THE ART OF GOING DEEP
~By Dr.L.Michael Hall and Shawn Dwyer~
As a Coach, and especially as a Meta-Coach— you need to go deep with your clients. This is not just something nice to do, it is essential. It is essential for the client if the coaching is to be authentic, real, personal, intimate, intense, and fierce. Otherwise, the coaching will be shallow and superficial. The coaching will merely coast along on the surface of things and never get sufficiently deep to be life-changing or transformative. Obviously when that happens, people will wonder what they are paying for and if the commitment of time, effort, and money invested in coaching is really worth it.
Today there is far too much “coaching” that is superficial and shallow. Therefore the sessions are more like chats and everyday conversations than anything else. And anyone could facilitate those kind of sessions; it requires no special skills or understanding. “What’s the problem with that?” someone may ask. The problem is that it degrades the quality and significance of coaching and leads some to consider the whole thing more of a hoax than a legitimate profession.
Now that we have raise the question, what’s the answer. How do you, as a Meta-Coach facilitate the coaching conversation so that you can go deep with your clients? And “deep,” what are we taking about? What is “deep” when it comes to having an authentic coaching conversation?
You Need To Go Deep With Your Clients
Deep means that we get beyond the outer game of actions, behaviors, performances, environmental factors and to inside to the inner game. This is where coaching makes the most difference.
Lots and lots and lots of people know good and well what to do, even how to do it, but they still stop themselves from carrying out what they know. It’s the Knowing—Doing Gap.
They procrastinate, they make excuses, they sabotage themselves with limiting beliefs, decisions, understandings, etc. Deep means that the coaching goes meta to the meaning frames that construct the person’s model of the world.
Now for the how question. How do you facilitate the person going inside, going to his or her meta-matrix of frames, and “getting to the heart of the matter?”
START WITH THE OPENING STATEMENT AS YOU DISCOVER THE HIDDEN PROBLEM AND/OR DESIRED OUTCOME.
Wherever the client starts, use that the beginning point. Whether the client starts with a goal or a problem, embrace it and begin mapping out the external landscape: PS—> Gap —> DS. What do you want? So what do you really, really want? Where are you now? What’s going on now? And how bad is it? How far away in time and space is your objective? What do you have to do to get what you want? Shallow conversations stay on the surface and focus on the external variables. Deeper coaching conversations take a person inside to the person’s code of representations and meaning frames.
GO INSIDE TO THE PERSON’S MATRIX OF MEANING FRAMES.
Once you have the basic external landscape, go inside. Then, what do you understand or believe that is creating what’s going on right now? And what else? Is it ecological? Can you pinpoint what beliefs, identities, permissions, decisions, intentions, etc. are formulating your goals? And what do you understand about reaching those goals? on another note, what beliefs are limiting you? Let’s say that’s true, what does that mean to you? Shallow conversations focus on external solutions — as if all solutions and resources are external. Deeper coaching conversations know that the true source of experiences and emotional states are products of each person’s internal code. We seek to identify and understand that code because when the code changes, so does the person’s experience.
DETAIL THE PERSON’S STRATEGY FOR HIS OR HER VARIOUS EXPERIENCES.
The fundamental NLP principle from Korzybski and George Miller is that every experience has a structure —a process and it can be identified. So using a know-nothing frame, elicit from your client the processes whereby he creates his experience. Get the strategy process from how she invents her reality. For this you will need to use the basic NLP distinctions of representational systems, strategy analysis, and then the Meta- States structure of reflexive consciousness.
Shallow conversations superficially assume that experiences are mysterious and just happen, and that people can be held responsible for what they feel and sometimes even for what they do. Deeper coaching conversations hold people responsible for their mental maps—challenging and confronting them about the ecology of the maps that they are using. This makes the conversation intimate and sometimes fierce like a crucible.
DETAIL THE PERSON’S DEFINITIONS, UNDERSTANDINGS, AND ASSUMPTIONS.
To go deep with the person, inquire about the person’s definitions of terms, how she understands what she’s talking about, and what he is assuming without questioning. Surface conversations skim over a person’s words assuming that the other person uses his words in exactly the same way you do. Deeper conversations don’t make that assumption, but recognizes that each person operates from her linguistic definitions.
LOOK FOR AND TALK ABOUT THE DEEPER THINGS.
So if you are not getting the person to go inside and identify his belief frames, note that and give that back to the person as feedback. “Are you aware that all of your talk is about external things?” “What do you now realize when you notice that?” Many people have a difficult time going in and/or talking about internal things. It may be that they have not learned how to be self-aware. It may be that they don’t have permission. The coachee could assume that going inside is framed as negative and therefore something to avoid. And sometimes it may be that all of the cultural frames go against it. It may be that the person is too insecure inside and protects oneself against it.
Speak about the deeper things by framing the distinction between the outer game and the inner game. Frame your coaching as going beyond the surface activities to the inner game where the real game occurs. The coaching conversation is like none-other precisely because it is deep, intimate, and personal. Here’s to your inner journey to becoming a Deep Meta-Coach!
Learn the art of going deep at The Coaching Centre today!