CHANGING THINKING, FEELING AND BEING BY CHALLENGING THE STORY
Everyone has a story. The day they did this, that or something else. Or what somebody did, said or implied that is a key factor in where they are today.
Stories define who we are in the context of other people (mother, father, friend, boss, worker, hero, victim, villain etc.). Stories define who we are in relation to ourselves (aims, ambitions, hopes, fears) and both influence our judgement of ourselves (good, bad, aceptable, unacceptable, winner, loser)
Stories may become more embellished and less accurate over time, indeed affecting accurate recollection and memory. Eventually they can trap us often replying roles and scenarios with faulty thinking (see list below).
Whilst it is important to listen to someone’s story, it is also important to challenge with questions, interrupt in the service of new thinking. Be a disrupter.
Listening to someone, is about valuing them. So listen to learn, not as a queue for your intervention. But at the same time, listen for the gaps, the inconsistencies, the subjective meaning, implications and unhelpful assumptions. If you want to bring new thinking, feeling or being to a client you need to support them to re-examine their story, roles and scenarios.
Do not be afraid to ask “What’s the point here?”. The client already knows their story, a coaches role is not as a passive listener but a provocative partner.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”
COMMON THINKING ERRORS
1. All or Nothing Thinking Right/Wrong Thinking; Black/White; Good/Bad; Absolute or Extreme Categories
2. Magnification/Minimization Overstating/Understating; Unfair Comparison; Blow Things out of Proportion or Shrink Importance; Worst-case Scenarios; Predictions
3. Overgeneralization Thinking always/never; Conclusions based on one piece of negative evidence; Global assumptions/Assuming the worst; Never-ending patterns of defeat
4. Discounting the Positive Positives don’t matter; Doesn’t accept positives; Finding excuses to turn positive into negative
5. Negative Mental Filter Seeing only the negative; Focus on the negative; Filters out positives
6. Labeling Unkind names of self/others; Assigning judgment; Exaggerated opinions
7. Blame/Self Blame Blaming self/others; Playing the victim; Holding others responsible; Others-blame is external, self-blame is internal
8. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy Expecting something, then feeling resentment when you don’t get it.
9. Hopelessness Feeling like your problems will never be solved
10. Emotional Reasoning I feel it, therefore it’s true; Emotions accepted as fact; Incorrect assumptions based on feelings
11. Should Statements Heavy demands; criticism of self/others; Expectations Includes Should, Shouldn’t, Must, Ought, and Have To
12. Fallacy of Fairness Life should be fair, just, and equal
13. Mind Reading Know what others are thinking; Judgments; Conclusion Without Evidence; Reading Others Thoughts, Making Assumptions
14. Fortune Telling Make conclusions/predictions without evidence; What-if statements; Catastrophizing; Predicting with certainty
15. Always Being Right Internalize opinions and will put others on trial to prove their opinions/actions are correct; Will go to great lengths; Needs to be right
If you are interested in Coaching or Mentoring send a direct message, I would be happy to discuss.
Ex-Athlete, now Change Practitioner, ICF Coach, IoD Mentor, Mediation Practitioner
Helping people and organisations achieve their goals.
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