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Using the 5 Whys Method to Coach Clients and Yourself

 

Coaching is an interactive process that demands that the Coach help the client find sustained motivation because reaching most important goals takes time and effort.   The 5 Whys Method is a proven way to help a client maintain focus and stay on track.

The reason this technique is important is that unless the client is very clear on why reaching their goal is important they inevitably quit when the going gets tough.     Understanding the real reason you want to reach a goal will help you achieve emotional commitment and provide intrinsic motivation to stick with it when pursuing your goal.

The technique is surprisingly simple.    Start by asking what the client’s goal is and ask questions to get them to be specific when giving you their goals.  So instead of I want to lose weight ask “how much weight?”   Once you are clear on the goal ask why this goal is important to them now?”    Then listen carefully to their answer.      Repeat their goal back to them in the form of a question asking why that is important.

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For example, a client says “It is important that I lose 20lbs because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.”  

Now that may sound like all you need but you need to ask why again:  “Why is it important for you to fit into smaller jeans?”   Because when I am wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better.   

“Why do you want to look better?”  Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.

“Why do you want to feel good about yourself?” Because when I feel good about myself I feel more confident.

“Why do you want to be more confident?”  Because when I am confident I am in control and better able to get what I want in my life.

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This is not a silly exercise – it is critical and needs to be repeated over time to help the client (and you the coach) stay clear on why reaching the goal and working through the inevitable challenges is so important.

For people to stick with it and reach their goals they have to act in alignment with their most deeply held values.   When we lose track of why we lose motivation and quit.    

Try using this same method with yourself whenever you feel stuck and confused – if you take the exercise seriously you will learn a lot about what makes you tick!

 

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