Effectiveness is the capacity to produce an intended result. When asked, most people say they are not manifesting their full potential. They have more talent than effectiveness. The art of coaching is to see what inhibits effectiveness in each client. I will touch on some of the classic inhibitors I have found and what to do about them.
Ineffective people are reluctant to specify their intended result. Once intention is specified, of course, the possibility of failure is more real. “If I keep the desired result vague or secret, then I won’t look so stupid if I miss it.” We know where that goes. Determination wanes, actions are inadequately thought through and the support that could be available from others moves on to more alive projects.
Rarely, however, is this kind of fear of failure the bottom line. I was working with someone recently, who was willing to release his self-image as a good person enough to get more honest. He suddenly saw that he was choosing not to be effective, and doing so because he didn’t trust himself. “If I had the power to make happen whatever I intend, the result would be a mess.”
As you work in these ranges with people, you will find this is actually typical. Peel back the layers and most people believe that they and the world would be better off, if they were less than fully effective.
I have found three levels in addressing this. The first is to notice how ineffectiveness is a deliberate choice. Sometimes there is a mismatch between what the person thinks they should be about and what is actually theirs to do. In that case, you help them relax out of the “should” and into accepting their choice as valid.
The second level is to introduce self-trust. Usually I am struck how absurd it is that this person doubts that the ability to produce results will do anything but good in their hands. So it is easy to point that out. I look for a way to introduce the trust as close as possible to source of the original doubt. For example, if the belief in doing harm has spiritual overtones (which it often does given the backdrop of most religious cultures), it may be powerful for a person to see how God or spirit trusts them to be effective.
The third and deeper level is to release the image of oneself as a good person. Trying not to be bad, and not to be seen as bad, creates one defensive behavior after another. We want to make it safe enough for people to drop all that when they are with us. When a person can experience this feeling of being bad—or stupid, useless, greedy, whatever it is—and be held in love there, they begin to let go of image, both good and bad. Lifelong habits of hesitation lest they do something bad, or be found out as bad, are no longer necessary.
They are free to be effective again.
Of course, to assist others in this way there is no short cut but to do this for ourselves; to find safe ways to experience what we have been avoiding so that our own need to be seen as good, in whatever way, and the life-long habits of hesitation which go with that, can be let go.