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Power Tool Assessment

Name: Raghuraman J Date: 7th October 2012 Email:

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Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey - Alex Noble

The journey-what it is all about? Actually we start our journey from the womb of the mother and the joy that comes from not knowing anything that's happening in the outside world! A blissful sleepwake-feed-sleep cycle. It is our first journey and we have a carrier, a very safe and protective carrier who seems to have some idea of the road that life takes. At least that's what we believe as a foetus. As we grow to experience many facets of life, our individuality starts shaping, personalities emerge, experiences swell, ego enters, and that is the time when we start feeling and questioning many things around us. These are the most turbulent times, but enrich us in experiences that later lead to the question "Who am I?"

The search for identity: In our search for which we are, we travel many grounds, meet many people and keep adding newer dimensions with each such experience. Some are conscious choices we make, some are thrust on us by social customs and practices. A few lie deep in our sub- conscious mind, bequeathed unto us by the womb. All these make us a complex bundle of feelings, emotions and intelligence. As we evolve, we realise the roles we play or need to play at various points in time and perhaps revisit the question "Who am I?. The difference this time around is that we are fully aware of the impact of this question that deeply touches our identity or the lack of it so far. We find ourselves suddenly expected to take decisions / make choices and at the end of it, be told that we still have a "long way" to go! At times such questions shake the very roots of our existence because we begin to wonder, What I have been doing so far?

The journey/destination paradox: These provocative thoughts put us on the starter block of the race for success, growth, glory, power, status and so many more. Just imagine, from a private, protective shell called womb, to the glare of public, competing to win and onlookers ready to stick the label of Loser on us. What a transformation life brings to us! But our quest for identity, Who am I?, What's it that I want to do?, etc. is pushed to the background as we are inside the frame of a shrinking world enabled by technology evolving every day. Faster, bigger, better, higher, and more seem to be the norms that we begin to live by. While these are not wrong or unethical pursuits per se, what they blur is the boundary between the
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JOURNEY and DESTINATION! This apparently simple mix-up leads to a level of addiction of the pursuits, disturbing the most important element of BALANCE in life. Any state of imbalance is unsustainable and a cause of worry. Destinations the core of existence: Otherwise called Goals, are important and lend a sense of purpose to our existence. Reaching the destination and the resultant joy is the most important savings in our memory bank. The more we invest in good memories, the more we are likely to have a good story to share with our children when we sit by the fireside. Yet, it is equally important to enjoy the journey as well with all its speed bumps, no entry, and take deviations sign boards all along. Often we come across people starting from nowhere, reaching somewhere and finally declaring that they have arrived! Sometimes, having reached a so-called destination, we look perplexed and ask ourselves in a low voice, Is this the destination we chased all along? At such times we reach a state where neither the journey nor the destination gives us a sense of fulfilment. There are those who take a philosophical (read reconciliatory) approach and subscribe to the view that they will lead life as they go along. Do they at least enjoy the journey, now that they did not have a goal as such? The answer however, is a weak and unconvincing yes. There are yet others who pursue multiple goals and enjoy the thrill of being at it irrespective of their achievement finally. Something like playing a great match to the last point but not winning the match. As we explore the existence of these approaches, what stands out is that arriving a chosen destination is a visibly proud moment, the significance of which, others also acknowledge. But in the case of enjoying one's journey, we may not have such occasions to celebrate and showcase. We often talk about the lives of successful people who have reached their destinations and talk less about people who are also great but failed. Thus the journey and the destinations have deeper connections always.

Reflections: it's important for us to pause, take a deep breath and ask the following questions that will help us to check our current state:

How well have you understood your own self? Can u clearly state what it is that you are chasing? What according to you is balance in life?
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Assuming that you have achieved all that you aspired, would you feel complete from within? Did your goals remain constant or did they keep changing as you ran faster? If you have to live exactly the opposite way for the rest of your life, can you visualise the impact? How well did you enjoy your journey all along?

Coaching applications: In a coaching engagement, as a coach we are bound to work with clients for whom this deep connection between the journey and destination is an issue. More often than not it is also likely that a coach is inducted when the need is felt strongly. From this point it can be a reactive response from the client and the coach should be able to perceive this situation clearly.

We may also have clients at differing state of mind viz, ambiguity regarding the destinations, ownership of the destination, fear of the fatigue of the journey, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of effort required, and unsurfaced underlying beliefs which slips him in to his original response patterns etc. Questions such as, Is it worth the chase?, What's the return I get out of it?, What do I lose in the transformation? etc. are other tensions that a coach may have to deal with. With the knowledge that both the journey and destinations are important , a coach can direct the client in the following through some powerful questioning and power listening such as : What do goals and journey mean to you? Do you see them together or separate from each other? How important is this destination you have chosen to reach at? What is your ownership to these destinations? Whose goals are these actually? Where do you see yourself now vis-a-vis the destination? Narrate some great things you have exhibited in pursuit of the destination?
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What aspect of you enabled you to bring such results? What holds you back from going full throttle? Where do these blocks come from? Tell me more about it? Do you want to tackle these blocks? And how do you suggest we go about it? Would you like to mark some milestones on the way to the destination? What do you do on reaching each milestone? Would you like to reflect back? Whats the best and worst case scenario you could think about reaching or not reaching? How could you be prepared for both the eventualities?

While the questions may appear to be left-brained, the process of dialogue, showing of trust and empathy and positive reinforcement by the coach throughout the journey is bound to stimulate fresh answers in the minds of the client. The coach's state of awareness of his own self, being present with the client with suspended judgements (being mindful) can also significantly enhance the relationship. Hence while working on bipolar extremities such as journey vs. destination, truth vs. lie, love vs. hate, etc., a coach needs to demonstrate a heightened sense of competencies that could help the client reach his end outcome of the coaching relationship. It's also possible that the coach can stumble upon a third choice, a mid path between these extremities during this exploration!

Copyright 2006 International Coach Academy Pty. Ltd. Use is governed by the Terms and Conditions at Last updated Feb 2006