CHIP AND DAN HEATH, Authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.
I find this point of view to be accurate and highly motivating. So often, it can be easy to feel defeated and paralyzed by complex challenges. The Heath brothers encourage us to see what is possible in our sphere of influence and encourage us to take incremental steps to solutions.
In our coaching and consulting, I look to facilitate the process that enables individuals and organizations to break down big aspirations into approachable, achievable milestones. Part of this work involves identifying strengths and past achievements so we can build on what has worked and create a sense of efficacy in their ability to climb the next “mountain.”
I often draw on change concepts that the Heath brothers have brilliantly codified in their book, Switch, as well as ideas from productivity gurus, such as David Allen, author of the system, Getting Things Done.
As a recent example, I coached an aspiring writer, as he approached the daunting task of writing his first novel. Not only was the client able to finish the book, but he did so in a three month period. We drew on a number of motivational principles as well as David Allen and the Heath brothers, to support this individual in developing a vision and breaking it down into approachable tasks, so as to not only reach this goal, but also enjoy the journey.
EDWARD DE BONO
A large focus of coaching is supporting individuals in breaking out of established thinking patterns and eliciting fresh thinking around pressing issues and important goals.
Drawing on creativity experts, such as Edward DeBono, as well as our background in professional development, facilitation and coaching, JBC structures conversations that maximize innovation, enable healthy exploration and debate of possible alternatives, confront and plan around change readiness and form clear decisions and plans to carry forward.
As examples, I employed Edward DeBono’s provocation techniques with a professional services firm wanting to innovate around a particular suite of services. In addition, we used his six hats thinking methodology with this same firm to enable structured and productive dialogue in the face of new approach to selling consulting services.
I love this Dale Carnegie concept that we can choose to bring enthusiasm to anything we do, whether it be a dreaded administrative task or an intense mental exercise. Not only can this help us wield the energy to get things done, it can also make it a lot more fun.
At JBC, we facilitate our clients’ ability to tap their passion and energy to reach their goals, whether it be starting a new venture, coalescing a new team, pursuing a career transition, becoming a confident and compelling public speaker, acing a challenging exam and/or adopting a healthier lifestyle. Drawing on our expertise in social and organizational psychology as well as personal effectiveness gurus, such as Dale Carnegie, we use techniques and impart lessons and resources that empower our clients to approach their work with more confident and productive mindsets.
As an example, we recently coached a client in effectively designing and delivering a presentation to over 300 people. We drew on a number of communication and presentation techniques and tools, including Dale Carnegie and Presentation Zen, to help her craft a session she was genuinely impassioned to deliver.
One of my goals with Jump Big postings is to share coaching tools and approaches with you, my readers. Coaching is a valuable skill set in any role or profession, whether you are a CEO or a parent, whether you’re looking to develop your direct report or support your colleague, best friend or your life partner.
David Rock, author of Quiet Leadership; Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work and renowned coach and founder of Results Coaching systems, draws much of his coaching methodology from neuroscience insights. In particular, his Five Levels of Thinking model has stuck with me, and is a valuable coaching mindset for moving someone forward with solutions, as opposed to allowing someone to stay stuck in the weeds of the past, the details and/or the problem. In addition, this framework is helpful in thinking about or communicating any work project. The model allows you to identify “which gear (you) are thinking from, and choose another way to think.”
The Five Levels of Thinking are:
In coaching, I work with individuals above the line, in the Vision (goals and objectives), Planning (how to get there) and Detail (the specific actions required) gears of thinking. It can be natural for individuals (not us, of course!) to go below the line, dwelling on what is going wrong and who’s to blame. In addition, when there is a lot of emotional energy, we often resort to bottom rung, to the drama of any particular situation or relationship. In coaching, we look to focus on the problem and the drama from a visioning or planning perspective, meaning we ask questions which raise awareness and move you up the ladder, like “How long do you want to stay here venting? What do you ultimately want here?”
So, in looking at the five levels of thinking, how often do you or others in your life get stuck below the line? How might this model support you and/or others in “staying above the water line”?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this model and whether/how you applied it to yourself or with others!