I recently wrote an entire series about defining your goals using 7 important questions. This is a critical first step in the Individual Design Coaching process. I start with a consultation, which is an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to unpack your goals and priorities a bit.
The consultation is really just a conversation, but a conversation with a point to it. I use carefully-structured questions to uncover the most pertinent information for the work we’re about to do. This happens at the very beginning of our work together, but is also a repeated process that happens on a formal basis at least once a month, and happens informally every time we communicate or interact.
In the initial consultation, I’m trying to figure out what brought you to decide you needed a Coach. What are you pursuing or trying to change that you need my help with? Then we’ve got to unpack the “why” of it.
This is where the whole idea of a number scale for commitment comes in. I know, it’s silly. Why are we always rating things on 10-point scales? (Or 5 point scales, for that matter?). In this case, it gives me some crucial information. If you’ve come to me with a goal–let’s say we’re talking about getting you to run your first marathon–but then I ask you the commitment number question and you tell me it’s a 5, well that’s just kind of “meh.” A 5 out of 10 is nothing. You’re not going to do that. Or, maybe you will, but not in the timeframe you’re thinking of, and not well. This just tells me that the whole marathon thing is a smoke screen, it’s not your real goal. This is when we have to dig deeper.
I think of this part like peeling back the layers of an onion. You have to pull off the paper-y cover part, then peel back a few more layers before you get to the good stuff; the stuff that tastes great and makes you cry.
So I ask, “why?” and, “why that?” and probably, “why?” again. This is when we get into the true motivations for this marathon idea. Now we’re talking about emotions and feelings and history and self-conception. The good stuff. I discover that the marathon thing is just something you grasped at because of the headline on a fitness magazine you saw in the grocery checkout line. What you really want is to feel capable and competent, and to look a bit more slim and toned.
We found the true goal now. And, when we ask the number-scale question again, we find that “feel capable and competent, while looking slim and toned” rates a commitment of 9 out of 10. Why 9? Because, honestly, life is tough and you’ve got work and kids and a mortgage, so 10 might be unrealistic. Good. We’re being realistic, and we’re being honest about what you really want.
The rest of the conversation goes similarly. We talk about food, about energy and sleep, about sickness and health. We talk about your past struggles with confidence, with body image and physique–because these are the things at the root of your current motivation to make a change and to seek coaching. Then, we’ll talk about what I can do to help, about my particular skillset and what my services look like.
That’s it. That’s the first consultation. From then on, the relationship follows that same model of inquiry, discovery, care, challenge, and support. Want to check it out for yourself? You can sign-up for a complimentary initial consultation here.
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