Focusing on the positive

Much of my career over the last two decades has been based on processes that I learned through NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP). In consultancy, facilitation and coaching I find these really powerful, and a select few are regular members of my toolkit.

But it nearly did not happen. There is a process called “Setting well formed outcomes”. This is so powerful that when I first give out the sheet of eight questions I tell people that this could be the most valuable sheet of paper they will ever touch.

The first question requires people to say what they want. It has to be stated in the positive.

You would think that was simple enough. But when I did my NLP Certificate test nearly 20 years ago I failed on this very question. The key is to recognise what you want – and not what you don’t want. Repeatedly I answered what I didn’t want, I couldn’t understand the difference and I failed the test.

Unless I passed this test I could not have gone on to the further training that has formed the basis for my business.

Fortunately, two of the trainers took me aside and after several attempts I suddenly saw the light, and they gave me my certificate.

Focusing on what you do want is key to coaching. Before you can have what you want, you must know what you want.

Unfortunately, finding out is often not as simple as it seems and knowing what you want in life can be a major challenge.

The core purpose of Brefi Group is to “help individuals and teams in organisations discover and achieve their potential so that they can be more effective with less stress”. It is our passion to help people achieve their potential, but first they must discover it.

Coaches and other professionals in the personal development field may well make it their life’s work to decide their mission and purpose. However, this is much less likely to be true for their clients.

So, learning to notice when people talk in negative terms is really important for a coach.

My whole career has been based on failing to understand this.

Thirty years ago when I was a management student in Cardiff I was convinced that I did not want to work in London. So I took the easy way out and stayed where I was by becoming a consultant.

In fact, if I had had a coach who had asked me what opportunities might there be for working in cities other than London, I might have had a successful career in the corporate world.

In fact, one of my colleagues on the course immediately obtained a director role at the Welsh Development Agency – in Cardiff. And, many years later, I had a short career in charge of director development for an international engineering group in Solihull – where I had grown up.

So, remember to insist on asking positive questions and getting positive answers.