Do You Know What’s Keeping Your Clients Awake At 3 A.M.?

Shannon Waller
Hero image

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Team Success Podcast on iTunes.

Extraordinary Coach Culture: The D.O.S. Conversation®

For entrepreneurs, who get paid for the value they create for their clients, asking great questions that get to the heart of what’s most important to them, letting the other person talk, and then listening is a formula for creating value that is uniquely helpful.

It can lead to intense client loyalty, long-lasting relationships, and referrals to other great people in a world where this is becoming rare.

At Strategic Coach, one of our core values centers on a value creation process we call The D.O.S. Conversation. In our world, D.O.S. stands for Dangers, Opportunities, and Strengths, and it underlies our commitment to really improving the lives of our clients.

Asking and listening for our clients’ D.O.S. keeps us safe from the arrogance that can come from thinking we already know. It also keeps us current with what’s most important in their lives.

The power of D.O.S.

Capturing the power of D.O.S. always involves a conversation that addresses a person’s dangers, opportunities, and strengths. It’s done without diving in to try to solve the dangers or give advice on the opportunities as you go—and also requires you to place equal importance on the person’s strengths. We know this can be difficult because you’ll be brimming with ideas, but the key in a D.O.S. Conversation is patience!

Dangers: A danger is anything you’re afraid of or worried about. Everyone gets this idea immediately when we say that it’s something that wakes you up at 3 a.m. and has you tossing and turning.

The emotion that defines dangers is fear—more specifically, fear of loss. It can be loss of skills or capabilities; loss of family and friends; loss of money or reputation; and the ultimate, loss of life. There are so many things we stand to lose, and the ones I’ve mentioned are all enormous losses, but these can play out in smaller ways in daily life that are no less impactful.

You can see how important it becomes to know and understand deeply your clients’ dangers. We might think we know what their dangers are, but asking and listening will give you exactly the information you need to create the greatest value for them. Resist the urge to jump in and start fixing the problems you know you can solve—you have a lot more listening to do.

In fact, when we think we know or start addressing what we think we know, we ourselves are in a danger zone.

Having a “D.O.S. focus” means you’re always open-minded, always listening, and always paying attention to what’s up with your clients. It’s one of the most powerful conversations you can have. One of our clients told me in conversation about his own business, “We listen hard to our clients.” That says it all. How fortunate those clients are!

Opportunities: Opportunities are what people are excited about, which is fun to tap into. They’re awake at 3 a.m. not because they’re fearful, but because they’re excited!

Instead of what they’re afraid of losing, it’s about what they stand to gain. For all the same things they feared losing, they now have the opportunity to figure out what they can gain in those areas—more energy, more focus, better reputation, more money, more profit, more capabilities, more current technology, and so on.

This is such a dynamic conversation to have with people, and because each person’s opportunities are different, it’s a chance for you to find out what’s unique and personal to them. Again, don’t assume you know what they’re excited about. Ask and let them tell you!

Strengths: Knowing what your clients do have going for them is an equally important part of this conversation, but once people find out what their clients are worried about and excited about, it’s very tempting to jump in with solutions and advice, and never get to the strengths. But wait, there’s more!

Because strengths are about confidence, entrepreneurs are really missing out on a lot by not asking what their clients are most confident about. It can be anything from their good health, wonderful marriage, or dynamic team to the society they live in or their great upbringing.

People do bring a lot to the table, and focusing on what they’re most confident about at the moment can have a big impact on their positivity, energy, and receptivity to the solutions you do eventually offer.

And, the truth is that people who are confident make decisions and take action; people who aren’t confident don’t. You want them to be in a place where they will take action.

If they’re not confident enough to take action, all the creativity, great suggestions, and innovation you might invest on their behalf will go nowhere. Much better to reinforce people’s strengths by helping them to see their progress and even the tough lessons they’ve learned from situations that didn’t work out.

I’ve seen a lot of sales lost and partnerships broken because people’s strengths weren’t acknowledged and appreciated.

So think about your company. Is its value creation based on taking care of your clients’ biggest dangers, opportunities, and strengths?

A conversation with a focus on value creates the optimal opportunity for success. Discover more of Shannon Waller’s techniques for improving every relationship in your life in her book, The Team Success Handbook.

The beauty of D.O.S. as a company value.

With D.O.S. as a core value, it means that every single person in our company, as well as our coaches, must be aware and “listening hard” for what our clients’ dangers, opportunities, and strengths are.

We not only apply D.O.S. on the Front Stage, we apply it Back Stage with our team. What’s true for each individual team member? What’s true for the team? What’s true for our company?

If you’re reading this and you’re a team member, it’s a great idea to ask your entrepreneur what their D.O.S. is, then figure out what you can do to help reduce their stress and support them in capturing opportunities. This is a solutions-oriented tool, with no drama involved!

In fact, The D.O.S Conversation is one you can have with anyone. Every single human being has a D.O.S. at any given time.

Bottom line? D.O.S. is an amazing tool for helping people see the distinctions in their life, which can be difficult to get at from their own perspective. An expression I heard recently explains this brilliantly: “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.”

Having D.O.S. as a core value helps keep us—and will help you to be—current, present, and humble.