Brokering "Ah-ha" moments


One of the best parts of coaching is helping clients discover new ways of thinking.  There are moments during a session when a brilliant flash of understanding breaks in on their mind, and they suddenly see things from a completely different vantage point. People use different terms to describe this phenomenon such as “revelation,” “epiphany,” or even “prophetic.”

No matter what term you use, it’s become one of my favorite aspects of coaching. Especially when my client is the one producing the “ah-ha” moment on their own and I’m just the facilitator.

After I reflected on my many coaching engagements, I noticed five different patterns of ways these tend to occur.

  1. When my client is stuck in a certain situation and I’m able to suggest a new perspective that they hadn’t considered before. That opens up new ways of thinking which rapidly spawns fresh insights on how to get unstuck. Mind blown!

  2. After listening to all the component parts of a situation, sometimes I can connect the dots in a different way than my client had been associating them. Same facts + new relationships between the facts = new outcomes.

  3. At times I’m an editor. As a neutral party I can help them selectively delete what isn’t critical as they sort through an issue. By the time we’re done only the essential factors remain, and the path forward becomes crystal clear.

  4. Retelling the narrative of their past.  Past events don’t have intrinsic power - it’s your narrative of those events (the story and meaning that you ascribe to them) that holds the power.   I have a gift to help people consider alternative explanations, and at times it’s truly transformational.

  5. My favorite of all these has to be when I get to call out someone’s destiny.  Clients know when that moment connects because it reverberates in their soul. They get that sense of “This is what I was born for - my purpose in life.” In the midst of that clarity, peripheral issues quickly take a back seat and it becomes obvious what needs to take priority as they move forward.

In reality, these moments don’t just happen in isolation. They usually sneak up unannounced in the midst of a coaching engagement. But when they come, they literally have the power to change a life.

Just another reason I decided to become a coach.

How about you?  Was there a time when an “Ah-ha” moment changed the way you think?  Tell us about it below.