A Coaching Power Tool created by Ann Elliott
(Executive Coaching, THAILAND)
The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
A Reaction is a Reflex – an impulsive action based on an awareness of, and a solution for, only a small part of any situation.
When something happens we feel compelled to act on this because it is new, strokes our ego, frightens us, is urgent, feels good, is dangerous, is appealing or otherwise appears important in that moment. We act based on this burning issue in front of us, we are in a REACT mode. Our fixation on the urgent, painful, or pleasurable short-circuits a “big picture” view and we act on this limited information rather than weighing its value or importance against our longer-term goals and objectives. Reacting often means missing opportunities, or possibly living with regret.
It is a disempowering state which feels tense, charged, highly emotional and overwhelming. It creates negativity and is destructive in relationships to the person who feels it, and to those around them
We know we are in a REACT mode if we can realize that we no longer feel calm or tolerant of the typical bumps that are inevitable in any journey in life. We may have started out expecting challenges in our way and we may have thought we were prepared to meet them but now we are experiencing anxiety, impatience and frustration. We lose track of our target, we speak and act quickly – more focused on doing something, anything, rather than just taking our time and thinking it through.
A Response is a wise, purposeful action that balances the perceived urgency or immediate pain/pleasure of any situation with greater, more important goals and outcomes.
A response moves us beyond our own limited view of a situation and integrates the complexities of people and circumstances. People who respond maintain focused on their goals and desired outcomes. A response is measured and it’s implications are well thought out.
It is an Empowering State which feels calm, thoughtful, reflective and almost always results in the best possible outcome in relationships.
We will know we are a RESPONSE mode when we realize that we are at ease and are carefully gathering as much information from any situation and considering what options may be available to us at any given time. We understand clearly that some preferred outcomes may not be possible, and we accept this – and concentrate on what we CAN do, not on what we wish could be.
In our lives, we often learn the value of adopting beliefs and understandings which, from experience and reinforcement, we know will help us achieve the goals we aim for. So we must first remind ourselves that the benefits of being Responsive almost always outweigh those of being Reactive.
We must be mindful and be aware when we are feeling a little off balance or in a reactive mood. When we are in an uncomfortable situation it is wise to step away even though sometimes we may not feel we are permitted to do this in difficult situations such as criticism at work, an argument at home, or an upsetting political discussion. But giving oneself a little space to regather ones flustered or anxious self can make a big difference in not regretting a reaction. So, the purpose of creating space is to move from reaction to response, from inactivity to proactivity.
In creating space, the first question is to ask oneself is what kind of space do you need? In that time: Think Big Picture. When one thinks about how this specific situation fits into ones overall goals and objectives it will be easier to respond. This needs time. It is important to put the situation into context and to remember the Value which will come from a measured response as opposed to a possibly reckless reaction.
In a coaching context a coach and client will explore situations in the clients life that are causing tension i.e there may be problems at home or at work, or financial pressures. Triggers will be identified and explored and underlying commitments and beliefs evaluated. Are the Clients goals in line with his/her values? A Client maybe has taken on too much responsibility and left little or no time for him/herself. Mindfulness and Meditation are wonderful tools which can be incorporated into daily routines and practiced regularly. When a client observes him or herself and is more aware of the here and now he or she will be less likely to loose sight of the bigger picture. A Coach will work with a client to put situations into context, ask what is happening in the present time and how the next step will best serve him/her. Help the client remember to ask the Key Reaction Question prior to every response – am I Reacting or Responding?
- What tools can be incorporated into ones daily routine to allow for self awareness?
- What triggers cause disempowering reactions?
- How are underlying beliefs and commitments identified?
- In addition to Meditation and Mindfulness what other tools can be used to create improved self awareness?
- What is the key reaction question?
- How would recognizing choices, and creating 20/20 vision help?