This article was originally written by Michael Hall – gently edited by The Coaching Room
As a Meta-Coach, you scale things with clients. You ask, “From 0 to 10, how much courage do you have right now and how much would you like to have?” We even have scaling as a skill and activity on the feedback form. If you look on the form, scaling is one of the sub-skills under state induction. Why? Because when you ask someone to gauge the degree to which they are or that they want to experience something, they generally have to try it on and experience it to some degree in order to be able to answer. That’s one use of scaling, there are many, many more uses. Here are some more.
1.) Use scaling to help a client identify the subject of the session and an outcome.
Steve de Shazer used scaling to establish a desired outcome and demonstrated it many times as part of his “consulting session” with clients. “If 10 is where you want to be when you achieve your goal, and 0 is where you started when you began thinking about setting this goal and reaching it, where are you now?”
There’s an absolutely fascinating thing with regard to this question— people will almost never say 0, they will give some number above 0. When they do, you can then ask, “How did you do that?” “How did you move from 0 to 2 (or 5 or 7)?” And, of course, when you ask that, you are asking the resource question — what resource did you use to move to this level? It is a great way to flush out hidden resources that a client may not have counted, and validate the person’s strengths.
2) Use scaling to identity the degree of an experience.
Suppose your client wants to have more productive days with regard to a project, more effective relationships with a loved one or friend, more loving connection with family member, etc. Set up a scale.
“If 10 is the relationship (or productivity, or effectiveness, or whatever) at its best and 0 is when it is at its worse, where are you now?”
When the person talks about being fairly successful, ask, “Where were you when that happened?” Suppose they say 8. Well, we know that subjective experiences are not constant, they fluctuate. They oscillate. So now you can find out the range, “That’s great, it was at 8. How much did it go up and down? Were there times when you were at 7 or 6 or 5 or maybe 8 ½?”
After you get the range, you can then ask a few additional interesting questions that can develop the process: “How did you do that?” “What did you do that allowed you to stay within that range of 6 to 8?” Asking this gives you more answers to the action question “What do you have to do to get what you want?” as well as the resource question. As such you are thereby developing more of a strategy with your client. Now ask, “How confident are you that you can stay within that range, from 6 to 8?” “Are you confident?” “If you are not, what do you need as a resource, a belief, a frame of mind, etc. to be confident?”
3) Use scaling to help a client identify tasking actions that will continue the learnings of the coaching conversation.
While we do not focus on tasking during ACMC, not as we do during PCMC, tasking is important and as a Meta-Coach, be sure to end every session with co-creating a task with your client. To prime this, set up a scale:
“If 10 is I will do anything to get my outcome, and 0 is I will pray, cross my fingers, and hope, where are you in terms of taking actions this week to get what you want?”
The psychology behind these questions is that of preparing for developing the response potential for implementation. And as we know in Neuro-Semantics, many people come to coaching precisely because they are not executing what they know, they are not engaging in some mind-to- muscle process. They are good at talking, thinking, planning, dreaming … but not at taking effective action. So gauge their “taking action” scale. By making this explicit with them, you help to raise awareness of this critical feature of success.
4) Use scaling to induce a state or experience.
Among the many uses for the skill of scaling, surprisingly it can enable a person to access a state and/or try on an experience. That’s due to the fact that in order to give a number, a person has to enter into the state. “How joyful are you right now, from 0 to 10?” “How much of a learning state are you in right now?” Induction is presupposed.
5) Use scaling to benchmark an experience.
Here’s another major way we use scaling in Neuro-Semantics. By putting an intangible skill, we can now look for degrees in the quality of an experience— was it done poorly, mediocre, at an acceptable level, at an expert level? If an experience or state is real than it will show up in actions, speech, physiological movements, etc. so we can now scale the quality of it. This was fully developed in the book, Benchmarking Intangibles.
6) Use scaling to expose cognitive distortions of over-generalisation.
You can even use scaling as an intervention for the disease of perfectionism. “It needs to be done perfectly!” the perfectionist says. “Okay, so you want it at 100%. What about 99.9%, would that be okay?” “What about 99, 98, 97…?” “If you make a mistake, would you be sure to make a perfect mistake so that you can perfectly learn from it?”
Scaling— a skill that you can use in many ways in your coaching or training. Here’s to your ongoing development in Meta-Coaching. May you get better one-percent every week!