Posted by: wellness training services | November 10, 2012

Elemental personality theory stress, balance and coaching for wellness

By Danielle Gault, Author, Seminar Leader, Coach, Consultant

A FRAMEWORK FOR A BALANCED LIFE

We consistently seek to bring balance to our lives. Self-awareness is critical to start the journey, and a focused approached and understanding of where our psychological tension originates is critical to “work the process” along the way. A good coach is someone who helps you to stay focused, set a specific goal or target, and move toward that goal or target in a systematic way. You can be your own coach, or you can ask a friend or colleague or your boss to serve as a coach for you.

Generating clear goals, using clear frameworks, and asking good questions are essential to good coaching results. A key to maintaining a personal balancing act is to understand that the coachee should develop only one new skill, goal, or outcome at a time.

Creating a clear goal based on processes identified in these two frameworks can assist the professional in staying balanced and working toward a balanced life.  We begin our coaching session by creating a clear goal based on what are often referred to as SMART criteria: The coachee identifies a goal that is S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – relevant, and T – timed. For example, if I say that I want to lose twenty pounds and I want to coach myself to achieve this, my goal statement would read something like this:

I will have reduced my weight by twenty pounds (specific, measurable), which will make me feel healthier and more attractive(relevant), by December 31st of this year (timed).

ImageMaxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics,[1] said that human beings are goal-oriented organisms. An idea in our mind, activated in our mental awareness, stimulates us to make decisions and take action. As we move toward our goals, we are in a process of change.

Change can cause stress. An understanding of the following elemental personality problem-solving tools can help to reduce the impact of this stress and help us to reach our targeted outcome. It is important while journeying toward an outcome that you consider incoming feedback. As the journey affects you, it will create a need for you to reshape or reassess your desired outcome.

QUESTIONING SKILLS AND THE PROBLEM-SOLVING FRAMEWORK

Coaching skills rely heavily on the ability to ask good questions. The mind loves to solve problems, and by posing good questions to the mind, the mind can explore creative possibilities.  We begin problem-solving by defining a current problem. A problem is the gap between your current reality and your desired outcome or goal. It is important to find ways to sort the problem so the problem is manageable and workable. We can sort for clarity by using timelines and posing questions.

TIMELINES. You can gain in-depth understanding of a problem if you look at it from the perspectives of past, present, and future. For example, if you want to lose weight but are struggling with the process, then review the desired outcome by flushing out distinctions from the different perspectives. Try to place yourself in the mindset for each perspective.

  • Past: Start with the past. In the past, what was the ideal weight for you? If it was 118 pounds and you now weigh 138 pounds, what made the difference? When did your weight change and what were your patterns that created the change? How far back in the past did this change take place? What was the driving reason behind the change?
  • Present: Now, take a look at the weight change from a present-tense perspective. What is causing you to stay at this weight that you do not want? What would you now have to do differently to help you get back to your desired weight?
  • Future: Next, look at the weight problem from a future perspective. Now that you weigh 118 pounds again, what did you do to get back to this desired weight? What will help you to maintain your desired outcome and keep off the twenty pounds? What will you have to do more of? Less of? Are you prepared to do that?

By asking timeline questions, you can sort out internal data that has always been available to you, but which you have not methodically and consciously thought through before and did not access. When working to sort through a problem and set a goal, it is useful to use masking tape on the floor to create three boxes representing the past, the present, and the future. With each perspective, step into the appropriate box. This helps trigger the mind to come up with information to explore.

When we sort through data to review a problem, we study the cognitive structures of the experience. This allows us to see our process without the feelings of failure. The concept of failure has to do with the beliefs we hold about our ability. In this process, as in life, there is no failure, only feedback.

It is important to get to the root of a problem to understand fully all the associated issues. For example, we may ask, “What stops you from achieving the goal weight of 118 pounds?” Your answer might be, “The fun and pleasure of the food and drink at the immediate moment takes over from my future dream of an ideal weight.”

The present is more immediate fun than the idea of a future abstract outcome. Now we are getting closer to the source of the problem. This information expands the problem area and we need to ask more questions, such as, “What is fun and pleasurable in the immediate moment versus the future desire or outcome?” The answer might be, “When I’m with people who love to eat and drink, I am stimulated to eat and drink with them. In order for me to eat and drink less, I would have to be with people who are eating and drinking less.”

These questions and answers provide insight into how we relate to the challenge of achieving our future outcome. If the people around us stimulate us, then the problem is not just the eating patterns but also the association with others and our need to stay connected with them in a stimulating way.

This is an example of using feedback to sort out the experience of the problem and become more conscious of associated issues that influence the situation keeping us stuck. Since a problem is the gap between the current reality and the desired outcome or goal, the problem creates a feeling of tension within us. This tension to achieve the goal motivates us to continue to search for ways to eliminate the problem so the tension will go away. When striving to achieve our goals, we need to look for evidence that we are moving toward our outcome. The evidence needs to be tangible and reliable, which means it must be sensate-based. Someone else should be able to see it, touch it, smell it, hear it, or taste it.

Problem-solving processes appear to fail if we have not explored deeply enough into the problem. To look further requires more questions. For example, we might ask,

“What would be in the way of achieving the outcome you are after? Who else might be affected by your goal? How will they be affected?” The answer might be, “My husband enjoys eating and drinking, and we often reward ourselves with food and drink. Also, when we are stressed, we comfort ourselves by going out for a nice dinner. We would have to seriously change our patterns if I want to weigh less.”

It appears that the problem area of food and drink provides a strong emotional connection to people, especially to the husband. In order to get closer to the goal, new resources are needed. A resource is something that is not currently used but could be employed to help move from the present reality to the future goal.

We could ask, “What resources would assist you in achieving your weight-loss goal?” The answer might be, “Drinking a low-calorie protein drink when hungry to avoid eating fat-producing foods and getting more exercise on a regular basis.”

When ideas (AIR), actions (FIRE), and reactions (WATER) mix with practical matter (EARTH), things can look muddled. WATER tries to blend the ideas and the actions from above downward to EARTH. It does this to assist in the manifestation of the idea of AIR and to slow the speed and reduce the friction generated by FIRE. This helps to stop things from burning up or burning out before the results are evident and the idea is in a tangible form. By slowing the process down, assimilation of the idea into practical matter begins to take shape.

The first set of tools, then, has to do with developing our self-awareness. The next sets of tools take us into developing a focused approach to goal-setting and an understanding of where our imbalances originate. Now that we have identified and clarified what these imbalances might be, we can see how they affect us and provide some suggestions to reestablish balance.

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