Now before you go thinking I am some kind of masochistic thug-type coach and wonder just what type of mentoring and coaching business I run, let me inform you that I don’t mean all my clients. Just some of them. And they get slapped hard-real hard.
Yes, I am talking metaphorically. I do the mental version of a slap in the face. Why do I do this? Mainly for two reasons. The first is when I know they are going into a poor old me story that they have been telling everyone, probably for years. A sob story where everyone else has said ‘Oh poor you’ in return, which only gives credence to their story. It allows them to keep using this story as an excuse for not getting better results. The second reason is to break this destructive pattern of thinking by some mental shock and awe tactics.
And boy does it shock them. Sometimes I might literally shout, thump the table or be plain rude with a question or a flippant comment about what they are telling me. Of course, knowing exactly when to do this, how strong the mental slap should be and what will work (And what won’t) with each individual takes intuition and experience I suppose.
But it works very well. It kind of wakes them up if you like and really does get them to challenge what is holding them back.
Of course, I have other tools to get the same response; like I say it all depends on the individual client and the severity of what they believe is holding them back.
Let me give you an example of how I mentally slapped a couple I was coaching.
They were half way through their story and were up to about excuse number 15 of why they would never be able to achieve anything in their life. I knew they had many more to follow what they had already told me. I could see by the way they were telling me that others had bought into their story, probably to either pacify them or because they were bored of hearing it. It was pretty obvious to me that it was well rehearsed, through their constant repetition. I knew they needed a slap. Big time.
So as they were in full flow and about to enter the second half of their list of reasons, I placed my hand in front of their faces and shouted to them to stop. Here is what I said and where I threw a question I did not let them answer. I just steamrolled into them with this barrage. (It is not exact; I don’t have scripts for this kind of stuff)
“Please shut up for a moment you are depressing me. Now, what are you doing tonight? Going home right? Okay here is what I want you to do. At about 6pm this evening when you hear some unusual noises in your back garden look out of the window. When you do you will see me with a shovel. I will be digging your graves. When I have finished I want you both to come out and climb into them. And then I am going to personally shovel the soil over you. And if you want to know why I will tell you. You two may as well just give up living now. In fact it sounds like you already have. So why go on? Why not just end it now as everything, according to you two, is just utterly hopeless. There seems no reason to carrying on. And If I had listened to anymore I would probably have jumped in with you if I was unfortunate and naive enough to have believed any of that false baloney you were telling me”
The old proverbial, I wish I had a camera at that point sprung to mind. I don’t think anyone had spoken to them like that. Certainly not with regards to their long list of ‘reasons’ for not even trying in life. They were speechless for about a full minute with me just staring at them. It was a long minute.
Did the shock work? Yes it did. Did they appreciate me speaking to them in this manner? Yes they did. Did they challenge their existing beliefs that were holding them back from their true potential? Yes they did. Did they find solutions and leave with more choices than they had when they arrived? Yes they did.
Did they, in conclusion, enjoy getting a slap in the face (Metaphorically speaking, incase you have been speed reading and have missed the top part of this post)? Yes they did. They were grateful for it.
Friends, family and loved ones will rarely speak to you in this manner. Meaning well, they will only reinforce your limiting beliefs by agreeing with them.
Find a good coach if you are not getting the results you want in life, or are stuck, or have a story you tell everyone for not achieving, or have experienced some setbacks or are simply not realizing your full potential.
Not all coaches will do what I do. Even I don’t slap all of my clients.