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Coaching with NLP For Dummies® by Kate Burton

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What's the First Step?

Coaching sessions conclude with an action of some kind, even if that action is an inquiry, something for clients to think about, rather than a to-do list.

An example of an inquiry is: ‘How would it be to relax and take your time more often?’ By comparison, an example of a to-do list is: ‘Identify three favourite ways to increase your relaxation.’

Taking the first step is often the most difficult one because after you take it, you're committed to move and take another step. You can't go back. The first step honours the challenge of change and the ownership of responsibility. The first step to a clear desk is throwing away a piece of paper. The first step to a weight-loss programme is (literally) stepping on the scales.

With the first step comes a sense of relief and the recognition that momentum can build. In the parlance of Joseph Campbell's classic work The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Fontana Press), taking the first step involves the hero stepping over the threshold and venturing into the unknown. In NLP terms, the first step moves clients from the present state to the desired state, shifting from being at effect to becoming at cause in their lives. There's no correct or best first step, simply something that clearly shifts the client into action towards the goal rather than perpetuating procrastination.

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