A Coaching Power Tool Created by Petra Mayer-Dietrich
(Leadership Coach & Career Coach, SWITZERLAND)
A moment is a very short period of time. A momentum is the force that keeps an object moving or keeps an event developing after it has started. Cambridge Dictionary, 2020.
Moment vs Momentum
I discovered the meaning of Moment vs Momentum in the dialogue with my own coach. It was one of those coaching conversations with the incredible WOW moment. After reading many books and studies, I found a concept in which I could find myself.
With this, I started a journey to explore moment vs momentum in my conversations and interactions with other people as well as started to observe how my environment, people I worked with, people I regularly had contact with, engaged in moments and momentums in all kinds of settings – meetings, discussions, lunches, on the train, even in parent evenings at school and of course in my coaching sessions.
This journey is still ongoing. The focus I have set for myself at this point is “how to utilize the moment more effectively”. The power tool is closely linked to my research paper (‘how to make employee conversation matter’) as well as my Coaching Model F-L-O-W, which deals with how being in motion can be an incredible source of energy (‘it is easier to steer a moving ship than one sitting in the docks’).
I am starting here because it is the part that I have been focusing, to personally deepen my understanding and practice.
Utilizing the moment while drawn to momentum
My trigger point in having this initial conversation with my coach was the fact that when I changed jobs, I was getting frustrated about things not moving as fast as I wanted them to go. In my old position, I was used to be independent, with the necessary information at hand to think ahead, anticipate and position the team to deliver. Time with my new line manager was also very limited and conversations were very target driven with little room for small talk.
I was determined to find a way to utilize those precious, limited moments most effectively.
Naturally, I am most comfortable being in the momentum. Being in the flow and seeing things moving. I knew I had to practice by ‘test and learn’ certain tools and tactics to develop habits to really be in the moment, naturally.
For someone who loves to be in the momentum, a moment can be easily overseen and drown in the see of things happening. Understanding when such moments arise and to stay in the moment is a skill that can be developed through practice.
How to recognize a moment?
Can you recall a situation where you feel you reacted vs responded in a thoughtful manner? Can you recall someone saying “I told you last time we spoke”?
What happened at this moment? Where were you at that point in time when the conversation happened? Was your mind somewhere else? How did you feel afterward? For someone who lives in the momentum being in the moment can feel like ´standing still´, implying something negative. The drive to move can easily lead to missing out essential information shared in the conversation.
What can add to this is when you are dealing with something you are very familiar with. “I got it!” or “Let’s continue’ are some typical statements indicating someone being drawn (and somewhat ‘stuck’) in the momentum vs utilizing the actual moment.
In case this feels familiar and you are willing to change something, it first requires self-awareness of what is going on, followed by exploring a change in perspective. Questions to ask yourself might be: “When you are with someone else (in the moment), isn’t it a privilege for someone dedicating time and energy in this conversation? Isn’t it a gift and a sign of appreciation?
Especially with the flow of information and connection through social media, how much worth is the moment of a one-to-one, direct interaction and exchange!?
How can I practice ‘experiencing the moment’?
There are various tools which can support to develop this skill to ultimately become a habit. Below a few small exercises which I am practicing for myself, in 1-2-1 coaching or with teams. All three methods are somewhat interlinked and of course, can be combined.
Mindfulness Exercise. A room with a view.
Go to the window and look outside. Let your eyes thrive. Surf the view and let impressions build up as they come along. Continue to absorb what you see for 2-3 minutes. If you are in a team, share with the others what you observed and specifically noticed. If you are on your own, reflect what has been different then what you have seen earlier (same or similar view).
Responding vs Reacting
Think back on situations where you reacted. A situation you provided an automatic response – without hesitation. What has been the outcome? Have there been situations where you would have wished to be less spontaneous? On the other side, can you think of situations where you responded to a situation? How did that go? What did you do to provide a response vs a reaction?
What is the reflection telling you? How can you take that learning forward?
Knowing when you get triggered is the most important step to manage whether you are about to react vs to respond. Do reflect on a situation and think through what triggered you and how could you feel that you are being triggered. Understanding what your personal triggers will support to control reactions.
Putting in pauses in a conversation can be powerful. Naturally, we urge to finish a sentence and to keep up with our inner voice and mind. What about making a pause after a statement, or, if asked a question, take a moment to respond. Drink some water, stir in your coffee, reflect on the situation. You may discover that your counterparty has something else to provide to the conversation which you may have not gotten to if rushed through.
Utilizing momentum while drawn to the moment
This is the 2nd part of the power tool. The approach on how to maintain momentum is described in my coaching model. Using my coaching model F-L-O-W, I work with professionals to support them to get into the flow (“get the ship out of the docks”). It focuses on the underlying understanding that it is easier to steer a moving vessel that is moving. Keep moving, getting things done and correct your path as required.
My Coaching Model
My Coaching Model follows a structured path to get into the momentum. As with utilizing the moment, it starts with self-awareness and acknowledges what is important. This is a fundamental basis for any sustainable change or a new skill.
my coaching Model F-L-O-W
Corporate Coaching “How to make an employee conversation matter”