fog of your client’s internal blocks, barriers, and resistance, and you’ll be able to get to the source of their baffling behavior.
You then need technology for removing those hidden, subconscious beliefs beneath the behavior pattern. When you can clear your client’s beliefs, you can help them overcome their challenges, and achieve their goals more easily. Your reputation will soar.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll examine how beliefs are linked to our automatic and unconscious behaviors. In future articles, we’ll explore how to discover and clear limiting and negative beliefs.
About the Author:
Lion Goodman is the creator of the Clear Beliefs Process, and the instructor for Impact Coaching Academy’s “Clear Beliefs Coach Training (37.5 ICF CCEs).” The training includes methodologies for clearing limiting and negative beliefs from the core of the psyche, clearing resistance and blocks to forward progress, and techniques for communicating directly with the subconscious mind. For more information visit >>> Impact Coaching Academy <<<
The Expert Series is brought to you by choice Magazine as part of our ongoing efforts to bring opportunities for learning and growth to the coaching community. Delivered in four parts every two weeks, each series covers useful topics for business development and coaching insights, serving the needs of leaders in all areas and walks of life. Archived copies of the previous series can be found here.