Can coaching replace ‘medication’?

 

take-this-medicine-daily“Take this medicine twice daily…”

Don’t we love to hear those words…!

I recently had some difficulty hearing, a blocked ear…, not really painful, just annoying – after 2 weeks of trying to pretend it wasn’t really a problem, I finally visited the doctor. At first he told me to use steam inhalation. ‘Self-medication’. I felt disappointed. Then he prescribed medications to relieve the blockage and infection. I felt vindicated!

When we think something is physically wrong, we visit the doctor – does it feel good when he ‘validates’ your suspicions and hands over a prescription? And have you ever felt let down when he advises you to take action without prescribing ‘medicine’? And be honest – do you generally follow his advice?

How reliant we have become on the quick fix of popping pills….

No wonder we find that ‘self-medication’ is a difficult path when it comes to our behavior habits and patterns.

Your choice – ‘Self medication’ or ‘self-delusion’?

your-choiceWe all know that certain choices we are making every day may have a negative impact on ourselves, our organisations, and others around us. And yet we continue.

So I wondered, how can we use the proven process that a doctor uses, to help reduce self-delusion, and instead, reinforce ‘self-medication’ towards behavior change?

The table below looks at it from both perspectives: when you take yourself to the doctor, what’s the process? Is it possible to apply the same process when we decide to diagnose our behavior choices?

First it requires a fundamental shift –

from an eternally prompted question from the doctor –  ‘What is wrong with you?’

to an internally prompted question  –  ‘What is wrong with me?’

Doctors’ visit   ‘Self Medication’

‘Problem Diagnosis’

Doctor asks-   Ask yourself-
What is wrong with you?   What is wrong with me?
What are your symptoms?   What is the impact of my behavior –  on me? On others?
How long has it been happening?   How long has it been happening?
When is it worst?   What are my triggers?
When is it less bad?   When does it not happen?

‘Diagnosis Conclusions’

What is the cause?   What are my inherent ‘drivers’?
What are the treatment options? Pros and cons?   What are the action options? Pros and cons?

‘Treatment Decision’

“Take this medicine twice daily”   Start practicing (different behavior choices)

‘Self medication’ for Organisations

self-medicationIt doesn’t take much to see how this can apply from an organisational perspective.

Sadly, the first question ‘What is wrong with us?’  is often not asked until the organisation has already reached a crisis point.

Doctors’ visit   ‘Self Medication’

‘Problem Diagnosis’

Doctor asks-   Ask yourself-
What is wrong with you?   What is wrong with us?’
What are your symptoms?   What is the impact of our behavior on my organisation?
How long has it been happening?   How long has it been happening?
When is it worst?   What are the triggers?
When is it less bad?   When does it not happen?

‘Diagnosis Conclusions’

What is the cause?   What are our ‘drivers’ which are creating this scenario? (Hindering factors)
What are the treatment options? Pros and cons?   What are the action options? Pros and cons?

‘Treatment Decision’

“Take this medicine twice daily”   Generate a framework for effective behaviors. Start practicing (different behavior choices)

Behavioral ‘Self-medication’ and the need for an independent reference point.

Of course the questions above are very generic and will not, alone create a solution.

With the doctor model, there is the advantage of an external reference. Even these days, with medical information freely available on the internet, we still seek out an expert, independent source of advice for medical matters. The critical difference is that when we try to ‘self-medicate’ our behavior choices, we often do it alone…without an external reference. Reading will generate knowledge, but can often lead to even more confusion. Sorting through this alone and identifying a change is possible, but really tough. This is where we can turn to a coach – for that external reference point – the one the doctor plays.

coachA Coach will pose the questions to you. Challenging questions. He/she will help you seek out the unspoken opinions and perceptions of others, providing you with independent data on which to evaluate and generate your conclusions.

If you are a CXO level executive, and you don’t have an independent coach, ask yourself – who is your external, independent reference point?

If you are managing an organisation, and you want to identify the answers to the questions above, ask yourself – how can we obtain an independent perspective?

As an individual, or as an organisation, without an independent reference point, it’s very easy to ‘kid yourself’ that there isn’t actually anything that needs fixing, or that everyone else is the problem, and self-medication can quickly become self-delusion.

val

 

Valerie Gray is an expert on Behavior Change in organisations and individuals. With 30 years’ experience in UK and India, she coaches CXO level Executives on performance change in the workplace, and her company creates Behavior Frameworks for organisational transformation. She can be contacted at info@talentmakers.in

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