How To Use The FORD Technique

How To Use The “FORD” Technique

By Kathy Shaw, Evolvenz Coaching

How To Use The F.O.R.D Technique

You might be thinking why am I writing about cars. Well I’m not. I want to share with you a tool I use in the first session with my clients.  

This is not something I developed myself but rather a tool that was introduced to me in a marketing coaching session with Andrew Morello, Head of Business Development for The Entourage. I worked online with Andrew in June last year to develop my coaching practice further. We were talking over Zoom when he looked up noticing my children’s baby photos that I have on the wall behind my desk. He asked me all about them, which made me feel connected to Andrew straight away, before explaining that he was using the sales technique called FORD. I found that by using this technique I opened up to Andrew and it set the tone for our conversation. He also shared a lot about his family and culture that he was from.

FORD is a way to have meaningful conversations with anyone, based on the idea that human beings tend to have similar priorities in their lives. FORD is an acronym that stands for:

Family – find out more about them

Occupation – do they have a job and what is it or a business idea?

Recreation – what do they do to re-create themselves or perhaps do they have a particular sport that they love to follow.

Dreams – what goals do they have for their future self?

Some examples of questions you may like to use follow – however I never tend to follow a script when I am using FORD.

Family – “Tell me about your family.”

Being an open question, this is usually enough to get them started with their story. If you find they are not giving you a lot of information you can move onto other questions. EG,

  •  Where did you grow up?
  •  Where is your family now?
  •  Do you have any siblings?

Focus on the answers and ask more questions as needed.

Occupation – “Tell me about your work.”

Again, if you want to know more move onto questions such as:

  • How do you make a living?
  • How long have you been doing this?
  • Have you worked in other roles?

Recreation – “What do you like to do for fun?”

  • Can you share with me your favourite hobbies?
  • Is there something that you have always wanted to try?

Dreams – “What dreams and aspirations do you have?”

  • Can you think of a big goal that you would like to achieve?

Sometimes here I will talk about big hairy audacious goals too.

My background prior to becoming a Life Coach is working in health as a registered nurse for many years. In nursing we use a term called “cultural safety”. When I was talking to Andrew about using FORD I began to think about the term “whanaugatanga”. This is an important part of any healthcare relationship I have. It means:

“relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group.”

When first meeting with people it helps to develop whanaugatanga to improve your relationship with them moving forward. FORD is a useful way of doing this.

Obviously, for it to be truly effective there needs to be some sharing from your side. For this reason I now make my first sessions with clients longer to enable me to gather more information from them. I found that by using FORD I gained valuable insight into what makes a person tick and as I use values-based approaches to coaching I found that I was able to more easily extrapolate values from this first session.

The FORD Method works because, when you ask people about their family, occupation, hobbies, and goals, you’re more likely to find out what they truly value, as well as what they’re looking to achieve in life. And, with those conversations, you’re also building trust, by demonstrating your investment in your client.

As Tony Robbins says, the key to growing your business is understanding your clients’ greatest pain points and greatest desires. So by engaging early with their values you are able to find out where there are blocks or beliefs that are holding them back.

Naturally, there are other acronyms, such as HEFE – Hobbies, Entertainment, Food and Environment.  My preference is FORD and it works well for me.

I would love some feedback from any of you who choose to use  it. So, please send me an email if you are finding it a successful tool in your coaching practice to

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

Kathy Shaw, Evolvenz Coaching

Kathy Shaw is an experienced Healthcare professional having worked as a Registered Nurse, Supervisor, Educator, Mentor, and Manager.

As an educator and mentor for nurses she realised her passion for helping others to succeed and shine in all aspects of their life.

Kathy is an ANZCAL Professional accredited coach and runs her own coaching business Evolvenz.  Find out more about Kathy by visiting her website or dropping her an email.