Your skill here is in encouraging decision-making and practical, feasible action-planning. You add value by ensuring the necessary detail has been thought through, including the impact of any changes on others.
You focus the coachee in on the first step(s) they will take, breaking a large action area down into specific steps and gaining commitment to taking the first step. This gets the coachee moving and then the momentum can take them forward to the next step, which is already planned. You want them to overcome any reluctance and manage any perceived risk, by showing that each step is eminently do-able. Challenge and forward-moving language help the coachee identify actions. For example:
‘What’s the first step you need to take?’
‘What can you do today that will demonstrate to yourself and others you are making a change?’
It is not as straightforward as the above sounds …As soon as the client moves into action – and even earlier – obstacles emerge. Anxiety breaks through, frustration and reluctance, and of course all five inner TA stressors (“Be strong!”, “Be perfect!”, “Please everybody!”, “Hurry up!”, “Make an effort!”). Expect to coach through these obstacles.
This is where key and sustained change is created. It is as if at this point the individual is in the middle of the story and the challenges are part of the move towards resolution. Do not see them as an afterthought.
The coachee commits to practise behaviors that will help them transport the new experiences into everyday life and anchor them there. Your role is to help them realise that if they have achieved change in that part of their life, then more is possible.