One of the questions I get asked is how to take a coaching conversation deeper. Often newer coaches think they need to find clients ready to work at the desired depth. I have found, however, wherever a coaching conversation may originally begin, a skilled coach can take it into a deeper direction. 

A person is like an atom with electron rings surrounding his or her nucleus. Even though you may start going around an outer ring, the skill of the coach is to jump electron rings to work closer to the nucleus. The closer we work, the more movement we get with less effort. For instance, an outer ring may be focused on an individual’s accomplishments in the world or how they are seen by others. Jumping an electron ring we connect with what has to happen internally for the client to develop their actual capacity to fulfill creative intent. Jumping another ring might take us to the emotional imprint that triggers a limitation, and another ring to the very core of who they are. 

Here are two ways to jump your conversations into a deeper place.

Zoom out

Find a way to lift the conversation into a wider context. The person might want to talk about the low time they are going through right now, or how very exciting this moment is in their life. If I can show them how the moment they are in now is part of a bigger unfolding, pretty soon our conversation is going to explore what is creating and what is inhibiting that bigger unfolding. We are not just going to be talking about how to fix or preserve a circumstance. We are going to be talking about who they are, what they are about and how to empower that. By widening the context, we jump from ‘how do we deal with this problem’ to ‘how can we utilize this circumstance to accelerate the overall emergence of who you are’?

Zoom in 

Just as effective is to find a way to make the conversation more personal. Ask questions like: What does it feel like to be you in this circumstance? What does this circumstance trigger in you? If I can move the attention to a more subjective viewpoint, from interpreting events to feeling the emotions that are stirred, pretty soon our conversation is going to open into a tender space. While we may follow their present-day feeling into some early-life wound, the deepest leap is into the discovery of how all of that points to a quality of genius or strength fundamental to who this person is. You know you have jumped a ring when you find yourself closer to their core in this way. 

Whether by zooming in to a more tender feeling or by zooming out to a more holistic perspective, you extract the power from events, interpretations and feelings and transform it into something that has great stuff for whomever is with you. If we can help people jump into that space with us, without avoidance, then deeper and deeper parts of their capacity will come forward. 

I would love to hear your experience of jumping electron rings to take your conversations closer to the core of the people around you. 

All the best,

David Lesser