The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your
riches, but to reveal to him his own. – Benjamin Disrael
Cover picture: 70-ies commercial ad
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4/ USEFUL SKILLS ..............................................................878
4.1. PROBLEM SOLVING ...................................................878
4.2 DEALING WITH OBSTACLES AND RESISTANCE901
4.3 FIXING GOALS..............................................................934
4.4 MOTIVATING OTHERS ..............................................949
4.5 SURFING THE FLOW SPIRAL ...................................956
4.6 INCREASING SELF ESTEEM .....................................976
4.7 RESOLVING CONFLICT .............................................995
4.8 DYSFUNCTIONAL PERSONALITY TYPES...........1008
4.9 DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE ...................1013
4.10 LEARNING STYLES .................................................1034
4.11 CHANGE MANAGEMENT .......................................1050
4.12 THE GRIEF CYCLE ...................................................1082
4.13 KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING...........................1089
4.14 RELAPSE PREVENTION..........................................1156
4.16 DESENTISATION .......................................................1175
4.17 BUILDING ASSERTIVENESS ..................................1176
4.18 ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS.........................................1178
4.19 THE JOHARI WINDOW............................................1180
4.20 DECISION MAKING..................................................1183
4.21 TIME MANAGEMENT ..............................................1188
4.22 STRATEGIC PLANNING ..........................................1223
4.23 ACTION PLANNING..................................................1244
4.24 THE POWER OF HABITS .........................................1254
4.25 THE ART OF DELEGATION ...................................1258
4.26 AFFIRMATIONS AND POSITIVE THINKING .....1266
4.27 STAGES OF THE CHANGE CONTINUUM............1275
4.28 CONGRUENCE ..........................................................1280
4.30 PARADIGMS ..............................................................1286
4.31 BALANCE ...................................................................1290
4.32 EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (E.Q.)...................1297
4.33 THE FIVE FREEDOMS.............................................1305
4.34 GENDER DIFFERENCES.........................................1311
4.35 PITFALLS FOR COACHING ...................................1314
4.36 FEAR ............................................................................1315
4.37 TEAMWORKING AND TEAMROLES ...................1322
4.38 ANGER MANAGEMENT ..........................................1326
4.39 LEADERSHIP STYLES..............................................1358
4.40 SWOT ANALYSIS.......................................................1392
4.41 THINGS YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN SOONER1416
4.42 HOW TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE..............................1447
4.43 THE MINTO PYRAMID PRINCIPLE......................1457
5 EXAMPLES OF COACHING DOCUMENTS ..............1460
5.1 EXAMPLE OF GENERAL INFORMATON FORM 1460
5.2 EXAMPLE OF COACHING AGREEMENT............1466
5.3 EXAMPLE OF COACHING COMMITMENTS.......1471
5.4 EXAMPLE OF ASSESSMENT FORM ......................1473
This is the third part in a series of three books about
Part 1, “Personal Coaching” is about what Personal Coaching
is and offers a surview of the most popular models for
Personal Coaching (or “Life Coaching”) and Self Coaching.
Part 2, “Techniques for Personal Coaching and Self
Coaching” introduces you to the most powerful coaching
techniques in use and describes the most successful
questions and strategies for coaching.
Part 3, “Essential Knowledge for Personal Coaches”, is a
practical standard reference work highlighting the
knowledge and skills that are indispensable for anybody
who is considering life coaching as a career or as a serious
self coaching process,
Dean Amory's Complete Life Coaching and Personal
Coaching Course is your best guide for coaching your
coachees and yourself towards maximizing your life
potential and achieving a happier and more fulfilled life.
Personal Coaching is an invaluable training manual for
anybody who takes life coaching seriously.
4/ Useful Skills
4.1 PROBLEM SOLVING
The ability to respond effectively to problems is associated with
improved treatment outcome.
Supporting development of problem solving skills can be
clinically useful and is best achieved through:
- a combination of verbal and written information
- demonstration (when possible)
- learning through practice and feedback
Developing problem solving skills can consist of identifying
occasions when the coachee has solved other problems and
noting the steps they took.
Effective problem solving can be learned.
It consists of five steps:
Stand back from the problem; view it as a challenge, not a
catastrophe. How might someone else solve this?
2. Define the problem
it is important to be specific
Coachee: ‘My wife and I do not get on’
Clinician: ‘Give me an example of what you mean’
Coachee: ‘She doesn’t like me being out on Friday nights’
3. Brainstorm solutions
At this stage, anything goes. Identify as many solutions as
possible — discourage evaluation and a search for quality.
4. Decision making
The coachee (with your help, but not direction) reviews the
positives and negatives of each of the options, and their ability to
implement them, and makes an informed choice of the best
option(s) to embrace.
A plan of action is developed and the option is implemented.
Sometimes it is useful to rehearse the option (where possible) to
test out the viability of the strategy and to increase self-efficacy
It is not the coach’s responsibility to solve the coachee’s
problems, but to teach a skill that he or she can use in a variety of
IDEAL METHODE OF PROBLEM SOLVING
Whatever issue you are faced with, some steps are fundamental:
Identify the problem
Define the problem
Examine the options
Act on a plan
Look at the consequences
There are several stages to solving a problem:
1) Evaluating the problem
Clarifying the nature of a problem
Gathering information systematically
Collating and organising data
Condensing and summarising information
Defining the desired objective
2) Managing the problem
Using the information gathered effectively
Breaking down a problem into smaller, more
Using techniques such as brainstorming and lateral
thinking to consider options
Analysing these options in greater depth
Identifying steps that can be taken to achieve the
deciding between the possible options for what
action to take
deciding on further information to be gathered before
deciding on resources (time, funding, staff etc) to be
allocated to this problem
4) Resolving the problem
Providing information to other stakeholders;
5) Examining the results
Monitoring the outcome of the action taken
Reviewing the problem and problem-solving
process to avoid similar situations in future
At any stage of this process, it may be necessary to return to
an earlier stage – for example, if further problems arise or if a
solution does not appear to be working as desired.
B. Robert Holland set out a typical problem solving process in his
manual “Sequential analysis” with the following steps:
Step 1 Analytical
What is the
question do you
want your analysis
the results you get
and the results you
between the results
you get and what
Where does the
problem lie? How
can be picture the
of the present
State the traditional
assumptions of the
theory that give
rise to the
Why does the
problem exist? How
can we isolate the
element whether it
is the cause.
What can we do
about it? What
options do we
that will exclude
What should we do
about it? What
can we give?
Create a new
theory on the basis
of the experimental
Questions and observerations for Problem Solving and
1. Definition of the problem
1. What can you see that causes you to think there's a problem?
2. Where is it happening?
3. How is it happening?
4. When is it happening?
5. With whom is it happening? (HINT: Don't jump to "Who is
causing the problem?" When we're stressed, blaming is often
one of our first reactions. To be an effective manager, you
need to address issues more than people.)
6. Why is it happening?
7. Write down a five-sentence description of the problem in
terms of "The following should be happening, but isn't ..." or
"The following is happening and should be: ..." As much as
possible, be specific in your description, including what is
happening, where, how, with whom and why. (It may be
helpful at this point to use a variety of research methods.
Defining complex problems:
If the problem still seems overwhelming, break it down by
repeating steps 1-7 until you have descriptions of several related
Verifying your understanding of the problems:
It helps a great deal to verify your problem analysis for
conferring with a peer or someone else.
Prioritize the problems:
If you discover that you are looking at several related problems,
then prioritize which ones you should address first.
Note the difference between "important" and "urgent" problems.
Often, what we consider to be important problems to consider
are really just urgent problems. Important problems deserve
more attention. For example, if you're continually answering
"urgent" phone calls, then you've probably got a more
"important" problem and that's to design a system that screens
and prioritizes your phone calls.
Understand your role in the problem:
Your role in the problem can greatly influence how you perceive
the role of others. For example, if you're very stressed out, it'll
probably look like others are, too, or, you may resort too quickly
to blaming and reprimanding others. Or, you are feel very guilty
about your role in the problem, you may ignore the
accountabilities of others.
2. Look at potential causes for the problem
It's amazing how much you don't know about what you don't
know. Therefore, in this phase, it's critical to get input from
other people who notice the problem and who are effected by
It's often useful to collect input from other individuals one at a
time (at least at first). Otherwise, people tend to be inhibited
about offering their impressions of the real causes of
Write down what your opinions and what you've heard from
Regarding what you think might be performance problems
associated with an employee, it's often useful to seek advice
from a peer or your supervisor in order to verify your
impression of the problem.
Write down a description of the cause of the problem and in
terms of what is happening, where, when, how, with whom
3. Identify alternatives for approaches to resolve the
At this point, it's useful to keep others involved (unless you're
facing a personal and/or employee performance problem).
Brainstorm for solutions to the problem. Very simply put,
brainstorming is collecting as many ideas as possible, then
screening them to find the best idea. It's critical when collecting
the ideas to not pass any judgment on the ideas -- just write them
down as you hear them. (A wonderful set of skills used to
identify the underlying cause of issues is Systems Thinking.)
4. Select an approach to resolve the problem
When selecting the best approach, consider:
Which approach is the most likely to solve the problem for the
Which approach is the most realistic to accomplish for now?
Do you have the resources? Are they affordable? Do you have
enough time to implement the approach?
What is the extent of risk associated with each alternative?
(The nature of this step, in particular, in the problem solving
process is why problem solving and decision making are highly
5. Plan the implementation of the best alternative (this is
your action plan)
1. Carefully consider "What will the situation look like when the
problem is solved?"
2. What steps should be taken to implement the best alternative
to solving the problem? What systems or processes should be
changed in your organization, for example, a new policy or
procedure? Don't resort to solutions where someone is "just
going to try harder".
3. How will you know if the steps are being followed or not?
(these are your indicators of the success of your plan)
4. What resources will you need in terms of people, money and
5. How much time will you need to implement the solution?
Write a schedule that includes the start and stop times, and
when you expect to see certain indicators of success.
6. Who will primarily be responsible for ensuring
implementation of the plan?
7. Write down the answers to the above questions and consider
this as your action plan.
8. Communicate the plan to those who will involved in
implementing it and, at least, to your immediate supervisor.
(An important aspect of this step in the problem-solving process
is continually observation and feedback.)
6. Monitor implementation of the plan
Monitor the indicators of success:
1. Are you seeing what you would expect from the indicators?
2. Will the plan be done according to schedule?
3. If the plan is not being followed as expected, then consider:
Was the plan realistic? Are there sufficient resources to
accomplish the plan on schedule? Should more priority be
placed on various aspects of the plan? Should the plan be
7. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not
One of the best ways to verify if a problem has been solved or not
is to resume normal operations in the organization. Still, you
1. What changes should be made to avoid this type of problem in
the future? Consider changes to policies and procedures,
2. Lastly, consider "What did you learn from this problem
solving?" Consider new knowledge, understanding and/or
3. Consider writing a brief memo that highlights the success of
the problem solving effort, and what you learned as a result.
Share it with your supervisor, peers and subordinates.
Rational Versus Organic Approach to Problem Solving
A person with this preference often prefers using a
comprehensive and logical approach similar to the guidelines in
the above section. For example, the rational approach, described
below, is often used when addressing large, complex matters in
1. Define the problem.
2. Examine all potential causes for the problem.
3. Identify all alternatives to resolve the problem.
4. Carefully select an alternative.
5. Develop an orderly implementation plan to implement that
6. Carefully monitor implementation of the plan.
7. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not.
A major advantage of this approach is that it gives a strong sense
of order in an otherwise chaotic situation and provides a
common frame of reference from which people can communicate
in the situation. A major disadvantage of this approach is that it
can take a long time to finish. Some people might argue, too, that
the world is much too chaotic for the rational approach to be
Some people assert that the dynamics of organizations and
people are not nearly so mechanistic as to be improved by
solving one problem after another. Often, the quality of an
organization or life comes from how one handles being “on the
road” itself, rather than the “arriving at the destination.” The
quality comes from the ongoing process of trying, rather than
from having fixed a lot of problems. For many people it is an
approach to organizational consulting. The following quote is
often used when explaining the organic (or holistic) approach to
“All the greatest and most important problems in life are
fundamentally insoluble … They can never be solved, but only
outgrown. This “outgrowing” proves on further investigation
to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider
interest appeared on the horizon and through this
broadening of outlook, the insoluble lost its urgency. It was
not solved logically in its own terms, but faded when
confronted with a new and stronger life urge.”
From Jung, Carl, Psychological Types (Pantheon Books, 1923)
A major advantage of the organic approach is that it is highly
adaptable to understanding the chaotic changes that occur in
projects and everyday life. It also suits the nature of people who
shun linear and mechanistic approaches to projects. The major
disadvantage is that the approach often provides no clear frame
of reference around which people can communicate, feel
comfortable and measure progress toward solutions to
Problem Solving is very important but problem solvers often
misunderstand it. This report proposes the definition of
problems, terminology for Problem Solving and useful Problem
We should define what is the problem as the first step of
Problem Solving. Yet problem solvers often forget this first
Further, we should recognize common terminology such as
Purpose, Situation, Problem, Cause, Solvable Cause, Issue, and
Solution. Even Consultants, who should be professional
problem solvers, are often confused with the terminology of
Problem Solving. For example, some consultants may think of
issues as problems, or some of them think of problems as
causes. But issues must be the proposal to solve problems and
problems should be negative expressions while issues should
be a positive expression. Some consultants do not mind this
type of minute terminology, but clear terminology is helpful to
increase the efficiency of Problem Solving. Third, there are
several useful thinking patterns such as strategic thinking,
emotional thinking, realistic thinking, empirical thinking and so
on. The thinking pattern means how we think. So far, I
recognized fourteen thinking patterns. If we choose an
appropriate pattern at each step in Problem Solving, we can
improve the efficiency of Problem Solving.
This report will explain the above three points such as the
definition of problems, the terminology of Problem Solving, and
useful thinking patterns.
Definition of problem
A problem is decided by purposes. If someone wants money
and when he or she has little money, he or she has a problem.
But if someone does not want money, little money is not a
For example, manufacturing managers are usually evaluated
with line-operation rate, which is shown as a percentage of
operated hours to potential total operation hours. Therefore
manufacturing managers sometimes operate lines without
orders from their sales division. This operation may produce
more than demand and make excessive inventories. The
excessive inventories may be a problem for general managers.
But for the manufacturing managers, the excessive inventories
may not be a problem.
If a purpose is different between managers, they see the
identical situation in different ways. One may see a problem but
the others may not see the problem. Therefore, in order to
identify a problem, problem solvers such as consultants must
clarify the differences of purposes. But oftentimes, problem
solvers frequently forget to clarify the differences of purposes
and incur confusion among their problem solving projects.
Therefore problem solvers should start their problem solving
projects from the definition of purposes and problems
Terminology of Problem Solving
We should know the basic terminology for Problem Solving.
This report proposes seven terms such as Purpose, Situation,
Problem, Cause, Solvable Cause, Issue, and Solution.
Purpose is what we want to do or what we want to be. Purpose
is an easy term to understand. But problem solvers frequently
forget to confirm Purpose, at the first step of Problem Solving.
Without clear purposes, we can not think about problems.
Situation is just what a circumstance is. Situation is neither
good nor bad. We should recognize situations objectively as
much as we can. Usually almost all situations are not problems.
But some problem solvers think of all situations as problems.
Before we recognize a problem, we should capture situations
clearly without recognizing them as problems or non-problems.
Without recognizing situations objectively, Problem Solving is
likely to be narrow sighted, because problem solvers recognize
problems with their prejudice.
Problem is some portions of a situation, which cannot realize
purposes. Since problem solvers often neglect the differences of
purposes, they cannot capture the true problems. If the purpose
is different, the identical situation may be a problem or may not
be a problem.
Cause is what brings about a problem. Some problem solvers
do not distinguish causes from problems. But since problems
are some portions of a situation, problems are more general
than causes are. In other words causes are more specific facts,
which bring about problems. Without distinguishing causes
from problems, Problem Solving can not be specific. Finding
specific facts which causes problems is the essential step in
Solvable cause is some portions of causes. When we solve a
problem, we should focus on solvable causes. Finding solvable
causes is another essential step in Problem Solving. But
problem solvers frequently do not extract solvable causes
among causes. If we try to solve unsolvable causes, we waste
time. Extracting solvable causes is a useful step to make
Problem Solving efficient.
Issue is the opposite expression of a problem. If a problem is
that we do not have money, the issue is that we get money.
Some problem splvers do not know what Issue is. They may
think of "we do not have money" as an issue. At the worst case,
they may mix the problems, which should be negative
expressions, and the issues, which should be positive
Solution is a specific action to solve a problem, which is equal to
a specific action to realize an issue. Some problem solvers do
not break down issues into more specific actions. Issues are not
solutions. Problem solvers must break down issues into specific
This report lists fourteen thinking patters. Problem solvers
should choose appropriate patterns, responding to situations.
This report categorized these fourteen patterns into three more
general groups such as thinking patterns for judgements,
thinking patterns for thinking processes and thinking patterns
for efficient thinking. The following is the outlines of those
Thinking patterns for judgements
In order to create a value through thinking we need to judge
whether what we think is right or wrong. This report lists four
judging patterns such as strategic thinking, emotional thinking,
realistic thinking, and empirical thinking.
Focus, or bias, is the criterion for strategic thinking. If you judge
whether a situation is right or wrong based on whether the
situation is focused or not, your judgement is strategic. A
strategy is not necessarily strategic. Historically, many
strategists such as Sonfucis in ancient China, Naplon, M. Porter
proposed strategic thinking when they develop strategies.
In organizations, an emotional aspect is essential. Tactical
leaders judge whether a situation is right or wrong based on
the participantsf emotional commitment. They think that if
participants can be positive to a situation, the situation is right.
Start from what we can do
Fix the essential problem first
These two criteria are very useful. Starting is very important,
even if we do very little. We do not have to start from the
essential part. Even if we start from an easier part, starting is a
better judgement than a judgement of not-starting in terms of
the first part of realistic thinking. Further, after we start, we
should search key factors to make the Problem Solving more
efficient. Usually, 80 % of the problems are caused by only 20
% of the causes. If we can find the essential 20 % of the causes,
we can fix 80 % of problems very efficiently. Then if we try to
find the essential problem, what we are doing is right in terms
of the second part of realistic thinking.
When we use empirical thinking, we judge whether the
situation is right or wrong based on our past experiences.
Sometimes, this thinking pattern persists on the past criteria
too much, even if a situation has changed. But when it comes to
our daily lives, situations do not change frequently. Further, if
we have the experience of the identical situation before, we can
utilize the experience as a reliable knowledge data base.
Thinking patterns for thinking processes
If we can think systematically, we do not have to be frustrated
when we think. In contrast, if we have no systematic method,
Problem Solving frustrate us. This reports lists five systematic
thinking processes such as rational thinking, systems thinking,
cause effect thinking, contingent thinking, and the Toyotafs
five times WHYs method .
Rational thinking is one of the most common Problem Solving
methods. This report will briefly show this Problem Solving
1. Set the ideal situation
2. Identify a current situation
3. Compare the ideal situation and the current situation, and
identify the problem situation
4. Break down the problem to its causes
5. Conceive the solution alternatives to the causes
6. Evaluate and choose the reasonable solution alternatives
7. Implement the solutions
We can use rational thinking as a Problem Solving method for
almost all problems.
Systems thinking is a more scientific Problem Solving approach
than the rational thinking approach. We set the system, which
causes problems and analyze them based on systemsf
functions. The following arre the system and how the system
Inside cause (Solvable cause)
Outside cause (Unsolvable cause)
In order to realize Purpose, we prepare Input and through
Function we can get Output. But Output does not necessarily
realize Purpose. Result of the Function may be different from
Purpose. This difference is created by Outside Cause and Inside
Cause. We can not solve Outside Cause but we can solve Inside
Cause. For example, when we want to play golf, Purpose is to
play golf. If we can not play golf, this situation is Output. If we
can not play golf because of a bad weather, the bad weather is
Outside Cause, because we can not change the weather. In
contrast, if we cannot play golf because we left golf bags in our
home, this cause is solvable. Then, that we left bags in our home
is an Inside Cause.
Systems thinking is a very clear and useful method to solve
Cause effect thinking
Traditionally, we like to clarify cause and effect relations. We
usually think of finding causes as solving problems. Finding a
cause and effect relation is a conventional basic Problem
Game Theory is a typical contingent thinking method. If we
think about as many situations as possible, which may happen,
and prepare solutions for each situation, this process is a
contingent thinking approach.
Toyota fs five times WHYs
At Toyota, employees are taught to think WHY consecutively
five times. This is an adaptation of cause and effect thinking. If
employees think WHY and find a cause, they try to ask
themselves WHY again. They continue five times. Through
these five WHYS, they can break down causes into a very
specific level. This five times WHYs approach is very useful to
Thinking patterns for efficient thinking
In order to think efficiently, there are several useful thinking
patterns. This report lists five patterns for efficient thinking
such as hypothesis thinking, conception thinking, structure
thinking, convergence divergence thinking, and time order
If we can collect all information quickly and easily, you can
solve problems very efficiently. But actually, we can not collect
every information. If we try to collect all information, we need
so long time. Hypothesis thinking does not require collecting all
information. We develop a hypothesis based on available
information. After we developed a hypothesis, we collect
minimum information to prove the hypothesis. If the first
hypothesis is right, you do not have to collect any more
information. If the first hypothesis is wrong, we will develop
the next hypothesis based on available information. Hypothesis
thinking is a very efficient problem-solving method, because we
do not have to waste time to collect unnecessary information.
Problem Solving is not necessarily logical or rational. Creativity
and flexibility are other important aspects for Problem Solving.
We can not recognize these aspects clearly. This report shows
only what kinds of tips are useful for creative and flexible
conception. Following are portions of tips.
To be visual.
To write down what we think.
Use cards to draw, write and arrange ideas in many ways.
Change positions, forms, and viewpoints, physically and
We can imagine without words and logic, but in order to
communicate to others, we must explain by words and logic.
Therefore after we create ideas, we must explain them literally.
Creative conception must be translated into reasonable
explanations. Without explanations, conception does not make
If we make a structure like a tree to grasp a complex situation,
we can understand very clearly.
Upper level should be more abstract and lower level should be
more concrete. Dividing abstract situations from concrete
situations is helpful to clarify the complex situations. Very
frequently, problem solvers cannot arrange a situation clearly.
A clear recognition of a complex situation increases efficiency
4.2 DEALING WITH OBSTACLES AND
44..22..11 HHOOWW TTOO RREEMMOOVVEE OOBBSSTTAACCLLEESS TTOO PPEERRSSOONNAALL GGRROOWWTTHH
Do you know how to calculate the amount of fear holding you
back in life? Take a pen and a piece of paper. On top of the page,
write down your current age, for instance 34 years old. At the
bottom, indicate how old you intend to grow before you die.
Death at 80 is a reasonable target.
Now comes the mathematical part of the exercise. Draw a
straight line connecting your current age with your death. That
line represents the number of days that you have left on earth. In
our example, the difference between 80 and 34 leaves you with
46 years, that is, almost 17.000 days. The last part of the game
consists of deciding how you are going to use those 17.000 days.
Now, draw a vertical line on your page, which divides your
future in two areas. On the left side of the line, you can write
down safe and commonplace goals. On the right side, difficult
and disruptive ambitions. The rules of the exercise allow you to
list as many activities as you wish, provided that you don't run
out of time to live.
Boring projects are easy to name and quantify. They include,
amongst others, looking for better jobs, cleaning the house and
going on holidays. Don’t forget mundane tasks such as working
five days a week, watching television, walking the dog, washing
your car once per month and shopping for new clothes. When
your remaining term of 46 years is up, you are dead.
You only need to worry about the opposite side of the line if you
have unused time, which is unlikely. The truth is that most
people will allocate their complete lifespan to left-side tasks.
What about the right side of the line? Does anyone actually write
down adventurous, risky goals? Are there people foolish enough
to risk total failure in order to pursue their dreams? Is it not
better to stick to attainable objectives? This is the type of
activities that usually come up under the label difficult and
1. Live in Paris for a year (500 days, including preparation and
2. Start up and grow a global business (3000 days)
3. Write twenty great books (3000 days)
4. Save and invest until you are able to live from dividends (6000
5. Learn to cook according to good nutrition principles (300
6. Lose weight and acquire habits that allow you to stay in good
shape (500 days)
One could argue that this game is useless, since it has no winner
and no loser. Since the same individual appears on both sides of
the line, what is the point? What is the purpose of the exercise?
The answer is that, paradoxically, the subjects on each side of the
line are different persons.
One of them is boring, the other fearless. One of them is aimless,
the other determined. One of them is predictable, the other
exciting. The lesson is that, one day, the 46 years will be
consumed all the same. At the end, results will be trivial or
spectacular, meaningless or irreplaceable.
If you don't like the outcome of your calculations, take a blank
piece of paper, draw a new vertical line, and start the exercise
again. After a few times, you will get quite good at it. At one
point, you will begin to fear boring activities more than risky
ones. If you are already there, congratulations, now you know
how to win the game.
TThhee AArrtt ooff OObbssttaaccllee RReemmoovvaall
One of the best ways to go faster is to remove the things that
slow you down. This obstacle removal is an integral part of
many agile methods including Scrum and Lean. Sometimes it is
obvious where an obstacle is. There are a few small things that
can be done easily to go faster. But to get going really fast, we
need to have a deeper understanding of obstacles... and the Art of
What are Obstacles?
An obstacle is any behavior, physical arrangement, procedure or
checkpoint that makes getting work done slower without adding
any actual contribution to the work. Activities that do add value
to our work may be slowed down by obstacles, but are not
obstacles in and of themselves.
Obstacles and Waste
Obstacles are the causes of waste in a process. There are many
types of waste, and for every type of waste there are many
possible sources (obstacles).
Types of Obstacles
Personal obstacles are related to us as individuals. There are
several levels at which these obstacles can show up.
Outside factors in our lives such as illness or family obligations
can become obstacles to our work at hand. These obstacles are
hard to remove or avoid. Even if we would want to avoid an
obstacle such as illness, it is hard to do anything about it in an
immediate sense. However, as part of our commitment to the
group we are working with, we should consider doing things to
generally improve our health. Good sleep, healthy and moderate
eating, exercise and avoidance of illness-causing things and
circumstances are all possible commitments we can make to the
group. Likewise, we can make sure our personal affairs are in
order so that unexpected events have the least impact possible.
This topic is vast and there are many good sources of
Obstacles in the physical environment can consist of barriers to
movement or communication, or a lack of adequate physical
resources. Sometimes these obstacles are easy to see because
their effects are immediate. For example, if a team room lacks a
whiteboard for diagrams, keeping notes, etc., then the team may
not be able to communicate as effectively.
Other physical obstacles are not so obvious. The effects of
physical environment can be subtle and not well-understood.
Poor ergonomics take weeks, months or years for their effects to
be felt... but it is inevitable. A too-small team room can lead to a
feeling of being cooped up and desperation to get out... and
eventually to resentment. Again this can take weeks or months.
A lack of knowledge or the inability to access information are
obstacles. A team composed of junior people who don't have
diverse experience and who don't have a good knowledge of the
work they are doing will have trouble working effectively. There
may be barriers preventing the team from learning. Common
barriers include over-work leading to a lack of time or mental
energy for learning. With junior people in particular, there is a
lot of pressure to be productive and that can often be at the
expense of a solid foundation of learning.
Other times, knowledge-related barriers can be more immediate.
If a critical piece of information is delayed or lost this can have a
large impact on an Agile team that is working in short cycles. The
team may be temporarily halted while they wait for information.
Building effective information flow is critical to a team's
Bureaucratic procedures, organizational mis-alignment,
conflicting goals, and inefficient organizational structures can all
be significant obstacles.
One of the best sources of information about this is the two
books by Jim Collins: Good to Great (Review) and Built to
Sometimes the beliefs we have about how to work can become
obstacles to working more effectively. These beliefs are often in
place because they have been part of what we think makes us
successful. Cultural assumptions can come from our families, our
communities, our religious affiliation and our national identity.
In organizational culture, one thing I constantly see is a public
espoused value of teamwork, but a conflicting behavior of
individual performance reviews and ranking. This is cultural. It is
also a barrier to the effective functioning of an Agile team. For
corporate environments I highly recommend the Corporate
Culture Survival Guide by Edgar Schein.
Dis-unity is one of the most subtle and common forms of
obstacle. Competition, legal and cultural assumption of the
goodness of opposition and habits of interaction including
gossip and backbiting all combine to make united action and
thought very difficult.
This is an extremely deep topic. There are many tools and
techniques available to assist with team building. If you are
interested in this topic, I highly recommend reading The
Prosperity of Humankind.
Waste is the result of activities or environmental conditions that
prevent a team from reaching its goal. The opposite of waste is
something that adds value (more, faster or higher quality) to the
The whole notion of eliminating waste comes from lean
manufacturing. More recently, Mary and Tom Poppendieck
applied this idea to software in their book Lean Software
Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development
Managers. In this (excellent) book, the authors list the wastes of
manufacturing and the wastes of software.
As wastes are eliminated or reduced, a team will function faster
and with higher quality. However, not all waste can be
eliminated. Sometimes waste is legislated, sometimes waste is an
unavoidable by-product of work, sometimes mistakes are made,
and sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to eliminate a waste.
Here I have summarized and generalized these types of wastes
so that they apply in any situation:
TThhee SSeevveenn WWaasstteess
1. waiting - caused by delays, unreadiness, or simple
2. partially done work or inventory - caused by sub-optimal
3. extra processing or processes - caused by poor organization
4. defects and rework - caused by insufficient skill, tools,
inspection or filtering
5. movement of people or work - caused by physical separation
6. overproduction or extra features - caused by working
towards speculative goals
7. task switching - caused by multiple commitments
In order to eliminate waste, first waste has to be detected and
identified, then the underlying causes of the waste have to be
identified, and finally changes to the work environment need to
be made to both eliminate the cause of the waste and the waste
itself. Many agile work practices help with this process.
Value stream mapping is one particular tool that can be used by
a team or organization to identify wasteful activities. The team
describes the amount of time that work takes to go through each
activity in their overall work process. Next, the team determines
if each activity adds value or does not add value to the end goal.
All activities are subject to speed improvements, and activities
that do not add value are subject to elimination.
In order to determine the causes of waste, special attention
should be paid to incentives and motivations. Wasteful behavior
often exists because there is some incentive for people to do it.
Sometimes these incentives are explicit, but sometimes they are
the side-effects of other things going on in the team's
environment. Changing the incentives can be an effective way of
By eliminating waste, the team will find it has reduced
frustrations, and enabled greater productivity and creativity. The
team will also increase its speed and delivery of value, and at the
same time reduce defects.
The ability to identify obstacles and understand why they are
causing problems is only the first step in removing obstacles. In
Agile Work, the person primarily responsible for identifying and
removing obstacles is the Process Facilitator. The Process
Facilitator has several approaches available for the removal of
obstacles. A process facilitator has similar responsibilities to a
Deal with the obstacle directly without involving other people.
This can be as simple as getting up and moving an obstacle
impairing vision, or as nuanced as running interviews and
workshops throughout an organization to gradually change a
Command and Control
Identify the obstacle and give precise instructions for its removal
to a person who will directly perform the removal. This can
sometimes work if removing an obstacle takes a great deal of
time, effort or specialized skills that you yourself do not possess.
However, the overall approach of command and control is not
recommended for Agile environments since it is disempowering.
Identify the obstacle and suggest means to deal with it to a
person who has the authority or influence to get others to deal
with it. This indirect method of obstacle removal can be slow and
frustrating. However it usually has better long-term effects than
command and control.
Offer to assist and encourage the removal of obstacles that have
been identified by other people. In many respects this is a very
effective method. It can assist with team-building and learning
by example. People are usually grateful for assistance.
Train others on the art of obstacle removal including obstacle
identification, types of obstacles and strategies for dealing with
obstacles. Observe people's attempts to remove obstacles and
give them feedback on their actions.
Creating a Culture of Obstacle Removal
Encourage and measure obstacle removal at all organizational
levels until it becomes habitual. In many ways this is the essence
of the lean organization.
SSttrraatteeggiieess ffoorr DDeeaalliinngg wwiitthh OObbssttaacclleess
Diagrams are a great way of communicating the essense of a
concept. Feel free to share the following diagrams with anyone
(but of course keep the copyright notice on them).
Remove the obstacle altogether. This method of dealing with an
obstacle is usually the most immediately effective, but is also one
of the most difficult methods.
The best way to actually remove an obstacle is to get at the root
cause of the obstacle and change that. This type of change results
in the longest-lasting and most stable elimination of an obstacle.
Take the obstacle and put it in a place or situation where it is no
longer in the path of the team.
In a team's physical environment, this may be as simple as
changing the tools that the team is using. For example, if the
team is all in a room together, move computer monitors that are
blocking team member's views of each other. If there is a useless
checkpoint that work results have to go through, get
management to eliminate it.
Build a shield or barrier to hide the obstacle so that it's effects no
longer touch your team.
If a team is distracted by noisy neighbors, put up a sound barrier.
If a team is unable to see their computers due to late afternoon
sunlight, put up window shades. If a manager is bothering the
team with meetings or tasks unrelated to the work of the team,
then put yourself between the team and the manager (or get
someone in upper management to do that).
Shielding is excellent for immediate relief, but remember that
the obstacle is still there and may become a problem again if the
shield cannot be maintained.
Change the structure or form of the obstacle so that it no longer
In general, this method requires a great deal of creativity and
open-mindedness. This is one that works particularly well on
people who are obstacles: convert them into friends of the team!
For example if the team needs approval of an expert who is not
part of the team, this can cause extra work preparing
documentation for this person and long delays while the expert
revies the documents. If the expert becomes part of the team,
then they are well-informed of the work being done and can give
approval with very little overhead.
If done well, this can be a very long-lasting method of dealing
with an obstacle. Make sure that the transformation is true and
that it takes hold... and beware that the obstacle doesn't revert
back to its old nature.
Find an activity that negates the effects of the obstacle by
boosting effectiveness in another area.
As a coach or Process Facilitator, this is what we spend our time
in early in a team's adoption of Agile Work: we get them to work
in the same room, use iterations and adaptive planning, we focus
them on delivering work valued by the stakeholders as defined
by the Product Owner. All these things are enhancing the team's
ability to get work done without actually directly dealing with
Watch out for barriers avoided this way to come back and bite
you later on.
Removing Obstacles and Learning
Organizational learning, as well as adult learning have a strong
relationship to obstacle removal. Organizational learning can be
either single-loop or double-loop learning. Adult learning can be
either normal or transformative. We can approach obstacle
removal from a surface level where we only deal with the
immediate symptom, or we can work at a deeper level where we
deal with the symptom and its chain of preceding causes. One
effective method for examining the deeper causes is the 5-why's
Obstacles Inherent in Agile
Agile methods do not perfectly eliminate all obstacles. Some
obstacles that are inherent in agile methods include overhead
due to planning meetings at the start of iterations, the use of a
dedicated process facilitator. As well, the use of iterations can
become a barrier to certain types of work items: repeating items,
investment in infrastructure, one-off tasks that are not directly
related to the work at hand.
At some point, our teams will have matured to the point where
agile methods are no longer necessary and we can pick and
choose what parts of agile we use.
4.2.2 DEALING WITH RESISTANCE
There's old wisdom that advises that we can only lean against
that which resists.
This suggests that there might just be something good, or at least
useful, about resistance. Discovering what this is and learning to
work with it is key to understanding reluctance to change.
After all, change often occurs as a direct result of resistance.
Great men, such as Nelson Mandela, are testimony to this.
Resistance can be viewed as alternative, negative, or wrong. But
we need to balance this with a healthy view of resistance which
points to positive processes rather than placid acceptance.
Benjamin Franklin valued this, telling us that questioning
authority is the first responsibility of every citizen.
It helps to understand that resistance is a normal response and
that trying to avoid any resistance is futile. Accepting this
immediately allows a different response to resistance in which
we anticipate it and work with it.
Why people resist change:
Don’t see a need to change
Needs are being met
Invested in what they have now
Don’t know how to change
Poor communication regarding change
Change comes from an external source and they haven’t
Fears: losing control, failure
Don’t know why they should do it
No negative consequences
New situation worse than existing one
There are in fact many
reasons people resist
change, most of these
reasons however have a
common source. Fear.
Most of us hold a deep
fear of change and our
ability to adapt. Many of
the reasons for people's
reluctance or refusal to
change are related to the
fear of change.
These fears can also be
related to loss associated
with the change. All
change involves loss at
some level and this can be
difficult to contemplate.
Loss associated with change can be very practical such as loss of
work, colleagues, or office environment. Or it can be less obvious,
relating to concerns about loss of status, self esteem, or ability to
perform new work.
Fear of change can leave us feeling lost, confused, and torn
between the need to take action and doing nothing.
How to recognise resistance
There are a number of behaviours that are signs and symptoms
of an adverse reaction to change. These include:
Aggression and anger
Unusual flare-ups of emotion
Coachees portraying themselves as innocent victims of
Insensitive and disagreeable behaviour
Not meeting key performance areas (missing meetings , failing
assignments, not responding to emails, for example)
Not responding, not listening, seems disinterested
Active attempts to disrupt or undermine the project
Of course, each of these do not necessarily mean that people are
opposing change. They might be indicators, but could just as
easily be indicators of other issues in the person's life.
Real resistance usually occurs after people's uncertainties and
questions regarding change have not been adequately answered.
How to deal with it
The best laid plans and systems fail if the people side of change
management is ignored.
Resistance to change is a normal response, so plan for it, expect
it and accept it. Resistance does not mean that the change is bad,
or that the management of change has failed. Nor does it mean
that those resisting change are 'bad seeds' that need to be
Rather anticipate resistance and direct your energy to facilitating
what Kurt Lewin would refer to as the Unfreezing and
Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis is a powerful strategic tool to
help you analyse aspects of the change that may lead to
Assessing resistance to change is an important part of a change
impact assessment that should be conducted very early in the
Even if you're introducing small changes don't assume that that
these will be easier for people to accept - especially if they
already feel threatened or have low trust in the process.
If you're aware of any indicators of resistance to change then
you'll need to take some time out to listen to people's concerns.
Yup, listen. Don't talk, just listen (or get someone else they trust
The clue to overcoming resistance is understanding that you
cannot avoid resistance, but you can manage it.
Remember that people experience change in personal ways.
Addressing people's values when you encounter resistance to
change can reduce any negative impact of resistance.
Changing your attitude towards resistance is what's needed to
ensure successful change. Anticipating resistance to change is
part of a successful change management strategy and will help to
keep people motivated and positive about change.
Here are some great tips:
1. Let your client speak his peace and/or vent if necessary. Give
him space to express himself. If you react emotionally and try to
stop him, argue, or immediately explain why he is off base, you
will just fuel the fire. Sometimes letting off steam is the first step
to opening to a healing path and moving in a more positive
2. Reflect back to the client what you heard her say, so she knows
that she has been listened to. “Wow, you are really angry at your
boss, and you don’t see any other option but to retaliate.” Or
“Your daughter won’t move out and support herself, and you are
completely frustrated.” Or “I’m hearing that you are disappointed
that you haven’t made more progress in coaching thus far.”
When your client feels heard and acknowledged, he may lighten
up and be willing to see and explore more healthy options.
3. Reflect back to the client behaviors that might be a sign of
resistance, of which the client may be unaware. “You’ve been
[late to your sessions] [cancelled] three times now. Is there
anything going on that you are having a hard time with that may
be uncomfortable to look at?” Or “You’ve had the same situation
going on with your last three jobs. Do you see any connection
between what’s going on out there and what’s happening inside
4. Dealing with “Yes, but. . . ”s: “I’ve made three suggestions for
reframes on your situation that could help you feel freer and
move beyond what is troubling you, and you’ve answered “Yes,
but. . . “ to each of them. Are you really ready or willing to get
5. Illuminate cost and payoff. “What do you think is the payoff for
you continuing to feud with your ex-? What is the cost? What
would be the payoff of harmonizing? What would be the cost?”
6. Direct approach: “I have been working with you on this for
_______ length of time now, and it sounds to me like you have a
pretty strong investment, for whatever reason, in this situation
continuing. Is there any way you can see yourself shifting on
this? I hope you will. If not, let’s not talk about this anymore, and
let’s turn our attention to issues you’d rather make progress on.”
You may even tell the client that you do not see anything more
you can do for her at this point, and if she wants to continue
coaching, you will need to see some movement.
7. Tune into your intuition. The above suggestions may all work
in different situations, yet every coaching situation is unique. If
you sincerely ask inside yourself, you will receive guidance as to
how to deal with a particular form or moment of resistance.
Sometimes you may need to be gentle and soft, and other
situations may require a firmer stand or compassionate
confrontation. Set your intention that your sessions will be
resistance free, and if any instances of resistance come up, you
will know how to deal with them and move on.
8. Check in with yourself as to what beliefs, feelings, attitudes, or
expectations within yourself that your client may be reflecting.
Are you worried about having a resistant client? Do you question
your ability as a coach? Do you have judgments about something
that the client is reflecting? Why have you attracted this person
or this moment with this person into your experience? The
clearer you get about your intentions, your purpose, and your
confidence, the clearer your clients will get about the situations
and energies they bring to your practice.
9. Sometimes resistant clients can become your biggest success
stories. At the first retreat I presented, a woman bucked me and
the program at every turn. On the last day of the program
something clicked for her and she came to me with a big smile
and proclaimed “I finally got it!” Her healing and transformation
were as powerful as her resistance had been. She ultimately
came to many more programs and was a “star student.”
Excuses the coach will hear for tasks not being accomplished
Trying: “I implemented a numeracy strategy and it didn’t work,
but I did what the consultant said to do.”
Blame: “Manny said he’d have the data reports ready last Friday
but he didn’t get them to me until yesterday.”
Doubt: “Group projects never work in math classes. Students
need to be held individually accountable.”
Reacting: “You expect me to find time to add something else?”
Delay: “It’s a good idea, and I’ll get to it as soon as I finish the
work on next month’s science fair.”
INQUIRY –A Best Practice
Ask Questions that Promote Discovery for the Other Person
Ask Questions that Focus on the Person Being Coached
Invite clarity, action, and discovery at a new level
Create greater possibility for expanded learning and fresh
Powerful requests are ways to cause change; to stir thought
forward and cause action.
“I request that you . . .”
“I have a bold request for you.”
The Power of Story Listening
Stories make sense of experience in ways that integrate emotion
and meaning –facilitating movement, direction, and purpose.
Stories evoke power.
FEED FORWARD instead of feedback.
Is there a problem with feedback?
Feedback focuses on a past, what has already occurred –not on
opportunities in the future. Not fun.
Feedforwardlooks at future actions, is fun as well as not
Some Powerful Coaching Questions
(adapted from Co-Active Coaching by Whitworth, Kimsey-House
What do you think will happen?
What’s you back-up plan?
How does it look to you?
How do you feel about it?
What do you mean?
Can you say more?
What do you want?
How will you know that you have reached it?
What will it look like?
How does this fit with your plans/values?
What do you think that means?
May we explore that some more?
What are your other options?
Would you like to brainstorm this idea?
Will you give an example?
What would it look like?
Will you tell me more about it?
Is there more?
How can you make it be fun?
If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
If it were you, what would you have done?
What have you tried so far?
How is this working?
What is the action plan?
What support do you need to accomplish …?
What will you take away from this?
What are the possibilities?
What’s moving you forward?
What’s stopping you?
What resources do you need to help you decide?
What action will you take? And after that?
Where do you go from here? When will you do that?
What are your next steps? By when?
Powerful Coaching Inquiries
(adapted from Co-Active Coaching by Whitworth, Kimsey-House
An inquiry is a type of powerful question that is not meant to be
answered immediately, but instead, offers the “coachee” an
opportunity for reflection, discovery and learning.
What do I want?
What am I tolerating?
Where am I not being realistic/practical?
What is the difference between a wish and a goal?
Where is my attention?
If my whole attention is focused on producing the result,
what will I have to give up?
What is working for me?
What will it take to keep me on track?
What am I willing/unwilling to change?
What am I settling for?
What is it to be creative/passionate/focused/a leader?
What is it to speak/act from my heart?
What does it mean to be proactive/centered/optimistic?
What is present when I am at my best?
What motivates me?
What am I resisting?
If I were at my best, what would I do right now?
What are my assumptions?
Where do I limit myself?
Where do I hold back?
What are my expectations?
How can I have this be easy?
Who can I get to play with me on this project?
What have I learned about myself?
Kurt Lewin - Change Management Model
Kurt Lewin emigrated from Germany to America during the
1930's. Lewin is recognised as the founder of social psychology
which immediately points to his interest in the human aspect of
His interest in groups led to research focusing on factors
that influence people to change, and three stages needed to
make change successful.
Unfreeze, Change, Freeze
Kurt Lewin proposed a three stage theory of change commonly
referred to as Unfreeze, Change, Freeze (or Refreeze). It is
possible to take these stages to quite complicated levels but I
don't believe this is necessary to be able to work with the theory.
But be aware that the theory has been criticised for being too
A lot has changed since the theory was originally presented in
1947, but the Kurt Lewin model is still extremely relevant. Many
other more modern change models are actually based on the
Kurt Lewin model. I'm going to head down a middle road and
give you just enough information to make you dangerous...and
perhaps a little more to whet your appetite!
Let's look at each of the three stages:
Stage 1: Unfreezing
The Unfreezing stage is probably one of the more important
stages to understand in the world of change we live in today.
This stage is about getting ready to change. It involves getting to
a point of understanding that change is necessary, and getting
ready to move away from our current comfort zone.
This first stage is about preparing ourselves, or others, before
the change (and ideally creating a situation in which we want the
The more we feel that change is necessary, the more urgent it is,
the more motivated we are to make the change. Right? Yes, of
course! If you understand procrastination (like I do!) then you'd
recognise that the closer the deadline, the more likely you are to
snap into action and actually get the job started!
With the deadline comes some sort of reward or punishment
linked to the job. If there's no deadline, then the urge to change is
lower than the need to change. There's much lower motivation to
make a change and get on with it.
Unfreezing and getting motivated for the change is all about
weighing up the 'pro's' and 'con's' and deciding if the 'pro's'
outnumber the 'con's' before you take any action. This is the
basis of what Kurt Lewin called the Force Field Analysis.
Force Field Analysis is a fancy way of saying that there are lots of
different factors (forces) for and against making change that we
need to be aware of (analysis). If the factors for change outweigh
the factors against change we'll make the change. If not, then
there's low motivation to change - and if we feel pushed to
change we're likely to get grumpy and dig in our heels.
This first 'Unfreezing' stage involves moving ourselves, or a
department, or an entire business towards motivation for
change. The Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis is a useful way to
understand this process and there are plenty of ideas of how this
can be done.
Stage 2: Change - or Transition
Kurt Lewin was aware that change is not an event, but rather a
process. He called that process a transition. Transition is the
inner movement or journey we make in reaction to a change.
This second stage occurs as we make the changes that are
People are 'unfrozen' and moving towards a new way of being.
That said this stage is often the hardest as people are unsure or
even fearful. Imagine bungey jumping or parachuting. You may
have convinced yourself that there is a great benefit for you to
make the jump, but now you find yourself on the edge looking
down. Scary stuff! But when you do it you may learn a lot about
This is not an easy time as people are learning about the changes
and need to be given time to understand and work with them.
Support is really important here and can be in the form of
training, coaching, and expecting mistakes as part of the process.
Using role models and allowing people to develop their own
solutions also help to make the changes. It's also really useful to
keep communicating a clear picture of the desired change and
the benefits to people so they don't lose sight of where they are
Stage 3: Freezing (or Refreezing)
Kurt Lewin refers to this stage as freezing although a lot of
people refer to it as 'refreezing'. As the name suggests this stage
is about establishing stability once the changes have been made.
The changes are accepted and become the new norm. People
form new relationships and become comfortable with their
routines. This can take time.
It's often at this point that people laugh and tell me that
practically there is never time for this 'freezing' stage. And it's
just this that's drawn criticism to the Kurt Lewin model.
In todays world of change the next new change could happen in
weeks or less. There is just no time to settle into comfortable
routines. This rigidity of freezing does not fit with modern
thinking about change being a continuous, sometimes chaotic
process in which great flexibility is demanded.
So popular thought has moved away from the concept of
freezing. Instead, we should think about this final stage as being
more flexible, something like a milkshake or soft serv icecream,
in the current favourite flavour, rather than a rigid frozen block.
This way 'Unfreezing' for the next change might be easier.
Given today's pace of change this is a reasonable criticism. But it
might help to get in touch with what Kurt Lewin was actually
saying. In 1947 he wrote:
A change towards a higher level of group performance is
frequently short-lived, after a shot in the arm, group life soon
returns to the previous level. This indicates that it does not
suffice to define the objective of planned change in group
performance as the reaching of a different level. Permanency of
the new level, or permanency for a desired period, should be
included in the objective. (Kurt Lewin, Frontiers of Group
Dynamics, Human Relations, Volume 1, pp. 5-41)
Lewin's concern is about reinforcing the change and ensuring
that the desired change is accepted and maintained into the
future. Without this people tend to go back to doing what they
are used to doing. This is probably what Kurt Lewin meant by
freezing - supporting the desired change to make sure it
continues and is not lost.
More modern models of change, such as the ADKAR model, are
more explicit about this step and include Reinforcement as one of
their phases. I've also read this final step of freezing referred to
as the lock-in effect. Establishing stability only happens when the
new changes are locked-in.
Thinking about change as a journey might make you think that a
journey has a beginning , middle, and an end. While this is useful
when thinking about the process of change the reality is that this
journey doesn't have an end. Lots of rest stops maybe! Some
opportunities for settling down for a while. But no end. So be
careful about thinking that a change process has a definite end,
as the Lewin change management model might seem to suggest.
In what ways do you think this model might be useful for you?
I've found the Kurt Lewin model useful to frame a process of
change for people that is quite easy to understand. Of course
each stage can be expanded to aid better understanding of the
process. Applying the concepts of Unfreezing, and especially the
Force Field Analysis, at a personal level can give us insight and
help us better understand how we deal with change.
Force Field Analysis - Kurt Lewin
Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis is a powerful strategic tool
used to understand what's needed for change in both corporate
and personal environments. Best of all - it's easy to use and has
complete credibility as a professional tool.
We'll use a little basic science to introduce the concept, after
which you'll find enough information to allow you to unleash
your knowledge of force fields on colleagues!
Let's start with a simple science experiment (this really is
relevant, so stay with me for a moment please).
You'll need to sit down for this one. You're sitting? Good. Now,
what's keeping you in the chair?
Well, there are two answers really. One is gravity which is
pushing you down into the chair. A driving force, if you like.
The other is the chair itself, which provides an opposing force,
pushing up against gravity, and stopping you falling to the
So it would seem that while you are sitting you're in an
equilibrium of sorts.
Two forces keep you there. Gravity pushes down, keeping you in
the chair, and the chair resists this, stopping you from falling to
Two equal forces, a driving force and a resisting or restraining
force, working to keep the equilibrium or status quo.
Agreed? Okay, now let's play. Let's say we want to move away
from this equilibrium and get you to fall to the floor. What could
Well, on the one hand we could increase the amount of gravity.
The chair will give way eventually and you will fall.
On the other hand, we could leave gravity alone and decide to
weaken the chair to get the same result.
If you've followed me this far then you've just completed a force
field analysis and understood the basic concepts of the force field
analysis. It also helps to explain why our science experiment is
You see, Kurt Lewin applied exactly this thinking to his theory of
change within social situations - to people.
May the Force be with you, or against you.
Kurt Lewin wrote that An issue is held in balance by the
interaction of two opposing sets of forces - those seeking to
promote change (driving forces) and those attempting to
maintain the status quo (restraining forces). This is much the
same as the experiment we just did and is summarised in the
So before change the force field is in equilibrium between forces
favourable to change and those resisting it. Lewin spoke about
the existence of a quasi-stationary social equilibrium.
For change to happen the status quo, or equilibrium must be
upset – either by adding conditions favourable to the change or
by reducing resisting forces.
What Kurt Lewin proposes is that whenever driving forces are
stronger than restraining forces, the status quo or equilibrium
Now that's useful. Especially if we apply this to understanding
how people move through change and why they resist change.
There will always be driving forces that make change attractive
to people, and restraining forces that work to keep things as they
Successful change is achieved by either strengthening the driving
forces or weakening the restraining forces.
The force field analysis integrates with Lewin’s three stage
theory of change as you work towards unfreezing the existing
equilibrium, moving towards the desired change, and then
freezing the change at the new level so that a new equilibrum
exists that resists further change.
Using the Force Field Analysis
Lewin's force field analysis is used to distinguish which factors
within a situation or organisation drive a person towards or
away from a desired state, and which oppose the driving forces.
These can be analysed in order to inform decisions that will
make change more acceptable.
'Forces' are more than attitudes to change. Kurt Lewin was
aware that there is a lot of emotion underlying people's attitude
To understand what makes people resist or accept change we
need to understand the values and experiences of that person or
Developing self awareness and emotional intelligence can help to
understand these forces that work within us and others. It’s the
behaviour of others that will alert you to the presence of driving
and restraining forces at work.
The following steps are a guide to using the force field analysis.
You might find it useful to follow the process using the Force
Field Analysis Application Tool available .
1. Define the change you want to see. Write down the goal or
vision of a future desired state. Or you might prefer to
understand the present status quo or equilibrium.
2. Brainstorm or Mind Map the Driving Forces - those that are
favourable to change. Record these on a force field diagram.
3. Brainstorm or Mind Map the Restraining Forces - those that
are unfavourable to, or oppose change. Record these on the
force field diagram.
4. Evaluate the Driving and Restraining forces. You can do this
by rating each force, from 1 (weak) to 5 (strong), and total
each side. Or you can leave the numbers out completely and
focus holistically on the impact each has.
5. Review the forces. Decide which of the forces have some
flexibility for change or which can be influenced.
6. Strategise! Create a strategy to strengthen the driving forces
or weaken the restraining forces, or both.
If you've rated each force how can you raise the scores of the
Driving Forces or lower the scores of the Restraining Forces, or
7. Prioritise action steps. What action steps can you take that
will achieve the greatest impact? Identify the resources you
will need and decide how to implement the action steps.
Hint: Sometimes it's easier to reduce the impact of restraining
forces than it is to strengthen driving forces.
Criticism of the force field analysis usually focuses on the
subjectivity of attributing scores to the driving or restraining
Some writers suggest the model applies within limited settings
and that there are situations outside of these settings in which
Lewin’s theory may be less applicable.
At the end of the day the force field analysis is a tool that may or
may not be useful in your situation. You can decide this or allow
others to make a decision.
The force field analysis is backed by the Lewin change
management model and has, over time, developed credibility as
a professional change management tool
Unleashing Potential – The Promise of Coaching
Yvonne Freitas McGookin Matt Aspin
4.3 EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING
A study revealed that amongst people with the same
background, the top three percent outperform the next twenty-seven
percent by a factor of ten. One of very few differences
between these two groups was their attitude to goal setting.
The top three percent have clear, written goals. For the twenty-seven
percent group to join the top group would only take a shift
in some attitudes and a realization that the art of goal setting
would make them more successful to an amazing degree.
In order to be effective, goal setting should be :
- consistent with the coachee’s stage of change’ (e.g. a ‘pre-contemplator’
may resist a goal of total abstinence, but
mayembrace reducing the risk of infection)
- negotiated. Negotiation is not bestowed on a coachee . It is a
strategy to influence behaviour. Negotiated goals are more
likely to generate patient commitment and adherence.
- specific and achievable. A broad goal may be broken down
into several component parts
- short-term; so that progress can be monitored and success
- solution-focused and defined in positive terms. Changing
behaviour will be more successful if couched in positive
terms of acquisition, rather than reduction; presence, not
absence (e.g. increasing the number of days without smoking
as opposed to decreasing the number of smoking days)
FIVE EASY STEPS TO SMART GOAL SETTING
In order to have a good chance of being accomplished, a goal has
to be specific.
The point is, you need to know HOW TO SET SMART GOALS if
you want to make SMART decisions in your life.
Developing the skill of smart goal setting has the potential to
make a significant difference in your life - it provides a solid
Starting personal and business projects
Making strategic decisions
Creating excellent action plans which incorporate your
short and long term development goals
If you don't know how to set SMART GOALS, then you may well
not be realizing your full potential.
Any SMART person will tell you the
same thing: “if you don't know where
it is you want to go, you are going to
wind up somewhere else!”
This would be so sorry, because you
don't want to invest your precious
time into any adventures without
knowing exactly what it is you want
to achieve, both in the short and long term.
A lot of people go into a venture, having some vague idea about
what they want to achieve and where they want to be in 6
months, 1 year, 5 and 10 years down the track. Well, I'm here to
tell you that unless those ideas can be translated into specific
and measurable SMART GOALS, they are wasting their time -
they just ain't gonna get there………sorry!
WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN - Think about your DREAMS and
aspirations - where do you see yourself down the track, what are
you doing, who are you doing it with, who do you want to help,
do you own the house of your dreams, the car of your dreams,
are you traveling the world, etc, - You get the picture………!
The problem is that the words GOALS and DREAMS all too often
become synonymous and that is where confusion sets in!
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a vision for your
business and your life,. In fact it is absolutely a key ingredient for
However, if you think a goal looks like this: I would like to be
financially free, able to give up my JOB, stay at home and
look after my kids, take them on world trips and live in a
million dollar house
Then think again!!!
That's a dream alright,
the kind you have in your pillow at night!
But it's NOT a Goal!
Sure, it could be your vision and it could become your reality, but
in order to achieve this wildly inspiring picture you need to
immerse yourself in some real goal setting activity, not just
So let's cut to the chase!
What is SMART goal setting?
S M A R T is a mnemonic used in management.
S M A R T is a way to evaluate that the objectives for a particular
project are relevant and appropriate for that project.
S M A R T Objectives are an integral part of Management By
Objectives (MBO). Management by objectives has been used
extensively by managers as a planning tool. It is a process by
which managers and employees work together and agree on
specific and defined objectives for a particular project. This
process ensures that both managers and employees agree on and
are committed to the project outcomes.
The origin of the term S M A R T objectives is unknown, however,
Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management
outlined a system that was very similar to S M A R T objectives as
part of his discussion on Management by Objectives (MBO).
The process of writing S M A R T objectives or smart goal setting
has become a business management tool used extensively for
project management and also for performance appraisal
Learning how to write and use SMART goal setting is a skill you
definitely want to master
if you want to be successful in YOUR life and in YOUR business!
Success does not just happen to the
lucky, nor is working hard sufficient. It
is all about developing skills for success
and those skills are many and varied.
If you really want to make your life
hum, you'll develop the skill of SMART
goal setting and include this process as
an integral part of your action plan.
Smart goal setting adds clarity, focus and purpose to every action
Without objectives, planning is often non existent or at best done
at the same time that you are about to take action! This is
problematic and not good practice. Plans can often change as a
result of either a lack of time to consider all options or because
there was no predetermined outcome in the first place. In other
words, you are flying by the seat of your pants instead of having
a well thought through plan of attack.
So what do you do if you've got NO IDEA how to set goals for
your life and you need some goal setting tips - some simple
techniques to get started?
Well, I've got GREAT NEWS for you!
It is really not that complex if you follow………
The 5 Easy Steps to SMART goal setting!
Before we get started on those 5 Easy Steps, I want to make sure
you are 100% clear on the following:
Firstly, what is an objective or goal?
An objective or goal is a specific statement describing a RESULT.
Secondly, why set goals?
Setting and clarifying goals is an essential part of the path to
Thirdly - what do objectives or goals provide for YOU?
Direction for activities
A clear process for defining expected results
The criteria against which actual accomplishments can
Targets to motivate performance improvements
A common sense of purpose, which enhances teamwork
SMART goal setting is one of the most positive and rewarding
habits you can develop in your personal life, as it is in any
business. It is a process by which you can evaluate the current
situation and develop strategies to move forward. Moving
forward is what gives you the growth and success that most
people aspire too.
If it is your desire to be successful in your life, then you most
certainly don't want to accept the status quo. The only way to
make sure you are not sitting in exactly the same place you are
sitting in today, in 6 months, 1 year or 10 years time is to
implement smart goal setting as one of your primary practices.
SMART Goal Setting assists YOU to PLAN AHEAD
and develop a STRATEGIC APPROACH
to creating SUCCESS inYOUR life!
Here is how you do it:
OK, so that's the goal setting theory - how would you apply this S
M A R T model to your life?
If a goal or objective is going to be an effective success building
tool it needs to be S M A R T. In other words you need to write
your goals so that they measure up against the S M A R T criteria
from the 5 Easy Steps chart above.
Let's take a look at a real life example.
How about this:
** I want to save enough in order to be able to buy a new car by
the end of next year.” **
Is this a SMART Goal - does it measure up?
Let's break up this goal and see if it's SMART using the goal
setting form below.
Can we can tick all the boxes right?
It doesn’t really look like this could be an excellent example of
smart goal setting, does it?
Let's look at this more closely by evaluating this objective in
terms of each of the 5 Easy Steps:
STEP ONE - SPECIFIC - is this objective specific?
Do we know WHAT we are looking at here? NO, we do not - our
objective is too vague: we do not know how much we will have
to save, nor what car we want to buy.
Vague objectives are not inspiring. We have to be able to
visualize our goal: see ourselves enjoying the success when the
goal will be met.
STEP TWO - MEASURABLE - Do we know HOW MUCH or HOW
You may have a perfectly clear idea about the price of the car you
want to buy and the amount of money you will have to save, but
you omitted to write the numbers down. In three months from
now, how will you know that you are on the good track? How
will you know when an extra effort is required?
STEP THREE - ACTION ORIENTATED - Does it describe a result?
Again, the words save and “buy a car” are too vague I'm afraid.
What do they really represent? How would you measure this?
How could you know that you are actually saving enough? Can
you find a better way to describe the result you are looking for?
STEP FOUR - REALISTIC - Is this goal realistic and relevant to the
Again, it doesn’t show from the description of your goal. How
much are you earning? How much can you save? How will you
spread your saving effort? How will you anticipate possible
changes in earnings, expenses, price of the car, unexpected costs,
…? In a smart goal you will have taken these elements into
The key to remember here is this: smart goal setting is about
setting goals that are challenging but realistically achievable - no
point setting a goal for the sake of it and knowing there isn't a
hope that you'll ever achieve it - that would be pretty
demoralizing, not to mention slightly stupid!
STEP FIVE - TIME-BASED - BY WHEN should this be done?
In this case do we have a deadline by which this goal should be
achieved in order that we might measure the outcome? The
short answer is YES, we do.
So, in this example, out of the 5 steps, only one has been
correctly defined. How helpful would it be to you if your goals
are this vague? - Is this SMART goal setting? ----- Well, NO!
The solution to better planning is to
define challenging, but realistic goals,
then think ahead about what, how and by
when exactly you want to achieve, be very
specific about your data ... and to plan
The 5 EASY STEPS TO SMART GOAL SETTING.
Smart Goal Setting is a very important part of your skill
development and overall success in life. Don't ever
underestimate the power of this skill to make your life hum!
LEARN it, PRACTICE it and APPLY it to YOUR life.
You'll be very glad you did!
GGooaallss aanndd GGooaall--SSeettttiinngg
Goal-setting is the one activity that sets apart self-developers
from those who survive or just get by. Goal-setting enables us to
create the future we want to happen rather than live the future
that others want to happen. In goal-setting, we take charge. Here
are 7 ways to set reachable goals.
1. Start With Your Strengths
Although you can base your goals on anything you want, your
chances of success are greater if, first, you base them on your
strengths and second, on the current opportunities in your field.
To find out your strengths, do some self-research, such as a
personal SWOT: your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
2. Put Your Goals In Writing
Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants,
can'ts into cans, dreams into plans and plans into reality. The act
of writing clarifies your goals and provides you with a way to
check your progress. You can even add reasons to give you more
motivation. So don't just think it - ink it!
3. Dream Big
One of the factors that restricts the realisation of our full
potential is the belief that we shouldn't go for big goals. Yet all
the evidence of those who realize big goals is that we can always
achieve far more than we think. David Schwartz says in his book
The Magic of Thinking Big: Big goals attract big resources like
4. Pitch Each Goal
Once you have set your ultimate goal, you then need to set the
intermediate goals that will get you where you want. Don't pitch
these too easily or too ambitiously or they will drop into the
Drop Zone. Aim to make them challenging: out of reach, but not
out of sight.
5. Express Them Right
It's important to express your goals in the right way.
• never express your goal in terms of what you don't want;
always in terms of what you do want
• express your goals in performance terms not reward terms
• express your goals in terms of how others benefit
• express your goals according to the principles which matter.
6. Set Goals In Terms of Behaviour
When we set goals for ourselves, they should be expressed in
behavioural terms, rather than in terms of status, rewards or
position. That’s because behaviour is something within our
power, while status, rewards and position are not. Formulating
goals in behavioural terms also means we present a strong
positive image of ourselves to our brains. The brain, not knowing
the difference between a real or imagined experience, then seeks
to act in accordance with the presented image.
7. Pursue Your Goals With Passion
The driving force behind your goal-achievement is Desire. You
must desire your goals constantly, vividly and with a burning
passion, knowing that you have already achieved them and now
only need to realise them. If you do, you cannot fail to achieve
them. It was said of Michaelangelo that, such was his focus and
desire, he could blot out every distraction while working on a
project such as the statue of David, until it was completed.
Goal-setting is central to maximising our potential because it
enables us to create something unique and new in our lives.
Goal-setting allows us to feed our goal-oriented brain and puts
us in control of our futures.
PPrrooggrraammmmiinngg YYoouurr GGooaallss
Programming is a computer term that aptly describes what
happens when we feed a goal into the network of our minds. We
give it the goal and then programme it to achieve it. It then
works like a locked-on missile seeking out its target. The
following are 7 proven programming techniques that will ensure
you land right on target.
1. Affirm What You Want
Affirming what you want means stating your goal in the present
tense as if you'd already achieved it. The brain takes whatever
action needed to comply with the affirmation. Affirmations
should be positive, realistic and expressed in emotive words
such as “I love…” and “I enjoy…”. All of life’s outstanding
achievers use affirmations. World champion boxer Muhammed
Ali said, I am the greatest. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
said, I know that I am an artist.
2. Visualise It
Visualisation means seeing yourself in your mind's eye having
achieved your goal. The secret of visualisation is to do it in such
rich detail, and with all your senses, that you are fully there. Ray
Kroc, founder of restaurant chain McDonalds, had a regular
bedtime routine, in which he would imagine all the day’s
problems written on a blackboard. One by one, he would
visualise them being solved. As a result, he managed to sleep like
3. Associate Your Goal With Rewards
Associate your goal with something you desire such as money, a
desired object, or simply the feeling of pleasure and you will be
motivated towards it. Alternatively, associate not getting your
goal with something you don't want, such as loss of money or
physical pain and you will remind yourself of what to avoid.
These two feelings, pleasure and pain, are powerful
4. Act As If
The more you act as if you've already achieved what you want,
the more likely you are to achieve it. It's what cricketers do in the
nets. Or teams that rehearse fire drills each week. Or
entrepreneurs who visit their dream home each day as if they
already owned it. The brain cannot tell the difference between
actual reality and imagined reality and so will simply believe you
have already achieved your goals.
5. De-Bug With Positive Self-Talk
Just as a computer programme occasionally gets infected with
viruses and bugs, so your own goal-setting programming can get
infected with setbacks, doubts, and feelings of failure. That’s
when you need an anti-virus mental programme to get rid of the
bugs. One such programming is Positive Suggestion which is
activated whenever you have thoughts of fear, panic or doom.
Simply replace your negative thoughts with positive ones and
remind yourself of your progress: “Every day in every way I am
getting nearer and nearer my goals.”
6. Leave It Alone
Once we feed our goals into our subconscious brains, it’s very
important that we let our brains get on with the job without
interference. The conscious brain is like the machine operator
while the sub-conscious is the machine itself. This means that
you have to let go and resist the temptation to analyse or check
how it’s doing. When you let go, you let God or, if you like, let
good into your life.
7. Pray With Heartfelt Gratitude
Prayers are a form of programming that people have practised
for centuries. But with one important difference from other
kinds of programming. As well as verbalizing or internalizing
something you want, you give thanks as if you already possessed
it. Such gratitude connects you to a mightier power than you
possess and unleashes great forces that work on your behalf.
When you practise these 7 programming techniques to achieve
your goals, you will achieve with scientific certainty whatever
4.4 MOTIVATING OTHERS
Using Motivation Theories to Help Influence Behavior
Written by: N Nayab • Edited by: Ginny Edwards
Research has established a relationship between motivation
theories and organizational behavior. Read on for an
explanation of how employees behave in an organization and
how to motivate them to work to their potential.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory
The Need Hierarchy theory of
Abraham Maslow, first expounded in
1943, ranks amongst the earliest
studies linking motivational theory
and organizational behavior.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory
lists a hierarchy of five need levels:
1. Physiological needs, or the need for basic necessities
such as food, water, and shelter
2. Safety needs, or the need for security in both home
3. Social needs, or the need for loving, acceptance, and
4. Esteem needs, or the need for recognition and
acknowledgment, and self-respect
5. Self-actualization needs, or the need to develop to
one's fullest potential
An employee works his way up the need hierarchy, and on
fulfilling a need level, aspires for the next level. For instance, an
employee already having attained recognition and