One of the reasons I wanted to be a life coach was to learn how to change a person’s life with a sentence. I learned from the late Thomas Leonard a life coaching skill called “messaging.” Messaging is how to deliver a positive, powerful statement that will stick in your brain and repeat whenever you need it.
Advertisers have used the power of messages to sell their products. You’ll recognize one of advertising’s most effective messages in Nike’s slogan, “Just do it.” It’s short (three to five words is ideal), punchy, positive, motivational and memorable. However, over time and with repeated use, even a really good message can become a cliché and suddenly lose its punch—going in one ear and out the other without sticking.
To really be effective, a message has to feel new and fresh, and it must be motivating enough to change behavior. This is one reason why life coaching is so powerful. It’s also why I only need 45 minutes every two weeks with my clients, yet my clients feel like they have me with them all the time.
Another reason life coaching can be so transformative is that a good coach can shift your perspective. Coaches help reframe the situation so that suddenly you see it in a different light. I’ll give you an example. One of the most basic life coaching tips (the first in Coach Yourself to Success) is to make a list of all your petty annoyances. List everything from that missing button on your favorite jacket to the fact that you can’t seem to stop biting your nails. Anything that bugs you goes on the list.
Most people have 60 to 100 things that they are tolerating in life. Every time you see that annoying thing, you might think, “I need to get that sorted.” Then again, how long has it been niggling away at you? It does no good to keep this list in your head. You have to take the time to write your annoyances down on a piece of paper.
These annoyances seem petty. Most people don’t hire a life coach thinking that they will spend their time sewing on buttons, but that is where we start. Why? Because these petty annoyances act as a tremendous drag on your energy and make it harder to reach your big, exciting goals.
Think of these little seemingly insignificant annoyances as being like barnacles stuck to the hull of a massive ocean liner. These tiny sea creatures seem so small as to be insignificant. However their cumulative effect is to create drag and resistance to the extent that the ocean liner needs more fuel (i.e., energy) to get to it’s destination. Every so often, they take the time to haul the ocean liner out of the sea and scrape off all the barnacles because these tiny creatures add up to make a significant difference. (I understand that there is a now a special paint that makes it hard for barnacles to stick thereby solving the problem permanently).
Your life is no different in that these seemingly insignificant tolerations add up to create drag and resistance in your life. Eliminate the annoyances and you’ll suddenly have much more energy for your bigger goals. You’ll find yourself sailing through life and reaching your goals with greater ease. This is why making a list of all your petty annoyances is such a powerful life coaching assignment. It also works to create momentum. Once you have some momentum going, it is much easier to tackle those daunting big goals and projects.
Now you are probably wondering, “What’s the reframe?”
Well, my coaching client said it perfectly when he reported that his wife was both happy and also frustrated when he started coaching. She said, “I’ve been asking you to clear that black gunk off the bathtub for ages and now your coach tells you to do it and suddenly you can’t do it fast enough? What gives?” She was miffed that he was responding to the life coach, but didn’t respond to her nagging.
What was the difference?
Two things: First, a good life coach never needs to nag. By reframing the black gunk as a barnacle that prevents you from getting to your big, exciting destination, suddenly you are keen to take action on it. You had no motivation when it was a list of chores to do around the house. By using a message, “Get rid of the annoyances, and you’ll have more energy,” one is more likely to feel motivated. Being handed a list of chores to do can feel very demotivating. Same task but with an entirely different perspective.
Now, getting rid of your petty annoyances is just the first step. Can you imagine if you had this sort of powerful support on a regular basis in your life?
You don’t have to imagine anymore. Join the online life coaching course today. If you prefer the support and encouragement of a highly trained life coach to make achieving your goals much easier, check out the Coachability Quiz to see if one-on-one life coaching is right for you.