How learning to read physiology over time is useful
A few days ago, I was talking with a substance abuse counselor. She’s doing her internship working with some very streetsy sorts, trying to help them get past their addictive patterns, but has been loving what I’ve been teaching her and how it applies to her caseload. She was talking about a case of hers and I realized that she had no idea how to track someone’s behavior.
Think about that. She, and her coworkers, are flying totally blind as to whether someone they’re counseling is actually making changes or not. She’s supposed to report on their progress, yet she doesn’t know what to put in the report other than what they say. I talked with her at some length about the importance of being able to take a “mental snapshot” of someone’s state, and then compare their state to that old pic periodically to track change, and she was quite intrigued. Her graduate counseling work never introduced such a concept.
Now, in defense of graduate schools, they are mostly focused on teaching theory. In attack of them (I know, not proper grammar) much of what some schools teach is years out of date. However, I was happy to demonstrate what I was talking about.
Jeisyn talked about this concept on a previous post when he discussed why much coaching out there fails. If coaches aren’t prepared to track the changes in a person’s state over time, they have a hard time knowing when the work is finished, and the client shouldn’t have to be the one to know. If they understood all their problem consciously, they probably would have already solved it. It is incumbent on professional coaches to be willing to track the components that their clients don’t know how to track.
So, to make my point to her that she CAN track someone’s state, I brought in a coworker, and I walked the woman through a standard exercise taught early in NLP training. I had my coworker think of someone he really likes and someone he actively dislikes and had the counselor take mental pictures of each of those two states. I then asked comparative questions, e.g., “which one of the two is taller?” “Which one of the two has darker hair?” and “Which one of the two, at a guess, makes more money?”
What amazed the counselor was not that she got one third wrong right off the bat, but that she was able to get two thirds right! I am not exaggerating when I say that she was astonished–it had never occurred to her that she could actually pay attention to people’s unconscious communications at that level.
She left talking about how she has to organize her coworkers into some practice sessions so they can begin to hone this skill, and I hope those coworkers will be similarly interested/motivated to improve themselves. I wish everyone would be similarly invested in learning how to communicate at a more profound level with each other.
I’d like to challenge my readers: try something similar over the next days. Sit down with someone and see if you can track their unspoken states and shifts. If you have a difficult time, feel free to contact us here at Bright Mind. We’d love to help you begin to develop this most innate of human skills to the point that you can feel confident in yourself.
- One Key Reason Coaching Fails (brightmindblog.me)
- Why Not Take a Picture? It Lasts Longer! (brightmindblog.me)