Guest Post by Sean McCarthy

Asking Powerful Questions is my Job

My job as a coach is to ask powerful questions. I’ve discovered that asking the right question is probably the most critical skill you can have when coaching clients. We often push ourselves into confusion and despair…and can’t figure a way out of the “mental clutter” we’re in because we’re asking ourselves too many WRONG questions.

The reason you’re not achieving more, you are not getting closer to your goals, don’t feel fulfilled, and aren’t having the time of your life is simply because you have yet to ask yourself the right questions.  Asking yourself the right questions and implementing–that is taking action on– your answers is the key factor in creating the outcomes you want in your life.

Following are 6 powerful questions to start you off:

What do you value most in life?

You can have everything you want in life. The problem is, many people never get clear on what they really care about and value in their life. So even when they get it –whatever “it” may be–they still feel empty, like something’s missing. For example, one of my big values is FAMILY. I’m have been asked to join training companies that train all over the country and to participate in multi-city seminars, etc. And people don’t understand why I choose to turn most of those offers down. But to me, having to fly around the country, sleeping in hotels and not getting to kiss my wife and son goodnight, doesn’t honor my value of FAMILY. In fact that is a big reason why I stepped down from Vice President of Certified Coaches Federation.  You will only be happy and fulfilled when you are absolutely clear on what you value and are certain those values are being honored by the decisions and actions you take in your life.

What motivates you in life right now?

Why do you get up in the morning? What wakes you up right before your alarm, with a smile in your heart? What is worth getting out of bed for? Is it your spouse or your children? Is it because you love your job and can’t wait to get going on your day? What is that makes life worth living for you TODAY?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s pretty hard to get up and going. In fact it might even be hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.  What are you grateful for right now? It’s easy to get down in the dumps about things that are going wrong. What’s going right? What are you grateful for? Life is not all about the haves and have-nots. Research reveals a more nuanced approach: Individuals who want what they have tend to be more motivated toward life than others.

What is currently preventing you from reaching this particular goal?

You set goals. You know where you want to be in 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, and 5 years from now. What is keeping you from reaching those goals? Take time to analyze the true problem.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably set similar goals before…and you didn’t reach them. You might have become frustrated and set the same goal again and again.

What is it that is keeping you from reaching your goal? By taking an objective approach (and you might need the aid of an accountability partner or a coach here) discover the real obstacle preventing you from achieving your goal. Then set a plan on how to overcome this obstacle step by step.

What can you eliminate in your life to help you reach your goal this time? Often it is excess baggage that is standing in our way.

What are you tolerating right now in your life? Are you holding on to something you need to let go of?

By figuring out the things you are currently tolerating in your life, you can often “release the brake”.  By this I mean that too often we are taking the right steps and engaging the motivation in our lives, but we also have one foot firmly pushed down on the brake. By letting go of the things we are tolerating in our lives, and letting go of the emotional baggage we need to release, we also release the brakes.

Many times we are unable to take positive action because we can’t let go of the past. Forget the past; the only way it can haunt the future is if you let it.

What are you currently tolerating in your life? This includes anything you “put up with,” things that zap your energy, and compromises you’ve talked yourself into. People are only motivated in life through pain and pleasure. We either take action to avoid pain or to move us toward experiencing pleasure. What is causing pain in your life right now?

Make a list. Then develop a simple plan of eliminating each item you’re tolerating from your life that is on that list. DON’T WAIT. MAKE YOUR LIST NOW.

What are you willing to do in the next 30 days?

This is a big one.  Notice I didn’t ask “what CAN you do?” I asked “What are you WILLING to do?

What is the plan? I’ve learned to change from simply giving people a plan to follow– to asking what are you WILLING to do? Then develop a plan from there. Who cares if you buy a step-by-step system of success if you’re not willing to do 50% of the steps? It WON’T work. Could you imagine setting out to bake a cake but only following half of the recipe’s instructions. You’ll have a mess…not a cake.

If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, THE RESULTS WILL REMAIN THE SAME.  What actions are you willing to take over the next 30 days to reach your goal? This leads into the next powerful question…

What will you do today to move you closer to your desired outcome?

When you know what you want in life and what you value most, and after you have discovered the things that are holding you back, then the next step is to commit your time to activities and areas that will move you CLOSER to what you want. There are just 24 hours in a day. Don’t waste your time on things that don’t matter or even worse-on negative thinking, negative speaking and actions that move you further away from the life you desire.

Make every moment count. Create a measuring stick in your mind that you use to determine how much time, effort and energy you will invest into anything–and base it on whether or not it’s honoring your values and moving you closer to your desired outcomes.

As easy as this sounds, this is the challenge. There are many strong habits that have already been established in your life. TV, Facebook, video games, friends, unexpected visitors, romance novels, texting, etc., etc., the list goes on forever. When you find yourself engaging in an activity that is not moving you closer to your goals and desired outcomes ask yourself this:

“What can I do right now that will take me in a positive direction to the results I want?”

One last note on how to use these questions. Many times clients have shared that they have asked themselves these questions, but they never followed through on the application of the answers. I have been there too.  A secret hidden power is to discuss these questions and answers out loud. Then write out the answers.  Taking thoughts and ideas and putting them into spoken words and spoken commitments, followed by writing them out gives them a powerful energy.

REMEMBER: If you want different outcomes from what you have been getting you must take different, more focused action.  If you normally read something like this and say you will do it later-THAT HAS NOT BEEN WORKING. Take different action and do it right now.

Coach Sean McCarthy is a Certified Small Business that helps his clients focus on small increases in 5 key areas of their business that results in a 2X in profits. To schedule a free coaching session with Sean Click HERE

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