Use This Questioning Process to Help Your Clients Spot Where They are Blocking Themselves!

manMH910221034Have you ever had a client who keeps (supposedly) committing to action, but never seems to get it done? I know I have. Well, often our clients are blissfully UNaware of how they are sabotaging themselves and getting in their own way. And with your client's permission (ie. assuming they are as curious as you are as to why they're not getting on with something) this powerful questioning process will help uncover where you client is limiting or holding themselves back.

I have used this questioning process or coaching exercise with quite a few of my clients, and although at the start it seems a little awkward, we have ALWAYS uncovered really helpful information that allows the client to move forward with a greater self-awareness - and a more relevant goal! I have also used this process to great effect when a client feels stuck (because they connect with a more meaningful goal).

Before you read on, this is a STRUCTURED process. For those of you that like to 'dance in the moment' with your clients, this may seem like too much structure. And yet, this process DOES dance in the moment - taking the client's last response and using those exact words to form the next question. This way you get to unfold the layers and see what is underneath.

This questioning process is actually easier to do than it seems AND I also recommend you try it out first on a willing client or a friend so that you can iron out any glitches and get a feel for how to use it.

Here Is The Unblocking Questions Process:

STEP ONE: Framing Up

You're going to follow a specific process so you'll need to 'frame it up' for the client so they know what to expect. I recommend you let the client know that i) this is a process, ii) you'll be repeating the same questions over and over and iii) that it may be frustrating in places and to have maximum effect they need to trust you and stick with it!

STEP TWO: Uncovering the Limitation and a New, More Meaningful Goal

Ask the following questions in order:

  1. What stops you doing ________ (their action or goal)?  This uncovers a limitation
  2. So, what do you want instead of ________ (the limitation/thing stopping them)?  This gives you a new goal
  3. So, what stops you doing ________ (their new action or goal)?  This uncovers a limitation
  4. So, what do you want instead of ________ (the limitation/thing stopping them)?  This gives you a new goal
  5. Repeat.
  • KEEP GOING: As long as they emphasise or use different words each time they reframe, keep going with the questions.
  • STOP WHEN: You get the same line or words two or three times in a row. Only then are they ready to move on (for example they may give the same goal over and over, or say "nothing" in response to what's stopping them).

STEP THREE: Stepping Up & Getting Clear on WHY They Want the Goal

Ask the following questions in order:

  1. So, if you got your ________ (their new action or goal), what will it do for you?
  2. And if you got ________ (the thing the goal will do for you) what will that do for you?
  3. Again, repeat the questions until you get a consistent response from your client.

NOTE: Make sure you use your client's EXACT words back to them (just the last phrase or couple of words is good)

IN SUMMARY: You are asking your clients, "What stops you", "What do you want instead?" and finally, "What will that do for you?" The repetition allows the client to delve deeper into where they are getting in the way - and helps them explore what they REALLY want instead AND exactly how the new goal will help them.

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