A Coaching Power Tool Created by Paul Kolibaba
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
Understanding: The ability to perceive and explain the meaning or the nature of somebody or something, knowledge of a particular subject, area, or situation, somebody’s interpretation of something, or a belief or opinion based on an interpretation of or inference from something, a sympathetic, empathetic, or tolerant recognition of somebody else’s nature or situation.
Approving: To have a favorable opinion of somebody or something, transitive verb to give formal confirmation that something is satisfactory.
Just because you understand something (why a person does something) it does not necessarily follow that you approve of what was done. This idea has to transfer over to what you are doing. You might be able to justify what you are doing but to the outside world it might be different.
If another person does something that you “understand” but do not approve of, can you see this action in yourself? We all do things that we can justify to ourselves but this action would not be acceptable if we saw the same action in others.
I swerved my car to avoid hitting another, understanding. I swerved my car to avoid hitting another, but I had to hit a squirrel to avoid the car collision. This is the same situation but a squirrel died in the second situation, you may not understand why a squirrel had to die but you might still approve, because it was a choice to hit the squirrel instead of hitting another car causing damage to the other vehicle and possibly a person. Under normal driving situations we would try to avoid the squirrel, but this was different. You tell people the story of the near car miss but hitting the squirrel and people would mostly understand that it was unavoidable. Do you understand that it was unavoidable? Do you approve of your actions? Do you live in doubt? Maybe if you could try it again you could avoid the other car and the squirrel? If we second guess ourselves, then we begin to shut ourselves off from the world.
Try as we might we cannot always understand what we or other people do and then having to approve of these actions can make our lives very difficult.
Well thought out plans can provide understanding and approval of what we are doing, but sometimes we have to make a split second decision. In either case we might make a mistake and our understanding goes out the window. How many decisions do we make in a day? What are the odds that we are going to understand all situations to make only the correct choice(s)?
To be understanding of ourselves is to accept the fact that we might make mistakes. Understand that you can and will make errors and you have to approve of that fact. Not so easy to achieve this in practice, is it?
Self-Application: We understand (on the whole) that things happen in our lives. Choosing how we react to the “things” is a choice we make as well. Our understanding of why we did one action or another is more muddled. There is no way to predict how or if someone else will understand our actions. We have to live with our actions and approve or disapprove for ourselves.
If a client can understand and approve of the action of others, then they should be willing to understand and approve of their own actions in the same or similar situations.
A client does not need to understand or approve of others actions or their own IF it conflicts with their personal values.
A client might have preconceived ideas that they have to understand and approve of the action of others because the other person is: an authority figure or an elder etc.
Help the client to understand that, “Understanding and Approving” do not always have to go hand in hand.