Recognizing the fact that each of us has unique life experiences is a fundamental aspect of life coaching. The experiences shape and reinforce the understanding of the world, the way we communicate, and even the words we choose. Coaches pay close attention to word choice, and the tone of voice. Often, even a slightest shift in tonality, may reveal a shift in the energy. The word choice could also be indicative of a certain personality traits. For example, starting sentences with, “I don’t know, but…” may be indicative of indecisiveness.
When a client uses words that are open to interpretation, a coach may ask for clarification, by asking them to visualize the word. Surprised? Yet, it is a great way for a client to share his or her perspective about the situation. For example, a client may say “…and I hate when this happens!” “You said hate. It is a strong word. How did hate look at the moment?” a coach may inquire. A client will either substitute a word with something lighter, or share things that do make her or him feel hateful. The latter will allow for a deeper dive, which may bring to the surface something new to be explored.
Perspectives are interpretations of circumstances. They may vary from one person to the next. Let’s say, a client got stuck in traffic. His perspective made him say, “…and I hate when this happens”. However, another person could have said, “…and I had time to catch with up my mom over the phone!” Traffic takes more time, for all involved, to move from points A to points B. However, not everyone will see the opportunity that comes from having more time. There is nothing we can do, if, due to traffic, we are running late to an important meeting, for instance. However, we can choose our perspective.
The word choice is a key to understanding the clients’ perspectives. If in working with the coach, the client determines that a certain perspective no longer supports the client’s goals, a new perspective will be sought after. When pursuing a new goal with a new perspective, some “big words” may get re-defined along the way. For example, and old definition of “happiness”, in terms of what it means to a client, will be re-defined with new attributes.
One of the reason I have become a coach was my fascination with the diversity of people’s inner worlds. These worlds encapsulate the people’s values and beliefs, perspectives, and emotions. To me, the diversity inside perspective means a diversity of behaviors. Thus, as a coach, I have a vast field of possibilities. To me, coaching can never get boring!