A Coaching Power Tool Created by Wayne Farrell
(Business Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Mark Twain
Where are you in the following reasons vs results equation?
No matter where we are in our lives or careers, we either have the results we want, or we have reasons as to why we have not yet achieved what we want.
The fact is that most people will give you reasons for not yet having achieved what they want. Whether it is a bad economy, being laid off, illness or whatever is going on in their life. There are reasons that they are not satisfied in that area of their being and reasons for things not being the way they want them to be.
Now imagine if you knew the day you were going to move on from this life. Imagine lying down 5 minutes before it was time to pass on and you think to yourself, “I would have,” “I could have” or “I should have.” How many people do you know have uttered those words or something along those lines? “I could have been a contender, but that thing happened to me and it ruined everything.” These are reasons and for not having had it all. Now very importantly, I want to be very clear at this point and say that this does not mean the person is to blame or at fault. Please bear this in mind as you read the rest of this article. The idea of finding the reasons is not to say the client is at fault or to blame. It is not to beat the client up with.
Now as we imagine that moment before passing on and think about the things we had not achieved and the reasons for not doing so, I am sure you can agree that would not be very satisfying. It would not be liberating to think and certainly not empowering. In fact, you could almost imagine feeling cheated.
I appreciate that there is no evidence that you are always totally responsible for what happens to you all of the time. I do however suggest that in many cases, having a very good plan and implementing the plan by taking the right actions, that results can be achieved.
Furthermore, any feedback and learnings we get from not achieving the intended goal serve to empower us and help us to hone the action plan into one that may lead us to success. Thomas Edison famously replied that he did not fail 10,000 times, but rather found 10,000 ways not to do it when he was asked about all the previous failures in creating the light bulb.
In many cases, people will actually blame everything and everybody around them as to why they have not succeeded. Many people are professional victims and love to blame the victim or blame game.
Having these reasons for not having achieved the goal is not all bad though. It is merely a matter of perception. The opposite of having all the reasons as to why the client has not achieved their goal can also be very encouraging and beneficial. Once we understand what the reasons are, we can change our focus and create a proper action plan to achieve the results we desire. This can be achieved by coaching and helping the client to overcome or navigate the stumbling blocks on the path to success
Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not something to be waited for, But rather something to be achieved. William Jennings Bryan
Now let’s focus on the results side of the dichotomy. Let’s pretend we were at the cause for wherever we are in our life. You may argue and say something like “I did not ask to be in a car accident,” or “I did not ask to be shot,” or whatever bad thing could have happened in our lives. I only ask that we IMAGINE that we were at cause for everything that has happened and where we may be in our lives. That the rest are merely reasons and now we want to focus on the result.
The fact is that we are where we are based on our conscious and unconscious decisions that have led up to that point. Here is an example. Let’s imagine a client has been involved in a bank robbery and they were held up at armed gunpoint. So now they suffer from PTSD. I know that sounds a little extreme and I can assure you that there are many worse things that have happened to clients. The fact is that the client was at that particular bank at that particular point of time, based on their conscious and unconscious decisions. Now please remember, we mentioned before that this does not suggest that the person is at fault or to blame. It merely points out that we are where we are based on our conscious and unconscious decisions. This is one of the fundamental things I discuss with my clients and once they accept that fact, they are empowered to take the right action to achieve the results they want.
Now we can take the learning from the experience to help us in the future. I realise this may be uncomfortable for some people to accept. Again there is no evidence to suggest that we can always control what happens to us. What it does do is to free us up from the blame and victimhood mentality to focus on the results we truly want. This is a much more empowering position to be in and is a springboard to achieving the results we want.
There is one very important thing to remember here and that the action plan and goal need to be SMART. It is not feasible to think that one can become a fighter pilot in a week when you have never flown a plane before and have no aptitude for navigation or maths. We need to have a clear goal, with the right knowledge and steps necessary to achieve the result we want.
Examples of questions you could ask
- Where are you in regards to your goal right now?
- What has impacted on you in terms of achieving your goals?
- How can you overcome the obstacles you have faced if any up to now?
- How do you see your way clear in achieving your goal?
- What do you feel about your success in achieving your goal?
How I would use this power tool in coaching
The main purpose of this tool is to empower the client and help them to focus on achieving their goal. It is really important to keep in mind that the purpose of this tool is not to create fault or blame.
Regardless of which side of the dichotomy they are on, having the client realise where they are in regards to their goal and what has prevented them from achieving it up to that point, will assist them in re-focussing on their goal. Making sure they are clear on their exact goal and what steps to take to achieve it.
When you become a leader success is all about growing others. Jack Welch
- Where are you on the reasons vs results equation?
- What examples can you think of when you have given reasons for not achieving your goals?
- What were those reasons and what can you learn from that to assist you in moving forward?
- What results have you achieved that you can celebrate in the realisation that you are a wonderful human being and that a goal is simply a plan that has not yet been realised?
- How do you see this tool helping you in your coaching journey?