One of the very valuable differences I make for my coaching clients is getting them unstuck.
Your brain is capable of some amazing feats. But your conscious brain is also capable of very-readily getting stuck in the thinking. Not all-together surprising: limited capacity; serial processing; a biochemistry setup for rumination. And all that can stifle the creativity and imagination necessary to spur new and productive thoughts.
We literally cannot think our way clear of the problem.
To help clients get unstuck, a model I find effective is Robert Dilts’ Neurological Levels: 6 areas of learning and change (some would say hierarchical; I prefer to say heterarchical – at the same level) that provide a framework for understanding personal change and aligning oneself with a goal.
So if you find your thinking stuck, experiment with the following process and see what new insights you generate. And continually ask yourself:
- What is supporting me?
- What is holding me back?
Start with your “Environment”. For a moment, go inside yourself and think about your environment. Where you work; the place you live; where you socialise; who you have around you. And now ask yourself:
- What within my environment is supporting me?
- What within my environment is holding me back?
Make a mental note. And when you’re ready, move on to the next level.
Mentally move yourself on to “Behaviours”. Think about your behaviours. The behaviours you are exhibiting in general. Your behaviours specifically in relation to this goal or change. And ask yourself:
- Which of my behaviours is supporting me to reach my outcome?
- Which of my behaviours are holding me back?
- What behaviours are missing or do I need more of?
- What changes do I want and need to make to my behaviours?
Let these thoughts sit for a moment. Then take a mental note and move on when you’re ready.
3. SKILLS & ABILITIES
Now move on to “Skills & Abilities”. What skills, abilities, talents, qualifications and experience do you have? What are all the things you’re capable of? What are all the things you’ve ever known. And ask yourself:
- How am I using my skills and abilities to help me achieve my goal?
- What skills and abilities am I using most?
- What skills do I want and need to use more?
- What useful and pertinent skills am I allowing to lie dormant?
- What skills or abilities do I need to acquire?
Make another mental note for later. And when you’re ready, let’s move on.
4. VALUES & BELIEFS
Mentally move on to “Values and Beliefs”. When you’re ready, ask yourself:
- What is important to me (values) in relation to this goal?
- Is my goal in alignment with my values or are there conflicts?
- What beliefs do I hold that are relevant to this goal?
- Which of my beliefs are empowering me towards my goal?
- Which of my beliefs are holding me back and limiting me?
Just think about these questions for a moment – and make a mental note for later. When you’re ready, move on to the next level.
Now move on to “Identity”: who we are; our sense of self; our role in life; and who we are not. Be sure not to confuse Identity (who we are) with Behaviour (what we do). And ask yourself:
- In what ways is my identity supporting me?
- In what ways is my identity holding me back?
- Who am I in relation to my goal?
- Am I the person that lives and achieves this goal?
Make your mental notes and move on when ready.
Move on to the top or final level: “Purpose”. Consider your vision, your higher purpose, the beyond. And ask:
- What is the higher meaning served by my goal?
- In what ways is my higher purpose reflected in my goal?
- In what ways is my goal expressing my higher purpose?
Make your final mental notes and when you’re ready, move on.
Integrating the learning
When you’ve moved through all 6 levels, take a mental deep breath and look back over them all.
- How do things change when you look at them now?
- How can things change if you let them?
- Which area(s) seem most urgent or important now?
Now step back into each level in turn, taking with you all your insights, learning and understanding. Pause at each level and make any changes you need to. And be sure to watch for the insights you’re generating.
- What new ideas are coming to the surface?
- What themes and priorities are you noticing?
- What are you going to do next, right now?
Hopefully, this process has generated some new thoughts. Time to get into action on the priorities.