A Coaching Power Tool Created by Mindy Greenberg
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
Coaching often focuses on the future. The individual in the session is interested in solving a problem or obtaining a goal going forward. It’s critical not to lose sight of the importance of being present. So how should a coach balance support a client who wants to achieve future goals, while helping them also remain rooted in the present? This paper seeks to explore options to balance the polarity of present and future states of being.
A popular acronym is YOLO, which means “you only live once.” The phrase is often used to express a similar sentiment to carpe diem, which translates to “seize the day.” This makes sense when the reality is that anything can happen at any time, which means we should all embrace our mortality and live in the moment.
But in today’s society, we are under constant pressure to focus on the future. From a young age, we are given assignments with due dates and college prep starts in childhood in many cases. As teenagers, a common question posed is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And as adults, we constantly reach for the next stage of life, whether it’s planning for work assignments, vacations, family milestones, or retirement. This type of planning creates a society of “Do’ ers” versus “Be’ ers.”
This level of focusing on the future and constantly existing in a “doing” mode can cause significant mental and physical stress, but it’s also a necessity for us all. Understanding how to find a balance is critical for us as individuals and as coaches.
As a coach, it’s helpful to be aware of the client is overly indexing on one end of the spectrum and ask questions to allow for self-awareness. Opposing examples could include one individual who is feeling stuck and unable to progress toward a life goal, or another could be an individual who is so focused on their goals that they are unable to find joy in living their life.
In the first scenario, some questions to promote awareness could be:
- What does your ideal life look like?
- If you could snap your fingers and your life would be different tomorrow, what would change? What could you do to make that a reality?
- If you look back at your life three years from now, what would you want to have accomplished?
- What would you want your friends and family to say about you at your 80th birthday party?
In the second scenario, some questions to promote awareness could be:
- What were the three highlights of your week?
- What made them special?
- Were you able to appreciate their value to you at the moment? (If not, how might you going forward?)
- What currently brings you joy?
- How might you find time throughout your day to stop and ground yourself at the moment?
- What would it look like for you if you gave less energy to future you and focused on you now?
The balance between being in the present and preparing for the future is critical for coaches to understand and to help their clients achieve. I hope this Power Tool is a useful resource for coaches to help their clients accomplish this goal.