Could is the cool younger sibling of Should (have a read of my write up of should here). Could is full of options and possibility without any sense of commitment or responsibility.
For me could feels like standing in front of a ploughed field with a variety of seeds in your satchel and you’re assessing which is the best to sow right now. Maybe I’ve played too much Stardew Valley, but that’s how it feels to me.
Could is open and limitless.
Could can also be absurd, you could hop on a flight to Tokyo or sell all of your possessions on ebay. There is no judgment of a could statement in a coaching session. Clients in a coaching session can explore all of the options they can think of, even the stupidest option, even the option that is effectively not doing anything at all and each option is respected and discussed without judgment.
This is helpful when you’re mulling things over because often you might know which is the right option for you, but you might doubt yourself too much or you might worry that your partner/parents/friends would not agree with the decision. Coaching is a safe place to try on these ideas without someone immediately shooting them down.
I say there’s no judgment, and that’s true so long what is discussed does not break any of the confidentiality agreements made at the beginning, i.e. if the client is seriously considering murdering someone and wants to discuss options in a session “I could use this poison or this sword…” that’s when we might have to stop the session and inform a third party with the client’s knowledge.
Could is a good helpful word, embrace the could!
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