One of the problems when it comes to client success is the failure to succeed in programs we know can generate successful outcomes.
It’s not our job to make a client successful, but rather to give them the tools and knowledge they can use to create success. But, it’s disheartening for some of us, when we don’t understand why a client suddenly stops making progress.
Is there anything we can do for these clients?
Previously, I mentioned the role our brain plays in assessing incoming sensory information that subsequently affects behavior and thinking when it comes to being successful.
Two primary areas act as protectors – the limbic system (fight or flight) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMCP) for assessing risk, uncertainty, fear and making decisions. When new information is introduced, the brain quickly scans itself. It takes new information and compares it to memory experiences and core values and beliefs.
What Are Core Values?
“Core values are traits or qualities that you consider not just worthwhile, they represent an individual’s or organization’s highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces.”
“Core values are also called guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and who you are and want to be going forward.” from Susan M. Heathfield –
Core values play a key role in client success by operating in the background as templates. When the idea of making a change is introduced, the brain checks its core values and beliefs to determine if the “change” is a potential threat to the status quo.
As you encounter a client that balks at moving forward on their success path, know that they’ve probably hit a challenge to a core value or belief.
To understand core values better here’s a link to an excellent resource list for you to use. Online marketer and author, James Clear, has already put together a list of 50 core values which you can access it here at http://jamesclear.com/core-values
The Core Value and Beliefs Challenge to Client Sucess
So, how do you increase client success by getting pass the challenge to a core value or belief? It’s not always easy since defenses are up even when all the logic and reasoning in the world should be enough to prevail.
However, there are 3 techniques that have had various degrees of success in overcoming a client’s resistance to success.
Technique # 1 Affirmation and Motivations
This is a technique that most of you are already familiar with. Positive affirmations and motivation are successful in overcoming negative beliefs. Because, the positive message, if believable, acts to reduce the fight or flight limbic system and uncertainty, anxiety, and fear in (VMPC).
The brain is also more attentive and receptive when meaning and visual interpretation are combined. This is why online you see so many messages that pair a visual image with positive affirmations and motivation.
However, understand if the brain interprets change as a real threat to a core value or belief the “gatekeeper” goes into effect. The gatekeeper is a subconscious (VMPC ) action that assesses risk, uncertainty, and danger.
Based on prior experiences and protecting core values and beliefs, the gatekeeper decides if a positive message for change is going to be accepted or rejected. For some, positive messaging just doesn’t get pass the gatekeeper.
Technique #2 Beyond “Why” and “What”
A common approach to helping a client be more successful is to uncover their “why” behind signing up and the “what” they expect to get out of it. It’s thought that psychologically the clearer a client is about their “why” and “what” the more inclined they are to follow through.
However, despite a powerful “why” and “what”, some clients hit a point of being overwhelmed and stressed. Their brain is facing a core belief threat and is challenged how to continue. The stress neurotransmitter cortisol increases to acerbate doubts, uncertainty, and anxiety.
As a content trainer, one way to reduce overwhelm and stress is to identify the points in your program where a client has the most problems. Then ask yourself if there is a way to make this information less threatening. Here are some suggested questions to ask yourself about your program.
- Does it need to be presented in different learning styles?
- Can it be broken down into smaller parts that are easier and less stressful to move through?
- Are you giving it your all and presenting too much information at one time?
Sometimes people do better with the KISS method than getting value from everything we know and want to share.
Technique #3 Insight
One of the most successful techniques comes from David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work. He suggests the best way is to “…help others come to their own insights.”
If you are already a therapist or a coach, you are familiar with using different kinds of client-directed discovery questions. But, for the rest of us, there’s an easier way to help a client reach their “insight ” moment.
Clear’s Integrity Report is a self-assessment tool that is based on three questions he asks himself. This is a process he does every year as a way of staying in touch with his core values.
- What are the core values that drive my life and work?
- How am I living and working with integrity right now?
- How can I set a higher standard in the future?
What if you reframed these 3 questions for your clients to use as their own self-assessment progress guide as they work through your training?
- Which of my core values and beliefs are supporting or challenging me at this point in my training?
- As I am working through this training, which of my core values and beliefs are adding to my success?
- What am I learning about my core values and beliefs through this training that I didn’t know about myself before?
The reason why “insight” works so well is that when a client arrives at their own insight their brain responds with a rewarding dollop of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. If the brain feels good, then it’s safe to proceed and make a change.
While we would like to wave a magic wand to make a client successful, we have a better chance of getting our client back on the success track by nudging their brain in the right direction. And, that’s really the best we can do.
Please continue to comment. Your previous comments have been very helpful, and who knows where I will take this next.
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