My power tool – Half Empty or Half Full

March 1, 2007

Half Empty or Half Full?

Often when things are difficult and not going as we would like, it is so easy to fall into the trap of seeing the glass as “half full.”  We can identify this behavior when we hear statements such as:“Nothing ever works out for me”“This always happens to me”“When one bad thing happens, there is always another following”Clients can get into this “negative self talk” rather quickly and it is important to help them see their pattern and try to help them “reframe” their perspective.The glass is Half Empty: – this perspective is colored by a more pessimistic view of life or of a particular situation.  The person often feels powerless to change or control outcomes and finds it easier to explain it as a “situation” vs taking responsibility for his/her actions. The glass is Half Full:   this perspective is shaped by optimism.  The person can separate one incident from others and doesn’t see them as a “chain reaction” or inevitable.  This optimism is different from the personality trait of optimism – by this I mean this viewpoint of Half Full can be a technique we use as coaches rather than just an innate perspective that a client might have. 

Have you ever had a time when you felt that nothing was going your way?What was the outcome of this negative perspective – did things tend to get better or worse?  What changed the situation if anything?  Techniques to move the client from Half Empty to Half Full:Visioning:Ask the client to describe everything they would like to have happen to them within the next month or short period of time.  Spend time discussing each outcome – encourage client to write down a vision statement for each outcome they would like.  Can you encourage the client to visualize how they would feel if these situations came to pass?UACTo acknowledge that the client might be stuck ask the client what is keeping their vision from happening.  It is important to also explore the barriers – what can be done about them?  Are they real or perceptual?  Do they believe that they don’t deserve good things to happen for them?Moving toward Action by creating a planYou might have them write down 3 action steps they could take toward making the positive outcome a reality.  Discuss their role and responsibility in taking action to make some thing happen. Changing PerspectivePowerful and provocative questions can help the client reframe and change his perspective.  Examples include:

  • If you could wave a magic wand, what outcomes would you want?
  • How would someone you admire handle this situation?
  • If you were to have 6 months to live, how would you feel if you had to describe the situation you were in as your “final state”?

 REFLECTION AND APPLICATIONWhich of the techniques above appeals to you most?What is the power of visualizing your outcome – how can you help your client harness this power?What other techniques have you used to help a client break the cycle of their negative “self talk” and cycle of playing the victim?. 






February 7, 2007

I had the opportunity with two different clients to help them reframe and see a situation from another perspective.  With one, I helped her see the positives of a situation that she only saw as a negative.  I also worked with someone on reframing their feelings about “selling their services” to others.  Very often people feel that they might be hasseling or harrasing someone if they try to sell their services.  Rather than see it as harrasement, couldn’t we flip this around to see it as a benefit, a gift that we’re offering to them.  If we believe that our coaching will help someone achieve their goals, then we should be able to think about offering or “selling” our services as something positive vs negative.


February 4, 2007

It was helpful to participate in the class on acknowledgement.  I took away two thoughts:  the first is that sometimes it is a positive thing to tell others what we want to be acknolwedged for.  The second is that we so rarely acknowledge our own accomplishments. This prompted me to make a list of all my accomplishments for the first month I’ve been in business.  It felt good.

Hello world!

February 4, 2007

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!