Are You Asking The Right Questions?

By: Lizet Pollen in mindset, 1 year ago

11013One of the things I enjoy about coaching is the large variety of challenges, goals and desires clients present. Some clients know exactly what they want, but they’re unsure how to get there, or they need an accountability partner to follow through. Others have so much going on, in their lives or at work, that they don’t even know where to start.

Regardless of what a client presents at first, it always comes down to this:

People hire a coach because they want some kind of CHANGE, in one or more areas of their life.

 

Deficit or Possibility?

There are two lenses through which you can look at CHANGE: the deficit lens and the possibilities lens.

1.   The lens that focuses on deficit. If you look through this lens you zoom in on what’s wrong, broken or not working and you take this negative perspective as your starting point for change.

You would look at your life and notice things like:

–   I’m stressed and overwhelmed with everything I have to do
–   Others keep crossing my boundaries, because I fear not being liked
–   My co-workers perform better than me

You’re probably experiencing distress and you want change in your life:

–   I don’t want to get burned-out
–   I don’t want others to keep walking all over me and disrespect me
–   I don’t want be stuck in this job position forever

Looking at your life through this lens evokes negative emotional states, like anxiety, shame, anger or depression. When those emotions are evoked the primitive part of the brain is activated and you’ll automatically switch to survival mode. Not only does this cause us to disconnect from other people around us (focus on ‘me’ instead of ‘we’), it also causes tunnel vision, preventing us from seeing the big picture and all the resources and solutions that might be out there.

Not a great place to be in when you want to create CHANGE in your life, right?

 

2.   The lens that focuses on possibilities. If you look through this lens you zoom in on the good, the better and the possible and you take this positive perspective as your starting point for change.

You would look at your life and notice things like:

–  I’m focused and content after taking a break
–  I sometimes say ‘no’ to people that are close to me
–  I have the skills and the talent to develop in this job position if I’m patient and put effort in

Looking at your life through this lens sparks hope and unleashes confidence and self-efficacy. When those emotional states are evoked the more evolved part of the brain (neo-cortex) is activated and you’ll switch to thriving mode!

Do you see how replacing the deficit lens with the possibilities lens pays off when you want to create CHANGE in your life?

 

The Flip

This quote by David Cooperrider, sums it up nicely: “Change starts with the first question you ask”

So, rather than asking yourself what you don’t want (anymore), ask yourself what’s already going well in your life, what you want to grow, what you want more of!

This flip might look something like this:

I don’t want to get burned-out ⇒ I want to be more focused and content.

I don’t want others to keep walking all over me and disrespect me ⇒ I want to be more confident and assertive.

I don’t want be stuck in this job position forever ⇒ I want to grow and develop in this job position.

What do you want more of in your life?

 

Need help reframing your thoughts and switching to thriving mode? Go to www.impowered.net to schedule a free consultation.

User Comments

6 Replies

  1. Lorna McLeod

    Useful post Lizet. I too have found that it’s a combination of the quality of questions we, as coaches, ask and the possibility-framed questions we help our clients to ask themselves. When people can shift from negative self-talk to question what would move them toward what they want they begin to take action toward the changes they desire.

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  2. Lizet Pollen

    Hi Lorna, thank you for your comment. It’s such a powerful shift indeed!

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  3. Will Wiebe BA MS CPC

    Hi Liza… I love your article….and how you “Focused” (no pun intended ;)….on “Deficit” or the “Possibility” lens….when there is a possibility of change…. Thank you.

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    • Lizet Pollen

      Thank you, Will!

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  4. Mary Franz

    Hi Lizet. I love the attention shift to what is wanted/desired–the possibilities. I think it’s natural to get there through an awareness of what’s wrong/negative/not working. There is so much good to notice. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

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  5. Lizet Pollen

    Hi Mary 🙂 I’m glad you mention that this is all about SHIFTING and not about denying what’s wrong or sugar coating the negative. Acknowledging what isn’t working, and the emotions that are evoked as a result, is indeed very important in order to make that shift. Thank you for your input.

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