Whenever a situation presents itself, the way we behave towards it is determined by the way we think or feel about it.
Despite what most people believe, we rarely react automatically to a situation. Our reactions are brought on by the way we think, which is much more complex than you might imagine. It includes our perception, self-talk, visual images, explanations, expectations, past experiences, and many other mental processes.
In order to understand the relationship between what happens to you when you react, Life Coaches often teach their clients the Situation-Thoughts-Consequences (S.T.C) framework. Not only does it help you understand the relationship between your thoughts and actions, but it also helps you change the way you address a situation mentally, which in turn, will change the way you react to a situation physically.
What is the S.T.C Framework?
The Situation-Thoughts-Consequences framework in life coaching is divided into three steps:
S – The situation presents itself
T – Our thoughts and mind skills assess the situation
C – Feelings, physical reactions, communication and actions consequent of step S and T arise.
The idea behind the S.T.C framework is that you can’t automatically go from the situation (step S) to the consequences of the situation (step C). You can’t react automatically.
Instead the consequences of the situation are determined by what and how you think (step T). Your feelings, physical reactions, communication and actions. These are facilitated by your thoughts and mental processes.
To put it simply, step T acts as a bridge between step S and step C. In order for the consequences of the situation to present itself, you need to go through the thought process in relation with the situation.
How a Life Coach applies it to their client
During the process of life coaching, the coach will teach their client about the S.T.C framework. They go through an exercise where the client has to identify each step in the framework.
The client will state a problem situation in their personal lives.
“I can’t manage the amount of work I have to do”
The client has to identify or record their thoughts about the situation. What most people don’t realise is that they create a set of different problem situations within this process.
They create rules, perceptions and expectations for themselves.
Rules: “I have to finish all of this work.”
Perceptions: “I won’t be able to get all of this work done.”
Expectations: “I am afraid that I will mess up all the work because I can’t handle the it.”
The client then has to assess the consequences of these thoughts about the situation. How they feel, what their physical reactions are, and what their communication and actions will be.
Physical reactions: Not getting enough sleep, always in a bad mood, etc.
Communications and actions: I start to prioritise work over sleeping, eating and socialising, leading to malnutrition and social withdrawal.
And ultimately, this chain of thoughts and consequences can lead to severe physical and health conditions.
This is why it is so vital to implement the S.T.C framework in your life. By understanding the relationship between a situation and your thoughts, you are able to change the consequences of the situation into something positive.
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