13 Critical Skills


1) Framing and Reframing                                   

2) Tasking                                                           

3) Cheerleading and validating            

4) Holding Accountable/ Monitoring           

5) Pattern Detection                                                

6) Stepping Back

7) Profiling moments

8) Modeling                                                           

9) Benchmarking

10) Lightening up and humorizing

11) Storytelling and metaphor-ing

12) Recognizing coachability

13) Tracking a client's experience


1) Framing - Reframing

Inviting a client to see or perceive something in terms of some classification.  Setting a boundary for a perception. 


5    Creating New Empowering Levels of Awareness

Asking about empowering beliefs, values, decisions, etc. (see Meta-Questions) and using induction skills (see Inducing States) to set new categories.


4    Exploring Higher Levels of Awareness

Asking about layers of categories, asking challenging questions about such.  Giving space and time to explore the higher embedded layers of awareness.  Reminding client that all perceptions are just maps.


3    Questioning Classification

Asking or calling attention to the classification of the details and asking about awareness in client, providing menu list of other filters, quality control questions about filters and categories.


2   Imposing Either or Thinking

Speaking as if there is only one other classification and imposing that upon the client by rhetorical questions.  Using either/or expressions.  Tone of judgment, right/wrong, talking more than client to impose the other way of seeing things.


1     Acknowledgment of Structure - As the Details of the Story

Talking about the classification, pattern, or structure of the details as if that map is the territory, as if no other classification is possible.  Using universal quantifiers (all, nothing, always, etc.) and absolute terms.   Speaking and feeling from perspective of being inside the box of the client's story, problems, and challenges.


0     No Distinction Between Content & Structure

Talking about and asking questions in the very words and details of the story without giving evidence of the classifications or categories of the details.  No distinguishing between content and structure

2) Tasking

Asking a client to do an action or behavior as part of developing new skills, developing awareness, or unleashing new potentials.


5     Co-Created Action Plan

Co-creating with the client the activities that will maximally transfer learnings to everyday life and that make the experience memorable and powerful. Client expresses excitement and motivation to completing tasks.


4     Action Plan With Buy-In

Giving reasons for an activity, presenting it with state induction skills (see Inducing States), exploring or inquiring about activities that would make the coaching more real and present in actual life, asking for a buy-in.


3     Action Plan Without Buy-In

Presenting a task to do, suggesting it but without providing any motivation or understanding for it.  Tasking an activity that has little or nothing to do with the focus of the session, getting no or little buy-in from client although they do leave with an Action Plan.


2     Giving a Task - No Action Plan

Presenting a task to do at a point in the session, but failing to come back to it later, forgetting to mention it as something for the client to do.


1     Hinting at Tasks - No Action Plan

Hinting at a task that would be good, but never asking the client to do it.


0     No Action Plan

No mention of any activity to do that would provide a drill or practice of a new learning or skill.


3) Celebrating / Cheer-Leading

Expressing excitement, respect, and honor to a client for something that fits with the client's hopes and dreams, visions and values.  Allowing and encouraging client to feel and express joy and excitement in small and big successes.


5    Full Celebration

Fully present to the client, sharing emotion, eyes watering or tearing, hand on shoulder, thumbs up, applause, expressing a high sense of value and regard for the success or experience and doing so with emotion, "Good on you!"  "Right on!"


4    Encouraging Celebration

From pacing to leading in celebrating by giving space and time to be with the emotions of the value and success, articulating the success in semantically packed words ("This begins to move you to your desired future, doesn't it?")


3    Matching State

Asks meta-questions about the meaning of the success or comment, uses validating language to get expression of value to the success.  High eye contact, presence, emotion in voice and body. Matching Client's state.


2    Verbal Acknowledgment

Verbally acknowledging emotion or enthusiasm.  Good bit of eye contact and presence.  Asks some primary questions about the success.


1    Low Emotional Response

Disinterested listening as evidenced by little eye contact, matching, voice flat,  low emotional response, no enthusiasm.


0     Unresponsive

No emotion or enthusiasm at the announcement of any success the a client mentions.  Unresponsive: comments are ignored or discounted.  No matching of client's state, no time or room to celebrate.  No eye contact.  Weak sense of being present to the client.


4) Holding Accountable

Asking what a client is actually doing that makes real and actual the stated vision for being, doing, and having.  Exploring when, where, and how a person has fulfilled promises.  Focusing on and holding the client to his or her own word and promises.


5   Provoking Action

Focusing on the frames above and behind the incongruency between acting fully on words.  Probing and Provoking (see Provoking)  through questions, challenges, meta-questions what the client says he or she wants to do or achieve.  Directly bringing up either kindly or firmly, "Will you do this now?"


4   Probing Lack of Action

Directly commenting on difference between word and actions. Asking probing questions.  Hearing and commenting on cognitive distortions involved in excuses or thinking patterns. Asking questions to invite client to own his or her responses. Moderate to high level of confrontation.  "You said you wanted X, but you haven't indicated taking any actions to make that happen, what's going on?"


3    Commenting on Lack of Action

Noticing and straightforwardly commenting on behaviors.  Listening to excuses and vacillating about accepting them.  Moderate level of confrontation.  "Did you do X?" "Let's talk about that a bit, what was going on for you?"


2    Hinting At But Letting Off The Hook

No noticing and commenting on the behaviors of following through or failing to follow through on a task or promise.  Bringing it up by hinting.   Letting person off the hook by accepting excuses or making excuses for the person.  Little direct communication about acting on goals and skills.


1    Negativity About Lack of Action

Inviting a sense of responsibility in a negative way by blaming, accusing, attacking or by merely noticing the lack of follow-through non-verbally, but not mentioning it.


0    No Follow-up

No mention of what a person has said, no relating it to what the person is doing or is not doing.  No follow-up on promises, tasks. 


5) Pattern Detection

Observing a refrain of activities that suggests a structured approach in a client's responses and specifying that structure in terms of an outline, template, or metaphor.


5    Testing and Validating Structure

Asking complex meta-questions that unite numerous patterns, Matrix questions that invites systemic thinking, that describes the flow of information and energy through the mind-body system.  Presenting the structure back to the client and testing its validity with the client.


4    Eliciting Unique Structure

Asking meta-questions around refrains that seem unique (or idiosyncratic) to the client, presenting such to the client with little testing of it.


3     Eliciting Formalized Structures/Models

Asking meta-questions that seek to flush out formalized structures and models, Meta-Model questions, Meta-Program questions, Meta-State Question, SCORE, etc.


2    Simple Meta-Questions

Asking some simple meta-questions around repeated themes or refrains.  Using some simple models as templates or patterns to understand experience.


1    Primary Questions About Content

Asking only primary level questions about content and details, no exploration of any pattern.


0     Caught in Content

"Caught up in content" as indicated by asking only content questions about details, telling stories about similar incidents, or advice giving.


6) Tracking a client

Paying attention to the structural form and processes of a client's response and recording that journey on paper using words, decision tree, diagrams, a mind-map, or keeping it in one's mind and being able to replicate it.


5    Elegant use of the tracking methods evidenced by client wanting the diagrams, mind-maps, etc. to use to enhance the session, the client co-creating with the coach the tracking or asking about it.


4    Very effective use of diagrams and tracking methods, inviting client to see, respond to them, asking how the process relates to outcomes of coaching.


3    Keeping good notes using various forms, referring to the notes to invite client to stay focused and on topic.


2    Jotting a few notes down, or referring to a mind-map or diagram of some sort.  More awareness as reflected in statements about such.


1    Some awareness of the need and importance of tracking, asking "Where are we?"  "How does that relate to...?"   "I should have tracked that."


0    No record keeping, no mentioning of the mental-emotional journey of client, where he or she went during process.