A Coaching Power Tool Created by Godfrey Kalibbala
(Life Coach, KENYA)
“The end justifies the means” is a saying that many people today will not want to identify with. There is a realization in many aspects of life that the means to an end is as important as the end. In the same spirit, the process undertaken to achieve a goal is as important as the goal itself. It is said that 80% of organizational changes fail to achieve their intended goals over time not because the changes were bad or not appropriate but because the process undertaken in introducing and managing the change was not well thought through. The process reflects the how. It is concerned not only about the action steps to the goal but also how the actions are arrived at. It involves intentional reflection to create deeper meaning and reason for the action.
It is said that “If you don’t know where you are going any road will lead you there”, and basically you will never get anywhere. Without a clear goal you cannot define the process. The goal precedes the process. The dream of achieving the goal provides the motivation and the energy to take the necessary steps and actions in the process. The goal enables you to monitor your progress. If you are an athlete you have to keep your eye focused on the finish line. Any achievement begins by setting the goal.
In the region where I worked, in Rural Africa, an assessment was conducted to establish the most critical development needs in the area. On top of the list was the need to construct school structures for children who were studying under trees. Priority was given to two villages. It was agreed that in village A, the government will construct a seven class room structure and that in village B, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that I worked for would build a similar structure. The government contracted a company to construct the school in A and work begun immediately, after which the government also purchased desks and furnished the school. In about 8 months, the school was handed over to the school management committee and started running.
On the other hand, the NGO took a different approach; before any construction started, the staff conducted a series of community meetings to raise the materials that were locally available in the community. The community members worked together to excavate the sand, collected all the stones and went to the nearby forest and cut poles that were needed for the construction. During the construction, the community members came up with a duty roaster of who would be on site each day to fetch the water for the construction. The NGO provided transport to deliver the materials to the site and also purchased all the materials that were not available locally in the community, such as cement and roofing materials; and also paid for labor to the contractor. It was hard work for the community. It was also a big challenge for the staff as the community kept challenging them why they cannot do as the government had done in community A. The school was completed in two years. At the opening of the school, Government official were invited by the village leaders and school management committee to come and witness. So many community members came to celebrate their great achievement.
After some years, the school structure and facilities in village B were still well maintained as the community jealously monitored the use of the facilities and whenever something broke down, the school management committee would mobilize the community again to replace it. However, in village A, the story was different; the community was not so concerned about the running and maintenance of the school structure and facilities and usually the school management committee turned back to government to ask for support for replacement of what was broken. In most cases, the support from Government would either take too long to come or never came which led to dilapidation of the facilities over time.
Observations from the case study
In village A, the goal was achieved in a short time. The process was quick and easy for the community members, the contractor and the Government. It was however more of a mechanical way to solving the problem and in the long run the results were fading away. In village B, the goal was achieved but took much longer. The process was slower and it was hard work for both the community and the staff. It was also not an easy go for the contractor. However, the process more of an organic way of solving the problem and the results or goal was likely to be sustained for a long time. It was an empowering transformational process to the community.
We live in a world of quick fix, leaning more towards “the end justifies the means”. It is important to live out a life that is not just driven by what you want to achieve but also conscious of how you achieve it. The process you under take to achieve the goal will determine not only whether you achieve the goal, but more importantly how you will sustain your goal and its impact on your life. There are many quick and easy offers to achieving ones goal but such may not offer a lasting solution and some may actually be dangerous in the long run. Taking the longer and somehow a more difficult route may lead to more powerful results than the quick and easier route. In the search for happiness, some have taken the quick route of drugs but in the long run leading to self-destruction. “Easy come, Easy go”. Goals that are achieved easily may also fade away easily.
Great success is usually born of great sacrifice; and is never a result of selfishness. Seneca
In the pursuit of our goals, it is important that we are not selfish but think about the impact of our action in relation to the people around us, the community and the world we live in.
Mohandas Gandhi, looked at the problems of this world and observed,
The root of our problems are: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.
I also add, “Rights without responsibility”.
As a coach, the coaching process you undertake will not only determine whether you achieve the clients goal but also the impact of the coaching on the client beyond achievement of the goal. Based on the coaching process adopted, the coaching session or Coaching programme may turn out to be mechanical and artificial or organic and natural; it may turn out as transactional or transformational or it may end up focusing on either the doing or the Being. In all cases, the latter is preferred and will majorly be dependent on the coaching process undertaken by the coach.
Nevertheless, it is equally important to note that the client’s agenda or goal should always be at the center of any coaching session or programme and needs to be clear right at the beginning and progress towards it should be monitored throughout the coaching programme. A client comes to the coach because of the desire to achieve a given goal.
Whereas the goal as presented by the client is very important, as part of the process, the coach needs to be courageous enough to find out or support the client to reflect on what makes that particular goal so valuable to the client. This clarity provides not only the clients commitment to the goal, but it may lead to a deep self-discovery for the client that may even lead to adjustment of their goal. A question like, “How is this goal so important to your life” could be helpful for the client to reflect deeper on the intrinsic motivation and value of his/her goal.
Writing is not a process of creation. It is also a process of self-discovery. Cristina Istrati
Besides the goal, the coach seeks to have the coaching process be transformational, organic and deep enough to bring the client to their being. This demands more skills for the coach in listening and asking powerful questions that enables the client to move to the deeper level of self-discovery.
Next action steps are always very important in moving towards the goal and the coach needs to support the client to identify them clearly. The coach, however, needs not to focus on only the next action or the doing that move the client to the goal but takes time to support client to have a deeper awareness of self, meaning and values in order to have a firm foundation for the actions.
In all, the coach should give critical focus to the process to ensure that the client does not just achieve the goal but achieves it in a transformational and sustainable way.
- How is your coaching process? How does it balance between achieving the goal and a process that is transformational?
- What can you do to make your coaching process deeper and more transformational?
- Sometimes, a coaching programme comes to an end without the client achieving their original goal but they acknowledge that the coaching experience has been worth their investment? What do you make of this?
- What is your take away from this power tool?