How to Help Clients Open a Closed Mind

14. December, 2021

Have you ever been working with a coaching client, and a good solution for a problem they have comes up, but they remain very reluctant to accept or implement it? And they seem to refuse to take any action at all. The client puts their energy into pointing out the problems, risks, and why nothing would work.

Challenging and frustrating, right?

But what is going on beneath the surface for the client?

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In coaching, we sometimes meet people who have “burnt their fingers”. They have had bad experiences, perhaps with other coaches, or maybe they have already tried something similar and it didn’t work out so well. Or they just see fundamental problems that make it difficult for them to start.

They are SKEPTICAL which probably means that they are in a Stuck State.

They are sometimes very demanding and may be unwilling to even discuss this particular topic. This isn’t because they do not want to find a solution, but because – for this particular situation – they have a CLOSED MIND.

How can we help these people? If they stay there, it’s hard to have a great conversation and almost impossible for them to have the breakthroughs they really want.

This is why the LAB Profile® (Language & Behavior Profile) offers the 3-2-1 Formula for Skeptical People™. This formula enables our skeptical clients to take a step toward exploring possible solutions. So in the end our clients can actually achieve the results they desire.

The challenge of course, is to get our coaching client to agree to at least start thinking about following our suggestions and not only about problems and issues. If we do not overcome this reluctance, the whole coaching session might be an exercise in frustration for both the client and the coach.

So how does it work?

From working with the LAB Profile®, a skeptic can be interpreted as having a specific combination of behavioral patterns and Motivation Triggers™:

Away From:  They are focusing on all the risks and problems they see and want to avoid in this matter.
Internal:They have decided for themself that these problems and risks are real, and it’s difficult for them at this time to take in information that contradicts their beliefs.
Reactive:       They have little motivation to act. They tend not to initiate action without being guided.

When you purposefully respond to these Motivation Triggers™, your client gets more into a position to open their mind and start a decision-making process.

For this, it is recommended to do the following:

First, find out your client’s concerns and anxieties. 

Very importantly, do not ask them what problems they HAVE. They don’t have any, because they won’t do anything! Ask for the problems and risks they SEE in this topic. This makes it easy for your clients to tell you.

Secondly, communicate clearly that we have understood and taken these concerns seriously.

Third, imagine a simple plan that prevents/avoids these problems. If you can get them to successfully do two small actions to start with, you can help them overcome their general skepticism and get moving. 

The Process:

  1. To find out what problems they have and reflect back what they say. Ask: “Where do you see the problems / hazards?” “Where do you have concerns?”
  2. Define a simple Action Plan with 2 actions that take into account their concerns. These first steps must be easy to do for your client.
  3. Apply the 3-2-1 Formula for Skeptical People.

The 3-2-1 Formula for Skeptical People:

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As a result, your client will be much more likely to be ready to take the proposed two steps with you (they do not pose a risk to them). And if these steps are successful, then you are back on track. 

Then your coaching client will be ready to work with you with an OPEN MIND.

You want to learn more about the LAB Profile®Click here

You want to find out how to become a LAB Profile® Trainer Click here to learn about our Online Trainer Certification

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