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transcript the coaching process

The Coaching Process?

If you’re asking the big questions, then my job is to help you to find the answers.  The only reason that you don’t have the answers already is that you don’t yet know the process that you need to go through in order to answer them.

It is a process, but it’s not a fixed process that works in the same way for everybody. If it were that simple, then I’d write a book for you. Perhaps a better way to describe it would be a series of discrete steps which we then arrange into a process that’s unique to you.

Let me briefly explain a couple of the component parts which are very often present in a coaching programme.

Very often I’ll ask people to do a simple task which is: take 3 pieces of a4 paper, a pen and a timer.

One each piece of paper write one of the following words as a heading. Have, Be and Do.

Then set a timer for 10 minutes.

Then in the context of your life, ask yourself the questions: What do I want to have?, Who do I want to be? and What do I want to do” and as things pop into your head write the answer on the appropriate sheet of paper. It’s very important that you stop writing when the timer goes off.

There are a few common patterns that come out of this. One is that most people find it difficult to start. it’s not a question that they’ve ever considered before.  Another pattern is that a lot of people are finished long before the timer goes off.

There are also few answers that are almost always there in 1 form or another

The first is “I want to be happy” with another being  “I want to live a fulfilled life. “

We’ll come back to the subject of happiness in a moment.

I spent a long time as a computer programmer. I loved that way that you supply a list of very specific instructions you get a perfectly predictable output.

If you give the following instructions:

  • A = 5
  • B = 4
  • Add together A and B
  • Print the answer to the screen

You can predict exactly what is going to happen.

It’s a gross over-simplification, but think of your brain as a computer, and that it takes everything you say to it as an instruction and tries to fulfill it.

On the hard drive it the sum-total of every experience that you’ve ever had, everything that you believe and the conclusions that you’ve drawn about how life works and everything else.

If you say– I want to live a fulfilled life, your brain it will take it as an instruction and try to deliver.

But what does a fulfilled life mean? It’s open to interpretation and the answer will be different for everybody. Your brain does not have a mechanism to ask you for more detail so it will try to figure out what you want based on all of your experience, and it will set out to deliver what it thinks that you want. It will deliver you something, but I will guarantee you, it won’t be what you had chosen.

We would spend time defining exactly what a fulfilled life means to you, or even better, a range of acceptable outcomes because it’s difficult to predict the future.

Another common set of processes, that I call releasing the brakes, is about looking at your values.

In the context of what we are talking about, a value is something that is important to you.

To some people climbing to the top of the corporate ladder is hugely important.

To others, a career doesn’t matter, and they prefer to spend their life working in a donkey sanctuary. There is no right or wrong here and I’m not attaching judgement to either, but if you go chasing the wrong one, you’ll never be happy.  

These are very surface level representations of our values and the real values are way below the surface and are usually expressed in terms of feelings.

To some people, the biggest driver in their life is having a bigger car than their neighbour. But it’s not a piece of metal with 4 rubber corners that they really want it’s what that represents to them.  Deep down inside they are after how that makes them feel.

Maybe it makes them feel successful, or powerful, or better than their neighbour or something else. It’s the feeling that’s important. Seeking out feelings is the real driver of human behaviour.

For some, it’s a feeling of security and predictability and they fulfill that by making a lot of money.

For others it’s a feeling of contributing to a cause that’s greater than they are.

Or maybe a feeling of excitement and adventure that drives them to go and climb mountains.

If I ask you what your values are – you will give me your intellectual understanding. But these feelings and desires don’t have words. They live in the oldest part of the physical brain, that some people call it the reptilian brain, and it existed long before the neo-cortex which is the part where language comes from. So, trying to express these feelings in words is like trying to describe what a strawberry tastes like.

In order to learn to understand your values then you’ve got to learn how to get in touch with these deep level feelings. I know that to some people that sounds way too pink and fluffy but it isn’t.

There are distinct processes which I can write down in the same way that you might write a business plan.  Many people find that when going through this process it’s very useful to have someone to work with. You can go to the gym on your own and become fit, but to get there as quickly as possible and in a way that’s must suitable for your body, you’ll probably work with a personal trainer.

One last word about values. My personal and professional experience tells me that this is an area where many of the breakthroughs lie.

More importantly, people who live a life that’s either in conflict with, or doesn’t fulfil, their values, live lives of disappointment, frustration and discontent. Whereas people who understand their values and build a life that fulfills them, are more likely to live happy, content and fulfilled lives.

You could say that happiness is not a value – it’s the result that we get when our life is in alignment with our values.

Coaching is a process – I don’t supply the magic, the magic is in the process, not the coach.  Having said that, another hugely important ingredient is the relationship that’s created between two people, working as equals to find a solution.

If you’re the kind of person who sees the value in having a personal trainer rather than going to the gym on your own, then coaching may be for you.

If from watching these videos, you think that we could work well together then I may be a good coach for you. The only way to find out is to give me a call. Let’s start a conversation.