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On a scale of 3-18 how are you?*

As we become more aware of the struggles we face with depression and mental health as individuals, families, communities businesses and society we are encouraged to "check in more:" with our loved ones, friends, colleagues acquaintances.

But how do you do that, and how do you vary that so it doesn't become a rote expression?

You (to colleague), "hey how are you?"

Colleague, "Fine"

As a coach I was taught the question "on a scale of 1-10 where are you with <insert topic here>?" and it's useful helping get a sense of where the person is at and allowing me to ask "so you're a 5, hmm, what makes you a 5 and not a 4?" That might seem a bit clunky in conversation - but it opens the discussing to go deeper so you can check in on the state of the person you're speaking with. It forces reflection and the chance for a richer dialog.

How’s your heart?

is a wonderful question that goes so much deeper into how the person you are speaking with is feeling and what they are experiencing

On a scale of 3 to 18, how are you?*

this is a variation on the 1-10 but what it does is it creates a dissonance in the mind of the person answering, forcing them to break out of their normal response and think about what their answer is. Or you can combine them - on a scale of 3-18 how's your heart?

Sweet and sour check in

In groups I like to do this one (don't search for it, you'll get a lot of recipes and restaurant listings). Each person takes a turn to share a "sweet" thing in their life - something they are proud of or grateful for and one "sour" thing i.e. a personal or professional struggle

Check ins work best when you *listen* to the answer

One last thing, the best questions in the world count for nothing if you are not listening

  • Listen to the words they are using and respond appropriately

  • Listen for tell tales where the word choices and body language don't match, if you notice it, ask about it

  • Listen for pauses or hesitation, what do they tell you?

*3 is low and 18 is high

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