Today’s episode diverges away from the business side of coaching to the coaching side. Coaching is an amazing thing. There’s nothing better than seeing a coaching client make an internal shift in their perspective and mindset that allows them to surge forward into decisive action.

String a bunch of those kind of sessions together and your client’s results become measurable. That turns into great testimonials, referrals and more income for you. More than that it’s hugely satisfying to witness their transformation!

Coaching is really a collection of tools and techniques that you take out and employ when the moment is right. The more you coach, the more savvy you become about when and how to use those tools and techniques.

But, before you go throwing your money at this, your goal is not to take a lot of additional coach training to amass more and more tools. Instead, coach professionally as much as you can and allow your best tools to develop with paying clients.

You may even invent new tools and approaches that define your unique coaching style.

Today, I will share with you my absolute favorite coaching tool that I’ve modified over time. It’s something I use with myself often.

Help Your Coaching Clients Raise Awareness

Over the last 5 years, a number of things in my life have raised daily stress and affected my health so I’ve been studying how to release stress and calm my nervous system.

Through that self-study, I’ve realized that the amount of joy and success a person has in life is largely, but not solely determined by how well they perceive and respond to the stressors that come at them every day.

The key is to slow down and raise awareness about self and others. And that’s a key for your client’s transformation too. Become a thinking partner to help them raise consciousness, release stress, find more joy and success.

But, just in case you’re thinking that’s a great coaching niche by itself, it’s not. It’s just a way that all coaches can help any client in any specific niche.

And, by the way, to walk your talk, be sure you’re doing the same for yourself.

One of the best tools to help slow your client’s busy mind down so they can look dispassionately at a situation and raise consciousness is a practice called Facts vs. Interpretation. It’s a masterful, but simple tool. Have you heard of it?

Help Your Coaching Clients Detach From Their Story

Let’s say that you help women leaders to leverage their strengths, develop executive presence, and attract allies who can help their star rise.

Women leaders follow your awesome podcast loaded with bitesize tips and insights just for them and that inspires them to hire you.

One of your clients arrives at their session with an urgent agenda, something like: I want to sort through an argument with my boss because it’s stressed me out and I’m losing sleep!

Her stress is palpable and you can hear how wrapped up she is in the emotion of the situation. She’s spiraling around the story. You listen and take a few notes, ask a few pointed and powerful questions. Then you summarize what you’ve heard and confirm her agenda.

What exactly does she want to take away from this session? She wants to come away knowing how to clear the air with her boss. You’ve realized that before that can happen, she needs to slow down and engage her mind differently than she is just now.

You explain that you have a process to help her perceive the situation more clearly so she can show up professionally and clear the air with her boss for a win/win. Would she be willing to go back through the story more slowly except this time separate the facts from her interpretation as she goes along? Yes, she’s up for it.

While she shares you take notes in two separate columns — on one side you write the facts as she states them and on the other side your write her interpretation in her exact words. (I suggest you do this electronically rather than by hand so that you can send your notes in a recap email after the session. Or, you could arrange to record the session if you are using Zoom for the session.)

At first, she’s still in the thick of the emotion, so occasionally you check in with her — “Is that really a fact or is it your interpretation?”

When emotion it high around a statement it’s likely to be an interpretation rather than fact. High emotion is often accompanied by a hot or cold feeling in the head or heart or belly. Help her to identify the difference in the quality of facts versus interpretation.

Soon she’ll perceive the pattern and detach from the intensity of the story.

So far, this process has been about raising self-awareness, helping your client to release the sting of the situation by seeing it dispassionately.

Once all the facts and interpretations are sorted. Ask her what she has noticed about herself and this situation during this process. If it’s helpful, repeat back some points that you wrote down from the two columns. Help your client to shake off self-blame or embarrassment and instead to look at it from a removed place.

Now, ask her to step into the shoes of her boss for just a moment. No one can know the thoughts or feelings of another but everyone can raise compassion for another person. But it’s important to balance awareness of self with awareness of others.

Then, ask her how specifically would she like to show up differently in her next conversation with her boss. Ask probing questions to draw from your client a clear picture of how she can stay present, be authentic and have a genuine desire for clean communication.

With that understanding, help her formulate a simple plan to clear the air with her boss for a win/win. It will involve her taking responsibility for her part and stating a desire for a win/win.

Can you imagine how this Facts vs. Interpretation tool can remove shift triggering and reaction into thoughtful response? How would you put your own coaching style into this tool?