Strategize ; “The smart way of getting somewhere with the least amount of effort or cost.”

by Alison Hendren

Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value in coaching. Most people really want and need a strategy to make what they are wanting to accomplish/achieve/solve/create happen. Just recently I was speaking with a client who discovered a critical lapse in communication by her team. They implemented a fundamental change but forgot to communicate it to the key stakeholders! The change was a good one but they just forgot to tell people before they made it…sound familiar?

There was a huge missed opportunity to celebrate the very positive change along with so many other pieces. So, what was she to do? We talked a bit and then focused on what opportunities were present and what strategy she could put into place that would support an even bigger change initiative. By the time we were done, not only had she come up with a way to solve this that would be empowering for her team, but she came up with two key strategies that could profoundly strengthen herself as a leader, i.e. collaboration and innovation.

Here are a few provocative questions to help someone strategize:

      • What is the most unconventional way to do this?
      • What if you had no budget for this?
      • What are you willing to do in order to achieve this?
      • What’s the fastest way?
      • What’s the easiest way?
      • What would be a great way to get there?
      • What’s the most intuitive, creative, brilliant approach that you could take to accomplish this result and generate six others like it?

AND, here are a few more tips when supporting someone to strategize:

With a strategy, you aren’t always working directly on the goal itself, but rather on improving or positioning the environments, relationships, resources, flows, systems or even yourself. So, strategies are very different from a plan. In fact, when you devise the right strategy, the plan becomes obvious. But without the strategy, the plan is merely a set of linear action steps (read: lots of work and often a waste of time). So, as the coach it is critical for you to shine the light on the bigger picture or possibility, take the person up to the 50,000 foot level so that they can really look at what is possible.

Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value. Here are a few elements of Personal Strategies: Integrity strengthened, support structures, fitness/health, community, self-discovery and here are a few elements of Business Strategies: Improved Technology, Pilot Program, Coaching, Strategic Alliances, Incentives, Education, Collaboration, Innovation etc.

Coaching someone to strategize is the ultimate in empowerment. How exciting to be able to support them in coming up with the tools to empower themselves because 90% of coaching happens in between the coaching and years beyond.