In search of a purpose
Clarity precedes success – Robin Sharma
“What do you want? Let us discuss an area that you would want to work on?” How often have you asked your client, only to get a blank stare accompanied by a helpless admission – “I don’t know.” This is a typical interaction that my colleagues and I from the Coaching fraternity experience on a regular basis.
An individual reaches out to a coach when s/he needs help to get their life in order; set actionable goals and objectives and seek guidance on how to achieve/attain the same. Most of them are usually looking for a system and support structure that they can lean on. As a coach, therefore, our role is clearly defined: to work with a client and make her succeed.
‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’, said Maria in The Sound of Music. Well, we shall follow her advice here.
To begin with, here are 3 techniques to arrive at the answer to the question ‘what do you wish to accomplish?’:
1. The Wheel of life.
Wheel of life is a powerful tool that can help our clients be aware of the areas for them to work on. We can draw a wheel and work with the client to map the parts of his/ her life within it. Each spoke of the wheel can represent an area of their lives. Once plotted, the picture will help them in identifying the area and their satisfaction level (current state vs. the desired state). It helps them to identify areas that need more attention.
An example of the wheel of life:
2. Values or Triggers for Motivation
One of the ways to help our clients get clarity is by helping them to identify their triggers for motivation- as in what do they value or what motivates them or makes them feel alive.
Values are things that are important to us- they are the driving force. People believe that things that important to them will take them in the direction of the ultimate goal in life-happiness as a state of being.
The question to ask then is “What is important for you in your life?” Typically, people state appreciation, success, security, freedom or independence- these are emotions or states.
The next question is then to understand the areas in their life in which they are experiencing more of these emotions vs. those where they would want to experience it more. We will focus on the latter to help them to make a shift or a breakthrough.
3. Time Machine
One of the techniques that I have personally found useful is the one suggested by Rich Litvin–renowned leadership coach and author of the book ‘The Prosperous Coach.’
During his deep coaching conversations, Rich poses a question to his client “Imagine we are in a time machine, it is 3 years from now, and I am calling you, what are you be telling me?” This question helps the client go through an imagination process – where do they want to be in next 3 years – to gain some insights, thus creating a compelling vision.
I believe that our role as a Coach is to be with our clients, work with them to realize how powerful they are and watch them grow ; helping them gain clarity is the first step towards that journey.
Would like to end with the poet’s words, mocking yet wise:
“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know” – W. H. Auden
Credits: This article has been contributed by ex-colleague, HR leader and coach Namrata Seetharam.