Manage: How to Add This Pillar to Your Coaching Toolbox (Part 2)

As discussed in the opening blog of this series (Part 1), the ‘Manage’ pillar begins with you figuring out what your clients values and priorities are. We do so because of the profound impact it can yield when it comes to long-term behavior change.

It’s worth noting that values and priorities should each have 3-5 things listed. Any more than that and they’re not digging deep enough. Once you and the client agree on the list of V/P that has been created, it’s time to start having them take some action!

Get Some Tape:

Ask them to tape their V/P list somewhere they will see it first thing in the morning and at the end of their day. On the mirror near their toothbrush is usually a good bet. We want their first couple of actions to be super simple, as mere awareness of their list can work wonders. This is why writing goals down has been shown to lead to significantly more achievement versus merely letting them live in one’s mind (Those are called wishes, but that’s a blog for another day).

After a couple of weeks of simply looking at their V/P list, their next step is two-fold, which might mean that you divide the application over another couple of weeks.

Check Yes or No:

  1. Ask them to spend the first few minutes of their day, before they pick up their phone or jump onto the computer, simply reviewing their V/P list and writing out 1-2 actions that they could accomplish that day in service of their values.
  2. At the end of their workday, have them place a ‘√’ or an ‘X’ next to each of the actions they wrote down earlier that morning. Obviously this will signify either they did or did not take the action.

If you’re like me, you probably felt a bit of discomfort well up from deep down in your stomach after reading that second point because of the implications it can mean for clients. Namely that they have succeeded or failed at moving closer to their deepest intentions. The good news? This is a positive thing for them to experience and one that you will spend time unpacking with them!

This conversation can go a few different ways, which we’ll cover next. The important thing to remember is that the greater your investment up front on this pillar, the greater the payoff for your client (in terms of success) and for you (in terms of fulfillment). In each scenario below, we will assume that on the majority of days, they did not succeed at taking the action they chose. Begin each of the scenarios by asking: “Tell me about the actions you chose to take – why did you choose XYZ?”

Scenario 1:

You discover that the actions they chose were simply “too big” for the stage they’re at. For instance, they picked ‘exercise for 1 hour, 5-days per week’ despite not having exercised with any consistency for many years.

Scenario 2:

You discover that there is a lack of understanding or connection on your client’s behalf on actions that are in alignment with their values. For example, while they wish to pursue sustainable health, they decided to do so by drastically cutting their food intake.

Scenario 3:

You discover they are constantly distracted by what they see others doing and are afraid of missing out or falling behind. For example, instead of unplugging to spend uninterrupted time with their spouse and children, they are frequently scrolling social media sites and/or responding to client/staff texts and emails.


Can you feel the uneasiness that a client will experience when talking with you about any of the above scenarios? This is the point!

It is here that you point out the truth:

Having ambitions that are not supported by the appropriate actions creates the stress that so many live with chronically; for days, weeks, even years on end.

Until your client has an ‘AHA’ moment with this exercise, you must rinse and repeat it. Said differently: their mindset must shift to understand the connection between stress and decisions made that are misaligned with their V/P before meaningful progress can be made through the steps we’ll cover in the next post.

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