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CONNECTing with Abortion Minded Clients

Jan 27 2014

Recently, while talking with a coach about how her day went, she explained that she just did not feel like she got anywhere with her callers. As we attempted to distinguish the source of her problem, I realized that she did not feel like she made a connection with them. Like many of us, she had a very strong desire to see a change in the client's intention as a result of the information she shared and the questions she asked. However, this may have been the source of the problem. My encouragement to her was, "be yourself. God made you unique in a way that you are friendly and have a genuine interest in people. Let your natural desire to connect with people lead you, instead of all of the resources and tools you want to use to coach her in a pregnancy decision."

Have you ever felt this way? You've talked to several women on a given day and you felt like you just bombed out? We all have had days like that. I know I have. The solution to this is to CONNECT with the client first, then share your tools and resources.

In a church presentation a couple of years ago, John Maxwell said, "Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in such a way that it increases our influence with them." This means that when we identify the pressures that are leading a client to abort and then use this information to relate to her situation of feeling desperate to "get rid of the problem," it will increase our influence with her.

So what about you? Do you find yourself struggling with how to influence your client? Do you have all your answers prepared, know all the strategies and are just looking for an opportunity to impact her and "change her mind." My encouragement to you is to remember to CONNECT first. Put down all your tools, resources and strategies and CONNECT by practicing the gift of presence and being fully engaged while interacting with her. This will require you to be disciplined and intentional about turning off and tuning out all outside forces that could distract you from "being there" for your client.

Sometimes it's difficult to identify if you've really connected with the client and captured her attention. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you connect better.

  1. Does my client know that I genuinely care for her?
  2. Am I in tune with my client's needs?
  3. Did I answer her questions?
  4. Did I listen attentively?
  5. Did I ask the right questions that help me understand my client's situation (see questions below)?
  6. Is she aware that I understand her situation?

After connecting, here are some questions you can ask to gather more information,

  1. What factors are leading you to think abortion is best for you?
  2. What do you know about abortion?
  3. Have you or someone you know had an abortion? How was that experience?
  4. How did you feel when your friend/family member told you she had an abortion?
  5. Who else have you told that you are pregnant and how did they respond?
  6. How did their response make you feel?
  7. Before you were in this situation, what did you think about abortion?
  8. On a scale of 0-10; 0 being "I will not have an abortion" and 10 being "I will have an abortion", where are you right now on this scale?
  9. If you could change something in your situation that would make you lean more towards keeping your baby, what would that be?

Remember, having a goal of making a connection is likely to have a greater influence in any client's life than having the goal of changing her mind. CONNECTing will open up an avenue for you to learn more about your clients and share the information that will enable them to make a life-affirming decision.

Adapted from Coaching Insights (January 2014), a publication of Care Net. This information is generic and provided for educational purposes only.  For guidance and advice on specific health situations, contact a qualified medical professional.  © 2014 For use by Care Net affiliates only. May not be reprinted or re-purposed for use outside a Care Net affiliate without written permission.