Today, I would like to share with you, my coaches and mentoring clients (and even parents) a tool I have for working with my life-coaching clients. This tool is also useful for every form of therapy and even for teaching and parenting. This tool is quote cards.
Sometimes, it is hard to start a discussion with children, teens or adult clients, and we want the messages to appear as if they are coming from somewhere else and not from us. Quotes and quote cards provide a great way to do that.
Generally, quotes are a wonderful tool in motivation, because they typically communicate an idea powerfully using a very short and concise format. Many times, when you read or hear a great quote, it reinforces a belief you already have, or already want to have, and you think, “I couldn’t have said it better”.
In coaching, our goal is to help our clients switch from one emotional or mental state to another. We need to be very careful about helping them get to where they want to go, not to where we think they should go. This is why getting to know them and their coaching targets is essential to our work.
Once you find that destination, that state they want to be in, and identify what is stopping them from achieving it, you can use quotes in your “instillation program” of new beliefs and ideas.
Here is an example:
A client has a relationship breakdown and has limiting beliefs “I’m not good enough” and “It’s not worth the effort”. What he wants is to be in a good relationship, to feel good enough and to think that it is worth the effort.
The client’s beliefs are causing him pain, which is why he came to see you. So, once you know what they are, you need to replace them. You need to instill beliefs that relationships are important, that improving the relationship is possible, that he is good enough and that it is worth it, big time.
To do this, I use quotes cards. I use them for every age and every problem. I even use them in my presentations and workshops.
Introduce three times. Practice three weeks
Think of the quotes as seeds. Once you plant them in the person’s mind, he or she cannot take them out.
When introducing a new idea or a new thought, make sure to do it at least three times during the session. Research shows that hearing something three times makes a person think of it to be true, so use this research to your advantage.
You can ask the person to read it, you can read it aloud yourself, you can discuss this, you can talk about some concepts form the quote, and if you can, give it to the client to post in a visible place, so he or she can see it every day for the next three weeks.
Why three weeks?
Because this is how long it takes this new seed to grow into a belief.
4 ways to use quote cards
Quotes as session starters
Pick up cards with quotes that are suitable for the specific challenge. Put them in a box and ask the client to pick a random one without reading it.
Ask the client as many questions as you can about the quote. For example, ask them, “What do you think of this quote?” and “Do they think you already hold this belief?” Talk about the definition of some words from the quote. Give examples of how this quote is true for you and ask them to tell you if they have examples of when this quote is true.
Sometimes, taking about the person who wrote the quote give it more credibility and inspiration. For example, giving a quote by Mother Theresa to someone who is spiritual can give it more credibility and power.
The more you talk about it, the easier it will be for your clients to explore the idea. It will also help them clear all the blockages in their existing mental program that prevent them from adopting the new belief.
Remember, the main idea is to allow the clients to convince themselves that life will be better with the new belief than with the negative one they have been holding.
Some clients find it hard to let go of their beliefs. If you think they are resisting the new belief and want to hold on to their old programming, ask, “How does it make you feel when you think that you are not good enough?” If they answer, good! If they do not answer, that is also good. What matters is that they revisit the bad feeling and remember that it brings them suffering.
Then, you can go back to the quote cards.
Quotes as session conclusion
At the end of the session, have all the relevant quote cards spread on the table or on the carpet and ask clients to take one they think will be beneficial for them. Or they can pick up the cards that best describe what you have covered during the session.
Encourage them to trust their own instincts and pick the first quote card that comes into their mind. If they hesitate and take too long to choose, let them take two. For this activity, you need to have enough cards, so they can take them home with them.
Remind them to put their quote cards on display and look at them every day. They can take a photo of their quote cards and look at them on their smartphone. They can hang them on their fridge, in the shower, on the inside of the toilet door (the toilet is a great place for contemplating life), in the car, in their diary, on their computer screen or in their wallet.
Quotes for “a friend”
Sometimes, it is hard for people to talk about their own problems. Talking about someone else is easier. For example, it is typical for parents to think their children have a problem and they search for strategies to help the children, rather than trying to help themselves. So you can spread the quote cards and ask the client to pick up one that will be very helpful for someone else. It is best if the other person is someone they complain about or have a problem with!
Once they pick a specific quote, start a discussion about why they picked it. What “quote” does the other person currently hold that creates the problem for them? Why is that belief bad for the other person? Why do they hold this belief? How will the new quote help them?
When they explain to you why “their friend” needs this card, they understand it too. Sometimes, when going deep into the idea expressed in the quote, they understand how it can help “their friend”.
Quote as art therapy
Art provides a great outlet for some people and is very useful when working with children. During the sessions, we find a quote the client believes can make life great. We then ask the client to present it using any art form.
This is a fantastic “homework” activity. I created the art above for myself, because I liked the quote in it. It hangs at the entrance to my house, so we go past it several times a day and all my clients can see it when they come in. This is also a philosophy I want my children to follow, so I am happy that they see it every day.
Generally, I like this format and some of my clients have created some amazing presentations of things we have learned in our sessions. The technique they use to present their work does not matter. They can use sharpies and write on a card. Art is a form of therapy and if the artwork focuses on an idea, creating it helps the mind process and “install” the belief.
I hope the tips here will be useful for you. Please come back here and share your own experience with it, so other coaches, teachers and parents will be able to use it as well.