Lynn Schoener 

March 15, 2012

Coaching Creatively


Planning for Change in Chapters and Transitions


The time change last weekend, this faux-summer weather (it may reach 80 degrees today in Cincinnati!), and my Dad's 80th birthday yesterday has me thinking about seasons. Each season of nature, each season of life evokes in us a different tempo, a subtle shift in focus. The Cycle of Renewal continues to be a powerful lens for me as I work with people in the process of making changes.


In our coaching model, "Ready to Go" is the action planning stage. Helping a coachee design a plan requires a sensitivity to which phase in the Cycle of Renewal that person is currently planted in. Are they ending a life chapter, or launching a new one? Are they discovering or reconnecting with their life purpose, or are they living it full out, and trying to keep it all together? This is important data to have as we coach.


Phase 4, the Getting Ready quadrant, is the natural place from which to do the kind of strategic planning that is most visionary, most goal-driven, most bold and energized. Those on-fire folks often create and launch more plans than they can possibly manage!


If a coachee is in Phase 2, the Doldrums, they may have a tendency to plan reluctantly. They might feel that the last plan failed them. They may complain that the process of planning is futile, and the results are out of their control. Expect a lot of "yes, but" thinking when you ask them to project out and identify next steps. They first need to let go of the plan that didn't, in their opinion, pan out. Truth is, it brought them this far, but will take them no further.


In Phase 1, the Go For It coachees tend to see planning through the lens of sustainment--how can they keep the good thing they've got going rocking right along? Expect their plans to be about improvement--little tweaks, not big moves. Note that sometimes the plan they launched at the beginning of this chapter is in "full steam ahead" mode; they can feel dragged along by what they've set in motion. Coaching can help them balance and prioritize.


The Cocooners in Phase 3 are temporarily between chapters. They may have planning skills, but no clarity in the moment about the new dream around which to build a plan. When you support their planning process, know that they should not try to plan ahead of where they are. The best cocooning plans are short-term strategies to buy themselves the space they need to reflect and listen for that inner dialogue with God.


Happy Planning, wherever you are!





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