‘If you are walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress’
– Barrack Obama
This article is the final part of the series which look at the four key facets of the Vivos Consulting approach: listening, understanding, insight, progress. It also coincides with the time of year during which we are all trying to stick to our New Year’s resolutions.
In both coaching and consulting, organisations seek help because there are things they want to change. The ultimate test of success of the intervention is whether the identified goals have been reached. There is no universal means of assessing progress in this area – each organisation is unique and has its own set of needs. The approach we use co-designs a bespoke set of goals for each coaching client or organisation. The scale for each goal is also co-calibrated, thereby integrating the measure organically into the work with the individual or leadership team.
Our aim in our work is to make it possible to register small changes and improvements as they happen. To take an everyday example, many of us will have hit the gym with renewed enthusiasm this month. The temptation is to start out with twenty minutes on the cross-trainer or treadmill, which leaves us so exhausted that we don’t want to go near the place again for a couple of months. The key is to start low, with perhaps five minutes on the first day. We can then inch up by one or two minutes on each subsequent visit. Over the weeks, this builds to genuine and sustainable progress.
‘If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading’ Lao Tzu (5th century BCE)
The final point is to take the temperature regularly, usually at each coaching or consulting meeting. This ensures that subtler shifts are recorded, and that the overall trend towards improvement feeds into and energises the process. This is deceptively simple in theory but, in practice, it takes considerable self-discipline to continually interrogate the status of the desired change. A coaching consultant provides the framework which assists leaders in keeping their gaze steady so that they can remain focused on their goals.