A Coaching Power Tool created by Mahesh Godbole
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
In many situations we deal with the “Fight” or “Flight” response to various challenges that are thrown at us.
The fight-or-flight response (also called the fight-or-flight-or-freeze response, hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon.
His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. This response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms. Source.. Wilkepedia
While it is the Physiological factors that prompt the response, in a coaching model, we will primarily explore the Behavior patterns and actions that will exhibit our response.
In a generalized way the Fight response is seen as aggressive and historically been projected as a response of the “brave “ and the “warriors”. Countless sonnets, ,folktales have tought us that those who were brave fought back. A “Flight” response on the other hand has been seen as a response of the scared, one who cannot face the reality and shirks away from taking responsibility when the situation demands.
For the purpose of this tool “Fight” as a response is seen as being Assertive, staying on the position derived from facts, rationale and consideration for self and others. “Flight” as action describes compromising ones own inclination, consideration for others at the cost of self , as an appropriate response in the larger interest of the objective.
The coaching application will try to analyse what response is more appropriate in the given situation, based on the values one wants to live with. Most of all attempt to provide a perspective that one is not better than the other.
What is actually happening?
- The first response is actually driven by the immediate need of comfort and a possibility either to confront , or back out.
- It is important to understand is the first response a result of some baggage, experience, or settling some old score?
- Is it a result of an experience of the past which is so overwhelming that there is little or no thinking to analyse if the situation just now is similar or has changed.
What needs to be achieved?
- Is the response ultimately helping achieve the objective or will lead to derailment of the ultimate objective?
- What are the likely actions that the first response instigate?
- What will be perception and will that be something in line of what is right and proper?
One of the advantages of using this tool with the client is that this can be done in a risk free environment. In most of the Fight or Flight decisions the circumstance makes one decide fast and think later.
The client can be allowed the time and liberty to think of his immediate response and check the same against some of the pillars leading to the response such as:
- Underlying beliefs which prompt towards a particular response
- The confidence in carrying out with a particular action
- Visualise how the response will span out in the future and check out the validity and usefulness of the response
Describe a situation when you chose to either “fight” or “flight” and Why?
Can I see Fight or Flight as a tool to handle the situation better and not as a sign displaying “strength” or a “weakness”?
Do I follow a typical response, irrespective of the situation and thereby put myself at a risk of being “branded” as one, or I can see that my response has always been based on the analysis of the situation
What do I think of people who give “fight” or “fight” response ?
Does it affect my judgment about them?