Changing Your Client’s Reality

Last week I talked about the craziest coaching session ever

…And my client who was dealing with his Russian mail-order bride who hired a hitman to kill him…

…and how I couldn’t get past my ‘stuff’ about that…

…which taught me that I can’t coach my client if I get caught up in their issues.

But what about your client’s ‘stuff’?

How do you get YOUR CLIENTS past THEIR story so THEY can transform?

How do you get YOUR CLIENTS past THEIR story so THEY can transform?”

For example:

I just ran a session with a client who was really angry with her ex-husband…

…he had changed the custody schedule to fit his work schedule…

…without asking her.

When she complained to him…

He said, “Well, just look at the custody decree you signed.”

So now I’m listening to her tirade…

“I hate my ex-”

“He’s a deadbeat dad.”

“AND I’m not going to talk to him at our daughter’s wedding.”

What would YOU do at this point in the session?

  1. Agree with her?
  2. Argue with her?
  3. Console her?

Here’s what I told her…

“You’re telling a story about your ex-husband as if it’s real.”

“BUT it’s not real.”

“Your thoughts aren’t reality.”

“But you’re acting like they ARE real…”

“…and therefore this story becomes real for you.”

Fact vs Fantasy

At first she fought about it (her emotions were caught up with her story)…

…but after she had a chance to unpack all her feelings…

I guided her to separate the FACTS from her FANTASY.

ME: “A ‘fact’ is something that would hold up in a court of law. Something everyone agrees with.”

“So, what are the actual facts about your ex-husband?”

CLIENT: “My husband changed some dates.”

“He told me to look at the custody decree.”

Then I explained that a ‘story’ is made up of thoughts, ideas, and meanings…that are often confused with facts.

ME: “So what did you just tell me that is more of a ‘story’ than a fact?”

CLIENT: “He’s a deadbeat dad.”

“He doesn’t care about our son.”

“I’ve also been telling myself that I don’t have any power in this situation.”

ME: “Can you accept that those are just thoughts, ideas, and meanings…”

“…rather than facts?”

CLIENT:Yeah, I guess so,” she said reluctantly.

ME: “What could you CHOOSE to think instead?”

She changed her entire demeanor in her answer…

CLIENT: “The last 3 weeks I have been doing the lion’s share of childcare for my son…”

“…because of my ex-husband’s crazy work schedule.”

“I’m just exhausted.”

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ME: “And what could you choose to think about your ex-husband?”

CLIENT: “He’s probably exhausted too.”

ME: “So you can feel empathy for him…

…because it sounds like you’re both in the same boat.”

CLIENT: “Yeah I really do see that now.”

“So, what should I do?”

ME: “What would you do based on those new thoughts you just shared with me?”

CLIENT: “I could be vulnerable, let him know that I’m tired and that I need his help.”

“I can also tell him that I know he’s tired, too, and I want to support him in his career as well…”

“I’ll ask him how we can work it out together in a way that we support each other.”

What’s more… I just heard from her yesterday…

Together she and her ex-husband modified their schedules to fit both of their needs.

Which was exponentially better for her and her son…

…and her ex.

Here’s what I did that made the difference in that coaching session…

The Drama Cleanse Technique

You can use this approach whenever you find your client falling into drama, a story, or judgment.

1. Absorb the upsets… listen to your client’s drama:

  • Listen to your client with curiosity, from a clean space… without your own judgments.
  • Gather information so you can reflect it back to your client. Don’t try to change or fix them.

2. Explain the difference between thoughts and reality:

  • Show them where they’re treating their thoughts as reality. If they don’t see it yet, go back to step 1 and listen!

3. Separate facts from fantasy with your client:

  • Have your client do this in writing.
  • Be rigorous with your client so they don’t go off the rails. They’ll tend to defend their fantasies.

4. Help your client choose more empowering thoughts, meanings, or stories:

  • As hard as you try, you might not change the people and things around you… but you can always change your thoughts.

5. Support your client to take new actions:

  • Coach them to come up with a strategy. Hold them accountable to take action on it!
Fact or Fantasy

The beauty of this technique?

You don’t have to solve your client’s problem.

Once your client sees the result of their thoughts…

…and how a different set of thoughts will create a more empowering feeling…

…they will naturally make more empowered decisions…

…and take more empowered actions.

Most coaches get so caught up in their client’s story…

…that they never go deep enough to make an impact.

So next time your client comes up with a ‘story’ illustrating why they haven’t achieved a certain result yet…

Follow the Drama Cleanse technique, and you’ll never have that problem again.

You’ll always get past your client’s surface issues, and dig into what really matters.

When you dive deeper into your client’s mindset…

…your client can transform their thoughts.

And by changing their thoughts…

…clients can get a completely different outcome.

…and a completely different destiny.

Colette “Drama Cleanse” Coiner

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