A Coaching Power Tool Created by Pauline Mkala
(NGO coach, KENYA)
Action Regret: This is the regret or the retrospective view that one may holds after taking an action that one feels challenged about. This provides an opportunity for one to re-strategize the next course of action which leads to improved outcomes and ultimately to the desired outcome. This form of regret is positive and is empowering
Inaction Regret: This form of regret follows one for a long time just wondering what would have happened if they had taken a certain important action. This form of regret is disempowering as one has no lessons learnt to work with and therefore does not lead to forward movement.
The perspective and belief behind this tool is to motivate one to always take action on issues that we encounter on the Journey of life. That people should overcome the fear of being intimidated by possible negative consequences of their actions. When one takes action the result may not be what one expected but one is always a winner. This is because it is then possible to have lessons that will influence and inform the next course of action. There regret in this case is not empty but filled with lesson and therefore a positive regret. On the contrary when one fails to take action one is a loses the opportunity to make any movement at all. The regret in this instance is is empty and does not point one in any direction. Therefore there is no lesson learnt. This brings about stagnation and one is left with a speculative perspective.
Action regret tends to wear away when one has taken action from the lessons learnt. While In action regret tends to looms and linger causing a person to wonder what could have happened if they had taken a particular action. This situation recurs when we encounter people who have been success after taking a similar action. Better to do something imperfectly done rather not doing nothing flawless. Lessons are very important in moving one forward towards goals that have been set.
A story was told a man, named Jairo, who lived in a little town in a developing nation with his family that included two children. He had worked for 15 years an accountant in town hospital. He was very was very knowledge of the functioning of the hospitals beyond just his job. He was well loved by the towns folks and was a member of many committees such as church committee, school management committees and many times people sought his opinion on many issues.
One day the hospital administrator retired from that position and the hospital administration approach Jairo to fill that position. This position would offer him better remuneration and he would no longer struggle to meet the requirements of sustaining his family. He would be able to take his children to a better school and the family would have comfortable life.
When Jairo went with excitement to let his wife know of the impending life change, she discouraged him. She challenged him that supposing he did not measure up to that job, then there was danger of loosing his job and leaving them with no income. She encouraged him to keep the position as that job though he earned a little it had job security. Jairo reflected on his wife’s feelings and felt that her position made sense and it was not worth risking so he maintained his job.
The hospital went ahead to employed a new administrator. The new administrator did not get a long with Jairo and a few months down the line Jairo had to quit his job. He started spending time with his friend who had a carpentry shop. He developed a serious fear of going for job interviews and looking for a new job and became dependent on his carpenter friend. His living standards deteriorated to the extent that he lost his self-confidence. His wife began encouraging him to look for work but he was no longer up to it. He became withdrawn and no longer engaged in social activities. He whiled away time reminiscing how he could have taken up the administrator job, his life would not have been what it was.
If Jairo had an opportunity for coaching at the point that his wife had discouraged him from taking up the administrator job he would have been taken through a coaching process involving the following stages:
This would have involved exploration of Jairo’s points of strengths and areas of uniqueness. He had good interpersonal skills and would receive support from members of staff. He knew well the function of the hospital
Jairo would have been take through processes of visualizing, reflection, and brainstorm on setting goals determined by himself to aid him in moving forward. In this he would be able to visualize the better life he could enjoy if he took up the new job
Here Jairo would be facilitated to initiate the baby steps moving him towards the change he envisions in his life. He would have confidence that there is really no loss in taking action and the worst that can happen is taking away lessons.
The coach will facilitate Jairo to celebrate the achievement of the set goals and leaving his comfort zone.
This tool is very empowering to a client as it motivates them to take action. It creates awareness on the importance of movement. It gives the client reassurance that which ever way the results of the action taken go there are benefits that accrues from actions taken. Through action one is able to experience some lessons that help one to engage better through new insights and perspectives and this leads to appropriate action that can change the course of action and generally action leads to more action.
The coach through the coaching process facilitates a client to take a series of actions to enable them reach the desired goals. Therefore inaction is a constraint for the client achieving their goals. This tool enables the coach to motivate a client and assist the client to increase their confidence level in taking action. The tool provides an opportunity to assure to the client of the necessity to take action. The coach is able to facilitate the client to explore the underlying issues that bring about inaction including exploring the regrets and fears the client may have in this journey.
The coaching space provides an opportunity for the client to confront those issues that contrain them in taking action. An they can be empowered to have a new attitude where action becomes a normal series of events that lead to achievement of the clients desires.
Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.― Robert H. Schuller
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ― William James
Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of works. Trust movement. – Alfred Adler
Some questions for reflection
- What would happen if you took action?
- What would move you towards this goal?
- What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
- How does this fit with your plans/way of life/values?