Opening the space for a client to stop, reflect, and then respond can unveil bonus information—new possibilities may appear. It’s a good thing.
Michaleen (Micki) Lewis, MS, PCC, CPLP
What Does High Impact Mean?
Relationship coaching offers insights into broader issues. Clients see with new eyes where they were stuck or how they created a problematic situation. To dive deeper requires questions that have a high impact…and elicit the ah-ha that the client needs to know.
According to New Oxford‘s Dictionary, high impact means…
–impressive, bold, compelling, effective; punchy; forceful, powerful, high-powered, potent, hard-hitting; intensive, energetic, dynamic
High impact questions make a person think more deeply about an issue.
Closed-ended questions result in a yes or no and often don’t get any deeper than that.
Open-ended questions can solve problems, and they may also generate a list of options or ideas.
High impact questions get the client out of a set way of thinking. When a relationship coach uses a high impact questions, it focuses the client in the present, the here and now. You present problems to a client with an urgency that leads them to take action.
The Elements of a High Impact Question
The elements that lend impact to a question are:
- It’s direct and straightforward, dealing in reality instead of speculation
- It encourages creative thinking and thinking at a deeper level
- It promotes self-reflection
High impact questions move a client closer to attaining a goal or solving a problem. Your client gets things done by dealing not in ‘why,’ but in ‘what’ and ‘how.’
Which One Do You Choose?
You can take any question and turn it into a high impact question by wording it differently. Imagine, for example, if you’d like to ask your client, ‘What tasks would you like to outsource in your business?’ An alternative high impact question that asks essentially the same thing would be, ‘If you could pick just one task to outsource in your business today, what would it be?’
In the original question, you’re asking something in the realm of imagination and ideas. The ‘would like’ of the question places it in the abstract. What you’re doing with the second question is asking them to make a clear decision – which one would they outsource? You also put a time marker on it by asking them which they’d choose today. It becomes more urgent and real, and the answer leads directly to an action step – outsourcing that task. Such a priority question is used for to get valid answers. The right wording forces a person to choose one top priority, and that’s the first step of taking action when you have many options.
Here’s another example. Instead of asking your client, ‘What would you like to be doing in ten years?’ ask them instead, ‘Imagine that it’s ten years from now. What do your life and business look like on a day to day basis?’ Even though we’re using our imagination and picturing the future, you make it more real and immediate by saying ‘what does it look like,’ as if you were living it right now. This is more likely to produce answers that are clear and specific. Instead of saying, ‘I’d be happy and successful,’ they may say something like, ‘I don’t spend any time creating my own content because I have a writer who does that.’ They’ve just defined a goal – finding and hiring a good writer for their content creation.
Part 2 – Listening
Turning regular questions into high impact questions that elicit clear actionable answers is only the first step. As a coach, you also need to listen to their response carefully and use it to guide them toward action steps. The whole point of high impact questions is to get them into the zone of thinking more deeply about their problems and challenges.
Here is a free coaching tool which provides a relationship coach and client worksheet as well as a list of high impact questions to give you examples of focusing your client’s breakthrough.
Guest Article from Mark Brandenberg, who specializes in coaching men.
Some men have trouble asking for help, and calling a coach is asking for help. Coaching men is useful because it is private. However, men don’t call coaches until they have a crisis. Men often call a coach when they are on the verge of a divorce. They are no good at picking up a wife’s signals that she’s tired of the marriage. They are often in shock about what is happening.
As a parenting expert coaching men, some clients will come with a crisis. A situation is imploding. How does a divorcing Dad converse with his son? A mother phones to say that her son wants to quit high school and join the Marines, and she does not like that idea.
Sometimes the crisis is low-key but still essential to the client. For example, a child needs to be potty-trained within a few weeks, or he will not be accepted into nursery school. Both clients want help! Both scenarios will impact your process of coaching men and the relationship with your client.
If the client is not in crisis, you will be able to establish your coaching sessions in a smoother way. If the client is in crisis, the focus of your first sessions will be helping the client through the rough spot and then establishing a vital goals in the coaching relationship.
Let the client talk it out.
Encourage your client to share deeper feelings. You have to listen. You listen actively and soulfully. Take notes. Hear your client’s concerns. Be aware of what the client says and what he or she is leaving out.
Listen to words, feel out the emotional content, and focus.
Stay in a listener’s role. You may be tempted to jump in with suggestions and practical information, but it is better to hold back and listen.
When coaching men, you may observe vulnerability and be tempted to take over the problem. At this point, remind yourself that you are coming from the coaching perspective, not a therapeutic one.
You are a coach, and as such, you believe that:
1. This client is a whole, healthy, and resourceful person.
2. This client has the inner resources to handle this problem.
Allow the person to talk through whatever is troubling him or her.
Ask questions so that you truly understand what is going on. The first session may be entirely about letting the client tell his story and vent emotions. You may do very little talking.
If a problem is fundamental and life-changing, you may have to refer your client for psychotherapy. When necessary, schedule more than one session per week in the first weeks of coaching. The thrust of your work will be to calm the person and determine how you, as a coach, can work with the person’s strengths to get her past the crisis mode. After a few sessions, the client will feel more in control.
Each of us, who works online, knows that you build your list of e-mail addresses for successful marketing on the Internet. Your compilation of email addresses is your single, most powerful tool.
You already have the e-mail addresses of the people who may be interested in what you have to offer. Why not sell items that are related to topics in your email messages. The person, who trusted you enough to provide their email automatically, gave you the consent to communicate. The informative tips in this blog discuss how to build your list in successful ways.
Tip Number 1: Blogging is king.
More precisely, regular blog posting is king. Starting a blog can be easy or difficult, depending on how you approach the task. The easy way is to automate your blog as you establish it. WordPress (WP) is one such tool of choice. It works on plug-ins and templates. You create a customized look without the problems using coding.
If you can post a blog entry once a day, then you are doing well. I chose to post a new article every 3rd day. The timing allowed me to market each piece for several days on my social media accounts with the idea of generating leads to build your list.
Tip Number 2: Stay relevant.
Whether you are posting blog entries or sending e-mails to the addresses on your list, you need to stay on topic. If a client sees your facebook post, and then receives an email with useful information on another aspect of the same issue, they can connect the dots between you, the topic, and the varied streams of information.. You then maintain focus on the very subject that got people interested in the first place.
When you move away from the topic of interest, people will start skipping over what you send them. If they lose interest, then next step is marking your messages as spam. To make a transition to a new or ancillary topic, state the reason to move from topic one to topic two Use proper paragraphing can achieve this effect of movement.
Tip Number 3: Make a proper squeeze page.
A squeeze page (no, I don’t know why it is called that!) is a straightforward webpage built with an offer for visitors in exchange for their e-mail addresses. Sometimes the email is a way to access an online course, download a free ebook, or gain access to a membership site.
Examples of squeeze page software are Clickfunnels and Leadpages”
Don’t confuse the squeeze page with a sales page. A squeeze page asks for an email in exchange for information or a gift of sorts. A sales page does sell your services and products that are displayed on the pages along with price points. What you put on a squeeze page is the premise of your service and sales content and headlines.
Tip Number 4: Skip the video on squeeze pages, or people will skip it.
Video works for generating leads, verifying your expertise, and convincing visitors to buy. People who visit your squeeze page and opt-in are the impulsive personality type. They come to the squeeze page to download what you offer. Mostly, they aren’t the patient type, even with high-speed broadband, to watch a video.
By keeping your squeeze pages free of videos, you allow it to load quickly and cleanly. Your visitors get to read the salient points right away, and they will opt-in during that magic moment when they decide they like what you do and represent.
Tip Number 5: No heavyweight effects on your squeeze page
In addition to not putting videos on your squeeze page, also avoid media that consume high bandwidths. I have seen audio files, sparkling glitter, and falling raindrops on websites. The site was pretty, but…
Sounds and music slow down the loading time of the website. Ensure that images are compressed too. Smarter Internet users block media from untrusted sources, so your special effects are just left out, and you do not lose your intended impact.
Tip Number 6: Use video in your posts!
YouTube has made publishing videos a breeze, and it is free, which means you can get a stronger emotional connection with your audience. Facebook Live offers a shorter video opportunity if you have a tribe or group with whom you teach and converse.
For awesome impact, add videos to blog posts. While some people prefer to read, higher numbers of people like to watch and listen. By including a video in your well-written blog posts, you can generate leads from the readers as well as the listeners.
Tip Number 7: Video responses are cool
Use videos in marketing blogs to respond to your clients’ essential questions. Your followers will know that you do care about what they think and ask because you take the time to create and post videos for them. Picking out the questions that matter most is the tricky part. Another tricky part is staying on topic as you discuss questions and answers. You can answer off-topic questions through email. Another way that videos work for you is that answers generate traffic and boost your popularity.
Tip Number 8: RSS is your friend
RSS refers to “Really Simple Syndication.” The idea of using RSS to publish your blog posts is that it can publish your media to any RSS reader who is tuned in and signed up for your feed. When you post a blog entry, video, or an audio podcast, then those who chose to receive RSS data from you will get an update on their RSS readers. It’s like they get a personal notification every time you put something up online.
Tip Number 9: You can substitute audio for video
If you are not confident about your appearance on video or want to keep your online footprint as small as you can, then using audio instead of a video is a perfect solution. The most important advantage of audio over a video is that it consumes less space and is downloaded quickly.
Tip Number 10: SEO
Search Engine Optimization, also called SEO, is a set of procedures that guide you to fix your web pages and their content, so search engines (like Google and Bing) feature it higher among results for relevant searches.
In practice, SEO is complicated because the rules change over time. Is it worth your time to learn and complete SEO for your site? Or, are you the type of business person who hires a support person to create SEO for your website? Unless you have a fast learning curve, hiring this task out might better serve your goals. At least, once I learned all about SEO, I did hire another person to complete my sites and I learned best practices also.