Most of my coachees need to get unstuck. They have some pattern of behaviour that is causing them, and people around them, grief. Typically they have no idea what they want to do they just know they want the pain to stop, they want to get out and they want to be unstuck. What they have realized, or they wouldn’t have started coaching, is that they are suffering from “boiled frog” syndrome. They urban myth that if you put a frog in hot water he will jump out but if you warm the water up slowly he will boil to death.
So do we become unstuck and how can coaching help?
1.See it for what it is. Ask yourself, what is being stuck actually costing you? Getting unstuck means spending a lot of time exploring your comfort zone. Really exploring what is like in there. One recent client, Fred (not his real name) has had a rash for a year and half, a nasty case of shingles and was a victim of endless sleepless nights. He said he was frustrated 95% of the time he was at work. Coaching helps you see reality so clearly that you can’t pretend anymore
2.Become familiar with what you tell yourself about being stuck. Ask yourself what are some of the things your subconscious says to you all the time? You may barely even register these thoughts e.g. I have to make X dollars a year, I have to keep every promise I ever made, I have to be perfect. Usually these messages are all or nothing types of phrases and they trip us up. Fred also knows what keeps him in his job. It gives him on a nice house and a way to pay the medical bills for his young child. He also finds value in some of the elements of his work. Fred has decided before he does anything drastic it might be helpful to change some of the thought patterns that are keeping him miserable.
3. What possibilities have you not been considering? Now ask yourself: What have you not seen yet? What else is out there? What have you not thought of? People often think in a circular fashion when they are stuck. Here is the secret. Most people don’t focus on changing their thoughts. Coaching helps you move in a different direction by thinking in a different direction. Fred has been firing off resumes at random hoping that the next job will be better than the last. Now he will be focusing on his thinking.
4. Changing your habits by replacing old ones with new ones. Now ask how your behaviour needs to change. Your mind treads and retreads the same neural pathways until they are deeply entrenched. The latest research is clear. We must replace an old habit with a new one (David Rock). It takes longer than we thought. Up to 3 months! So reinforcement is imperative. Once my client has determined what thought patterns are keeping him stuck. He then identifies what habits they have lead to and now we know what he needs to change those habits. Coaching will help Fred keep on the straight and narrow