The Relationship Between Love & Coaching

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courtesy of www.Pixabay.com – Post by Ragini Michaels

It may seem strange to think about ‘love’ having a place in coaching. Yet, in my world, it is the fundamental ground for all success. Why would that be?

Well, I guess we first have to create a working definition for this very powerful word that brings up all kinds of responses and reactions.

So here’s how I’m going to define it for the purpose of finding its place in coaching. (And all other areas concerned with lessening the suffering and confusion we human beings can’t seem to get away from.)

Love: the release of all personal & professional judgement about who is in front of you, the way they are perceiving their reality, and how they are navigating their lives.

butterflies-843298_1920Sound simple? Well, most folks in the people helping professions would say this is a ‘no-brainer’.

Yet, we all find out, sooner or later, that it’s not so easy to actually do.

Here’s where awareness, presence, consciousness, and the power of mindfulness enter the scene.

These capacities offer a bit of distance from what is in front of your eyes and ears and emotions. They allow you to take that needed ‘step back’ from your reactions and assessments (including your beautiful psychological, emotional, and energetic training).

That tiny step away from the situation frees you to find a new ground that allows you to take a new kind of action. That is action based on clarity about the client’s view of reality (both problem & solution).

One of the most helpful models for accomplishing this seemingly easy but actually very challenging task is NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). NLP is well known for its trail of almost magical, fast change techniques.

BUT … I found its most amazing contribution to be the fundamental skill set for communication with the unconscious mind, which is the key for developing an uncanny level of trust, and the uncanny results that come with it.

Communication With The Unconscious Mind Is The Key

This NLP skill set offers the precise tools for demonstrating what I call Love In Action – a deep respect for and acceptance of the client’s personal and very unique sense of reality.

communication-1015376_1920Respect and acceptance is what happens when you can suspend your judgments and assessments about what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed or corrected.

It’s easy to pay lip service to the fundamental coaching perspective: Your client is perfect as they are.

However, it requires skill to demonstrate this in your actual words and behavior.

Why is this important? So the client’s unconscious mind finds you worthy of its trust.

And the unconscious mind has to trust you in order to grant permission for the requested change to actually emerge.

I am a faithful proponent of including NLP into every coach’s repertoire. This model gave me the gift of running my private practice for over 4 decades by referrals only. I think that speaks for its efficacy and effectiveness.

The Problem With Judgment – Even When You Believe It’s Accurate

When judgement happens outside of your awareness, (even if it’s an accurate assessment), the judgment (whether positive or negative) still shows in your non-verbal and often verbal behaviors, like tonality, tempo, inflection, and volume. This can even impact how you unconsciously structure your sentences.

My point is thatoffer-442904_1920 if you’re unaware of your own judgments about what you’re perceiving in the other (even if you’re seeing a perfect match to your psychological training for dysfunction), you limit your ability to demonstrate Love In Action.

There is little that can replace the power of communicating respect and true acceptance of the other’s perception of reality. As human beings, we almost all feel more than a little starved for recognition, acceptance, and approval.

So even though you have judgments about the way the other is perceiving things, the skill set I’m advocating allows you to consciously and purposefully move beyond them.

This frees you to demonstrate respect and acceptance in both your language and non-verbal communications. You will have developed a discerning eye for the innate challenges of the human condition, and how to perceive beyond their intrinsic limitations.

The Most Healing & Life Changing Gift You Can Give Another

I would go so far as to assert that demonstrating Love In Action as I’ve defined it here is the most healing and life changing gift you can give another.

It is a rare ability to truly communicate acceptance and respect for another’s perception of reality.

The idea is easy. The actualization of the idea into your behavior requires time and energy to develop.

hands-718562_1920But you do have this capacity. And I encourage anyone working with people in any context to take the time to at least explore this powerful skill set offered via NLP.

In so doing, you will amplify the power you bring to the communication table – both conscious and unconscious – whether for professional or personal outcomes.

Where You Can Learn This Skill

You will want this skill set in your communication tool bag. To learn more about how to get it, please go to www.InspiredNLP.com. Take a moment and check out the details for my NLP Coach Certification training granted to me through the original certifying body, The Society Of NLP.

I was honored to study NLP back in the late 1970’s with co-founders Richard Bandler & Grinder, and later on with Robert Dilts and Leslie Cameron Bandler.

Because of that, I can promise a bit of the original purity that always accompanies a great model before it becomes popular and mainstream, and some of what made it so great fades into the background.

Much love to you,

Ragini

*all images courtesy of www.Pixabay.com
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Are You Honoring Your Client’s Reality?

image by www.123rf.com – Post by Ragini Michaels

Reality is a funny word.  It’s very personal and it’s very impersonal. That means it’s relative and it’s universal.  As a coach, counselor, or therapist, it’s your job to discriminate between the two and never assume you know your client’s perception of reality; nor assume that your perception of reality is better than, or more correct, than theirs.

These kinds of assumptions make you blind to (or at least forgetful of) the necessity of not only discovering your client’s view of reality, but also honoring it – in your language, in how you explore strategies or solutions, and in your overall approach to the issue at hand.

Deeply Understanding The Nature Of Personal Reality

20329192_sJust grasping the nature of personal reality is often mind-boggling, much less waxing philosophic on the nature of absolute reality. So let’s just stick to the reality we personally create for ourselves.

NLP assumes personal reality has a structure that is not laid in stone. Rather its nature is flexibility. In this way it is impersonal. The content however is very personal, or relative to the individual experiencing it.

Yet, years of experience under your belt (or even when you’re just beginning), can cause you to feel that you know things for certain. And this can produce difficulties.

Why? Certainty closes the door to further exploration; and this can block your ability to recognize, accept, respect, and meet your client in the reality where they live.

Why Certainty Kills Off Creative Exploration

When an idea hardens into a certainty, it starts to FEEL like Truth. When you feel you know the truth about your client, you are at risk of missing your client’s truth (as well as your own). You are at risk of missing how their perception of the truth is holding their personal reality in place,  imprisoning them and creating their pain and suffering.

When your personal reality loses its flexibility via certainty, it is hard to adapt to the flow of the creative personal realities streaming by from your clients. The bad news is that your professional expertise and experience can easily create this situation.  The good news is that with a little bit of awareness and willingness, you can reclaim your perceptual flexibility and increase your capacity to work within your client’s personal reality instead of your own.

The Paradox: Challenging Your Certainty While Staying Confident & Sure

Years ago when I was living in an ashram in India, I remember the most empowering thing I learned while participating in a spiritual therapy training. The leader said that 14664832 - 3d person character and a question mark - 3d render illustrationanytime I found myself saying ‘I want X for my client’, I had slipped into doing therapy for myself rather than my client. It was a disturbing thought.  But it changed my notion of what helping another person actually meant.

In those days, I was certain I understood the mind and how it worked. I was certain that all I had to do was deliver this information to my clients and they could then change – if they wanted to badly enough.

Of course, I was totally wrong. But the reason I was wrong was because I was certain that I knew the truth, the way things actually were. I can chalk that up to youth and inexperience, of course.  But I also know how easy it is, even today, to fall into this desire for the comfort and confidence that certainty and conviction offer.

The most powerful antidote for certainty is doubt. Just a little bit of questioning shakes up certainty enough to help you regain the professional balance required to truly help another person learn they can actually help themselves.

In the presence of certainty, doubt brings you back to the understanding that all personal realities are unique and therefore different. This requires you to 1) be present and 2) be willing to accept what you find. This reopens the door to your perceptual flexibility and inspired creativity.

The Man Who Wore His Past As A Blanket

Not long ago, I was working with a client whose life was still being dominated by his past. He understood that what he’d been taught as a child from a fundamentalist church and family was no longer what he believed. But, he couldn’t seem to get away from it. He knew it wasn’t true intellectually, but the teachings still felt like the TRUTH.

He had started to explore a specific aspect of his life when I had the thought to check out where he stored his past experiences.  I asked him to point in the direction of his past.  He said it didn’t have a direction. So I asked him to point in the direction of his future and he pointed straight ahead of him. So I asked him again to tell me where his past was and he then shared, “All around me – like a blanket.”

58471633_sNow I’ve worked with enough clients to KNOW this was a major sticking point. Your past should be behind you, where it belongs. I KNEW that if I worked with exploring how to do something different with his experience of the past that I could get more of the change he was looking for. I got intrigued with the challenge of how I could change it.

Then I remembered that the client hadn’t asked me to change how he stored his past. He asked me to help him explore how to enjoy his retirement. This caused me to doubt my conviction that changing direction right then and exploring how he stored his past was the road to travel

So I put my certainty aside, despite the fact that working with time storage in the past had been really powerful. But I was determined to honor my commitment to following my client’s lead. So we went ahead and did the piece of work he’d just started.

At the end of it, when the client felt the change he’d been after that day had happened, I got curious and casually asked him where his past was now.  Lo and behold, he said, “Oh, it’s behind me now.” That was it. He wasn’t surprised or amazed. It had just shifted on its own as a result of the work he’d been doing that day.

It reminded me once again how every person has everything they need to make the changes they want and to get to the outcomes they desire.  My only job is to help them discover and utilize these amazing inner resources. And more often than not, they know exactly how to get it done much better than I do.

The Joys Of Honoring Your Client’s Reality

It had always a great feeling to think I’d helped someone make a change and get the outcome they wanted. But somewhere inside, I actually felt like they made the change because of me and my expertise.  Well, of course, that was half the truth. The other half was that it’s always all the client’s doing.

It’s a paradox, of course. Both are needed.  The 12730236_sguide and the person wanting direction. But when you guide your clients back to themselves as the source of the change, the inspiration, and the motivation to get it done, the joy inside multiples geometrically.

And, in my opinion, when you really know this to be a true – when you are certain – without a doubt – that it is the client doing all the hard work, that truly wonderful sense of being of service arises, pure and simple.

For me, it is the delight of all delights. Like the teacher who gets thrilled when the light suddenly shines in the student’s eyes as they get the point, or connect the dots, and finally understand. It is this mixture of grace and gratitude that is the real payoff of staying true to working within your client’s personal reality.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out more at www.ToHelpYouHelpOthers.com/blog and www.RaginiMichaels.com/blog. And feel free to subscribe if you like.

Best to you,
Ragini

images from www.123rf.com

Draining Beliefs Of Their Truthful Feeling

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Beliefs are the glue that hold a personal reality in place. And when that reality gets stretched to its limits, the beliefs either break down, making space for something new, or settle into the shape of a conviction that cannot be moved or shaken.

Clients come in all shapes and sizes as do their beliefs.  In addition, the way they relate to their beliefs is also quite varied. Here are a few tips for identifying where your client is in this vast spectrum, and how to respond:

  • Has your client questioned whether or not their beliefs are the TRUTH? Or do they just assume what they believe IS the truth and operate from that assumption?

    Help your client explore alternative perspectives via the ‘as if’ question format:  Now I know this isn’t the truth, but WHAT IF the opposite were the actual case?  What new options might be there? Or how might you relate to things differently if you approached the situation with this alternative view?

  • Is it clear to you that they have thought about the validity of their belief and remain convinced that their belief is indeed the TRUTH.

    Help your client think a bit more deeply by gently offering counterexamples that challenge their conviction as a universal truth. Keep it light and in the form of a question:  What about the circumstance where (counterexample) happens? How do you imagine that can occur?

  • Some clients intellectually know that their beliefs are not true and that they limit them. BUT the beliefs still feel true in their bodies. This is confusing to most people and can evoke feelings of shame and a sense of failure and/or incompetence.

    Help your client understand this is a great place to be and that it is now possible to get rid of that feeling of truth in the body. Explain that the belief still feels like a truth in the body because of the amount of emotional charge attached to it.

    If you have permission from their system to clear out this belief because it limits them, you can proceed to an Energy Psychology tool or equivalent process. The objective is to choose a tool that will lower the emotional charge until the belief shifts from the felt sense of a truth back into simply a thought that they can act on or not.

There may be other categories of response to seemingly truthful beliefs as well.  But these three seem to be most prevalent.

BASIC NOTIONS ABOUT BELIEFS & TRUTH

There are some basic notions about beliefs and truth to explore with your10280412_s client when needed.

First, make sure your client can distinguish between a relative truth (one that has operating relevance in their personal life) versus an absolute truth (one that is true for everyone, or universally). Offering this distinction can open the door to greater possibilities, insights, and understandings.

For example, how they relate to pistachio ice cream (it’s the best to it sucks) offers a truth based on their own experience (bite of ice cream  + like or dislike flavor + generalization out to all pistachio flavored things + the same response will be there for all people who eat pistachio ice cream). Obviously, not everyone experiences pistachio ice cream with the same response. Thus their experience is relative.

Experiences that fall into universal truth would be rain is wet, oranges are round, breathing  is composed of an in-breath and an out-breath. These experiences are the same for all people.

Second, the introduction of this distinction creates awareness that the reason we form beliefs is because we can’t know the actual truth. When this is the case, we almost always will create a story or belief that helps us better navigate the unknown or unknowable. For example, beliefs about what happens after death, or deciding that Jane didn’t go out on a second date with Hal because he’s overweight.

Bringing conscious awareness to this distinction makes the freedom they’ve been seeking from the limitation/problem/challenge more available. And that is part of what brought them to see you in the first place, whether they consciously knew it or not.

Simply becoming aware that Belief IS NOT EQUAL To Truth can be incredibly freeing.

BELIEFS, TRUTH, AND POLARIZATION

Extreme polarization is increasingly common today.  And with it, comes increased stress8248999_s and anxiety. Why?

No fixed idea can become a permanent guide to happiness or peace of mind.  Things evolve, growth happens, and things change.

When our beliefs are fixed, we lose the ability to navigate our lives and the world effectively.

Without flexibility, we cannot navigate the continually shifting twists and turns of life. And as we’re seeing, this can result in extreme reactive behavior (anger, violence, war), or giving way to giving up  (sadness, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness).

Once your client knows intellectually that their belief is not THE truth and thus limiting them from accessing their full potential to respond, you’ve got a green light to go ahead and show your client how to drain that belief of all its power.

And be sure to remind them that they can direct their own process to re channel the released energy into a new form of expression that is of their own choice (curiosity, excitement, flexibility of viewpoint, etc).

Hope these tips have opened up a new door or two to better serving your clients with love and respect. The beauty of the journey is right there in the unfolding of their own unique process.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please give me a call at 425 462 4369.

Best to you,
Ragini

Photo: Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tashechka'>tashechka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Phobias And Energy Psychology

scream-cartoon-paintingDo you have clients who are stuck in moving forward in one area of their life, or many?  Do you have clients who get so nervous when they have to do something out of their comfort area?  Do you wish you could help them lighten their anxiety or embarrassment?  You can.  Just think phobias of shame and fear.

Many people grew up with a lot of criticism and shame, and have phobias they are totally unaware are actually running their lives.  Think of any block that a client has as a potential phobia, and you will see how helpful this approach will be for your work.

There are the usual phobias of spiders, small places, etc., and these can be addressed here.  But the phobias that are the most useful are the subtle ones that operate around failure, success, having a relationship, getting a new job, and being relaxed in social situations that are so helpful to your clients.

If you’re in the Seattle area, come have some fun with us as we:  Name that phobia… and release it with 3 basic tools from Energy Psychology.

Sponsored by WMHCA (Washington Mental Health Counselors Association). March 25,2016. 9 to 4:30. CEU’s Available. For more details and registration, CLICK HERE..

Are Client’s Limitations The Problem? Or That They Believe They’re True?

We human beings are funny creatures.  Just because something arises in our mind – be it a thought or a feeling – we tend to assume it is telling us the truth.

So we accept our thought or emotion as accurate  which closes the door to perusing other possible interpretations to the experience.

This automatic assumption of accuracy leads us to believe the thought or feeling is the truth … and then we act accordingly, displaying behaviors from love and compassion to hate and violence.

People rarely take the time to make a distinction between a thought or feeling being accurate  vs. being valid.  Yet this little moment of inquiry can save oodles of time, drama, and suffering.

file0002125234983Accuracy implies a final truth.  No matter how I look at it, the answer is always the same.  There’s no variation and nothing else could change the fact of it.

Validity implies that if I stood in your shoes, I could also feel or think the same thing because that’s how things actually look from that point of view. 

When you can see things from multiple points of view, you can see for yourself that each viewpoint is indeed valid, but not accurate, or a final truth.

You discover all viewpoints are also incomplete. They lack the whole picture that truth requires by virtue of the fact that viewpoints only reflect the single view that naturally arises from the point where you’re standing.

Change where you’re standing, and your view changes automatically.

This is a powerful understanding to keep in mind, not only for your clients, but also for yourself.

Whether it’s overt or covert, helping your clients expand their perceptual flexibility (freedom to peruse multiple viewpoints) can speed up their ability to release limiting beliefs. This skill will move them forward more efficiently in their exploration of how to better live their lives.

What Can You Do?

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How To Observe Your Drama vs. Being In It

Many times, you can feel yourself being assaulted by memories of the past.  I say assaulted because it feels as if you’re being forced to re-experience them completely.

And, in fact, you actually are.  You have been transported right back into the event and are thus subject to all the ups and downs of the experience.

Now if it’s a pleasant experience, it’s usually sweet; unless it catapults you into nostalgia or grief at its loss.  If it’s an unpleasant or painful experience to begin with, it’s definitely not fun, and often not even useful, to revisit the event in this way.

Your experience of these past events (whether positive or negative) reflects the development of one of two basic life skills you are wise to develop. If you want to continue learning how to live a happier, more mindful and engaging daily life, these skills are essential – for both you and your clients.

The Two Basic Skills Everyone Can Consciously Develop

Being able to go back into the past and re-experience an event is a powerful and useful skill.  However, if you don’t realize that you’re using this skill, it can make the past seen more present and more difficult to handle.

The balancing skill is the ability to step out of an event and free yourself from having to experience the emotions, thoughts, and perspectives associated with it.

These two skills are essential to measuring our capacity to be happy human beings.

To be fully alive is to first: have experiences.  Second is to gain the wisdom and insight tucked deep within those experiences.DSCN5220

Can you consciously step into an event and access the thoughts, emotions, and perspectives it carries?

Can you consciously step out of an event and see it from an observer/neutral position thus gaining access to a new perspective on the event?

Once you have developed these skills for yourself, you can more easily recognize their presence, or absence, in your clients. People struggling  Continue reading

Can You Move Time Around To Get Your Client Where They Want To Go?

Time’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Some days there’s not enough to get everything done. On other days, we have too much of it on our hands.

It can move terrifyingly fast – or excruciatingly slow. You can waste it, save it, or run out of it. And, it can even completely disappear freeing us to just enjoy ’what is’ without a glance toward the past or future.

When most clients enter my office, they aren’t really coming with a dream they want to manifest, a confusion they want to clarify, or a concrete goal they want to reach. I say this because they plop down on my big, comfy couch, reach for their glass of water, and start to talk about what’s wrong, painful, or just not working.

The Ever Present Element of Time

When we share our stories, the element of time is always present. The issues we want to discuss and change have actually happened somewhere in the past, or are living out there in a possible and usually terrifying potential future.

When you realize that nothing in your client’s mind exists outside of time, you’ve opened the door to a powerful addition to your professional tool bag.file0001133230199

Exploring problems, predicaments, and dilemmas from the angle of time offers an easy way to quickly help your clients find their own clarifications and solutions.

Anything arising in the mind is always about the past or the future. Even when we think we’re in the moment, the fact that we’re thinking indicates we’re not. Confusing?  Continue reading

Know How To Zap A Limiting Belief Into Oblivion?

I’ll be honest. It’s not quite as fast as I made it sound. But … it can still be done in an amazingly short period of time.

What Is A Limiting  Belief?

A limiting belief is a simple statement that puts restraints on your ability to expand and explore beyond what you know. Rarely are limiting beliefs convoluted or complex.

Limiting beliefs are usually one or two sentences that shut the door to the world of possibilities.

Nobody ever notices me. Nobody is interested in what I have to share. I can’t be wealthy. Wealth is bad. Being beautiful is dangerous. Love is painful. Life is difficult and full of pain. I am worthless. I am incompetent. I will never succeed.file0001694774604

Once you find these little gems that create such suffering and despair, there are a slew of ways to decrease their power and made them into nothing but silly ideas you used to have.

You can approach this problem from many angles. But here I’m going to talk about just one of them from the world of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

NLP is exquisite at rearranging a limiting thought pattern by challenging the unseen foundation it’s resting on.

The Foundation Supporting A Limiting Belief

What keeps a limiting belief in place? Even when you know better, what makes it so hard to loosen up a limiting belief so you can see it for what it is?

In the world of NLP, the answer is the way the words are put together, or the way the belief is structured in language. Continue reading

Know How To Quickly Deplete The Power Of Limiting Beliefs?

Did you know that a limiting belief only becomes truly powerful when you feel it in your body  as a truth?

You see, it is the amount of emotional charge attached to a belief, regardless of whether the belief is limiting or empowering, that changes it from just an idea into the feeling  or experience of it as a truthful statement or accurate assessment.

Imagine one of your undesirable beliefs with a big suitcase attached to it. And imagine that suitcase is filled with a ton of feelings that make the suitcase very heavy and painful to carry around.

Now pull up an empowering belief that you also feel in your body  is a truth. As you feel that truth, imagine a similar suitcase attached to it. And notice that this one is also filled with a ton of feelings. But the difference is that this suitcase feels very light and affects you more like a helium balloon that lifts you up and gives a bounce to your step.

In the case of the problematic limiting belief, you may be clear intellectually that the belief is not the truth; but despite that knowledge, it continues to feel like ‘truth’ in your body. And this ‘truth’ dictates how you perceive, and thus, react, to whatever situation you’re facing – and your possibilities within it.

For example, think of a time when you stood in front of someone you thought was totally 1-IMG_7056 gorgeous or drop dead handsome, so much so that you knew with stunning clarity that you were out of your league.

Remember your reaction? How you felt yourself shrinking or trying to hide? The awful feeling of knowing there was no hope of anything happening here? Did you feel embarrassed or start stumbling over your words with shyness?

What is the key to changing this kind of painful predicament and its hurtful consequences arising from the limiting belief thought to be a truth? It’s much easier than you might think. Continue reading