Prepare for Action
So much in life is about preparation. In coaching, the client previews all possible actions and outcomes. A client talks through what she wants, who she wants to be in relationship to this goal(s) and what she expects to happen if she takes action. Let’s consider that the client above has a spouse who will be angry with her for taking a lower-paying job. Past experience has taught her that the partner will respond with anger and guilt-tripping when she raises the subject. As a result, she has backed down several times, but now she wants the conversation to go differently. Courageous Mindset coaching questions might sound like this:
- Are there other ways to look at your partner’s anger? What do you think is really going on with that person?
- What if you had all the courage you needed to respond the way you want to respond, how would you? How might the person react? What would your response be?
- Considering all this, what do you want to do?
- What tools do you need to take with you into this action?
Through the coach-client discussion, the client prepares her mind for success by identifying circumstantial and personal barriers: she silences the critical voices in her head, cultivates proactive trains of thought, and chooses strategies for protecting herself and advancing her goals.
With clarity, and a strong mindset, the client is equipped to take deliberate action. However, while being equipped is certainly a good thing, there is a final element necessary for effecting positive change, and that is courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act in the presence of fear.– Bruce Lee
What is courage?
It’s very easy to make judgments about who is courageous and who is not by looking at their particular circumstance. However, for courage to be present – by definition – there is also fear. Whether fear is present for someone is a very personal thing. What you might be able to do with little or no fear, may cause someone else to be terrified. The important thing to recognize is that whenever one acts in spite of the fear, it’s an act of courage.
In fact, most courageous people are not born that way. They are made. Firefighters, for example, have an entire training process in which they extensively and regularly practice skills and courage before they are required to act at a real emergency fire. They are constantly assessing strengths and gaps, honing their skills, adding new ones, and keeping themselves, their minds, bodies and equipment fit for the job. Eventually, when the real life situation calls for it, they are prepared and use their best skills and tools to act. Fire men and women and other people doing similar jobs are on a constant cycle of assess-learn-prepare-plan-practice-act-repeat. This courage inducing process is one we can all adopt.
It is important to note here that confidence is different from courage. It is a feeling of self-assurance from appreciating your own abilities and qualities (Oxford). Confidence may or may not be present when courageous action occurs but it makes sense that the more confidence you have about something the less fear you may be dealing with when it comes time for action.