A Coaching Power Tool created by Nirmala Menon
(Diversity & Executive Women Coaching,INDIA)
Inertia comes from the word “inert”
Inertia can be a symptom, a defence mechanism, a form of resistance to change, a habit, or a combination of any of these. Most people remain inert 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.
At the heart of achieving any goal is the ability to take action and the root of action is taking initiative.Initiative is movement while inert is being static. Initiative is positive and it occurs when we are able to resolve our underlying beliefs and fears.
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. It is always the first step that matters.The journey from inertia to initiative is characterized by road blocks and resistance.
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. Initiative has magic, grace and power in it.
In order to achieve a goal, we must be ready willing and able to take action. Without consistent and persistent action, the goal will not be achieved. It is for this reason that action is at the heart of coaching. Action is described in the dictionary as ―the process of doing something in order to achieve a purpose. Action is extremely powerful and is the catalyst used in coaching to create change. It is important for us to recognize that nothing happens without action. In order for us to achieve different results in our lives, we must DO different.
What causes us to be stuck and not take initiative?
We are stuck when our fear, limiting beliefs, commitments, judgments or Underlying Beliefs (UBs) are greater than the motivation to move forward in action.
Fear steps in the way and prevents us from moving forward. This fear may stem from many causes-fear of failure or fear of making mistakes or fear of change. Fear literally freezes us. It turns us into a hard frozen block, giving us no flexibility or flowing movement. If you take this analogy even further fear makes us cold, rigid and static. We dare not alter the temperature or the environment as it could cause a meltdown. But we must move forward and the only way to do this is that we have to change. We must open ourselves to moving forward. We must recognise that the fear is greater than the change. We must make a shift. We must take one step forward.
The origin of fear is underlying beliefs about ourselves which disempowers us. Coaching has to unravel the underlying beliefs and how does it do it by shifting the perspective and making a Client look at a different way of looking at a situation. We do it by asking a question, pointing out a different point of view, or creating a compelling vision.
How do we get our clients out of inertia and move towards taking initiative?
- Help our Client recognize fear and discomfort as these are sure signs of progress.
- Goal Setting
- Creating a Vision
- Asking powerful questions like
- What could be the first step you take today to move forward?
- What do you look like when you are in action?
Moving out of inertia happens when we are dissatisfied with current reality and the extent of dissatisfaction is such that it would catapult us from inertia to initiative.