M4S 058: Coaching Others How to Be a Prepper
This article is on how to coach others to be a prepper. If you listened to last week’s episode #57, “How to Convince Someone to Prepare,” you’ll know that I touched on a couple of things to do when working on getting a friend or relative into being prepared. One of those “to-dos” is coaching others on how to be a prepper.
So, let me ask all of you, have you ever been coached or studied how to coach someone? I don’t mean sports coaching. I mean coaching people to improve their lives.
If you have, then you already know how powerful and successful coaching can be. And when it comes to preparedness, a good coaching strategy combined with a useful technique can make a difference in helping people overcome the preparedness roadblocks that face us all.
Coaching Is a Great Way to Help Others Learn How to Be a Prepper
Now, when it comes to coaching, I do know a thing or two. First, I know how incredibly effective coaching can be because I have been coached on numerous occasions. Shoot, I’m in a coaching program right now that is seriously blowing my mind. The second reason I know coaching is excellent is that I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to coach many people myself.
Now, why is coaching so awesome? Coaching is excellent because, when done right, it can be one of the most effective methods of helping someone to accomplish something they would have otherwise struggled with or failed at entirely.
The part of this that gets awesome is as you master the steps to convince someone to prepare, and as you combine those steps with a competent coaching strategy, you set yourself and those you’re coaching up for success. You’re not just convincing them to prepare. You’re helping them to learn how to be a prepper.
I mean, seriously, when it comes to preparedness, not getting your family and friends on board with your prepping is one of the most common and frustrating problems that many of us as preppers face. Now, wouldn’t it be great if you get the mental tools and techniques to get your loved ones on board with preparedness? Just think how much easier and more enjoyable your preparations will be.
Coaching versus Teaching
Coaching people on how to be a prepper is a handy way to help them get on board with preparedness, develop their skills and abilities, and, here’s an important one, enhance their performance. Yes, coaching and teaching may seem the same, but there are significant differences. One fundamental difference is that as a teacher, the focus is on you, your knowledge, experience, and style of presenting the information. On the other hand, a coach focuses on the student.
I want to go over the differences between coaching and teaching because I’m going to help you learn some strategies to incorporate coaching into your preparedness mindset. Then, as you become better at coaching, you’ll be able to use your new coaching skills to help square away other preppers and hopefully soon-to-be preppers. The great thing about this is that your coaching skills will take you so much farther than just convincing people to prepare, which is essential. Instead, not only will you be able to convince other people to prepare, but when they run into challenges as they prepare, you’ll be able to help walk them through those challenges as well.
Teaching Is Instructor-Focused.
Teaching is very impersonal, while coaching is very personal. This level of involvement is why, oftentimes, it costs much more to hire a coach than it does to hire a teacher.
An example of teaching is when you sign-up for a usually lower-priced online course. The course is short, by the numbers, with relatively no interaction between yourself, other people in the course, and the instructor. Basically, you pay for the course, and shortly after, you get access to the training. The training often consists of several pre-recorded videos, self-paced PowerPoint presentations, or something similar that requires very little interaction. Instead of interacting with others, you sit in front of your computer and have the information run until you either finish or get bored and fall asleep. Eventually, you may complete the course with a head full of information that you could not discuss and get clarification on.
Coaching Focuses on the Other Person
Coaching focuses on helping the person, the individual, or the group of individuals take what you’ve taught them and apply that knowledge to their life. In other words, teaching consists of one-way communication, while coaching is two-way communication. Coaching is collaborative and provides individual feedback. In a way, the coach and student create the results together. A teacher usually shares information one time. A coach, though, will interact with and mentor the person they are working with. Coaches guide others towards resolving a problem or successfully achieving some goals. Of course, every person is different in their results.
An example of coaching is when you pay for a course with a higher ticket price. You generally receive more in-depth information, a variety of handouts, and supporting documents with the costly course. More importantly, the course includes interaction and collaboration between the students and the coach. This interaction helps people to actually learn the material presented in the course you paid for.
Coaching is Not Passive
So, it’s important to remember a few things regarding coaching and passing on information to others. Coaching is not passive. In other words, you have to be involved and interact with others. Most people find is that coaching is very fulfilling, especially when it comes to the results. Statistics show that the percentage of people who reach their goals by participating in the teaching model type of instruction is far less than those who learn via the coaching model. In the end, as a coach who is working with individuals, you can help them get past their learning barriers and find success. Just think about when you were in school. Did you learn more from the teacher when they stood in front of the class and lectured, or did you learn more when they explained things to you in a one-on-one coaching situation?
Over the years, I’ve found that as I’ve grown in my preparedness knowledge, some people need coaching on how to be a prepper. As I realized that and began helping others, I found that it is super rewarding to coach people individually. Over the years, I coached people here and there. Since starting Mind4Survival, I’ve found that the amount of coaching I do is ramping up. There’s a good number of listeners out there who I have had the privilege to help coach, and I love every minute of it. That’s because I’m here to help and enjoy working with all of you awesome preppers out there. Motivate others outside of their comfort zone.
Branch Outside of Your Comfort Zone
I want to motivate you to step outside of the comfortable box you probably have yourself in. Trust me, speaking to people can be intimidating, especially as the number of people you’re speaking to increases. So far, the most people I’ve had to speak to at once was around 400. That definitely wasn’t easy the first time I did it. But, over time, speaking to groups becomes easier, and as it does, your coaching will become much more effective. Now, the point of all this is that if you’re a person who isn’t comfortable with public speaking, don’t worry. It will get easier, and you’ll get better over time.
Oh, and there’s one other really great thing about coaching. As you coach others on how to be a prepper, you will be, in many ways, coaching and improving yourself. Then, as you do it more and more, your coaching will improve. And from there, your effectiveness and abilities will begin to pick up speed and snowball.
This Book Will Take Your Coaching to a New Level
So, while I’ve coached for many years, I really didn’t take it up to another level until I read a book by Michael Bungay Stanier. It’s called “The Coaching Habit: Say, Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever.” Now, this book is awesome, and I highly recommend it.
With that, I’m going to go over what I’ve learned about coaching. The great thing is that there are coaching techniques that I’ve learned in this book that I now use in both my Mind4Survival life and my day job life. Stanier’s book includes seven questions that you should ask the people you’re coaching. The questions have a precise order that they are asked in.
Coaching Best Practices
Before you jump in and start asking questions, there are other coaching best practices that you need to learn and master. First, you need to make sure that you ask just one question at a time. Honestly, this is often a difficult task for people to manage, and the odds are that we can all do a little better with this. I know I step on people during conversations from time to time. Heck, if you’ve tuned in to any of the videos we do over The Survival Preppers, you’ll see Dale and I, despite our best efforts, interrupt one another.
While it’s human nature to get excited about something in the conversation and jump in, it’s counterproductive in the coaching environment. What we, as coaches, need to work on is asking our question, then letting the other person answer it while we sit back and listen. That’s number one.
The second thing is to forget about the small talk and opening discussions. When you’re coaching, you want to get right into it and forget about all of the fluff. One way to look at it is that a person needs your help, so you go and try to help, not talk about the weather.
Third, and many of us are guilty of this when helping others, don’t offer advice that ends in a question. So, for example, if a person needs help with a bug-out bag, we may ask, “Have you packed a couple of widgets, or did you put this gadget in your bag, or how about doing something like this?” Sure, you’re trying to help, but that isn’t really how coaching works.
You’re probably saying, “But Brian, you said coaching involves asking questions.” True, I did, but not those kinds of questions. Those kinds of questions, questions where you ask if someone did a specific something, or think a particular way, aren’t really coaching questions. Rather, when we ask a specific question like these, we are, in a sense telling someone what we would do in their place.
In other words, we’re offering advice that is wrapped in a question. In reality, you’re just telling them what to do in the form of a question. Think back through your life, has anyone ever asked, “Are you going to take that garbage out?” How often is that more of a reminder or nudge to get you to do it instead of someone curious about you taking the trash out? Forming advice as a question is a bad coaching habit that you want to avoid.
Three Ingredients in the Coaching Recipe
Those are three ingredients that go into the making of an excellent coach. However, I recommend that you check out Stanier’s book,“The Coaching Habit: Say, Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever.” Now though, I’m going to cover Stanier’s seven questions that you should ask when coaching someone and why those questions matter.
Now, you may be wondering if learning to coach is for you? Well, it’s for you if you ever want to help someone improve indeed and understand what they are doing instead of just telling someone what to do. Ultimately, just like many of the mindset topics I speak about, coaching does not only apply to preparedness. Finally, coaching can apply to many areas of your life, including areas to help you help others to become better people, not just how to be a prepper.
In my case, I have people who work for me. Rather than just being a dictator, I want to make them better at not only their job but at life in general. For those of you who are parents, as a parent, you are the coach of your children. Why do you coach them? You coach them to help them learn to lead successful, happy, and full lives, hopefully. In the end, at various times throughout our lives, we all have the opportunity to be a coach and help others – and in this case, we want to help them learn how to be a prepper.
7 Questions You Should Ask When Coaching Someone on How to Be a Prepper
Question #1 | The Kick Start Question: “What’s on your mind?”
Alright, so let’s begin with the first question, which is “What’s on your mind?” That’s it. It’s an easy question that allows you to dump the introduction, fluff, and small talk. It gets right into the heart of it all (how to be a prepper and what’s getting in their way) and is a great way to start the conversation going.
It’s a great question because it’s a non-specific, general question that allows the person to tell you what is happening in their mind, without any leading or framing, by you. Notice, you are not asking, “What’s the problem?” or, “What’s your issue?” Instead, you’re simply asking, “What’s on your mind?” Because the questions are open-ended and non-specific, you’re opening the conversation up to anything that is bothering a person or on their mind. Once you find out what’s on a person’s mind, you will then be better able to help the person get past whatever it is. After all, helping someone get past what is on their mind is the goal of all this.
Question #2 | The A.W.E. Question: “And what else?”
The second question is, “And what else?” This is an important question that Stanier refers to as the A-W-E question. People are often surprised when they first hear the A-W-E question. Many people don’t think it will be very effective, but it is. The reasoning for the “And what else?” question is that people tend to believe that a person you are trying to help will tell you everything you need to know. Unfortunately, that hardly ever happens. Unless you ask the A-W-E question, you’re probably going to scratch the surface of the person involved barely. If you truly want to help, it’s the follow-on questions such as “And what else?” that is money.
You’ll be surprised, but the majority of the time, when you ask the A-W-E question, you’ll get a response like, “Well, there is this other thing that’s I’m having trouble with.” When that happens, you’ll quickly realize that you would never have been able to get the answer out of them had they not asked the A-W-E question.
This May Be the Most Important Question You Ask.
When it comes to the A-W-E question, if there’s one question you want to practice and have down pat, this is it. Don’t just wait to use this question when coaching someone on how to be a prepper. No, you can use it when coaching your family, friends, and others. Think about it, when you see someone who you know is having a problem, you ask them, “What’s wrong?” They usually hmmm and hah, eventually telling you a story that when it’s over doesn’t seem to cover what the problem appears to be or what you need to help coach them. Then, instead of giving advice or asking another pointed question, this is where you ask, “And what else is on your mind?” When you ask this, it will help you understand what a person’s problem is, where it comes from and what is causing it.
The A-W-E question makes it possible for you as the coach to know if you’re solving the person’s real problem or not. When you’re at this point, you’ll sometimes read between the lines and figure out the problem without the person saying it. It’s here where you need to coach them along so that they tell you, in their own words, what the problem is. As you go through this process, people will tell you a lot of things when responding to your questions. However, while they may be all over the map with their response, you need to make sure that you genuinely understand any issue they’re having with how to be a prepper.
Question #3 | The Focus Question: “What’s the real challenge here for you?”
When it comes to coaching people, you want them to tell you what their problem is in their own words. You don’t want to guess. Maybe you have a general idea of the problem, but you still don’t completely understand it or what the person wants. It’s at this point that you need to ask the third question, which is, “Now that you’ve told me all of that, what’s the real challenge here for you?”
By asking this question, you help the person nail down the actual problem and what is making it difficult for them to figure out, in their situation, how to be a prepper. It helps the person organize and frame the thoughts in their head to focus on providing you with what their problem with how to be a prepper is. Unfortunately, we and our minds are good at coming up with “stuff” off the cuff but stink when organizing those thoughts. That’s why this question is so good. By asking, “What’s the real challenge here for you?” you’re helping the person to think through all of the unorganized thoughts they’ve had so that they can now say, “Alright, this is what is bothering me. Here’s my real challenge. Now, how do I make it better?”
Once you know what the real problem is, in the person’s own words, you’re then in a position to focus on helping them come up with a solution. This helps make sure you avoid the pitfall of just giving advice that I warned you about earlier. However, it also helps make sure that you’re not helping them work on an issue that isn’t the problem. Again, the goal of question number three is to get the person you are coaching to tell you precisely what their challenge is.
Question #4 | The Foundation Question: “What do you want?”
Stanier’s fourth question, the foundation question, is “What do you want? What do you want to accomplish?” It’s this question that allows you, the coach, to be guided by the person you are coaching. This question is the person telling you what you can do to help them learn how to be a prepper.
It’s pretty impressive when you think about it. Coaching is all about making sure that you ask the correct questions. If you’ve ever been coached, you know that good coaches ask questions. It’s funny because you want someone to give you the answer when you’re new to being coached. When I started with coaches, I thought they’d tell me what I needed to know. It never dawned on me that coaches help you work through your problems to develop the solutions, and therefore, the answer should suit you. After all, what is right for one person may not be suitable for another. In effect, by asking questions, coaches help nudge and get you pointed in the right direction.
These questions are designed to help the person you are coaching come up with their answers. As I mentioned earlier, telling someone what to do has an entirely different effect than when they believe that, through your great coaching, they came up with the answer on their own (which they did), which results in them being more likely to have complete faith in the solution. In the end, when you help someone solve their problem on their own, you set them up to believe in what they’re doing. Then, their belief in what they’re helps motivate them into dedicated action because their action results from their thought process.
Question #5 | The Lazy Question: “How can I help?” or “What do you want from me?”
Next up is the lazy question, which is pretty remarkable for us as coaches. Question five may seem like an obvious question, but it’s one that many people fail to ask. This question will get the person you are coaching to tell you point blank what you can do for them.
Think about it this way. Someone needs help, so armed with your shiny new coaching badge in hand, you jump in and offer help. You then begin running through the first four questions. As you do, you find out what’s bothering the person, their challenges, and what they want your help to achieve. Then, it’s at this point where you drop the lazy question on them and ask, “How can I help you?”
Ask someone, “How can I help you?” after all the other questions you’ve asked that have highlighted their problems, challenges, and what they want to achieve. Then you have set the person up to tell you exactly what they need from you. That’s why Stanier calls this the lazy question. It’s “the lazy question” because you don’t have to figure out what help a person needs to learn how to be a prepper.
When responding to this question, the person you’re coaching will tell you what they need from you to solve the problem you’ve been discussing. By asking, “How can I help you?” the person you’re coaching will make it clear to you what you can do to help them. This allows you to become more accurate and helpful while simultaneously making it less hard on you. It’s easier. You’re not beating around the bush with guesses. Instead, you’re diving right in and cutting out all of the wasteful nonsense.
Non-Standard Responses About How to Be a Prepper
It’s good to know that when asking this question, you may receive a variety of responses, all of which are significant and must be handled in their way. So, for example, you ask someone, “How can I help?” and they respond by saying, “I want you to do something for me.” Now that they’re asking you, what do you do?
They’re asking that you handle their problem for them and do all of the work on their behalf. Ultimately, they’re trying to transfer their work of how to be a prepper to you. Now, you can say yes, but should you? Notice I didn’t say that you will automatically say yes. Remember, you’re the coach, and as the coach, you control your boundaries, which may include saying no to doing the work for someone. Rather than saying no, which can be interpreted poorly, think about saying, “Well, no, I can’t do that, but here’s a way where we can overcome this problem. Let’s work on it together.”
As mentioned before, the “How can I help you?” question really helps you to understand what a person wants. Once knowing what a person wants, the “How can I help you?” question helps you understand what the person needs. Once you have that understanding, you’ll be better able to help them figure out the right answer.
Sometimes Giving Advice Is Unavoidable.
Now, I mentioned earlier that you want to avoid giving advice, which you do. However, there are going to be times where giving advice is unavoidable. Just remember, though, the goal of coaching is to have the person you’re coaching come up with the right answer on their own. Now, the question “How can I help you?” aids you in understanding what the person needs so that you can help them find the right answer about how to be a prepper.
For the sake of practice, let’s assume you asked, “How can I help you?” and the person you’re coaching responded with, “I don’t have any money for preparedness, so I need you to lend me some money so I can get better prepared.” One possible way to respond is to say, “I’m sorry, but no, I can’t lend you any money, but what can you do to get money for your preparedness needs, or what can you do to lower your preparedness costs?” When you use this approach, you’re coaching the person by posing questions that relate to their problem and then helping them find a solution, which helps them even more in their quest of how to be a prepper. It’s this expedition for a solution that helps make coaching so powerful.
They May Have No Questions About How to Be a Prepper
Next, when it comes to the lazy question, there is one more situation that coaches need to be aware of. That situation is when people may try to avoid answering “How can I help?” and instead try to ask you a question. Typically, that question is something along the lines of “What do you think I should do?” The person you are coaching is attempting to get you to offer advice by telling them what they should do by asking this question. Remember, the coaching journey is designed to help people improve, not to make it easy on them. So, in a situation like this, make sure you avoid saying, “Well, I would do it this way.” otherwise, the person you coach will follow your advice, which may not be their best course of action possible.
In the case where the person you’re coaching lays what Stanier calls a mousetrap by asking you, “What should I do?” When asked, you can respond with something to the effect of “Well, I have some thoughts about this, but first, I’d like to know what options you think you have?” This question/response should help you avoid this coaching trap. Then, when they answer you by providing some options, you can tell them, “That sounds like a good idea, why not give that a try?”
If you think the options they gave you don’t answer the problem, ask them the A.W.E. question in response. When you ask the “And what else?” question, you force the person to drill down until they arrive at a true answer to the situation. If they continue not to hit on the answer, keep guiding the conversation by asking questions like the “And what else?” question.
Question #6 | The Strategic Question: “If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?”
Alright, we’re on to question number 6, which is, “If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?” In other words, when you ask, “If you’re saying yes to this…” you’re indicating that your efforts have worked, and there’s a solution to the problem. However, typically when we say yes to one thing, we usually have to say no to something else. For example, if you want to go to the gym in the mornings, you’ll have to give up something to make time for the gym. Maybe you usually sleep in during the morning. So, while you are saying yes to the gym, you are simultaneously saying no to something else, such as sleeping in.
Once you decide on your yesses and nos, you’ve simultaneously established boundaries for yourself. Setting these boundaries is super important. It’s important because when we can say no to things, we’re also, at the same time, saying yes to other things that may be more important to us. When we start feeling comfortable saying no to some things and yes to others, we can scale our lives up in a positive, continually growing, and evolving manner.
Next, by asking the people you are coaching to set boundaries for themselves through the question “If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” you’re helping them establish their parameters, which will help them to achieve their goal.
Saying Yes Means Saying No, Too
Now, as you can hear, when I said yes to creating my situational awareness course, I said no to a great many other things. The same may hold true for you and the people you’re coaching. You’ve guided them towards their goal by asking questions to help them get on the right course. You are also asking them to frame it in a manner that makes their direction very apparent. The no, in this case, can be very significant and meaningful beyond impacts to a social calendar or sleep.
Perhaps what some say yes to means saying no to long-ingrained personal philosophies, behaviors, assumptions, and mindsets. After all, how often have we heard of people who make a change (saying yes) that requires them to do something differently (saying no)? Perhaps it results in them overcoming a long-held fear. Maybe they progress to the point that they overcome a mindset that has held them back for years. Saying no to some things so that you can answer yes to others can be very difficult. But it’s essential for achieving goals like learning how to be a prepper.
Question #7 | Learning Question: “What was the most useful or most valuable for you?”
The final question, question 7, has a twofold purpose. First, asking, “What was the most useful or most valuable for you?” helps the person you’re coaching to stop and reflect on the coaching experience that they just went through. During times of reflection like this, a great deal of a person’s actual learning happens. When people are in the midst of answering your questions, they are often limited in what they’ll be able to take away from the discussion. However, when a person reflects on the discussion afterward, they can look at the situation from a holistic viewpoint and notice what they accomplished, what worked, and what didn’t. What did you talk about together that helped them better understand how to be a prepper?
Also, asking “What was the most useful or most valuable for you?” is very helpful because it aids you in understanding what worked and what didn’t. It also allows you to make sure that the person you coached truly understood what you discussed and worked on together.
When it comes to the final question, there are many ways that you can ask, “What was the most useful or most valuable for you?” One way to phrase this last question is to ask, “What was the most useful part of our discussion for you? Out of this conversation, what was the most valuable thing that we covered?” You can also ask, “What insights did you gain from this conversation?” and “What did you learn today?
This Feedback Is Important to You as a Coach.
As the person you’re coaching answers the last question, you’ll receive vital feedback. You’ll find out what they learned from you and what they went through in the process. By asking this and listening well, you will discover what works and what doesn’t work. This will help you to dial in your coaching efforts to be more efficient and effective. You’re getting the person to tell you what was useful and what went well. You will be learning how to better coach someone on how to be a prepper.
You also personalize the conversation by asking the person to tell you what was most useful. When you do this, you enhance the connection between you and the person. This results in the person trusting you more. It also reminds them that they got something from you in the process. They’re leaving the conversation in a better place than when they arrived.
The Bottom Line on Coaching Someone on How to Be a Prepper
So, to recap, whether you’re working to convince others to become prepared, getting someone started learning how to be a prepper, helping someone improve their current preparedness, or just helping someone in general, your ability to coach them instead of giving advice, is critical to their overall progress.
When coaching, you must listen more and talk less. Then when speaking, do so in the form of asking non-advice giving questions. To better understand how to coach people, I recommend reading Michael Bungay Stanier’s book. It’s called “The Coaching Habit: Say, Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever.”
Now, for Stanier’s seven questions that you should ask when coaching someone, they are:
- The Kick Start Question: “What’s on your mind?”
- The A.W.E. Question: “And what else?”
- The Focus Question: “What’s the real challenge here for you?”
- The Foundation Question: “What do you want?”
- The Lazy Question: “How can I help?”
- The Strategic Question: “If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?”
- Learning Question: “What was the most useful or most valuable for you?”
Hopefully, this kick-started your mindset so that you’re able to help coach those who matter to you. Coaching is about guiding someone on their quest for an answer so they truly learn and achieve their goals. It’s not about doing the thinking for them.
Do you have any other thoughts or questions about coaching others on how to be a prepper? Please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure, and prepared,
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