A Tool for your Back Pocket

tools-in-jeans-pocketTools are used to fix things.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool in your back pocket at the ready, when someone has a problem? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what to say, what to ask, to help them fix their problem or at least to help them make progress?

One Sunday morning, while I was bouncing a baby on my hip in the church nursery, another worker expressed to me that she was exhausted. After listening to her share about her fatigue and how it was impacting her life, I asked her a question, “What brings you rest?” The question led to a series of other questions, which helped her to process how she could move forward. By the end of our time together, she was encouraged and had a specific action plan for getting the rest that she desperately needed.

You can be ready at anytime and anywhere, to help someone make progress toward fixing a problem.

Here is a tool that I use, created by Gary Collins, author of Christian Coaching. I keep it tucked in my back pocket, that I can pull out at anytime and anywhere, when I need it…

Four quadrants imageEach quadrant is entitled with a broad question that leads to more specific questions to help a person process and move forward.

Begin with Awareness: Where are you now? Help the person talk through their problem by asking more questions around their present situation.

  • What is dissatisfying to you?
  • How does it impact you/others?
  • What is the worst thing about it?

Move to Vision: Where do you want to go? Help the person visualize what they would like to see their situation look like. This increases motivation for change.

  • What would you like to see?
  • What would it do for you?
  • How would life look differently for you?

Proceed to Strategy & Action: How do you get there? Help the person create action steps to move forward.

  • What might work for you?
  • What has worked for you in the past?
  • What has worked for others?

Don’t forget Obstacles: What might get in the way? Help the person prepare for what might block them from their action steps?

  • What might prevent you from accomplishing your plan?
  • How can you overcome?
  • What will you do?

**This tool can also be used to help someone pursue a dream. Pull the four quadrants out of your back pocket and help them process how to see their dream become a reality.

Challenge: Practice the Four quadrants with a friend this week. Take turns choosing a problem or a dream and help each other move forward.

Note: If you are interested in sharpening your people helping skills, check out my three-session Coaching Skills Training.

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