Now let’s talk focus.

Most would agree that without focus, it is, at best, difficult to set to work on a discussion about the possibilities of change – at least one that will be meaningful to the client.

Both the core skills (OARS) and the ‘spirit’ of M.I. work together to create a process which becomes more and more about focusing our conversations with a client on change: what the benefits would be, why a person doesn’t want to change, what’s at risk if there isn’t change, etc.

M.I. has us “listening for and landing on” change talk, and thus our focus as change agents is toward hearing and working with change talk, versus focusing on ‘negativity’, resistance, reluctance, lying, justifying, or any of the other challenges we may face with people who are being told they need to change.

Another way this approach guides our focus is in being habitually client-centered. Rather than trying to supplant our own  vision for a client, we listen carefully for the client’s  vision and place our focus on learning as much about that, so that we reflect and get curious about who and what matters to the client. Think of it: if a friend or acquaintance habitually only talked about their perspective, preferences, ideas, and values, we would quickly lose interest (and look elsewhere for influence!).

Because human service workers more often than not work in the context of too little time to give to a great many clients, focus becomes even more crucial in being both effective and efficient in our efforts to inspire and influence others.