Inducing The Wrong States

The next item on the list of things that could go wrong is: “You induce the
wrong states.” This can occur by what you specifically do or by what you
fail to do. As you know, one of the essential skills of a Meta-Coach is
state induction. And what states? The feedback form offers some of the
most basic states that you want as a coach to induce- rapport, compassion,
trust, curiosity, openness, and learning.

Counter-Productive states

What are some of the common states that are often induced which are
counter-productive for coaching? The answer is frustration, irritation,
pressure, controlled. And what triggers the frustration or irritation?
Clients complain that the coach seems disconnected, not paying attention, or
not really listening. For feeling pressured or controlled, clients say that
the coach may be pushing too hard, confronting in a way that feels
aggressive, or asking for responses that seem disconnected to their goals.
Sometimes the wrong state in the client is the state wherein a client feels
that the coaching isn’t working, isn’t going anywhere, and the client
doesn’t see any evidence of change- discouraged, skeptical.


Because coaching is a relationship and because coaching requires trust- the
coach has to be inducing an intimate state of care and compassion. It is
rare that a client will open up and gain much from coaching if the client
doesn’t feel the connection. So whenever a coach does something that breaks
rapport, that seems uncaring or seems to be lacking compassion- that can
induce the wrong state.


As a Meta-Coach, express your care and compassion. This is where
using acknowledgments enable a client to feel heard. And using empathy
statements along with validations builds up the relationship between you and
your client. But don’t do it as “a technique.” Do it as a caring person.
This is one reason to have some time between sessions so that you can get
yourself into the right state.


If you are wanting to challenge your client and you do so without sufficient
rapport– the challenge is likely to come across as being pushy, demanding, pressuring, or even manipulative. If you are thinking about improving your challenging skills and you jump in and confront something sensitive in your client- you could induce a state of offense or insult. Or if you move from one subject to another too quickly, that jarring transition may come across to your client as a disconnect or even as the lack of consideration.


Take your time with your client making sure that you have rapport. Do it physically and even more important, do it with their values, beliefs, and meta-programs. As you match and pace their values, and they get the sense that you are in service of them being the best version of themselves- you earn the right to challenge and confront. As you do, include a bit of humor to create a light touch, so that your challenge is felt as playful and respectful.


To earn even more trust, ask your client how he feels about you and the
relationship. “Am I doing anything that creates doubts or distrust in you?”
“Do you feel that I’m caring and compassionate enough?” Here asking for
feedback and receiving it well deepens the trust.

In terms of inducing the wrong state be very, very careful with “the feeling
question.” “And how do you feel about that?” Asking this question when
your client is talking about a problem, a defeat, a failure, a traumatic
experience- and you will probably deepen their pain. You invite them to go
more into it emotionally. And most of the time that will be not only
unuseful, but counter-productive. Instead, ask the meaning question.
“Given that you feel X, what are the meanings that you are giving to that

Disconnected to Feelings

Unless a person is disconnected to his feelings and you are working on
re-connecting them, you will not need the feeling question. For most
people, emotions will come when you get a description and when you ask about
the meanings, values, intentions, and other meta-levels. They will go into
state and experience their emotions and you can amplify them by

Here’s to things going right more and more in your Meta-Coaching!

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