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A Simple Exercise that Makes You a Better Coach (by making you better at the Drop)

The Drop can seem a bit mysterious sometimes—and I have to admit that from time to time I’m at a loss for words to explain it, teach about it, and help you understand it.

In some ways the Drop is the whole pivot point of a coaching conversation. And yet, even in saying this, I make is sound singular—when it truth it’s often not.

In some ways the Drop is incredibly magical. And while it feels magical, there are not spells or incantations for you to chant. And yet, it also has its own sacred form of mechanics.

In some ways the Drop is so complex, it can feel like staring into a seven-dimensional ice cave through the eyes of a mantis shrimp… And yet, it’s also incredibly simple.

And it’s this last AND YET that I want to offer to you as a practice today.

Here is a simple exercise that will make you a better coach, by helping you be better at the Drop:

IMAGINE!

Imagine your client arrives to your session and just as they sit down they are struck on their head by a magical rock.

As soon as the rock hits them, they become confused. They don’t remember they were hit by a rock. They deny this ever happened, and in their confusion they don’t realize they are confused at all. In fact, they don’t have any memory of what it means to not be confused.

They think their confusion is clarity. And so any attempt to convince them that they are confused will be met with its own form of confusion.

Your job is to coach them so that they come to see that they are confused.

Okay, so right about now you’re probably confused, mad at me, or a little bit of both. But I’d like to remind you that the exercise is simple, but not easy. In fact, this may be the most difficult session you’ve ever coached.

But the question at the core of it is incredibly simple:
How do you coach someone who is confused?

Or if you want to make it more complicated:
How do you coach someone who is confused and in their confusion has confused clarity for confusion?

And yet both of these questions—even the simple one—capture the essence of the Drop.

One thing I’ve learned as a coach is that our clients are ALL master manipulators. And I don’t say this to be mean. After all, I’m a client, so I’m a master manipulator as well.

The reason I can say this without judgment is that even though your clients are all master manipulators, they have no idea that they’re doing it. They are 100% convinced they are telling the truth—about their lives, themselves, the world. ALL OF IT.

But they aren’t. They are simply telling themselves just enough of the truth so that they don’t really have to change anything.

There are lots of words and phrases that point to this:

  • Survival mechanism
  • Denial
  • Unconscious unconsciousness
  • Things that you don’t know, you don’t know

The list goes on and on.

And yet this is what your clients show up with.

Your clients show up confused.

Some have small confusions:
I think I have to say yes to this dinner party I don’t want to go to.

Some have medium confusions:
I think I have to get this person to like me, in order to be okay with myself.

Some have BIG confusions:
I think I am powerless in my life and to my circumstances.

But no matter what, they show up confused.

And your job is to coach them.

BUT WAIT . . .

That’s not ALL . . .

You are ALSO confused. In your own way. About what’s possible for you and in many ways what’s possible for your client.

SO HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DROP?!?

Well, I have good news. The good news is, if you are a coach, you probably know you’re confused. Though you may forget from time to time.

Part of a coach’s job—maybe the most important one—is to know that you are confused, to remember that you are confused, AND even more importantly to remember that your client is confused.

Your client is confused and they are confused about their confusion. And in the DROP you help them get they that are confused, or you create the possibility of them being open to being confused.

Simple, right?

Well, the exercise itself is actually simple even if you now feel incredibly confused.

If you are, stand up and SHAKE IT OFF! SHAKE OFF THAT CONFUSION!!!

Okay, are you back?

Great!!!

Now before the next time you coach, write on a Post-it note:
MY CLIENT IS CONFUSED
AND THEY ARE CONFUSED ABOUT BEING CONFUSED.

Then the next time you coach, after your Open, short or long:
Simply look at your piece of paper as you create the Drop.

At first this might seem hard, but notice how your client will try to convince you they aren’t confused. They will try to convince you that what they want is what they want, that they understand their issue perfectly, that the session should 100% be about coming up with a better email sorting system.

But just remember: THEY ARE CONFUSED.

Your job is to coach them so that they come to see that they are confused.

NOT to tell them they’re confused.
NOT to help them in their confusion.
NOT to agree with them knowing they’re confused for the sake of expediency.

NO, your job is to coach them so that they come to see that they are confused.

And as soon as you begin to get the sense that they are beginning to see they are confused or that they become open to the idea or truth of their confusion…

That right there is you creating the DROP, coach them RIGHT THERE!!

Right at the crack in their confused confusion.

Simple and yet sacred. Deep. Powerful. A lifetime’s worth of practice right there.

Thank you for practicing, from the bottom of my heart.

Love,
Toku


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1 comment

  • Dashielle Vawter
    | Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this this morning! I’m in so much confusion right now and it’s so fertile, so humbling, and actually feels so good to keep remembering my own confusion. And I love remembering this for my clients as well. I’m going to think about how to play with this energy in my next sessions more consciously as I think it’s already there with the NLP questions I use- but rather than avoiding confusion welcoming it as a place from which more behavioral flexibility and possibility can come.

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