A Coaching Power Tool Created by Tobias Demker
(Leadership coach, CHINA)
Sometimes we might find ourselves working hard on something and never seeing any results. Perhaps sometimes we might also be running from assignment to assignment without enough time to prepare thoroughly. In a business environment, it is often required of us to think strategically about what will happen in the future. This often includes preparing for future opportunities and threats.
It can then be helpful to think about what we are doing, and how we are spending our time, in terms of Sowing and Harvesting.
Sowing Mentioning sowing, we usually think about putting seeds in the ground, to hopefully get a result that we can harvest. In that sense sowing can be seen as actions we are undertaking to prepare for future results. This means that sowing can involve a large range of activities, such as:
- Learning new skills
- Making risk assessments
- Creating new networks
- Working on strategic plans
- Building relations
- Encouraging someone
- Delegating a task
- Practicing a speech
- Going for a run
There is no limit to the activities we might involve ourselves in to enable us to gain future results. Many times the sowing and harvesting might occur at the same time. For example, I play tennis to stay healthy in the future (sowing), and I can truly enjoy the joy of hitting a good shot I have practiced on the tennis court (harvesting).
Harvesting is more about implementing the plans and enjoying the results you have sowed.
It might include:
- Implementing newly acquired skills
- Delivering a result
- Closing a deal
- Doing something different
- Collecting feedback from others
- Enjoying a well deserved bottle of wine
- Complementing someone for his/her improvement
- Going through the yearly results with your team
- Finishing a marathon
In coaching sowing and harvesting is to be non-judging. It is therefore not clear that harvesting will automatically mean a positive result. It is more about collecting the results of our efforts, and highlighting what we can learn from the experience. Even if the results are not seen as expected, there is usually something to harvest to support our future sowing. In that sense sowing and harvesting is an ongoing process with lots of learning involved.
Using this tool can help us reflecting on how we are allocating our time and efforts in a productive way, and highlighting learning from our experiences even though they might be conceived as good or bad.
It might also be a helpful way for us to reflect on the actions or time we have to invest in order to be able to harvest any kind of result. In that way it can be used as a motivating force for us, and helping us connecting with the purpose of our actions.
The tool can be use for visionary purposes. By asking about how the client, in the future, can harvest the efforts being made at the moment, we open a window talking about future possibilities. Needless to say, this can be highly motivating in the current situation.
We can of course use it in reverse, by looking at what we would like to harvest in the future. Then it becomes natural to ask questions around what seeds need to planted and nurtured in order to harvest the desired results.