As a cash flow coach, you not only work with what the client verbalises or says (external conversation), you also work with the client’s internal conversation.
A client’s internal conversation is simply their thoughts. The discussions they have with themselves, the voice inside their head, that comments on their life, what is happening around them and what they are thinking about (both consciously and subconsciously).
Everyone has internal conversations and they are constant – it is happening all the time. It is a natural part of the human state and allows us to apply reason and logic to what is happening and the situations that present themselves. However, it can be affected by our emotions and past experiences and can make our thinking incongruent to reality.
Some clients will be more aware of their internal conversations than others, some pay more attention to them, and other clients are quite adept at controlling them and using them to their advantage.
As a cash flow coach, you are in a position to help your clients to get a greater and more conscious connection to their internal conversations. The ability to do this not only supports your client’s self-awareness of their own thinking patterns and mindsets, but it also provides you, as the coach, with deeper clarity and understanding of your client.
The combination of these is instrumental in planning the next steps in the client’s cash flow coaching journey and recognising at which stage of the change and growth process the client sits.
Monologue and Dialogue
Internal conversations can be categorised as either monologues or dialogues, each of which uses different parts of the brain. In essence, when having an internal dialogue, we are using areas of the brain similar to having an external conversation and, importantly, it involves the generation of two different points of view.
Interestingly, we have a preference for internal dialogue. Instead of saying to ourselves – “I will research cheaper energy providers today”. We are more likely to say – “You will research cheaper energy providers today”. Further, it is likely we will incorporate other people’s voices into the internal dialogue.
Because clients are much more likely to be having internal dialogues than monologues, cash flow coaches can use this to assist in the coaching and mentoring process.
However, internal dialogue can be both helpful and obstructive because the client’s thoughts, and the language they internally use, can affect their attitude, self- confidence and self-esteem. For example: -
Clients who tend to be anxious or stressed can have these states reinforced by their internal dialogues. Which, can turn into a vicious circle.
Using negative language and having internal dialogues that are self-critical and self-admonishing can affect happiness and mood. Conversely, being able to have a positive internal dialogue can boost your attitude and state of mind. Similar to the biological chemical reaction that smiling has in relation to feeling happy.
Internal Dialogue Management
Assisting clients and supporting them to manage their internal dialogue is vital in the success of their cash flow coaching journey, as well as mental well-being and happiness.
The first step in managing internal dialogues is being aware of them.
As mentioned, some clients are more aware than others and others will find it difficult to tune into their internal conversations, be they monologues or dialogues. There are many techniques, from meditation and mindfulness, to regularly asking the question “What will my next thought be, that are all based on distracting the brain and giving it time to be aware of what’s going on.
A client’s awareness of their internal dialogue, can help themselves and the cash flow coach recognise the thoughts they gravitate towards, including: -
What is bothering them at any given time
Whether they tend to think positively or negatively
Their dominant time orientation - do they think in the past, present or future
Their motivation – are they drawn towards reward, away from threats or simply the need to understand how things are related.
Armed with awareness, clients are in a position, with the guidance of the cash flow coach, to make changes where necessary. Areas of change include: -
Some clients will be overly self-critical and ‘beat themselves up’, especially in the early stages of their cash flow coaching journey. Whilst it is good to be honest, and look for ways to improve, self-blame and admitting defeat and failure, are a fast-track to giving up. It is important to limit or avoid negative thinking in internal dialogues.
When something hasn’t gone to plan and to change the focus to positive thinking, cash flow coaches encourage clients to think about what they will do differently next time, what they have learnt or what they did well.
Another technique is to ask the client to think about the opposite when something has not gone to plan. Magnify the positivity and ask them to describe the positive outcomes in detail, how they behave and how it makes them feel.
Be in the Present
For many clients, their internal dialogue will either focus on the past (what could have been) or the future (what could happen). Asking them to concentrate on what is happening now, limits the internal dialogue and provides focus on the areas that are more within their sphere of control.
Whilst cash flow coaching is aimed at improving the client’s position and moving them to a better future state, too much, too soon can create an overload and cause the internal dialogue to spiral out of control. It is good to remind the client to first look for the good in their life. This produces a more positive state of mind, quietens the internal dialogues and allows a more constructive approach to change.
A Coaching Process
In working with clients and recognising their internal conversations, the following points are useful for cash flow coaches.
The environment is key. It is vital that the right coaching setting is available for both client and cash flow coach. It should be quiet with no distractions allowing the full focus on the one issue at the heart of the client’s immediate attention or concerns. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an office or closed room. There is an increasing trend, for general coaching to be done whilst walking or in a peaceful outdoor area.
Recognise Presenting Problems. Often these are not the underlying issue and may be a result of a skewed internal conversation. Taking time to unravel the internal conversations and get to the real issue and context can save time and energy for both client and cash flow coach.
Competing Dialogues. Stimulating the internal dialogue and understanding where the client is in ‘argument’ with themselves can be at the core of the cash flow coaching process. It may be the client has competing values and motivations (I want to save for the future/I want to have fun now) or competing internal and external factors (My partner supports our cash flow plans/My kids want new toys – today!)
The client is in control. As much as the cash flow coach would like to believe it is their insights or questioning that has resulted in change, it is actually the client who has altered their internal conversation to make things possible. The client has to do the hard work, come up with the solutions and action change. Some coaches fall into the trap of rushing from a client’s new insight to proposing a solution. This normally results in regression and starting the process over.
It’s a learning process. Like any other mental exercise or practice, it takes time for clients to learn how to manage their internal conversations. At first, they will find it difficult and revert to the chaos of uncontrolled internal dialogues. Cash flow coaches know this, and see it as part of the learning and mentoring process. They encourage clients to hold on to new perspectives and use them to be pre-emptive about new issues and areas to address.
Reflection. The end of each cash flow coaching session does not necessarily have to conclude in a set of defined actions to complete. Just as powerful can be a reflective mindset which poses the question – “What else do I need to know”. Such reflection recognises the journey and the different paces clients need to move at. A complete focus on solutions by the coach could indicate a directive, even ego-driven approach that will be counter-productive
Effective cash flow coaching is less about the verbalised conversation between coach and client and more about motivating the client to be aware of and enhance the internal dialogue they have with themselves. And, given that it is common for clients to ‘call upon’ other voices when they are having internal dialogues, the coaches voice can become part of a client’s internal dialogue.
elevateB provides the training program as well as support and ongoing development for certified cash flow coaches. Individuals who choose to work with a certified cash flow coach are better placed to achieve financial independence and security. If you would like to make a difference and help everyday Australians be more financially prudent and savvy, consider becoming a cash flow coach today. Click here.