Last week I was waiting for a train across London just after a heavy rain shower. Although the rain wasn’t falling the platform was alive with thirsty slugs and snails. I was struck by the determination those molluscs were showing, as they headed to where ever they were going. Despite the obstacles in their way they kept moving toward their goals. They covered a fair bit of ground too, in the short space of time I spent watching them.
I think there is an analogue between that image and the coaching process. I can think of a couple of clients whom I coached over a year where progress was steady, and purposeful rather than explosive. Their sense of accomplishment resulted in taking actions which gave them a buzz of achievement. Depending on the client sometimes significant coaching outcomes are most noticeable by standing back and looking at the bigger picture.
So, for one person their valuable outcome was an insight: changing their working pattern was actually their way of opening the door to a significant career change. For the other client their major learning involved a point of clarity: structuring their time effectively – rather than going off in different directions at once – meant that there would be more time to take small, but significant, steps. Those steps led them to make inroads on their key milestones.
Bottom line: the terrain may be difficult; the distance to travel may be great; life planning or time management maybe challenging, but gradual progress is possible. However close to the ground you are.