A Coaching Power Tool Created by Frederick West III
(Spiritual Coach, UNITED STATES)
Summary of Tool:
Few could argue that we live in a time like no other in human history. With all of our economic, social, and technological advancements we live in a world abundant in opportunity, knowledge, and prosperity. However, living in this time and having everything so freely available comes with a price. There is something to be said and recognized about the resourcefulness that comes from the “acute stress response” (Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn). Inside of it, our brain makes available all of our resources– both internal and external –and enables us to put into action those resources at the most optimal level. In history, the “acute stress response” was used often out of necessity as a matter of survival, but now with so many options and safety nets available, we lose the opportunity to fully utilize what is a critical and fantastic part of our humanity. So this tool of “Option” or “Answer” is a way for us to access that fantastic part of our Neurological System and gain access to those resources by clarifying the decision and adding urgency and conviction to its implementation.
Interestingly enough, when thinking about options, the first thing that comes up for me is Baskin Robbins 31 flavors of ice cream. I remember when I was a little boy going in to the parlor and looking through the counter glass at flavors like Chocolate Mint and Peppermint Fudge Ribbon eagerly anticipating my turn. It was funny though, after many years and so many options I would always have a level of buyer’s remorse even just the slightest bit, wondering if the choice of the day was the most satisfying. I see the same level of dissatisfaction with my kids when picking something to watch on the weekends.
Those of us who are old to enough remember when there were only 30 channels, rarely did my brothers and I have a problem finding something to watch. For kids, there were really only 2 channels, so the decisions we had were quick and satisfying. For our parents with less than 10 channels available, choices were even scarcer, and from what they tell me, they rarely had a problem finding something to entertain them. My children, however, with more options than can be counted have so much indecision and so little satisfaction with their choices. While some may suggest this is due to over-stimulation, I would argue that over-exposure is equally to blame.
When we cannot be fully present, fully embraced, and fully focused, our mind tends to wonder and will constantly consider the other options available to us. During this period of discerning, our lack of engagement reduces our clarity and enjoyment overall. This is also true in other life experiences as well. When selecting our career, picking our partner, choosing our home, etc… the abundance of options can constantly get in the way if there are setbacks and/or if there is adversity. As a result, like I mentioned in the beginning of this summary, our survival skills to handle adversity are not as developed as they used to be, so we are constantly distracted from using our full potential, and fully exploiting all the resources available to us. It is only when we tell ourselves, “WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!” can we fully realize what we always had available, which brings us to the other side of this tool.
The answer is pretty simple to explain. When at the end of our period of clarity we decide either fight or flight, the action that we take is ENTIRELY congruent with that decision. It is amazing what can come from a moment of clarity and conviction. We gain full access to all of our available resources, and most of the time, ignore “exaggerated” conditions that we had previously put on the application. We develop a TENACIOUS attitude, and feel empowered to fulfill our purpose. When faced with adversity, we spend all of our resourcefulness in overcoming the obstacle rather than wasting time on whether we made the right decision in the first place or not. The questions we ask ourselves are positively focused on the end result, and we will not be satisfied with a “CAN’T”. RELENTLESSNESS IS POWER!
For me, the latest example I have of using this tool was concerning my journey with ICA. When I first joined over a year ago, I had a belief that the education and credibility that came from this program would really put my coaching business at a different level. It wasn’t long after my commitment that other opportunities presented themselves, and what previously had been the “answer” had become an “option”.
When I came back after a 9 month hiatus, I set out to complete the program. Truthfully, as an “option” I was only partially committed to fulfilling the program. As a father of 8, coach of youth sports, volunteer in my church, full-time coach for my own practice, and part-time coach for one of the more recognized companies in the world, completing my program had plenty of other parts of my life to compete with. With the skillset I had learned already helping my clients, and a reduced need to have “ICF Certified” next to my name, my commitment only went as far as my original investment here in ICA. I began seeing the program take away from my other activities, and with the clock slowly running out on my access I was strongly considering just getting the most of the tools out of the program I could and never taking the steps to graduate. It was then that I had a conversation with my wife, and together we got clarity on what the true impact of having my certification could have on our business and purpose.
My certification transitioned from “Option” to “Answer” overnight, and I began to take action. I researched the calendar and put together a plan to satisfy all my class requirements before the end of this October. This included having days with up to 7 classes, and taking some that started at 4 AM (both of which I “believed” to be overwhelming or unreasonable before). I ended up putting structures in place so that I could cut out early from practice twice a week to do my supervised coaching, and sacrificed dates with the wife on some nights. A convenient and unforeseen benefit from this was the attitude from those people my adjustments affected. Due to my level of commitment and conviction the people I made arrangements with, not only did they accept the conditions I asked for, but in many cases supported me through the journey. As a result, the anxiety and guilt I felt asking for help dissipated quickly and I was again able to focus even more of my energies on outcome rather than concerning myself with the affect I was having on others. It’s amazing what can get done when something becomes the only “Answer”.
As a coach, it is both a blessing and a curse to be exposed to so many resources on a consistent basis. We are called to constantly stretch ourselves and commit to a life of self-development and self-improvement. However, with an abundance of information and resources, sometimes we lose clarity and find ourselves in a constant state of evaluation and discernment. So as a principle, it is a good idea to come to a definitive course of action and decision. In addition, using a model that focuses more on “Outcome” than “Action” will help create the flexibility we need with new opportunities, maintain the conviction we need to make it happen, and fulfill the result we set out for.
When working with a client that is surrounded by procrastination, indecision, and inaction this is a FANTASTIC tool to help gain conviction and progress.
- First, by asking powerful questions on how they can gain clarity on the best decision for their outcome, thereby helping them gain confidence in the one they made. Helping them focus on the long term outcome rather than just actions so that they have flexibility but are also able to prioritize next steps based on impact rather than a checklist.
- Next, by framing the idea of “This is the answer, so you have no other choice!” as part of their belief system.
- You can now help them fully explore ALL OPTIONS internal and external, even ones the previously considered to be inappropriate or out of bounds. They, too, will see the power that comes from making a decision and reducing the self-imposed boundaries that hold us back from fulfilling it.
- The final result is a laser-focused person ready to take action. Calls will no longer be going around and around about indecision and regret, and rather are focused in on how to gain progress form call to call.
Thank you guys for giving me this space to share my tool, HAPPY COACHING!!