To read part 1, click here.
To read part 2, click here.
To read part 3, click here.
To read part 4, click here.
The Meta Programme covered in this article is General – Specific
Imagine each Meta Programmes as a scale, with the most extreme example at each end of the scale. Some people will be extremely ‘general’ also known as ‘big picture’, others extremely ‘specific’ also know as ‘detailed’, but people can use one or the other depending on context.
In fact, the ability to see the big picture so that they can hold the vision of where they are going, and at the same time be able to dive into the details when required to clarify a situation, is a key skill of successful business leaders.
Usually when you are coaching you identify the Meta Programmes your clients are using by listening for the language they use to motivate themselves and match it. With this particular Meta Programme it is the way your client gives you information that you are working with.
Clients who are general see the ‘big picture’ and tend to speak in a very general way. They give no details and if they are not challenged to give examples or evidence, important information can be missed. Ask them how their week went and you will likely get one-word answers such as “good”, “tough” or “busy.”
As a coach it is your job to ‘chunk down’ to retrieve more information. The way to do this is ask questions such as “What specifically did you do this week?”, “Give me some examples of what was tough?”, “Tell me more about what you were busy with?”
Use open questions or even better NLP Meta Model questions, because these help you retrieve the specific information, so you have much more clarity of your clients’ situations.
When concluding a coaching session with a general client, keep it short and to the point. Use general language to chunk up and summarise the key points for them to focus on. Have them work on one or two key points only.
Your specific clients are highly detailed and will give lots of information. They can overload people to the point that what they are trying to convey can be missed. As their coach it is your job to guide them to get to the point by asked for a summary, synopsis, overview or outline. This is often referred to as chunking up.
Asking questions such as “What three points do you want to work on today?” “What are the main areas you want to focus on today?” “Time is limited so is this a priority?”
Highly specific clients will go off on tangents and it’s important to keep focusing them back on track, because the purpose of coaching is to achieve specific goals within a specific timescale.
Some coaching disciplines don’t encourage intervention. But as an NLP executive coach, my clients would not get the results they achieve if they were not able to cut through the detail and achieve clarity.
When summing up a coaching session with a highly specific client, always leave time to check if they have all the details they need to achieve their next step. They have a lot of things to think about and will feel cheated if they are rushed at the end of a session.
As always when coaching your clients, it is your responsibility to flex your communication style to that of your clients, not the other way around.