Using Quotes in Ericksonian Language Patterns and in Coaching.As most readers of this blog are aware, one of the easiest and most fun way of delivering an embedded command or suggestion is through the Ericksonian Language Pattern called “Quotes.” It is when you attribute that that you want to say to your client to another source.
Like you could say, “George, you really can make this change now. As my grandmother used to say, “you are as powerful as you make up your mind to be.”
Or you can tell your listener about an experience you had (real or imagined) where someone said something to you. As an example, you could say, “this strange man came up to me yesterday in the train station, grabbed me by the arm and looked me in the eyes and said to me, “Quite Smoking NOW as if your life depends on it!” and then just turned and walked away. It was the weirdest thing!
Apart from using quotes in language patterns like that, I like to use them in coaching. Because sometimes it is simply that nothing says it better. Plus, my coaching client, knowing that this quote is meaningful enough to me that I have it hanging over my desk, may pay far greater attention to the message>
One of my favorites – and I really DO have this hanging over my desk – is from the great modern dancer/choreographer, Martha Graham speaking to her colleague Agnes DeMille. (This is quoted from DeMille’s book, “Dance to the Piper.”)
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.
Keep the channel open.”