Ever noticed how people are so enthusiastic when they first decided to make changes in their lives. And how, no matter how great you are at coaching, some of them fall off the 'success' wagon and disappear back into mediocrity?
Obvious Beliefs that Sabotage
You probably already know that this has to do with belief systems that they have running that sabotage the desired changes. For instance, a woman who wants to lose weight has a belief running that rich, sugary food is a treat associated with love. Hey, those birthday cakes are not health food! But they do come with a lot of healthy love.
So your dieter tries to change, creating new beliefs around health and fitness. But the old, niggling message is still there- food means love and denying yourself food equates with deprivation of love. While ever this belief is still running in the subconscious, you haven't a chance of maintaining a reduced caloric diet.
As a coach, you will have worked with people who have these beliefs and found your own way to help them clear them.
But there are those who seem to get so close to their goal, and then back away, as if they've been burned. This isn't fear of stepping out of their comfort zone. It isn't fear of a new self-image or of success - those problems you can coach someone through...holding their hand every step of the way.
The Hidden Saboteur
This goes so much deeper. Down to your primitive brain's programming.
We aren't so far from our primitive ancestors- a few thousand years isn't a lot in the history of the species. And all you have to do is look around you to realize that we still operate out of our primitive mind set. We are, in many senses, a bunch of monkeys that have got too big for our boots.
Now, the programs that run for the primitive brain are very different to those running for the new brain- the conscious mind. Often, you just feel danger when a situation arises that reminds you of a similar situation in the past. You react instinctively to the situation, and then wonder later, 'what was I thinking'!
You have a core programming that is designed for survival and the survival of your genetic line. And it runs unconsciously, affecting your emotions rather than your thinking processes.
For example: You want to be able to get up and talk in front of a group. You know you had a bad experience of this as a child and you've worked to 'overcome' that experience- put it in perspective.
But hey, guess what, when even the hint of an opportunity to speak raises its head your body goes into 'stress-mode'. Your rational mind comes to the rescue, logically convincing you that this isn't the time or the place to speak up because... It simply finds reasons for the emotional response triggered by the primitive brain.
Getting to the Root
So your client quits because the fear gets too great. And rather than understanding the primitive root- survival is tied to fitting into the tribe, not standing out, not rocking the boat- their mind comes up with other 'real' reasons why they should quit. Reason like you're pushing them too hard or not hard enough, they can't afford it, life has got in the way...
You can't rationally work with these beliefs, because they aren't rational. You have to 'trick' the primitive brain by working symbolically. Often this means not knowing what's going on.
When I had Cancer, I wrote a fantasy novel. A good friend and counselor, read my book and one day asked me what the 'invaders' were who formed a thread through the collage of story-lines. I remember being very confused and angry- I didn't know...it wasn't important...they were just the challenge the protagonists had to deal with. Just the story line!
It wasn't until I published the book that the penny dropped and I could see how obviously the invaders were the cancer I was fighting. But my conscious mind didn't know that, and if it had, if my friend had told me, I think the healing that was going on within me would have been affected, even sabotaged.
When you sense the fear rising in your client, and you feel logic won't work, consider going into the world of fantasy or symbolism. Get your client to create stories that have nothing to do with their 'real' situation. Play with them. Draw. Use toys and sandpits (a technique called 'sand-play'). Anything to 'trick' the conscious mind out of rationalizing the real fear away.
You'll discover the 'block' will magically disappear, and you'll be able to get back on track with your client, another step closer to their desired goal!