It’s an important but unpopular fact that things are not always what they seem…
Have you ever helped a client accomplish exactly the results they told you they wanted, only to have them fire you, instead of renewing?
Have you ever accomplished a big goal (maybe one that you worked towards for years) only to discover that the end result didn’t make you as happy as you had imagined?
The problem is that – too often – coaches help their clients to accomplish what they want, instead of what they need.
And you can never have enough of what you don’t really need…
With ten thousand generations of humans before us – who lived mostly in survival mode, all of the time – it’s very easy for us to pay little or no attention to our secondary, or deeper needs.
100 Things You Want…
If you accept what your client says they want, instead of exploring what they really need, you risk missing their emotional needs, their needs for love and connection, their spiritual needs, their need for contribution, or their need for growth. Some clients have a need for deep reflection, some have a need for things to stay the same, others have more of a need for risk and adventure.
If you want to be a great coach, make it your job to surface all of your clients’ needs and desires.
The simplest way to go deeper into what your client truly desires is to ask two questions: “What do you want?” Followed by, “What else?”
You can repeat the “What else?” question dozens of times.
Or you can give them the assignment to write down “100 Things You Want…”
The first thirty or so will come pretty easily. The second thirty are a bit of a stretch. But it’s the third third where they’ll really struggle. It might take them weeks. In fact, to list out 100 things they want, they’ll need to get a little bold, a little outrageous, and a little outside the norm.
And that’s where the magic lies.
Most people are unconsciously living someone else’s dreams, or accomplishing someone else’s goals. Most people unconsciously hope that when they finally achieve their goals, they will finally feel the love or respect they craved as a child. [Hint: they won’t.]
Help your clients find out what they really want and you’ll have clients for life.
The Three Levels of Transformation™
This is the tool I use to coach my high-performance clients into deep transformation.
It’s what has high level leaders keep renewing their contracts with me, often for years. It’s why high performers invest between $50K and $185K for my one-on-one coaching. It’s why members of 4PC invest $25K a year and some have been members for up to 8 years.
I shared this tool with the 300+ participants at the Rich Litvin Intensive and people were so fascinated, that I completely changed my plans and devoted the entire last day of the Intensive to breaking down the tool.
I’m going to do the same for you in a moment but first let me tell you why you need to pay careful attention to what you’re about to read…
You see, I received an email this morning from a participant. This tool had an immediate impact on her coaching on a leader of a multi-billion dollar corporation:
“Rich, the immersion of the RLI helped me to turn up the flame on a higher level with a leader in a Fortune 50 company, today.
I led her between the Three Levels of Transformation™. We began in Tactics, went to Mindset and ended right at the heart of Identity, where she let herself become very emotional. She said, ‘That was profoundly thought provoking.’
This is a woman on a mission to change the future of healthcare in a way that will have a massive impact on the world.
If I hadn’t had the last 8 days of deep immersion in the RLI, reflecting on who I want to be in the world and witnessing others asking ‘big questions’ – I’m not sure I would have gone there with her today.
Thank you again Rich and the amazing community you have grown. Joining 4PC was the best decision I’ve made this year. I’ve always had to rely on myself – and yet I knew deep down that I wanted and needed a community of top performers to help me grow and become more of who I could be. This is how I can enable others to be more of who they can be, too. I acknowledge you – profoundly.”
How to become the wisest version of yourself. Fast.
In ten years time you will be ten years wiser than you are right now.
But why wait?
Albert Einstein defined the problem we – and our clients – face, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yet we rarely stop to notice our repeated thoughts, behaviors and habits.
I’ve developed a series of powerful questions designed to upgrade the identity, mindset and habits of you and your clients. They are based on this quote by the iconic physicist, Richard Feynman:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
You see, there are only two ways not to fool yourself:
- Ask yourself rigorous questions about your identity, mindset and habits, on a regular basis.
- Surround yourself with smart people who ask rigorous questions and are not afraid to speak hard truths.
Three Levels of Transformation™
IDENTITY: Your identity shapes your views, your thoughts and even your body position. In turn, your views, thoughts and body position reinforce your identity.
Your identity is your way of being. It sets up how you interpret the world. It ensures the actions you take are consistent with how you see your world. And how you see your world remains consistent over time.
Identity is based around language, emotions and physiology. It’s the internal reality that influences and creates our external reality.
The blessing and the curse of identity is that how you see your world becomes your world…
I know a woman whose way of being – her identity – is shaped by a deep belief that life is dangerous. So, of course, she is highly risk averse. She sees danger in every opportunity. I know another woman who lives life as an adventure. Every risk is an opportunity, so she says yes to taking risks. Constantly.
Neither a risk-averse way of being, or a risk-tolerant way of being is better or worse than the other. The problem arises when you don’t see how you see your world.
We cannot see our own way of being. But someone else can… A powerful coach who pays attention to ways of being. A coach who listens deeply to how you speak, your conversations and your stories. A coach who notices your moods and your emotions. A coach who is curious about how you hold your body and how you move your body. You see, identity is embodied. A coach who questions your unquestioned assumptions.
To help a client explore their identity, help them notice where their attention goes, when they’re not paying attention… Help them identify the stories they tell themselves that stand in the way of a meaningful and satisfying life. Help them stop taking their interpretations of the world for granted.
(i) My favorite tool for seeing – and creating – your identity is the Manifesto.
(ii) Every morning, I ask myself 3 questions, to create an identity of choice rather than circumstance.
ENVIRONMENT: Winston Churchill famously said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
Your identity is created from the inside out but it’s reinforced from the outside in.
Paying attention to – and actively creating – your environment is an overlooked coaching tool.
William Harry McRaven is a retired US Navy four-star admiral who served as commander of the Special Operations Command.
When he gave a commencement address at the University of Texas in 2014, he shared ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges in his training, his career and his life.
The first was simple: make your bed.
Here’s a man who understands leadership, challenge and service at the very highest levels, in the most uncertain and dangerous circumstances. And the place he comes from is:
First you create your environment and then your environment creates you…
Another reason to pay close attention to your environment is that it reduces the need for willpower.
For example, research has shown that a person’s chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if a close friend is obese, 40% if a sibling is obese, and 37% if a spouse is obese.
The corollary is true. Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, said, “Obesity is ‘contagious’ but physical activity and healthy eating are too, so we want to emphasize the latter.”
I set a simple rule to improve my chance of eating healthily: no junk food in the house.
When I travel, I have my assistant call ahead to the hotel to have them remove all the snacks from the minibar. I tell her that I’ll hate her on day one but I’ll be grateful on the day I leave!
Here are a series of powerful questions to help you identify and define your identity and your environment. Answer them yourself. And take your clients through them.
- Who are you? How do you think?
- What does your wiser self know – that you pretend not to, or would rather avoid?
- Who do you admire? Who do you follow online? What kind of books do you read?
- Who do you dislike? Who would you never dream of following? What kind of books do you never read?
- What are your hard lines? “I’m not the kind of person who _____.” “I would never _____.” What would be different if those things weren’t true?
- What do you want to be known for?
- How often do you challenge your beliefs or conventional beliefs? What old beliefs no longer serve you? How outdated is your self-image? What do your best friends or top clients admire about you that you still find hard to own about yourself?
- What are you tolerating in your environment? A messy bedroom, a messy office, messy business finances, messy estate planning, messy retirement planning?
- Where do you need willpower to resist temptation or discipline to do what you need to do? (Eg. eating junk food, not automating your finances, not scheduling all your time off at the start of the year).
MINDSET: What is special about this sequence of numbers: 8549176320?
This question challenges the mindset you have about numbers. It draws out the unconscious strategies you use for problem solving.
The answer is that this sequence of numbers is in alphabetical order. Didn’t see that one coming, right?!
You and your clients have consistent patterns of thinking and even consistent thoughts. Your mindset defines your beliefs, your compulsions and even your addictions.
Most people are addicted to something, not just to substances. High performers are often addicted to work, to success or a desire for recognition. Increase your clients awareness and you’ll increase their power and impact over their life.
STRATEGY vs TACTICS: Too often your clients are trying to address strategic problems with tactical solutions. Many coaches fall into the same trap and wonder why they fail in the long run.
If you don’t help your clients address their challenges at their deepest level, it is inevitable that the same issues will keep recurring.
If a problem recurs, you didn’t understand its root. You were working on symptoms, not the source.
Upstream thinking will help you solve your clients’ problems before they happen.
Here are four ways to develop your mindset and to create strategies for life and business:
(i) Rituals and rules:
I’ve created a family ritual over dinner. Each night, we sit down with our boys and answer these questions: “What was the best bit of your day? What was the most challenging bit of your day? What are you grateful for? What was one tiny act of courage you took today?”
I have a rule that I can’t miss twice. I can’t have two days of eating junk food. I can’t have two days without moving my body. I can make mistakes – plenty of them – but I can’t make the same mistake twice.
I have a rule that I must always create time to support people who are not yet clients. If I do this regularly, I’ll never run out of future clients.
What one ritual could you add to your life or business? What one rule could you add to your life or business?
When you put more effort at the start, you need less self-discipline to maintain momentum.
Eg. Make your bed (see Admiral McRaven above). Workout at the start of your day. Call one potential client, write one article, serve one person before you support your current clients.
(iii) Less but better:
Determine what matters most in your life and in your business. Then determine your Zone of Genius (1-3 things that you do better than almost anyone else on the planet). Then ruthlessly cut out everything else.
Define your Hell Yes, so you can say Hell No with ease to everything else.
If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will…
By doing less, you will gain time and energy. By doing less, you will have more impact.
(iv) Impact boosters:
Identify 1-3 activities you can do each quarter to multiply your impact. These are not extra talks to add to your to do list. These are activities that could have an exponential impact on your life or business.
Here are two of mine:
“Make Rich a rockstar.” This was the phrase my team came up with to help us focus on creating world-class video, audio and even my background when I’m on Zoom. Hint: You’re always on Zoom!
“Hire a Chief Freedom Officer.” Freedom is one of my top values. I want more freedom of time, money, energy and relationships, so I hired a member of my team whose only job is to help me focus on increasing the freedom in my life.
Here are a series of powerful questions to help you identify and define and improve your default mindsets and strategies. Answer them yourself. And take your clients through them.
- What would you love to be doing in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years? How could you start doing that right now?
- Who are the 10 most fascinating people you know? Do you regularly spend time with fascinating people from different fields to your own?
- Who have you outgrown? What are you tolerating? What uncomfortable conversations are you avoiding?
- What/Who energizes you? What/Who drains you?
- Is busyness your default? If you were your own best client, how would you recommend increasing the time you spend relaxing and recharging?
- Who do you have in your life that challenges your thinking? When was the last time you changed your mind about something? What’s an issue where you hold two conflicting ideas at the same time?
- How often do you do things that scare you? What are you avoiding because it scares you?
- Who are the 5 people (clients, team members, service providers) you would fire immediately – if you knew they’d secretly be grateful for the push?
- Where do you have a fixed mindset? Where do you have a growth mindset? (Eg. I can’t dance. In business, mistakes are par for the course).
- What could you do less off but have more of an impact?
- What would an outsider do?
“Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.” – James Clear
If you want to be happy, healthy, wealthy or successful, you need to develop happy, healthy, wealthy and successful habits.
We are the sum of our everyday actions. So we need to pay attention to our habits.
Tactics are steps or actions that move you towards short-term goals.
Earlier in this piece, I urged caution in paying attention to strategy over tactics. However, tactics have their place. As Sun Tzu stated, over two thousand years ago, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”
Here are a series of powerful questions to help you identify and define your habits and the tactics you need to move you towards your goals. Answer them yourself. And take your clients through them.
- What are you doing because everyone else is doing it, or you think you “should” be doing?
- What are you doing that someone else should be doing?
- What are you avoiding doing? What are you procrastinating on that would be handled immediately if you knew someone who loved to do it?
- What 1-3 habits drain you of the most energy?
- What are your keystone habits? Small habits that have an outsized impact on your life (eg. hiring a personal trainer, no junk food in the house, no phone in the bedroom, track my finances, floss before you brush).
- What are the 20% of your activities (or programs, or clients) that generate 80% of your results? (Imagine your business where these are the only things that you do…) What are the 20% of your activities (or programs, or clients) that generate 80% of your stress? (Imagine them completely gone from your life…)
- What are you trying to get perfect before taking action?
- There are 3 categories of tactical questions:
– Time: eg. When would be the best time to ____?
– Space: eg. Where can you ____?
– Risk: eg. Which choice is safe and which is risky?
- What’s most urgent and how can I handle it right now?
When your next client shows up with a small goal, a big challenge, or a massive vision, take them through the Three Levels of Transformation™.
You can start at the level of Tactics and work your way up to Identity if you sense this way of thinking might be very new to them.
You can also dive straight into the Identity if your client loves their thinking being provoked.
Finally, with the Summer on its way, I highly recommend you work your way through this entire set of questions yourself. It might just change your life…
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PLUS, whenever you’re ready – here are 4 more ways you can amplify your coaching impact and income:
- The Coaching In Challenging Times Playbook. The year ahead is likely to be volatile and uncertain, which is why this playbook has been downloaded by tens of thousands of coaches…
- Our Intensives have sold out for over a decade. Secure your spot now – 101 tickets have already been claimed. Choose between The Virtual RLI to unlock the secrets to a thriving coaching business. Or Join me at The Santa Fe RLI – our first in-person Intensive in 5 years, bundled with complimentary Virtual RLI access.
- Rich Litvin RAW! Dive into over 40 hours of my immersive coaching content, accessible anytime, anywhere. It’s like having a coaching seminar in your pocket!
- The Thinking Partnership: This is beyond coaching – it’s exclusive and personal support. One of my clients is a former international boxer turned elite coach, another is the founder of a global therapy school. I provoke your thinking, you take action, and your life and business transforms. One spot available.