Would You Like to Get Better Information from Your Clients?

Everyone, no one, always, never… these are modal operators of necessity.

Using this universal language and these kinds of patterns can keep people stuck because, linguistically, they are removing opportunities to see exceptions or counter examples.

When you hear someone using such patterns, you want to challenge them. Be careful, though. The manner in which you phrase your questions depends upon your relationship with each person.

You’ll say the same thing in all cases, but your tone will be different for those you know well. For example, if you have a good relationship with someone and they say, “Everyone in my class ignores me,” or “My coworkers always think I’m wrong,” you can ask, “Everyone?” or “Always?” in an exaggerated tone. This will usually stop them in their tracks, and they’ll say something like, “Well, not everyone,” or “Not always.” Then you can probe for more specifics.

Again, using an incredulous tone requires that you have a good relationship. If you don’t know someone well, using this approach can sound patronizing or demeaning. For those with whom you aren’t as familiar, you can—instead—carefully repeat, “Everyone” and then gently ask, “Who, specifically?”

Such a discussion might continue like this…

Client: “All the students in the high school.”

Coach: All of the students? (Emphasize “All” for people you know well.)

Client: “Well, the ones in my classes.”

You’ll begin to move from a large picture without exceptions to specific examples you can work on.

When people hear themselves using these language patterns, they begin to realize how they’ve created their worldview. You can help them redo their map. Here’s another example.

Client: “No one appreciates me.”

Coach: “You mean out of all the people in the world, no one has appreciated what you’ve done?”

Client: “Well, my father never appreciated what I did.”

Coach: “Never?”

This exercise can be a rapid challenge to how people maintain their experience. After doing this a couple of times, I’ve had clients tell me that they can hear my voice when they use one of these words.

This is also a way to get more specific information when you’re talking to someone. It even works with corporate clients, as with this example.

“Customers always take advantage of us.”

With your prompting, this becomes… “Well, some customers take advantage of us when they return products.

Which then reveals… “Well, we’ve had a few problems with some of our products.”

Moving away from universal language and modal operators of necessity can help you narrow a problem down to the real issue. It can give you and the client a much better understanding of what’s going on.

P.S. Do you want to reprint this article? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW.

Categories : Beliefs, Coaching Tips

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