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Coaching Guide

Learn the essentials.

Total Read: 25 Minutes

Introduction

Welcome to the Inqwire Coaching Guide.

Inqwire is designed to help you think faster and more clearly about nearly anything in your personal life.

You tell The Inqwire Facilitator what you want to talk about, and it will listen and respond with questions that are specifically designed to help you consider things you haven't thought of before and think about things in new or different ways, which is a key part to having insights.

You can start a session with Inqwire by using one of many starters around common life topics.

Or you can simply write a few sentences about what’s on your mind, and the Facilitator will find ideas for what to talk about.

No two sessions with Inqwire will be identical. Each will evolve as you make new connections and explore different topics. As long as you have new things talk about, the Facilitator will be ready with new questions to ask.

The more you talk with the Facilitator, the more it improves, by building a model of your life that you curate and manage.

This life model allows the Facilitator to ask you better questions, and to help accelerate your thinking so you can find insights significantly faster and more effectively than trying to sort things out in your head.

All of the insights or realizations you have across all your sessions with Inqwire can be captured as a record of the knowledge you gain as you reach greater clarity about your life.

And what's more, is that while you talk with the Facilitator, it simultaneously trains you to ask yourself better questions, so that even when you're away from your computer or phone, and you need to sort something out, you'll have the cognitive skills to help you.


How to Start a Secure Session

In this section we're going to cover the basics of data security with Inqwire and how to start a new session.

When you talk about your life, there's no doubt that you're going to touch on some pretty personal details. And no one wants that kind of information stored somewhere on the Internet.

With Inqwire, nothing you talk about during a session ever gets saved on the Internet, aka “our servers”.

Instead, your data is saved to files that get stored on your computer. If you're using the desktop app, this process is handled for you automatically. But if you're using Inqwire in your web browser, you'll need to manage the data saving and loading process manually.

Whenever you want to start a new session in your browser, all you have to do is upload your file.

At the end of your session, a new file containing any new data you created during that session will be automatically saved to your computer.

This means no one can see anything you write or anything you talk about during a session.

So what are you going to talk about during a session? When you're sorting something out, you need to work with the relevant aspects of life.

In Inqwire, these are called Topics, like conversation topics. Before the Facilitator can start asking you questions, you first need to enter some topics.

If you're using a starter, the first topics will come preloaded into the session for you. You might need to edit the specifics, but otherwise you're ready to start.

If you are starting from scratch, without a starter, there are two ways to add your first topics to the session. You either have something specific in mind, or you want to write it out.

Sometimes we know exactly what we want to talk about. For this option, Inqwire provides a simple and quick way to enter specific topics in a form that Inqwire can work with.

Other times, we might not know exactly what's bothering us, and it's often helpful to just write out what's on your mind.

For this option, you only need to write a sentence or maybe a few, and the Facilitator will look at your writing and come up with some ideas for topics you could add to the session.

Depending on the situation, it might make sense to add just 1 topic, or it might make sense to add a few.

For example, maybe you want to get clarity around the relationship you have to an important person in your life. You could enter that person as the topic for this session, and start from there.

Or, maybe you're trying to make a difficult decision, and it involves many different factors, like the things you value, the people in your life, your long term plans or goals, etc. You could enter everything that might be relevant to your decision, and begin.

Some topics you add to the session might feel very relevant. But others might only feel somewhat relevant, where you want those topics to exist in the context of the session, but you don't necessarily want to focus on them.

With Inqwire, this is easy to do. Simply toggle on or off the option to mark a topic as either very relevant or somewhat relevant.

Don't worry about making any mistakes when adding topics. It's easy to add, remove, and change the relevance of topics at any time during the session.

So now that you know how to add topics to the session, in the next section we're going to talk about the way you view and answer questions during a session, and how you can manage your topics as the session evolves.


Managing Topics

Once you have a topic or topics to talk about, you're ready to start viewing questions.

There are two modes to work from. Chat Mode:

And Visual Mode:

Visual mode, although it's different than what you're probably used to, can be extra useful because it allows you to visually experiment with the way information is arranged on the screen. You can drag things around, make things bigger or smaller, or put things close together or far away based on how you think about them, or want to think about them. Situating concepts like this helps clarify and streamline our thinking.

When you're viewing questions, you'll notice that most questions, like this one, ask you about the connection between a particular topic and some category of life, like relationships.

If you previously added topics to the session that fall into the Relationships category, or if you have relationships in your Life Model (which we cover in the life model section), those will show up as possible connections or answers to the question at hand.

These kinds of connection questions are what help you to see patterns, connect the dots, and understand how everything works together. This is important because it's through this sort of understanding that you can uncover insights, find solutions, and reach greater clarity.

In chat mode, If you see a topic that connects, you click on it and you'll get one, 2 or a few new questions that ask specifically about the connection between those two things. If you're using visual mode, you can drag the topic into the central topic, then click to connect the two aspects.

If you don't see a topic that connects, but you can think of one, you can go ahead and add it. This will also automatically add that topic to your life model.

If you see multiple topics that connect, you can connect them one at a time, OR if you happen to see a pattern between all of the topics, you can use the text area to speak to that pattern in general.

If you're not big on writing, you don't have to write much. In fact, you don't have to write at all during your entire session. You can just answer the questions in your head. However writing can be useful during a session in a couple of ways.

First, the Facilitator processes everything you write and comes up with new ideas for more topics you could add to the session along the way. Just note that this works best if you write in clear, simple sentences.

Second, it can feel good to write out your thoughts and feelings. When you feel like it, you can write all you want, at any time.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering answering questions is that NOT ALL QUESTIONS HAVE ANSWERS. This is kind of an obvious point, but it takes some practice to get right. It will be up to you to skip questions that don't have answers, that don't make sense to you, or that feel like too much work.

If you notice yourself spending more than a few seconds trying to make sense of a question, it's probably one to skip. Also, if you notice that every time you get a question about a certain topic, you feel annoyed, or you feel like the questions aren't relevant anymore, then that's a sign to either change how relevant that topic is to the session, or remove it completely.

This speaks to the evolving nature of a session. Over the course of even a short session, you might learn a lot. You might start see things differently. You might find new topics worth talking about. As you get further into a session, you might find that the topics you originally thought were important or relevant, are no longer relevant at all. And that's OK.

So you should never feel locked in to the topics you started with. You have to be ready to go where the session takes you, follow your curiosity, and do what feels right. There is no wrong way to do it. The number of topics you want to talk about, the amount you want to write, the speed at which you view questions, is all up to you.

You can spend all day thinking about one good question if you want. You can take a break and go for a walk. And you can change the session to talk about something completely different.

So far, we've talked about this idea of adding, connecting and changing the relevance of topics in a session, but behind the scenes, every topic that makes it's way into a session, also makes it's way into your life model.

In the next section we're going to see how this is crucial in helping you to reach insights and clarity dramatically faster than otherwise possible.


Your Life Model

At the end of the last section, we pointed out that any topic you add or connect in a session is automatically added to your life model, and that your Life Model plays a crucial part in accelerating you towards insights and clarity.

A key part to gaining clarity around life topics, is to understand how things fit in to the rest of your life. Every connection question that the Facilitator asks you helps you do this.

In the previous section, we saw the example where we were asked if there were any relationships in our life that connected to the topic at hand. If you were to sit there and scan your memory for all the relationships in your life, it might take you a few minutes. And that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is. Because in order to uncover insights, gain clarity, and make sense of things, you need to examine the connections between many different things in your life, which means you need to consider a lot of questions.

Imagine that for every question the Facilitator asked you in a given session, it took you between 2 and 5 minutes to bring to mind all the aspects from your life in a particular category. Multiply that by a hundred or so questions, which is pretty typical of a session with Inqwire, and it quickly adds up to be a multi-hour long session. This problem exists simply because our memory is slow. However, we recognize information much faster, in a fraction of a second.

So for every question, if all we had to do was recognize information that's already there on the screen, and we didn't have to slowly search our memory every time, then it might only take a few seconds to consider all the connections involved in a single question.

With this kind of speed, now we're talking about only a matter of minutes to finish an in depth, meaningful session with yourself where you considered all the essential connections in your life. So how do we go from the speed of memory, to the speed of recognition?

This is where your life model comes in. By keeping track of all the life topics that make it into your session, you'll automatically see those topics in the context of the relevant questions you see.

Inqwire keeps track of all the life topics that make it into EVERY session, meaning that as you use Inqwire more, all of the relevant life topics you've entered from past sessions will appear in the context of relevant questions you're asked in future sessions with Inqwire.

This feature is designed to help you see larger patterns, increase the quality of insights, and make sense of your life as a whole.

You have the opportunity to set up an initial life model before starting your very first session with Inqwire. Your life model isn't going to be perfect when you first set it up. But as you use Inqwire, you'll be able to continually manage and update your life model, adding new aspects of your life that are missing, removing aspects that aren't that important anymore.

You can think of it as though you're managing the background information you give the Facilitator about your life. If you were talking to a person, it'd make sense to give them some background information about your life so they have more context around what you're talking about, and so they can ask you more intelligent questions.

The more complete, the more relevant, the more up to date your life model is, the better and potentially more insightful the questions from the Facilitator can be.

Before you start your very first session, you'll be asked to add some topics to your life model so that your first session with Inqwire can be more insightful. As a general rule of thumb, you want to aim for about 3 life aspects for every category.

These aspects should be big, obvious things in your life. Things that are important or significant. If you have trouble on any particular category, that's OK, just skip it for now.

So far we've only mentioned this idea of having insights, which is one of the most exciting parts of using Inqwire. So in the next section, we're going to talk about what to expect when it comes to having insights with Inqwire, and how to capture them when they strike.


Capturing Insights

In the last section, we learned about Your Life Model, and how it plays a crucial role in accelerating you towards insights and clarity. But we didn't talk about what to do when you have an insight, also known as an epiphany, a breakthrough, or a eureka moment.

First, it's easy to think that a successful session with Inqwire is one that results in a big, clarifying insight. In reality, if all you did was make some time to sit down and check in with yourself, and just ask yourself, "hey how are you?", "what's on your mind?", "what's bothering you?", that can go along way. And even if you have a long session with Inqwire, you view a lot of questions, and you still don't have an insight, you might feel like you still made progress, which is definitely something to count as a success.

It's hard to say how soon and how often you can expect to have insights with Inqwire. You might be in a session for only a few minutes and have a quality insight about something. Other times it might take multiple long sessions before reaching an insight.

In some cases, you might not have enough information to reach an insight about something, meaning that you have go out and get that information, whether it's through looking something up on online, asking someone else a question, or just experiencing more of life in general. Some things in life take years before they're ripe for insights. That's OK, in the meantime, there's lots of things in life to get clarity around.

Inqwire is designed to increase the chance that you'll have insights, but there's no guarantee that you'll have an insight during every session. But, for the sessions when you do have an insight, you're going to want a way to capture it when the insight strikes.

When you have an insight, you can capture it with the insight capture button.

All of your insights across all of your sessions with Inqwire will be recorded for you under Insights and saved within your Data File.

Some insights you experience might stay with you for the rest of your life, others might only hold up for a few days, being replaced in the future by new insights after you gain new understanding that makes you see things differently. You can think of your Insights as a sort of living document, an ever changing record of the insights that help you reach more and more clarity about life.

In the next section, we're going to offer you a tool that you can use to help yourself navigate towards greater clarity over time, and in the final section in this series, we'll also give you some tips and things you can try to help increase the chance of having insights.


Your Life Outlook

In the last section we talked about insights and how to capture them. But as you now know, insights aren't always required for a successful session. Another way to know if you've had a successful session, is if your outlook on life improves.

Whenever you start a new session or continue a previous session with Inqwire, you'll be asked about your outlook on life. When you set the sliders, you capture a snapshot of how you currently feel.

At the end of the session, you'll be asked about your life outlook again. This will show you if your outlook on life has changed and if you feel any different from when you started.

Sometimes it's obvious when you feel better, but other times the difference can be subtle. By recording your life outlook before and after each session, you get practice with paying attention to those subtle changes in how you feel. This can give you a clue about whether you're on a path towards greater clarity.

Whether your life outlook goes up, stays the same or goes down after a session, consider how that session went. What topics did you talk about? How many questions did you view? How long was your session? Did you have insights? Did you uncover any new topics or aspects to add? What might you try differently next time?

Through reflecting on each session like this, you might learn what leads to better sessions. And this may not only help you to have better sessions with Inqwire, but it can also serve as a sort of training to help you have better conversations with yourself.

If you think about it, we're constantly talking things through in our head as we go about the day. Often what we're doing is trying to sort something out or making sense of something. So everything you learn about managing a session with Inqwire, including how certain topics or styles of thinking affect your life outlook, and the kinds of questions you ask yourself, can all be applied to enhance your ability to reach clarity even while you're away from the computer.

Now that you have a way to track and understand your own experiences with Inqwire, for the final section of this series, we're going to help you avoid some common pitfalls and provide you with some tips to help you have sessions where you're more likely to have insights and gain clarity.


Tips and Troubleshooting

So far in this series you've learned about all the important parts of Inqwire, from how to manage topics, how to view and answer questions, all about your life model, how to capture insights, and your life outlook. In this last section, you're going to learn some tips for having better sessions with Inqwire, including how to overcome some common pitfalls, as well as some things to try if you're struggling to reach insights or gain clarity. So first, here are a few general tips.

1. Don't feel discouraged if you don't make a ton of progress in your first session.

There are a lot of factors that lead to a great session, and not all of them are in your control. That's OK, just keep at it. You've also got to give yourself some time to learn your way around Inqwire. Just as with any tool, as you use it more, the more comfortable and skilled you'll get.

2. Only answer questions that have answers.

This point is worth mentioning again because it's harder than it sounds to put into practice. When someone asks us a question, we can feel compelled to answer it, even if it doesn't make sense or have a real answer. But the Inqwire Facilitator isn't a person, and it won't feel bad if you say “NEXT!” as many times as you want until you hit a good question. If you feel yourself lingering on a question that doesn't seem to make sense, or it feels like too much work, that's a cue to just skip it.

3. Change a topic's category if the questions don't seem right.

There are many things in life that can be thought of in different ways. Let's say you want to talk about stress. Well, how do you think about stress? Does you want to talk about your relationship to stress? do you think of it as a state of mind? Is stress really a behavior where you stress out about things? Or is it an identity, where you think of yourself as a stressed person?

For topics like this where you can think of it in different ways, pick the category where it makes the most sense to you. If the questions you get about it don't feel right, or sound kind of weird or off, try changing the topic to a different category that works.

If you've been using Inqwire and you're not having insights or you don't feel like things are getting clearer, here are some things to try:

1. Go faster and view more questions.

Sometimes, finding an insight is a matter of looking in all the possible places. Each question that the Facilitator asks you is designed to help you look somewhere new. It's as if you've lost your keys in the dark, and the Facilitator, armed with a flashlight, is helping you look for them by asking, “are your keys over there?” No. “Are your keys over here?” No. “Hm, what about over there?” If you have a lot of places you need to look, it's better to move a little faster and leave no stone unturned.

2. Explore a variety of related topics.

If you've thought a lot about a topic already and you haven't had any insights, chances are, you're not going to have an insight by thinking more about that topic in the same way you've been thinking about it. Instead, try to adjust the session towards topics that are related to the thing you're trying to get clarity around, even if these topics seem tangential and unlikely to reveal anything new. You might be surprised.

3. Follow your curiosity.

When you're trying to make sense of something, it's as if you're conducting an investigation. As you view questions, you're searching for clues that might lead you to a missing piece of the puzzle. But sometimes there are many options for paths you could explore. How do you choose?

Any great investigator relies on their sense of curiosity to help them decide what investigative paths to take. A sense of curiosity serves as a helpful guide when looking for insights. If you're struggling to uncover insights and you feel lost for where else to look, try tapping in to your sense of curiosity. The more you do this, the more confident you will become when navigating through a session.

4. Sleep on it and start over tomorrow.

If you feel yourself getting fatigued while in a session, maybe you've been at it for a while, then put Inqwire away, and come back to it tomorrow. Then when you come back, try starting over from scratch with a new session. Sometimes you need to give your brain some time away from the problem. You might find that when you start again from scratch, it's easier to articulate things, which can lead to a more insightful or productive session.

5. Shelf it and talk about something else.

If you've really tried everything, and you aren't making any headway at all on a particular topic, it could be that this topic needs more time before it's ripe for insight.

In the meantime, try and switch to a completely unrelated topic. Try something from your past that you think you know and understand really well. Often to our surprise, there are insights just waiting to be revealed when we revisit these topics with fresh eyes and ask ourselves different kinds of questions about them. When we uncover insights like these, they are often powerful and far reaching, and they can help us get clearer on what's going on in the present across many aspects of our lives.

Now, some final things to keep in the back of your mind while using Inqwire:

1. You don't have to talk about anything you're not comfortable with.

There's no reason to talk about things that might be uncomfortable, upsetting, or painful unless you want to talk about it. Don't feel pressured to answer any question. If a question ever makes you feel like you don't want to go there, skip it.

2. You decide when you're done with a session.

There's no countdown timer to tell you when time's up. You can be done when there are no more questions, you can be done when you have an insight, you can be done when you're tired, you can be done when you find a really good question you want to take with you. Bottom line, it's up to you.

3. And finally, a little bit of time each day goes a long way towards clarity.

If all you do is check in with yourself for a few minutes or answer a couple of questions, even if you don't have insights or feel like you make progress, it's still a win.

If you want to learn more about the science behind any of the topics we touched on, like how Inqwire helps you find insights faster, the positive benefits of making sense of life, what life outlook is really about, or a whole host of other topics related to the science of making sense, check out the Inqwire Science Guide.

And if you run into any issues, have any questions, feedback or advice, email us at hello@inqwire.io.

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