Get a Life Q&A Mar 30 2014


My dad is 70 and in good health. I have friends who are older than that and still active – in sports, involved in projects with their buddies, or traveling. My dad believes he’s too old; it’s too late for him to get anywhere so why try. How do I encourage him to be more productive in his life?

What’s the strongest belief that’s driving your father’s behavior? Is it, “I’m too old, it’s too late?” Or is it, “I’ll fail anyway so why try?” What about, “How can I compete with people who are richer, younger, more educated than me?” Notice that all these come from fear.

When you change his context (i.e. fear), you will begin to see a different behavior. How can we do this? We’ll start by encouraging the experience of something more empowering than fear. Try on curiosity, humor, or knowledge… “Dad, meet X, he’s 82 and loves to cook!” “Dad, let me tell you the story of Colonel Sanders. Do you know the one about Ray Croc?” It would help to get your father out and active.

You take charge for a start. As you do, work to erode his set of limiting beliefs, the ones that serve no purpose other than to hold him back. A belief is only a thought we think over and over until it becomes solid in our mind. A belief may or may not necessarily be true, but because it’s a thought that has gone unchallenged for so long, it becomes attached to our mind as if, “part of the furniture.”

Too old? Ahmad over there is 70 and loves to paint. Fail? So what? The fun is in the process not the outcome! I will pick you up every Saturday for our walk around the lake. Mama will make a picnic for after. Why don’t you invite your old classmates for dinner – you know the ones who own that travel agency?

How do I know coaching would help my son? He suffered a breakdown recently – became very depressed about something that he doesn’t want to tell his parents about. He’s much better now although I still feel he needs someone who can help him work out what happened and be open about it.

I’m sorry to hear about your son. Good news that he’s much better now. How are you?

There’s a difference between coaching and therapy. These are two different approaches to supporting someone, and which one to use depends on the client’s psychological health and overall wellbeing. When you say your son became depressed, I’m assuming he wasn’t assessed by a psychologist and diagnosed?

Therapy is mostly remedial. That means its focus is to remedy something and nurse it back to health. Therapy is to heal something that is hurt or wounded. Therefore, therapy works mostly with the past. Therapists work to help their client feel safe and secure because their client avoids or resists the uncertainty of change.

Coaching is totally different in that the coach is engaged to raise performance. Clients who seek coaches want to improve their life, they want to overcome obstacles, and rise above whatever is in the way of their full potential.

A young person like your son would usually fall in the category of coaching, unless he’s suffered some kind of traumatic experience. It’s good for him to see a friendly professional for an assessment, that is, if he’s keen to understand his situation better.

My own assessment is that it’ll be good for him to work on building trust and confidence in himself again. A boost to his self – confidence would work wonders to get him back on track and trusting in his capability again. For any young person, the world is their oyster – pearls of possibility awaiting!

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