We were discussing our upcoming Motivational Questioning workshop in the office this morning and how it relates to my own personal journey (cue X-Factor music) that began in 2010. I used to run a business with a friend who had done some coaching and NLP training and through whom, over a number of small conversations, led to me see things in a very different way.

Then I had my ‘Epic Life Fail’ – work, home, life in general changed, or rather, came tumbling down. I was constantly in my own head, my self-talk was so negative and I couldn’t think straight due to all the noise. Thankfully I got the opportunity to take stock of what was really important to me and work out what I wanted to have happen next.

Andy Coley - Xmas 2010

Take stock

So, circumstances changed and I moved back in with my parents. I began to focus on myself, and, using some of the tools and techniques I’d been shown, I made a decision.

It was a simple one and was based on the photo to the right.

That Christmas I was at a friend’s house when the photo was taken. When I saw it on the camera, I remember thinking “Wow that guy looks sad, who is he?” yes he’s smiling, sort of, but those eyes do not look happy and he doesn’t look confident.

I was 23st in weight, didn’t exercise and had a very sedentary job. I’d always been an emotional eater and events leading up to that Christmas had resulted in me using food a lot as a ‘feel good’ crutch. Then followed the guilt of eating, the reasons for doing it and the cycle continued.

To make change, YOU are the one who has to decide to stop doing the things that you know are destructive, and, once you’ve made that choice, everything else starts to fall into place.

Take control

So I took control of my eating and I started exercising. I recognised which strategies were not working for me and which ones did. I’m externally motivated, so exercising in a gym on my own plugged into a music channel doesn’t work for me. What works is being with people, being encouraged by others, and putting my challenges and training out into the public domain.

I’d met a guy, ‘Topsy’ Turner at a networking group in Chichester and knew that he ran a ‘boot camp’ company called Innovations Fitness near Emsworth. He seemed down to earth, approachable and ultimately someone who would encourage me. So I went along to my first boot camp in February 2011. I paid for 10 sessions up front (a strategy that meant I was committed!) and started the warm up…

Within 20 minutes I was clinging to the wall bars, stars in front of my eyes and barely able to register the people in the room (much to their amusement), whilst Gaz an ex Royal Marine held me up and Topsy fed me an energy bar!

“What did you have to eat” he asked?

“Erm, well a sandwich from the garage at lunchtime and a tin of grapefruit segments before I came over, you know for the energy” I replied.

“Right, we need to sort out your eating fella… let’s get this down you first and talk after” said Topsy

Andy - Lost weight shirtI finished the session thanks to the support of everyone there, and yeah I’d almost fainted but that was fine, I loved it and it was all part of learning!

I went 2 or 3 times a week and over the course of 9 months lost over 6 stone in weight (that’s the same shirt in the picture to the left).

I gained new friends, fitness and so much more. I learned about what worked, for me, in terms of the mindset I needed to succeed.

Eat less and do more

I had the ‘lightbulb moment’ through being asked the right kind of questions. The questions that motivated me to want to make the changes that worked within my life, rather than being told how to do it.

That’s the essence of motivational questioning – how do you facilitate people to come to their own conclusions and set their own strategies?

Imagine if I told each of you reading this ‘how’ to get up and go to work in the morning.  Do I know your routine? What needs to be done before you leave the house? The route you drive to work? No, of course not, so why do we expect to do the same with others by telling them how to take control of their health?

Andy Coley - Triathalon Finish LineFrom the management of diabetes, to weight loss, to reducing and stopping smoking; if you ask the right questions and really listen, you’ll discover the person in front of you has all their own answers for how they can make the changes.

You can facilitate others to achieve their ‘lightbulb moment’ empowering them to take ownership of their own change. And, if you work with clients or patients, it makes your role even easier as you can fit these techniques into a 10 minute consultation. On our workshop we show you a consultation with a diabetic patient where the GP, whom we trained, uses all the tools to facilitate the lightbulbs in her patient.

Motivational Questioning is an art and suitable for health practitioners, coaches, managers and friends! You never know where those lightbulbs lead… for me it’s led to being here, loving who I am, enjoying new challenges and being able to pass on what worked for me and what I know now works for others.

Find out more at http://www.beyondtrainingsolutions.com/our-services/training/public-workshops/motivational-questioning/

Be your own solution


P.S. the photo below is of my medal for completing the Portsmouth Sprint Triathlon last year, raising money for Parkinson’s UK. This year’s challenge is to do one twice the length! Keep on growing and keep on going!


Andy Coley - Portsmouth Triathalon