Getting to the Root of the Problem with Skilled Life Coaching

Puzzle head black and white

I have clients come to me for many different reasons. What I’m about to share with you is an actual client session that happened today and how the client came for one reason only to realize it was something entirely different they were here for. This is where an expert coach can help a client figure out exactly what the missing pieces are to their success. I am not sharing everything that was said, only some of the more substantial dialogue to help get my point across.

Coaching Clients Terry Hodgkinson






First session in Personal Life Coaching and Hypnotherapy.

Me: Okay, tell me what you want?

Client: I don’t know why I’m putting on so much weight?

Me: Okay, so what is it you want instead of putting on so much weight?

Client: I just can’t seem to keep the weight off and I’ve been working on it for a very long time, years even and it just seems to be getting worse as time goes on. I’m really stuck!

Me: Are you open to doing a little exploratory investigation, into the reasons this might be happening and why the change towards what you want is not occurring for you right now?

Client: Absolutely, I need to get to the root of my problem, that’s what I want!

Me: Okay, let’s start with if you have any medical conditions?

Client: I had cancer years ago but I’m okay now. I have digestive issues. Other than that I think I’m good.

Me: Okay, what do you do for exercise?

Client: Just jointed a gym again and I’m going almost everyday out of the week.

Me: How long has it been since you had a gym membership?

Client: Years!

Me: Okay, at least your back on track with getting in consistent exercise now, it’s just a matter of keeping with it.

Client: Yes, that’s what I aim to do.

Me: What are your eating habits like?

Client: Well I always seem to be hungry but on the most part I think they are pretty good. Well my intention is good at least.

Me: Okay, please explain.

Client: Well I bought protein shakes as a meal replacement at breakfast but I usually have the protein shake and the meal too. So I try to replace my lunch time meal but I end up having food again with my shake. I have dinner but then usually when I get home from night school, at 10 or 10:30pm I eat again.

Colourful head

Me: What time do you go to bed?

Client: Around 11 or 11:30pm

Me: That’s not much time for your digestion to work and do you think that might be too much food your eating during the day?

Client: Well I was always told that if you want energy you have to eat a lot and sometimes I get tired even exhausted especially in school at night and I think I need to eat more to get my energy back so I can be better at learning.

Me: Do you know what process in your body takes up a lot of energy?

Client: No

Me: Digestion. If you are eating all that food during the day your body is going to take time and energy to digest. Not to mention that if you are eating right before you go to bed and then sleep you will not have digested your dinner in the morning when you wake up and then you put breakfast on top of it? That’s a lot to digest, that’s a lot of energy being used up. Are you an athlete?

Client: (laughs) Umm no, quite far from it actually!

Me: Well if you were that might explain why you need all that food as you might be using it for the excessive energy that an athlete would require.

Client: Wow, I never looked at it like that before. I always thought I wasn’t eating enough for my energy.

Me: It actually might be the other way around. You are most likely eating too much and your body is in the process of constant digestion. This could be a very good reason why you have little energy and digestive issues as well.

Client: I’m always tired, actually I’m always exhausted.

Me: What about stress? Would you say you are experiencing a little or a lot right now?

Client: Well depends.

Me: On?

Client: I have a really good job. A few years back I was promoted to managing people in my department and I suck at it. Well not really at knowing what needs to be done but rather at the managing people part. I can’t stand when I’m confronted, challenged or someone is in competition with me. This creates massive stress for me.  I was actually fired in my last job because I couldn’t deal with the issues facing me, in regards to handling conflict with people I was in charge of managing.

Me: Tell me some more if you would?

Client: Sure. I seem to back down and give up when I’m confronted. If I’m challenged, I give in and let the person have whatever they want rather than put up a fuss, even if I know I’m right. When this continues, I start acting like a little frightened kid and start to avoid by coming in late, ignoring people, missing deadlines for work assignments. It get’s worse if the stress of the situation is prolonged. I don’t take as good care of my personal hygiene as I should and I withdraw, just not caring about my job anymore. That’s how I got fired on my last high paying job.

Me: Sounds like some heavy self-sabotage going on there?

Client: Yes, I just don’t like any conflict or competition, I’ve never felt as though I could handle it and once again I find myself in that same position with people in my new job now.

Me: If you are going have a position in working with people in this capacity, you are more likely than not going to have these kinds of issues come up. It’s just part of what comes with working with people as a supervisor. There may be a deeper issue here.

Client: Like what?

Me: Like poor self worth, where you feel you are not good enough to stand up for yourself, even if it comes to holding on to your job?

Client: Sniff, sniff. (facial expression takes a sudden change, looking very sad)

Me: (I give the client a minute then…) What do you think of what I just said?

Client: (Begins to cry) Yes, I think you are right. (Cries more now, reaches for kleenex box)

Me: Could there be a void inside of you that you are trying to fill up due to this lack of self worth?

Client: What do you mean?

Me: All that food you are eating, seems like you are trying to fill up a hollow space on the inside?

Client: (Sobs now, blow nose and in almost broken english do to sobbing says) Wo..w, yo..u know I thin..k you are right. I’ve never realized it before, I feel terrible, why couldn’t… I se…e it?

Sad young woman.

Me: Perhaps you just weren’t ready to see it. However you did come to me wanting to get to the root of the problem correct?

Client: Yes

Me: (Time for some initial pre-framing to create room in the clients mind to allow for change) Well, I think we may have just discovered it. The good thing is that it’s a huge realization and a wonderful one at that. This means that with a little time and some resources you will be able to heal your self worth and grow stronger day by day. Eventually reaching  your personal and professional goals. Now isn’t that something to feel good about and worth smiling for?

Client: (a few more sobs then a smile) Yes, it’s just going to take some work I guess.

Me: Absolutely it will. However, keep in mind that the work you do from this point forward will be steps that are only leading you closer to your long term happiness and freedom. No longer will you have to struggle, in endless self-sabotage cycles like you have done so in the past with many chronic symptoms to show for it, like your poor digestion weight management and loss of career advancement opportunities.

Client: Ya, that’s true and I certainly look forward to that day. (lets out a big  breath with a sigh.)

Me: (Time to begin re-framing the client’s perception) Here’s an idea to start off with. Instead of freezing in uncomfortable situations at work, imagine that you start dancing instead (client looks kind of funny at me). Imagine it’s simply a role you are playing, when you begin to treat it as such, as if it were part of a big play that includes the different roles of your life, then you can enjoy yourself. So imagine that your self worth is strong and you can dance instead of shrink. Okay, maybe you don’t break out into a full fledge boogie in front of everyone in your work environment, instead you imagine that you are dancing up a storm in your mind and darn right enjoying yourself too. You are relaxed, playing, having fun and it becomes easy for you to handle any strife or competition you are faced with, you just dance right through it!

Client: (Big smile) Wow, I like that!

Happy Young Woman With Hand Over Heart

Me: So let’s work on helping you to heal and gain the necessary resources for this to happen first at the subconscious level, then it will be easy at the conscious level, during your everyday activity. Are you ready for the hypnosis part of your session now?

Client: Oh yes!

During hypnosis about 20 minutes into it.

Me. And imagine now that you have all that you need and desire. You feel stronger than ever before and all those new resources and skills are working perfectly for you, EXACTLY when and where you need them the most. You are at work and the old strife and conflict of the past from others, THAT IN THE PAST use to bother you so much, once again rears it’s head. You may not have all the answers to solve the issues at the moment but YOU KNOW one thing for sure!  This time instead of running away, you grab its hand and begin to SWING YOUR PARTNR ROUND AND ROUND, breaking into the most fun and energetic dance off you have ever known! As a matter of fact you never knew it could be SO MUCH FUN to dance a gig like that!

Client: (relaxed laying back…all of a sudden breaks into the biggest smile and laughs…she’s dancing in her mind, – at that moment I anchor that state of mind for her and further strengthen and then help her to utilize it)

At the end of session.

Client: This was awesome. Finally I feel I have deep clarity into the real issue and I feel much better. Thank you.

Me: Thank you for being open, honest and sincere with regards to your personal growth. I’m really looking forward to seeing you dance!

I hand her a copy of the recording and remind her to listen to it once each day or better yet a few times each day if possible, before our next session in a week. I want those positive anchors installed to continue to grow and strengthen for her, with spaced listening repetition.

Terry J. Hodgkinson – Life Coach, Hypnotist, NLP, Reiki and Meditation Therapist.

Terry J. Hodgkinson’s Websites:


About Terry Hodgkinson

Terry J. Hodgkinson is a MindFit consultant. He owns Positive Changes Hypnotherapy and Meditation Centre in Toronto, Canada. As a corporate trainer, keynote speaker and retreat leader he enjoys his work so much that he calls it his passion. In 2009 Terry's book, Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja - Walking the Path of Enlightenment was published. *For information on Terry's international retreats visit: *Book Terry for your next event visit: *Martial arts training visit:
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