A Coaching Model Created by Nirmala Menon
(Diversity & Executive Women Coaching,INDIA)
Four “I” Model – Coaching For Action
A tool to move a client from inertia to take action and initiative
At the heart of achieving any goal is the ability to take action.
However, many people spend their entire lives thinking, planning and preparing to accomplish goals, without actually taking that first step of actioning it. Procrastination or inertia is a reality that more people than we think struggle with.
One of the challenges in helping a client move from inertia to initiative or movement is to help them understand that it is not necessarily the achievement of a goal but more about moving in the right direction.
Most people procrastinate because of fear, limiting beliefs of capability or some underlying beliefs of futility, fear or failure or even the changes associated with success! All this stalls them from moving forward.
Just like no one can win a race by just waking up one morning, getting to the starting line of the race and running it to the finish line in record time, clients have to be motivated to take the first baby steps towards their goal and get them to experience the milestones of success as they get to the goal.
Inertia can be a symptom, a defense mechanism, a form of resistance to change, a habit, or a combination of any of these. While there may be multiple reasons, usually, these are correctable through coaching.
This coaching model has therefore been designed on the belief that action is the process of achieving the goal and by following the process, you are actually on the way to achieving your goal. It is a tool to support your coaching for clients who want to move from Inertia or Procrastination to taking initiative and action.
Titled the 4-I Model – Coaching for Action, this is a four-phase program to support action.
Phase 1 encourages self reflection and acceptance that there is a problem
Phase 2 explores the challenges to gather information to map patterns of behaviour.
Phase 3 will use this information to reframe the identified challenges to take action steps to stem the problem while
Phase 4 will involve action steps to stay on track till the final goal is achieved and sustained.
The basic philosophy on which this model is based is that most people know what they need to do and it is inertia in acting on that knowledge that prevents them from accomplishing their goals.
The 4-I model :
INTROSPECT – on the issue
IDENTIFY – the causes
INITIATE – corrective action
INTERNALISE – to sustain
Introspect on the issue:
The first phase involves self-examination and acceptance that this is a situation the client would like to change.
Usually, inertia or procrastination involves a web of interconnected perceptions, thoughts and emotions.
Self acceptance is recognition of this reality, and agreeing that one is willing to change.
Identify the causes:
Having accepted there is a problem and gained willingness to act on it, the second phase examines our beliefs and how it impacts the way we think and act. The intent is to be able to recognize the root cause of the delaying tactics and help the client create an empowering perspective.
Are you avoiding action to avoid “failing” at something or because you see a situation as inconvenient, threatening, uncertain, conflicting, boring, or any such?
What are the excuses you are using to justify delaying action?
Are you putting off action and waiting for a guarantee for success. By avoiding failure, could you be avoiding many successes?
Underlying Beliefs that are not supporting a client in achieving action need to be discussed.
By increasing awareness of why, when and and you can draw upon this knowledge for corrective action.
Initiate corrective action:
The third phase involves steps to create a new and different way of looking at a situation and creating a compelling vision. Awareness of inhibiting factors can open new opportunities and change mental patterns.
The discussion will help establish a framework of what the client will do, when he/she will do it and the impact of following through.
Sometimes all that may be required is an inspiring goal or reassurance that discomfort and fear are natural feelings associated with change. The intent is to “pull” the client forward with a set of small steps so the goal seems doable.
Strategic questioning can promote creative thinking and lead to a logical sequence of actions to turning challenges into achievable goals.
The process will involve setting SMART goals, planning sequential activities to achieve the goals organizing the resources required and visioning and talking through the journey and identifiable milestones.
The intent is to inspire and help a client practice a “do it now” philosophy and get the client on the track of planned action.
Internalise to sustain
This is the toughest part of the process. This is where decisions, commitments, and energy come together to sustain the efforts that have been initiated. The underlying belief is that if we are not consciously committed to sustaining the initiated action plan we risk looping back to the old behavior.
The forth phase is linked to the previous three and will use the stages above to review and revisit action and progress.
It is the phase which involves grinding it out. It calls for support from the coach in the form of constant reinforcement that uncomfortable priorities require persistent efforts. Discussions must also keep the client motivated by celebrating the milestones in between as he/she gets closer to that illusive goal.