For people who are new into the coaching space, or the “helping others” space, it can be a very new concept and one that can be difficult to grasp.
Let me explain it to you.
When we come from a place of service, we are focussed on serving the other person. That’s the Captain Obvious version.
What it means on a deeper level is learning the ability to put aside your own thoughts, your own agenda during a session and whatever dialogue you have playing in your own head to be 100% focussed on the other person. We also call this holding space. In a world where most people don’t feel heard, holding space to allow that person to be totally completely heard is simply priceless. Priceless!
I believe we are the tour guides for our clients. There are plenty of other analogies for this too, but tour guide is the one that works for me. Our clients are the experts in their own life, their world. Whether their world isn’t working for them at present or not, they are still the experts. Even those clients who like to respond with “I don’t know” when asked a question. They are still the expert.
So when we as coaching practitioners ask our clients questions and sit comfortably in the silence while they respond – we are holding space. Sometimes clients can take a while to respond to our questions. Have you noticed how uncomfortable many people are with silence? They feel this need to fill it with words, even mindless words sometimes. Holding space for a person, aka sitting in silence, while they access the answer to a question is a gift. A complete gift to them. This is the gift you will give them as their coach.
Think about someone you know. Perhaps someone who is quieter, less inclined to be the talker. Less inclined to open up. Can you imagine holding the silence, holding the space for them to be able to access their deep stuff and share it with you? All because you gave them the gift of you being silent? Have you ever done that for someone? It’s pure magic.
When we ask great questions to our clients, and even other people we connect with, that helps them to open up, to share and to access information that they had forgotten or buried – we are serving them.
As humans we are conditioned to fill the silence. As coaches this condition is a great tool for us. Being quiet long enough for someone, your client, to feel the need to fill the space with words allows them to open up and start talking. This gives the space for your client to share what’s really going on for them.
Practice this next time you are speaking with a friend. Be silent with them. Actually, listen to them. Give them the space to talk without jumping in on their conversation and experience what this feels like. That’s step one of being an awesome Coaching Practitioner.
Setting up the session when the client first arrives with you is almost as important as the transformational section of the session, whether you are working with them online or face to face. Get this wrong, and the entire session could feel out of balance, or somewhat disjointed.
When I was developing our training curriculum for our EFT Practitioner training, I spent several hours creating a framework for client sessions to give some structure for our students. I’ll share our framework here for you!
As I have mentioned in other parts of this guide, a conversation in this coaching/practitioner space is like no other they have experienced, unless ofcourse they have been to another coach or practitioner. There are 3 main parts to the framework.
- The Set-Up Phase
- The Transformation Phase
- The Closing Phase
The Set-Up Phase contains three sub-phases within it.
- The Yes Frame,
- The rapport building phase
- The permission phase
The Yes Frame, where you have your client say yes to 3 simple questions. Keep them vague, keep them closed, you just want a yes from them. This helps to prime them into you being able to lead them.
- Do you have water
- Is your phone on silent?
- Isn’t it a lovely day today?
You are after 3 simple yes responses from your client as this helps with rapport development with your client.
The Rapport Phase is where you build rapport and connection with your client to enable you to pace them, then lead them so you can help them better in the transformation phase. Rapport with another person is such a big topic I gave it a section all of its own. The simplistic definition of rapport is how we connect with others and create a bond. Without rapport, your sessions risk being surface level because your clients simply won’t open up to you. Continue reading the next section for a detailed explanation of rapport and how to develop it.
The Permission Phase is where you openly seek permission from your client to interrupt them while they are speaking. As we know, this isn’t a social norm in the western world and as a coaching session is like no other conversation they have experienced, we want to ask permission to interrupt. If you miss asking permission, you can easily break rapport when you do interrupt your client OR you will be too afraid of interrupting them and you will end up with a client who simply talks at you and you get no actual work done.
The Transformation Phase is the space where you are speaking with your client, where you are doing the tapping work or other coaching parts of the conversation. This is probably the part that concerns you the most, however it is the easiest part, particularly if you set yourself up for success by ensuring your own mindset is managed BEFORE the session.
The Setup and the Transformation phases blend effortlessly together. There is no need to announce to your client which phase you are in. This is all back-end information just for your benefit.
Generally, you will know why your client has come, as you will have had a conversation with them when they book in. However, an easy way to get things moving is:
“what brings you here today?”
“what are we working with (or on) today?”
“what can I support you with today?”
Notice they are general statements intended to draw out the conversation.
This is an invitation for your clients to start to share their reason for being there. They will generally talk about what you and I know as the “symptoms” e.g., problems with a relationship or perhaps it’s stress/stress related. They may talk about things that are bothering them, or they may simply not know exactly what their issue is, just that something in their life isn’t working. They may have come to you to overcome a specific event or series of events. It could be something recent or something from their past. The vast range of reasons your clients come to you is the reason we want you to have a full tool-box of techniques to work with.
In this phase you will want your client doing about 80% of the talking, unless you are leading them through a Tapping sequence. You will want to master the skilful art of asking a great question then sitting silent while your client answers. Depending on what they have come to see you about, will determine the questions you ask to help your client open up and reveal the gold. The gold in this instance is the underlying issues that are going on that are the REAL reason their world isn’t working for them. Great questions and your silence will give your client the space to reveal these to you.
We recommend session are about an hour in duration. They can be shorter; however, I have found that longer sessions are usually too much for your client. Remember, as EFT practitioners we are working in their energy system. My favourite analogy for this is that our work is kind of like having our client in a snow globe. You shake it up and the flakes madly whizz around yet take some time to return to the ground, never in the same place. This is tiring for the human body, so we encourage you aim for about an hour in total.
Lastly you will come to the Closing Phase. This is how you bring the session to a conclusion. Some sessions will come to a natural flow conclusion, some you will have to direct them to a conclusion. Personally, I have a clock that is above my client’s head. I flick a glance at it when I know my clients are looking elsewhere, or perhaps with their eyes closed. I have mastered ways to do this without drawing attention to it. Nothing worse for a client is a clock-watching coach!
We want our clients to leave each session feeling empowered, feeling heard, and that some shifts have happened. I believe it’s important to acknowledge the progress your client is making, and the end of session is a great time to bring this to their awareness.
You could say,
“our time together today is almost up, and I would really like to acknowledge the work we have done here together. I really applaud the way you [ insert comment here]”. You could add in here “so why don’t we finish off with some great grounding tapping”. That’s my preference.
Examples of [comments] could be:
- Have embraced this issue even though it has been tough
- Have stayed on topic, even though I know you wanted to escape
- Are willing to just say it as it is
- Have committed to these changes for yourself
You will want your diary/calendar handy to book in the next session with your client. You will finalise your payment method, depending on what you have set up. You may find your client does or does not rise to their feet. You may have to rise to your feet to indicate the conclusion of the session.
This is always an interesting question that I’m asked because so often people either don’t know what rapport is, or don’t understand its power or don’t even know why it’s important. I learned about rapport in my Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) training days. It’s been a powerful tool in connecting with my clients to enable me to get rapid results for them.
Have you ever met someone and after 10 minutes of talking felt like you have known the person forever?
Are there people you just naturally feel comfortable with and others who you don’t seem to be able to hit it off with at all?
The main difference between these two is NLP rapport. With the first group you have it naturally, and with the second, well, you don’t have it all. Rapport is a feeling of being in-sync with someone else, to be on the same wavelength and consequently to really understand and appreciate someone else and their opinions.
The dictionary describes rapport as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.
The layman’s definition is how we connect with others and create a bond.
When we think of communication, most people think that the words we say are the most important part. Yet the words are only about 7% of the communication between two people. Yes, a mere 7%! About 38% is determined by how we say those words. Things like tonality, tempo or speed. With the remaining 55% being nonverbal or our body language. This means it’s not only important what you say but how you say it and including what body gestures too.
Now you are probably wondering why you would want to create a bond with any of your clients anyway.
Part of your role as a coach/practitioner for your clients is to help them to shift their thinking, their behaviours and in short, their world. Without a connection to your client, aka rapport, this becomes a very difficult exercise.
Rapport is creating that connection so there is a flow between you. The energy flows. The conversation flows. This allows the space for the client to lead the conversation at the outset, for you to take the lead from them, and have them follow you through the session. Rapport is the connection that will allow your client to feel safe enough to share their deepest thoughts, their issues and the things that are most troubling them.
While rapport is something that develops naturally over time, as a coach you will want to fast track developing this with your clients so you can lead them on their journey from the very first session with you. You can ofcourse use these techniques in so many other parts of your life too, like at work, in your relationships etc.
Here are a couple of key techniques in NLP that build rapport.
- Matching and Mirroring
Have you ever watched a couple sitting at a restaurant or café – sharing a meal or having coffee? They are looking deeply into each other’s eyes, laughing, smiling and matching body language?
This is two people in rapport.
What would happen if one started paying attention to their phone, or they started to have harsh words? Their body language would shift, and they would become mismatched. They would fall out of rapport.
Have you ever watched two friends doing the same meal or coffee? They may not be looking deeply into each other’s eyes, but they are laughing, smiling and matching body language.
This is also two people in rapport.
Understanding this, a person can match and mirror another person’s physiology (what they do with their body) to quickly create rapport.
A note: Matching and mirroring is natural and subtle where mimicking and copying is obvious and unnatural.
Some of the ways we do match and mirror on are:
- Body language (legs, head tilt, hands, arms, torso)
- Posture (upright or slumped, leaning one way or another)
- Breathing rate
- Voice (tone, pitch, volume, speed)
Matching and mirroring a person’s language can help build rapport by speaking the same “language”.
- Visual – “Looks good”
- Auditory – “Sounds good”
- Auditory Digital – “Makes sense”
- Kinaesthetic – “Feels right”
- Olfactory/Gustatory – “Smells delicious”
Matching and mirroring a person’s key words for what is important to them, loaded with meaning.
- Pacing and Leading
Building rapport is about pacing another person’s reality. We want our clients to get the sense that you are with them, wherever they are in their world. If you’re able to hold this space for another person where they get the sense that they are with someone who truly understands them, then you have a depth of rapport most people never experience. From this open, connective space you can facilitate real change with your clients.
Rapport is a feeling, yet it is physically experienced. Indicators of rapport include that feeling that you have known each other for ages, a sense of familiarity almost. It can be a flush on your skin, usually on the face. You might just experience a good feeling come over you and the tell-take sign of the other person copying your movements. You can also check whether you are in rapport with a subtle test.
Start by matching and mirroring the other person and then mis-matching them and see if they follow. Some examples are:
- Taking a step backwards to see if they take a step forward
- Crossing or uncrossing your legs
- Picking up your glass and taking a sip
If they follow you, and begin matching and mirroring you, then you know you’re in rapport.
Without rapport, your sessions will be surface level because your clients simply won’t open up to you. They will remain guarded. They will be less effective, and your client base won’t stay with you, they won’t refer you and they won’t return to you.
Rapport is a practice that is well worth mastering.
While our EFT founder, Gary Craig advocated try EFT on everything, Tapping isn’t this magic pill solution to every single issue that every single person has. Otherwise me and every other Practitioner would be mega rich.
Having said that I certainly get the angle Gary was taking with this.
In more or less every session I have ever had with a client, the issue they present with, the thing that they can tell me isn’t working in their life, isn’t the real issue for them. It’s the thing that they know isn’t working for them. It’s what they can language.
This is where the table top and table legs analogy is my favourite.
Let’s use one of my favourite success stories as an example. I worked with a mum who was experiencing agoraphobia. She hadn’t really been out of her home in almost 3 months. She missed taking her little girl to swimming lessons, she missed taking her to playgroup. She missed out on a lot. Not to mention the impact on her relationship with her husband.
We worked together for about 8 weeks. A one-hour weekly session chatting over Skype, so we had video mostly. During those 8 weeks we never spoke about her agoraphobia once. Not once. It was her presenting issue. Her table top. Tapping on “I have agoraphobia, I release this agoraphobia” is of minimal value. We want to work on the table legs. The cause of the agoraphobia manifesting. What has happened in her life that made her choose agoraphobia to keep her safe.
Over the 8 weeks we talked about her family, her relationship with her in-laws, her relationship with herself. One of the strongest legs holding up her phobia was her fear that if she went outside her husband would want her to start visiting his family again frequently. She said they didn’t like her, belittled her and don’t make her feel good enough for their son. Her agoraphobia kept her from having to visit them.
Can you see how clever our brain is to give us ways to keep us safe?
We cleared those fears, we worked on her self-confidence.
One day I had her on her phone rather than video and we walked and tapped and walked and tapped and in 45 minutes she was out on the footpath at her home crying. Tears of joy. She had taken control of her life back.
We worked on her table legs not the table top.
Over the weeks and months that followed I regularly received a selfie of her and her daughter out in the car heading somewhere. Baby dance class. Swimming lessons. Playgroup for kids.
So, when Gary Craig says to use EFT on everything this example is what I think he means. Whatever issue a client presents with, can language with you – that’s their table top. And as great Practitioners we’re not working there – period. We are heading to the table legs of the issue. The underlying issues and patterns. These come from our life events, from our experiences and those moments in time that our brain captures and tags as safe or scary! It’s the ability to look deeper than the surface that gives EFT its power to be used on everything.
I’m grateful that Gary Craig made such a bold statement because it gave me the opportunity to challenge his statement. Then to figure out what he meant and I’m sure the table legs analogy gives me my answer, as well as an answer for you too.
I describe a client session as “a conversation like no other”. Our job is to help them shift their life, their thinking. We ask questions that they perhaps have never been asked before. We frame our questions in a manner that has them thinking differently than they ever have. We help to draw out information, patterns, beliefs and story like they have never been asked to do before. We have a conversation with them like they’ve never had. That’s the power of the work we do.
It’s not uncommon for a client to come to work with us who has been to multiple therapists, often for years, and still stuck in their story. This client will be well practiced at rolling out their story, in all its glorious details, giving you little chance to get a word in. In this instance I believe my job is to help them to break this pattern and “scratch the record” of their story.
Now as part of the set-up phase of a client session, I believe we should seek permission to interrupt. Everyone has a “rule book” of what’s right and wrong in a conversation, and usually interrupting someone is a social no-no.
When we are setting up our session with a client and we ask permission to interrupt them when they are speaking, we are stopping our client from passing our interruption through their filter of what’s right and wrong, aka their “rule book” and being offended.
Interrupting them also gives us the opportunity to take back the lead in the session. It’s the difference between someone talking AT you for the whole session vs an interactive session where transformation and healing can happen.
I go into more details below about your clients rule book below.
This is the most fun question I get asked by my students. And my favourite answer is…”it doesn’t matter!” Your clients don’t know there is a formula to all this. They don’t know about the “permission phase” of the session where you ask is it ok to interrupt them. They don’t know there is a structure to personal transformation. They don’t know about the “set up phase” or any other part of the session. Remember they just know something is broken in their life.
So, it doesn’t matter!
There have been times when I have asked not necessarily a wrong question, but a question where I know I’m not going to get the answers I want. When this happens, I find an easy reframe is “wait, let me ask a better question”. My client stops thinking, waits for my new question then answers that. They are not sitting thinking “gees, she balls’ed that up”. Our clients are so busy thinking about themselves during a session and worrying that they get it right, they wouldn’t even notice if you ask a wrong question. Use my gracefully elegant way of reframing into a better question. I don’t laugh. I don’t draw any more attention to it that. I move on.
When asking the wrong question is the primary concern running through your head this is your ego getting in the way of you serving. In this instance I think of ego as you are worrying you’ll get it right, concerned you’ll say the wrong thing, getting stressed that you remember all the steps in the framework of a session. Ego and Service cannot exist in the one space. So, leave your ego at the door before you walk into the session, or my fun expression is to pop your ego in the other room watching your favourite to show, you can pick it up again later. Go serve your client.
Now… what if you say something that breaks that rapport and connection you have built with your client. Or you say something that offends them.
This is a whole different conversation indeed.
It can be a tough spot to get yourself out of but it’s not life threatening, and you can definitely recover the session from it. If this happens to you, and you’ll know instantly from the either the look on your clients face or their body language shift, remain in service to your client. Do not drop into your own panic ego state. You acknowledge that you have offended them, you seek to clarify on what you said that they interpreted as offensive with genuine curiosity, you apologise and move on with the session.
For example, “Susan, I can see that I’ve said something that has either triggered you or offended you. I am so sorry. Can you explain to me what it was? What did I say?”
Often this sort of occasion reveals an underlying issue within your clients “rule book” of what’s right and what wrong, according to them. Something that deeply offends one person could be shrugged off easily by another. We all have a “rule book”, and everyone’s rule book has different rules depending on their life events. I have a girlfriend who talks a lot about being disrespected. The events she shares with me when she feels disrespected, feel normal events to me with no trigger of disrespect. She simply has a different rule for respect, and how she experiences feeling respected by another person. Neither of us is right or wrong. Just different.
So, if you do happen to offend a client with something you say, use what arises from your curiosity within the session. And sometimes it’s just a simple conversation regarding the “rule book” in their head and how’s we are all different, that will serve them best.
Word of warning: if you allow your ego into the session where you are running your client’s responses through your rule book (aka judgement filter), of what’s right or wrong, it could become very easy to offend your client.
In the summer of 2001, I called quits on my marriage of 17 years because we were both so miserable and I had no idea what else to do. Talking to him didn’t work. Couples Counselling didn’t work. The only thing I did know was that if I stayed in that marriage any longer, I would regret the rest of my life. My husband quickly, and I assume happily, ran back to the bed of his lover, took his huge pay check (more than 10X mine) and never looked back. I was left with our 2 sons to raise, the house, a big mortgage and our dogs, while earning $15,000 a year. He had a Barrister. I had a solicitor who turned out to be scared of his Barrister. Enough said.
By that stage, I hadn’t been coping in life for several years, had never managed to get beyond the death of my mum when I was 18, had been on antidepressants for a couple of years and my weight had ballooned. I didn’t even have the mental capacity to consider suicide at that time. Times were dark but I also knew I was going to have to seriously start figuring things out.
I had a girlfriend, Chris love me enough to call it as it was and got me into a good therapist. I had another girlfriend, Kathy, who helped me sort out my finances and help keep my sons on track. People came to help me. I had met a friend on the internet back in 1999. He lives in the other side of the world to me and is still one of my best buddies today. I got a sounding board in him. The internet gave me a space to share myself more open than I felt I could in real life. I told him everything over the years. (Oh boy, does HE know some skeletons ha-ha) I told him my thoughts. My hopes. My despairs. Eventually my contemplative suicidal times. I shared these all with Bob. And he would guide me, listen to me, digest my content and give perspective.
People appeared in my life that wanted to help me. They wanted to. They stepped up and held space for me. They held me. They hugged me. They loved me. This was the first time I had experienced this level of connection with other humans.
At times rolled on I healed. I was so grateful to the people who helped me. Who saved me in many ways. Some are still in my life like Kathy and Bob. Others have gone on elsewhere.
There are areas of my life that I think I’m kind of ditzy. At times I’m not very logical. I’m great at figuring things out but I am guilty of finding less conventional ways to do things. This often leads to the people around me asking “what on earth are you doing” or “that’s not how you do that“ or “you know there is an easier way”. I’m happy to laugh this all off because it doesn’t matter. So long as I get the thing done, I’m happy about it.
But in the coaching space. Holding space for my clients. Helping them change their whole life…my skill set is exceptional. I unashamedly own that. My skill set is exceptional. Without any arrogance. Without any ego.
I am great at what I do as a coach. I was gifted an exceptional opportunity. I had a huge giving, loving heart and I combined the two then I studied, and I read, and I studied more. Then I applied it in real life with my clients, then I tweaked it and refined my techniques. I learned new behavioural models and practiced them. I worked on opening my intuition up and managing my energy as an empath who connected with other humans. I say this all without apology, without ego. My skill set as a coach is exceptional.
And for every single client who worked with me. I am grateful.
Every single person who trusted me enough with their darkest secrets, their deepest wounds. I honour them and their struggle.
I have won several business awards over the years and I know in my heart that every single one of them was because of the clients who CHOSE me as their Practitioner. They helped make me the Practitioner, and the woman and the business owner that I am.
I am humbled that with all the other people on the planet they could have turned to. They trusted and turned to me. I am humbled that so much of my business in those years was referral. One person would recommend me to their family, their friends because of the work we had done together and transformation they had gone through. They trusted me enough to refer people they loved to me. In those years I would receive phone calls that went like this “hi, I’m a friend of X. They said I should call you. I’m not sure why but they said I needed to talk to you”. That’s how my referrals came in.
I think humility is about mindset.
There is no space for ego in humility. I didn’t transform them. I didn’t fix them. I didn’t do the work. I’m not magic. I’m just a woman who had a desire to help someone else. A woman who answered the call and did and still do what is needed to excel at my craft.
Humility comes from your heart – the same place your desire to help others resides.
Gary Craig made bold sweeping statements that EFT will work on everything and I’ve enjoyed challenging them.
Does tapping work on everything? For me this isn’t the real question. As I explained above when we use Tapping to dig below the surface of what our Client tells us is their issue – then we can determine if Tapping can be used for everything.
So, if Tapping isn’t working on an issue or problem, to me this means – you haven’t yet revealed what the source of the problem is. The table legs.
Have you got yourself stuck in the table top and trying to Tap on that as an issue and not seeing the clients distress level reduce?
Tapping works to rewire the human brain. As we travel through life we are exposed to all manner of experiences, stimuli, and environments that are translated in the brain to memories. I like to think of our memories as a file card box, you know like an old-fashioned recipe box with little cards in that you wrote a recipe on. When we are exposed to stimuli today and it resembles something that was scary in our past, our clever brains quickly flips through those recipe cards, pulls out the past memory it tagged as scary, triggers your flight, fight or free response and you experience what we refer to as being triggered. You have a response today to something that happened from your past based on input from your present environment.
Cool stuff? or Heavy concept?
So, when I’m working with a client and tapping isn’t working, that tells me that I’ve missed something. That the issue or event or trigger we are working on, isn’t the right one. Sometimes I haven’t asked the right question in the right way. Sometimes the client is hiding it. The client knows it’s scary (that’s why their brain buried it deep!) and it could take a little more digging to uncover it. Don’t panic. Don’t think EFT isn’t working. You’re just not on the deep enough level yet or not found the right table leg yet.
I think of us an onion with multiple layers and layers. Some layers are easier to peel than others. Some layers peel away in twos and threes. This is the time to remember, this is their journey, their transformation and they get to guide the pace. Not us. I think peeling layers of transformation from our clients too fast can be cruel. We leave them exposed and often vulnerable. And even worse if you are close to the end of the session and they won’t see you again for another week. So be conscious of taking someone where you want them to be too soon.
So, my opinion. Yes, EFT works with everything providing you find the correct memory, uncover the correct past event or experience (table leg) and work through it with your client. Ofcourse the same goes for working on your own issues with EFT. If it’s not working your clever brain is hiding it from you. Consider working with a Practitioner on that one.
This is a fun question for me. Anyone who knows me will confirm… I am such a chatterbox. Get me in a fun space conversation with another great chatterbox and we’re jumping from topic to topic, we’re laughing, we’re talking over each other and having a blast. Some of my best girlfriends are these chatterbox women AND they are amazing Coaches and Practitioners.
But… when I am in “coach” mode or “teacher” mode it’s a different ball game.
I have developed a coach persona, we call them archetypes. I also have a different archetype when I am in teacher mode delivering training.
My coach archetype is grounded and centred, I am very focussed on my client. I am confident and competent in my skills and ability. A coach is a tour guide. We lead our client on a journey of transformation, that they do the work. We ask the great questions to, we help our clients to see their blind spots and resolve them. I am energetically connected to my client while holding that space for them. I am in my coach archetype.
In our school we work on the developing every students “coach” archetype, that is the persona of them that needs to show up to serve their client. Being a great coach doesn’t mean you need to change the fundamental aspects of who you are. You are still you in your everyday life but in that room or on a call with a client, it’s game on!
I want you to understand this archetype or persona concept so you can create yours, for you, then you’ll be able to easily switch them over, in your own head before going into a session with a client, then go back to every day you (persona/archetype) when you’re not.
You will develop that coach archetype too, regardless of whether you are a chatterbox that thinks they need to shhhhhhh or a shy person who is worried they can never come out of their shell and lead.
I wrote about this topic extensively in Chapter 5, How do I make my business a success if I am shy.
But let me add here and continue the conversation from our chatterbox discussion above.
Developing your coach archetype will help you to overcome your shyness. It will help you to step into a leadership role in your voice. You don’t need to be full of pump and energy like I am. You will lead from your own voice, from your own style. All I ask is that you embrace working on your own limits, blocks, triggers and memories. This work will allow you to be amazing, whether introvert, extrovert and everyone in between.