The model is particularly useful in testing whether a client has unwittingly trapped themselves in destructive thought patterns.
How the Meta Model helps anxiety
Clients are often extremely anxious, as if some major disaster is hurtling towards them. The Meta Model is often a great way to reveal the reality of their dilemma.
In response to a statement like “It will all collapse”, I invite the client to ask themselves “What, specifically, will collapse?”
After a pause for thought, the answer that comes back is usually much less terrifying. Sometimes the answer is ”I will collapse”.
This is still a scary outcome, but the client is now starting from a place of greater realism. He or she can then start building up their personal confidence.
They can stop imagining a world falling down around them, and may well be able to consider what parts of that still-stable world might offer them support.
‘Trapped’ clients often ruminate on their problems until they seem insoluble. They can find themselves stuck in an ‘either / or dilemma’ where neither outcome is pleasant. Having a coach hear their issue can help them remember that their situation is neither life-threatening nor insoluble – and that there are always more choices then they first thought.
The three minds of the human psyche
One map of the human psyche is of three minds:
- An emotional mind
- An intellectual mind
- A leadership mind.
Often the intellectual and emotional minds become so embroiled over an issue that the leadership mind gets crowded out of the debate. This is time to help the client access it again, with questions like ‘What will the issue be in 5 years’ time?’ ‘What is a longer time frame?’
It is a marvellous experience seeing a trapped client, who has been going around in circles, sometimes for years, realise they have new options. The energy and release is a wonderful thing to behold and one of the real honours of being a coach. These skills can also be used at work or where appropriate, with family.