When you start working as a coach (or start coaching the people in your life) it’s fascinating to see how people communicate their challenges. When people are stuck (and many people are) the first challenge they face is how to approach their problem so that it will be solved.
For instance, coaching clients often come in saying “I need to start growing in my career,” while having no idea about what’s holding them back. They start well, read all the right books, buy the right programs, building momentum, but then they do something stupid and lose all their progress. Why they do that stupid thing — no one seems to understand. Their last coach couldn’t figure it out. Now it’s your turn to find the solution. Right?
Now, as a Strategic Interventionist, it’s your challenge and your privilege to read between the lines and help your client address their Core Challenge – that one step that will help them make massive progress in their first session and open up a compelling future of growth and discovery. That first Breakthrough leads to all the others.
Now here’s the trick: very, very often what’s holding a client’s career back has nothing to do with their career – it could be something in a family relationship, for instance. They may have failed to break through because they were focusing on what we call the “presenting problem,” the problem we think and talk about, rather than the Core Challenge, the thing you must do to succeed. Make sense?
Here’s an example: Tony Robbins and Cloe Madanes were onstage together demonstrating how to do a coaching session with a couple. In the audience were over 5,000 therapists and social workers at a professional conference. The couple they were coaching were themselves successful therapists. The primary presenting problem was that they fought about money issues.
Now, if someone comes in complaining about money, many coaches would focus on money as the Core Challenge. Not Tony and Cloe. As soon as they asked about the money issue, they learned there was a relationship issue. Once the relationship issue was on the table, the couple mentioned the husband’s adult son from a previous marriage. The son had been addicted to heroin for decades and had even stolen from the couple. So what started off as a financial disagreement had morphed into a “deep” family issue. At this point, many coaches would be totally lost, right?
Now here’s what’s great. Tony and Cloe spent an hour with the couple. They repaired the money disagreement. They strengthened the couple’s relationship (even their sex life). They even did a few minutes of bodywork with the couple. (All of this live onstage, remember). And they helped the couple on how to approach the adult stepson.
And, amazingly: The couple went home. Their relationship transformed. Their passion improved. The money issues were overcome… and within a few months, the adult son quit his drug addiction for the first time since he was a teenager. AND he got a job, got married, and just bore the couple their first grandchild. This after one hour with Tony and Cloe!
That’s Strategic Intervention. It solves problems you’re not always able to articulate, and it “fixes” people who are not even present at the intervention. Systemic solutions don’t fade with time. SI solutions build over time and improve the lives of people in your circle. And you know what? 90% of coaches, consultants, and experts don’t think systemically. They would have focused on the presenting problem – the financial disagreement. They would have negotiated between the couple about money, or worked on their financial goals, or analyzed their spending. And without getting profound results – because they would have missed the Core Challenge that made all the difference.
You’ve GOT to be able to address your client’s Core Challenge. If you can do that, you’ll create massive changes. You’ll have a confidence in your soul that you know how to contribute to anybody. And that real, dirt-level confidence will bring tons of clients and professional success.
So many coaches come to us, freshly trained by various programs, and say “I’m lost! I have the book knowledge, but I have no idea how to really help real clients.” Why does that happen? Because we don’t always learn from words. We learn from experiences. You have to live through something, feel it, experience it, for it to sink in and become a skill within you. For hundreds of years the top practitioners in any profession were the ones who were able to observe other great practitioners directly, right? So here’s an Experience for you today: Tony and Cloe working with that couple onstage I just talked about. Watch and see how Tony and Cloe honed in on the Core Challenge to create not only change for the couple, but for their whole family.
Yours in service,