Is Logic Getting in the Way of Your Client's Fulfillment? With 28 Powerful Coaching Questions to Help! | By Delaney Tosh CPCC, PCC

Scared Looking Client Contemplates the Word LOGIC

Logic or Saboteur?

It can be easy to get caught up in a client's story, especially when the story sounds logical. We might think our client is using sound common sense. So we find ourselves nodding our heads in agreement, since it looks like they're simply thinking through a decision.

But are they? What if the logic really disguises a case of fear, self-doubt, imposter syndrome or their inner critic masquerading as logic?

It's hard for us to know, but if we let ourselves nod our heads and say, "Hmmm, that makes sense" we're letting our clients down.

Help Your Clients Make More Fulfilling Choices!

The power in the coaching relationship is in how coaches help clients explore, build self-awareness and connect with what is fulfilling for them. What if their logic is holding them back from a more fulfilling future? What if they never get to realize their potential because they keep using rationality and logic to stay safe?

Our most important job as coaches is to shine a light into the dark corners to flush out those insidious saboteurs, so our client can be guided from their authentic voice and follow a more purpose-driven and fulfilling path. Delaney Tosh

Two Example Scenarios where the Saboteur might be Masquerading as Logic:

1) Making a Good Impression?

A young woman client explains how she chose to hold back from providing her ideas in a meeting because she's still so new in her career. It's early in her learning curve and the meeting was full of 'important people'. Her rationale was that she wants to ensure she makes a good first impression for herself and her employer.

This sounds reasonable, but perhaps what's really at play is imposter syndrome and a bit of unconscious bias. How might this be choking her growth at this crucial learning stage of her career? What are other perspectives she could explore?

2) Not Enough Experience Yet?

A seasoned coach turns down an invitation to facilitate teaming sessions with a large multi-national franchise because her experience is mainly with small, regional franchise businesses. Her rationale is that she should get more experience and certifications under her belt first. She wants to be in integrity with her clients regarding her capabilities. However, this opportunity looks like it will expand her career and provide her with the increased experience she desires.

Integrity is good and we don't want to falsely advertise our expertise, but in this case could it be that her 'integrity' is being used to stall her career? What if perfectionism is really at the heart of her choice?

What if instead of holding back to 'stay in integrity', she actively used her core value of integrity to guide her in taking on the juicy opportunity? What might that look like? What might it allow for? What if she asked why the potential client approached her for this assignment, had an open conversation of expectations and her abilities, and used what the client was seeing in her as building blocks to create from? What if she embraced a learning attitude and co-created with the client?

In each scenario, you can see that it's easy to agree with the client's rationale. But what do they miss out on if we don't explore their 'logic' a bit more? How could we help them recognize and disrupt their pattern of decision-making?

28 Coaching Questions to Raise Awareness, Disrupt Limiting Patterns and Breakthrough "Logic" so your Clients Excel!

14 Questions to Help Your Client Distinguish between Logic, Fear and Courage:

  1. How is this story serving you?
  2. What story are you embracing to create roadblocks?
  3. How is playing small serving you?
  4. What are you resisting?
  5. What is the fear that's pretending to be logic?
  6. What would courage look like?
  7. What is your inner critic telling you?
  8. What might your inner sage/future self have to say about this?
  9. What is driving here - fear or courage?
  10. What if you tried… and failed?
  11. How might you embrace a fail?
  12. What if you tried… and succeeded?
  13. What if you could take this action and solve these other considerations that you're using as hurdles?
  14. What if there were no hurdles, no fears - what choice would you make?

14 Questions that Draw on Your Clients' Values and Fulfillment:

  1. How are your values of _________ and _________ met with this choice?
  2. How are your values of _________ and _________ not being met with this choice?
  3. What if you were guided by your value of _________ ? How might you approach this differently?
  4. You said you have the goal of _________. Where are you holding back?
  5. What is a different perspective you could consider regarding this?
  6. If you chose to listen to your authentic voice, what other options might be available to you?
  7. Which choice is more motivating?
  8. What are you here to do?
  9. What do you yearn for?
  10. What if trying produced a better outcome than perfectionism?
  11. What is not fulfilled by this choice of action?
  12. What would move you closer to what has you most fulfilled?
  13. Can we explore how your life would be affected by saying 'yes' to this?
  14. What are some steps towards saying 'yes'?

Wrap Up

When we engage in curiosity and dig deeper with our client into their internal experience we discover (both the coach and client) what really inspires our clients - and what stops them. And as we explore, we learn to recognize the sound of our client's authentic voice and can better help them engage that voice when setting goals, making decisions and taking actions.

Action: Consider what other questions might you ask to help your client distinguish between their authentic voice and the logic of their saboteur?

Here are two resources I frequently turn to for more techniques to help clients move from patterns that keep them stuck to authenticity-driven action:

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. It's an oldie, but a goodie offering techniques for turning fear, indecision and anger into power, action and love, with some great ways to support better decision-making.

The Art of Confident Living: 10 Practices for Taking Charge of Your Life by Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. This book offers tools based on neurochemical research to help people transform their thinking in ways that enhance confidence.

Delaney Tosh HeadshotContributing author: Delaney Tosh, CPCC, PCC, coaches women who want to live and lead wholeheartedly with a courage and power rooted deeply in values and purpose. She helps her clients embrace their signature strengths and lead from inspiration, intuition, inclusion and interrelation. She is the co-creator of the Phoenix-Hearted Woman retreats which help women explore what will have them really thrive as resilient leaders. Connect with Delaney at SquarePeg Leadership or on Linkedin here >>

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Image of Sad Client looking at the word LOGIC by Brasil Creativo via Shutterstock

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