As a successful leader, I’ll bet you say those words to yourself often as you reflect on helping your organization or family create positive change. However, research from McKinsey suggests that over 70% of all organizational change programs fail to live up to their full potential. The reason for these poor results is not because the goals weren’t clear or the team wasn’t talented. It’s because there weren’t enough individuals with the sense of urgency and confidence required to reach those challenging goals. It seems our homes and places of work, worship and education have too many individuals silently saying, “I can’t do it!”
The dictionary describes ‘urgency’ as a condition of pressing importance. When individuals and teams operate with a sense of urgency, they take positive action now…not later.
The urgency I’m talking about does not create an unhealthy feeling of stress, but it shows a healthy commitment and determination to do whatever it takes to create positive results. When more members of your team or family operate with this kind of urgency, positive changes are made and everyone’s well-being is improved.
However, when the confidence level of someone you work with or live with is low, you won’t see them act with urgency. Self-doubt is the enemy of positive action.
Even if you really believe someone is capable of achieving a goal, you will never get someone to consistently do what they believe they can’t do, no matter how many carrots and sticks you use. As Henry Ford said years ago, “If you think you can or you think you can’t…you’re right.”
Fortunately, you can get better at helping others develop the confidence and urgency needed to go from “I can’t” to “I can” when it comes to excelling in their personal and professional life.
Helping someone create a specific, positive and meaningful goal that is JUST OUTSIDE their comfort zone is a great place to start. If the goal is something they can accomplish without having to learn new skills and strategies, they will get bored and not do what they’re capable of doing. If they feel the goal is too far outside their comfort zone, they will get anxious and the fear of failure will prevent them from doing their best. Your goal as a leader is to find the right goal that will help them stretch, not stagnate or snap.
The following Positive Coaching Process will help you help other people excel.
Create A Specific Goal
The first step in the process is to help someone turn a vague idea into a specific, meaningful goal and determine the time frame necessary to accomplish the objective. At this stage of the process, the person you’re coaching may only have a low level of interest, confidence and urgency in reaching the goal.
Step two requires the leader to ask questions about why the goal is important. This line of questioning creates a sense of urgency because you’ll be getting them to think about all the benefits of being successful and the consequences of not achieving their objectives. You also want to identify the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. If you sense there is no urgency or too much fear, you need to find a new goal or the individual will never have enough motivation to overcome the inevitable obstacles they are going to face. Once someone has a strong ‘why,’ the ‘how to’ becomes a lot easier. At this phase in the process, you’ve helped the individual create stronger interest, confidence and urgency.
Step three is the ‘how to’ phase. This is where you help someone explore options for how they can use their natural strengths to reach their goal. As their leader and coach, you should help them create a strategy and plan for their success, but it’s important for you to avoid giving them a solution. At this phase in the process, the person you’re coaching is committed to achieving their goal and they will act with a greater sense of urgency and confidence as they make the effort to go from where they’re at to where they want to be.
The following image captures the Positive Coaching Process.
I believe everyone you lead and love has the potential and desire to be more successful. They really do want to use their unique strengths to reach stretch goals that will help them make their world a better place to work and live. They just need a leader like you to help them focus on what they can do instead of what they can’t do.
Let’s Get Better. Together!