ImageThe human psyche tends to recall first that which we ‘do not do’ before celebrating all that we ‘do do’.  Here is a simple, slick and effective tool to invite those whom your coach, and yourself, to celebrate each small step we take toward our success goals.  Emerging from the solution-focused disciplines of coaching and change, the so-called Scales Tools provide an elegant tool for tracking even small steps.

Here is a (simplified) example; 

G.M. is a senior project leader who has identified his abrupt communication style as an key area for development

Coach: G, on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 stands for ‘my communication at its worst’ and 10 stands for ‘my communication at its best’, where would you say you are currently?

G: I would say about a 5 or 6… let’s say 5½

Coach: A 5½?  That’s great!  What are some of the things that help you to be there?

G: I try to think before I say something and not just say anything that pops into my mind.

Coach: OK. What else has helps you achieve that 5½?

Coach: I ask other people’s advice before I communicate.

Coach: Ok, that’s great.  Now, imagine how your communication would be at a 10. Could you describe that for me?

G: I guess it would be more conscious and tactful.

Coach: How would I recognize that it was conscious and tactful?

G: There would be no badmouthing, no attacks. There would be understanding for the other person’s view and position. And, it would be politely clear what my view was too.

Coach: Yes, I see.  So, G, what might be the next small step forward from 5½ toward 10? 

[G: Answers question……]

It’s an honoring  process isn’t it?  With many different applications.  For example;

Success scales: where  0 stands for the problems at its worst and a 10 for the desired state,  Motivation scales where 0 might stand for: ‘I am not prepared to do anything at all to accomplish change’ and a 10 stands for ‘I am prepared to do anything to accomplish this change’,  Confidence scales where 0 might stand for: ‘I have absolutely no confidence that I can accomplish this’ and a 10 might stand for: ‘I am sure I can do this’, Independence scales where 0 might stand for ‘I/we cannot do this alone and need outside help’ (from a consultant for instance). A 10 might stand for: ‘I/we know how to proceed independently with this change process and don’t need outside help anymore’.

The possibilities of scales are endless.  You can invent any type of scale you find useful to encourage upward, onward and forward motion.

I’d be thrilled if you’d share your scales with me—what do you use/d and how it worked for you?


ImageMichelle Clarke is an Executive Coach based in Cape Town. She works locally and internationally with Leaders, Executives and Executive Coaches, helping them to navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership.  To learn more about her work please visit her website, and be sure also to subscribe to this blogfor future updates.

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