A Coaching Power Tool created by R Mahesh Lyer
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
Do I cross the road or not?
“Living in Action” gives us a movement, which we all need, as it is a step forward. Therefore to take action is feeding forward to our goals. Procrastination on the other hand, is like an invisible chain holding us back, motionless and directionless.
So, this Power Tool is very essential and important for both Client and Coach, as it will measure the degree of urgency the client places on his task and goals, in a given time frame and is not open-ended. It’s equally important to accept that procrastination is human nature and we don’t procrastinate on every task all the time. So we tend to be “Selective” procrastinators.
The way we take our action decisions, depends on how we value the importance of doing something and its impact on us. Some forms of judgment or underlying beliefs can lead us to hold back our actions. Take an example; you are planning a holiday next winter to an exotic location with your family, there is more than 12 months to go, will you take immediate action to book tickets, hotel and local tours? Or will you wait closer to the date to start planning and find rates have all almost doubled and out of your budget. If it has, would you regret and cancel the long awaited family trip. Maybe or maybe not.
What triggers action or no action? In my lifetime, I have seen how, companies I worked; people I worked with, did not take timely action and paid a paralyzing and heavy price for delay. Similarly, Global Warming is a great example of delayed action to protect our environment.
As shown in 2 above “Action” is embedded in procrastination too, except that it is delayed and back-ended. So timely action is more important that delayed or no action.
- If you are not acting then you are procrastinating. When was the last time you were fatigued with this eternal hanging of an uncompleted task?
- What can be the easiest way to move from procrastination to action?
- So can you make things happen? The low hanging fruits, the urgent issues impacting people, financial matters, important relationships and things that impact your future
As coaches, you can use these tools when after 2 or 3 sessions; the client comes back with no actions accomplished.
Powerful questions you may ask to initiate action.
- Why is it important to complete tasks and decision?
- Which are important tasks for you to achieve, in your personal life and professionally?
- Will your timely action help you and others who are dependent on you also to move forward?
Action is the life line of our coaching practice.
When we find clients in a procrastination mode, it’s important to find ways to shift their perspective into one of Action.
One way of doing this is to create an “Action Area” for you and your clients. In this area, the client begins to prioritize his actionable, which he feels are important to him to move forward and achieve some of his life and professional goals. He reviews the progress, the bottlenecks and the wins to celebrate progress.
Some questions to help shift into “Action Area” may be:
It is our responsibility to help the client understand that, whatever it is they face, action can only make it better and keep it within their circle of influence, instead of others influencing their decisions by default.
- How do you define Action?
- What role does Action play in delivering your outcome and results?
- What role does Action play in coaching both for you as coach as well as for your client?
- What structures can you put in place to strengthen Action for clients?
- What has been the impact of these?