self deception 165x300 Do Your Life Coaching Clients Lie to Themselves?If you’ve been a life coach for any length of time, you have no doubt found that clients often say one thing and do another.  Say you give them an assignment based on THEIR stated goal of putting together an action plan for a small business. They say they want to succeed in business and need to put together a list of ten priorities to accomplish over the next three months.

This was the stated goal of one of my clients years ago, so I gave him that assignment, merely as an accountability exercise.  Simple, right?  We’re talking list here . . . not the actual doing of the list.

Two weeks later he came back and reported that he never even started the list.  No time, he said.  Not a priority.

“What?” I remarked incredulously. “You told me in our first meeting that making this list was THE priority . . . and that it should only take 30 minutes.” I added, “I gave you TWO WEEKS and you still don’t have it done?”

“No,” he shrugged nonchalantly. Apparently his priorities shifted to include “non-list-making.” But why? And why does this happen so often? I mean, if it only happened once or twice I could understand and chalk it up to someone just being a bit flaky . . . but over and over and OVER again??

By asking a few more questions, I was at least able to pin-point that his hesitancy in making a list was apparently more deeply rooted in early-childhood rebellion than he initially let on. After a 30-minute Logical Soul® session, he was able to see the root of this decision, change it inside, and e-mailed me his list the next day.

Apparently there is a science to self-deceit and self-sabotage.

Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, in his book The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life, constructed an interesting theory:

We often deceive ourselves
because it then becomes easier to deceive others.

And deceiving others, according to Trivers, allows us to gain an evolutionary advantage when it comes to survival and mating. Women, for example, will often choose their mate based on status, resources, attractiveness (a sign of “good genes”), and a willingness to commit. Males who therefore have “reproductive success” over time have inherited the ability to deceive their mates – and themselves – that they have these traits. In turn, the offspring of these couples inherit this tendency. And so on and so on . . .

Trivers cites many more examples, as well as the research behind his findings. He also shows why the adaptation to self-deception in one area of life can sabotage other areas.

So what does that mean for you and your coaching clients? Simply this: find a way to allow your client to get some instant feedback (such as through the Logical Soul® technique) that allows them to become aware of the hidden decisions and deceptive patterns that sabotage their success (beyond survival and mating, that is).

You can also get more details on how you might be doing this in your own coaching practice. Sign up for my FREE REPORT: “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make…” today!