Lynn Schoener 

February 7th, 2013
Lynn Schoener


Your Cues to
Coachable Moments

Below are four classic Coachable Moments. These aren't the only "stuck places," but they are easy to recognize if you know the cues.

1. A wish, but no goal 
2. A goal, but no action steps 
3. Action steps, but no action 
4. Action taken, but no traction

Here are the cues to listen for, signaling a golden Coachable Moment:

1. A wish, but no goal

When a person has a desire for something different, less or more of something, a change in the "current state" of their life, they cue you with statements that begin with: 

"I want..." "I wish..." "I hope..." "I think..." "I imagine..." "If only..." "It would be nice if..."

Wishful thinking out loud can mean that the person has at least a glimmer of a preferred future. That can be the beginning of change, but the vision needs a named and claimed goal to ground it.

2. A goal, but no action steps

When a person is clear about and motivated by their goal, but unclear about the action plan, they cue you with statements like:

"I don't know where to begin..." "This feels big..." "I am motivated, but I don't know quite what to do..."

Goal setting is a future-focused, creative activity. A different part of the brain is involved in figuring out where and how to start. The building of a doable action plan will keep the motivational engine from stalling out.

3. Action steps, but no action

When a person is clear about the action to take, but wavering in their commitment, they express resistance to acting. That resistance can be spoken, with cues that begin with "Yes, but..."

"'s too risky" "'s too hard" "'s too time consuming" "'s too complicated" "'s too early" "'s too late."

Excessive agreement can also be a cue to resistance; it sounds like this:

"You're right..." "That makes sense..." "That's true..." "I see how that could work..." "I've not considered that idea...thank you!"

Acknowledging the quality of a good idea is not the same as agreeing to act on that good idea. Giving voice to resistance without fear of judgment or rah-rah allows a person to understand their barriers and work with them.

4. Action taken, but no traction

When a person has been implementing their action plan, but there is little or no progress, and obstacles loom large, they cue you with statements like:

"I expected this, but got that..." "I tried doing x, but it didn't work..." "I thought doing x would work, and it did, sort of, but..."

Disappointment or frustration on the way to an important goal is almost inevitable. Making big changes requires no less than the laying of new neural pathways in the brain. Coaching can rekindle commitment to the goal at this critical point, when energy and confidence is fading.

In this coachNote I've listed the statements that cue you to each of the four Coachable Moments. I'll focus each of the next four coachNotes on one of the four golden moments. Included will be questions to ask that will make a difference in a few minutes.


You may choose to let the Coachable Moment pass, but engaging with a coach approach can be grace in action.



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