First questions you should ask yourself if you want to change now

questions-1151886-640x480 stock exchange freeWhen you first enter my office in Haywards Heath I always ask you two important questions.

Whether you are seeing me for a free appointment, or an intensive one-day breakthrough session, or even if you have begun a series of regular sessions, the first is:

‘Why are you here?’.

It’s not a surprising question in itself, and probably likely to glean more useful information to me as a therapist and coach than ‘What’s your shoe size?’

Usually, though not always, my client will tell me the things that are going wrong for you, or the issues you are struggling with, or something else that you want to escape.

  • You may be having difficulties in your relationship;
  • You may be struggling with exam or public speaking nerves;
  • You may be struggling with anxiety, depression or confidence issues;
  • You may be trying to lose weight, stop smoking or give up alcohol.

These are what are called away from goals or aim.  On slightly rarer occasions too I will get a more positive response, particularly from coaching clients, that is about where you want to get to and what you want to achieve in life.  This is a towards goal.

I’ll often ask this question over and over again too, just to be sure I am capturing everything, and it usually results in you, the client, having an opportunity to really share, in depth, your thoughts, your needs and your model of the world. There will almost certainly be a mixture of the towards and the away from answers.

So the second question is more important still for a coach and therapist who is trying to help you move forward.

‘What, specifically, do you now want?’

Overcoming the problem, or escaping the situation is one thing, but it is usually more important that we replace the unwanted issue with something more constructive and powerful for you.  If you do already have a positive towards goal for coaching I will still want to explore that more thoroughly.

Knowing what you want, and even more importantly, knowing what it will look, feel and sound like, is vital to you as somebody who wants to change, and it is also vital for me, because without a clear picture of where you want to get to, we won’t know for sure when you have got there.  If we don’t have that then my client’s journey is likely to go off course and neither of us are going to know for certain that we’ve got there. We won’t have any evidence.

So I’ll ask you to get a picture in your head of that time, in the future, when you have achieved your aim or your goal.

  • When is it?
  • Who else is there and what are they saying?
  • Where are you?
  • What does it look like?
  • How does it feel?
  • What do you hear?
  • What are you saying to yourself?
  • and what was the last step you took that finally got you there?

Thing is.  I just told you what I’m going to ask you. So why don’t you just ask yourself all of these questions right now?  Without me there. You can write down the answers and just by doing that you can already be that much closer to achieving it.  Why not just get a nice journal, or a diary and do that right now.

Taking action is what makes the difference.


Oh and if you are thinking of getting that journal, here are a few suggestions.

Robert Sanders is a therapist and life coach, supporting people in their present and helping them create their future.

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