As a coach, I ask my clients to journal online daily in between our coaching
calls. I give them journaling prompts weekly and I provide them with a private
and secure journaling platform to write down all the thoughts that are running
through their minds in my absence. The impact on the coaching process is astounding.
I collect a ton of relevant data that empowers me as a coach and my clients
experience significant self-reflection and coaching momentum.
On a call with one of my newer clients, we were discussing the concept of focusing
on what you want instead of what you don’t. We talked about testing this
out with her husband and her children. The intention of this exercise was multi-layered.
First, the idea was to get her to feel more comfortable expressing herself without
holding back. If someone was doing something that upset her, her pattern was
to have a disgruntled conversation in her head instead of speaking up. My goal
was to get her to speak up for herself more readily. Second, the intention was
to have her practice verbalizing what she wanted rather than focus on what was
The next day, she posted a version of this in her journal:
"Focus on what you want—not what you don't . . . I've realized that
so far I've been trying to apply this to my thoughts. Hadn't really thought
to apply it to my outward communications, but I had a victory tonight. At one
point during the second half of the baseball game tonight, my son (6 years old)
was standing beside me and decided to step on the bag of snacks I'd brought.
I told him not to do it several times, stopping his foot with my hand so he
couldn't, but of course now it's a game. So it dawned on me to try your suggestion
. . . I turned to him and said, "I want you to stop stepping on the bag"
AND HE STOPPED!! I think it might have been some coincidence because within
10 minutes he was back and trying to do it again, but it worked the first time."
Her journal instantly told me that she did not quite receive the full intention
of the exercise – only half was absorbed. She heard the part about speaking
up, but she did not quite understand the concept of telling them what you want,
not what you don’t. As soon as I read her journal, I sent her a message
asking her if she was available for a quick 5-minute conversation. I felt that
this misunderstanding warranted a call. I also felt offering her a few extra
coaching minutes in between calls was both a generous gesture as well as one
that added great value. She took me up on it instantly and within a few minutes
I was able to use her example to demonstrate the difference between focusing
on what you want and focusing on what you don’t. Specifically, we talked
about how asking her child to stop doing something that is annoying is still
focused on the annoying thing versus giving him instruction on what she would
rather he do.
She realized that this was a habit of hers and was now clearly able to understand
how to practice this particular exercise more effectively. Had I not asked her
to journal, I would not have been able to step in as quickly and I would have
unknowingly left her in a state of misunderstanding and perhaps frustration
until our next call. Instead, she picked up a new skill faster and got incredible
results with it right away.
The journaling component is central to my coaching business. I am far more
equipped to coach with the additional data and information that I acquire from
my clients and this is what enables me to be able to say to my clients without
hesitation, "Yes, I absolutely guarantee results."
Kim Ades, MBA,
is president and founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and JournalEngine™
Software. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, coach and mother of five,
Kim has developed a thriving coaching business by implementing an
idea that has changed the coaching industry. Visit www.journalengine.com
to start your free trial today.
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