Friday, 15 April 2016

Coaching people to make good decisions

At a training session for coaches that I ran last week, we discussed helping people to make decisions (without telling them what to do!).

From my own experience the best help I received was from my cousin's husband, an estate agent! I was being transferred by my company from Cape Town to Johannesburg, great from a career point of view, but heartbreaking to be leaving the most beautiful city of the world. We had sold our house on one weekend, and flew up to Johannesburg the next weekend.

On arrival on the Friday evening, over a few beers my cousins husband spoke to my wife and I as follows:

"I am going to help you to be very clear on the criteria you will use to make your final choice of the house you will buy. If you don't do this you might fall in love with a great feature in a house, buy it and live to regret your decision as you discover the house didn't deliver on all your needs."

Years later I have learnt that all of decision making is emotional and what he was doing was injecting some logic into the process.

"Tell me what 3 to 5 attributes your house must have, meaning you will not look at a house that doesn't fulfil your 'must' needs." 

I can't remember exactly what our 'musts' were but I think it may well have been a cost ceiling, location near a good school, three bedrooms, south facing and with a swimming pool??

"Now tell me your 3 to 5 'wants', your nice to have, not deal breakers but criteria that will help you to choose between a short list of house?" 

I think our criteria covered house style, garden layout, outdoor living space and internal decoration. Once we had established our criteria we then spent two days looking at what was available on the market and finally sat down and evaluated our chosen few against our criteria. Finally and quite quickly we mad up our minds, put in an offer, signed the sales contract and three months later moved in.

The 'coaching' we received was hugely valuable and helped us to buy a house that we ended up enjoying for many years. A very good process, that will help you to guide your coachees to make the well thought out decisions.

To summarise this approach:
  • Coach people to define their choice criteria before they start looking at options
  • Define the 3 to 5 musts and only look at options that meet those needs
  • Define the 3 to 5 wants that will help your coachee to make their final choice from their short list

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