Breakthrough coaching processes are intended to assist individuals and teams in changing their perspective on success. Although breakthrough coaching processes may appear to be just a new approach or methodology for setting and achieving performance goals, their transformational strength lies in their ability to completely remodel the way individuals and systems evaluate past successes and set future challenges.
Essentially, the breakthrough coaching process described below is a method for modifying individual, team, and organizational operational perspectives through fundamental shifts in individual and collective performance frames of reference. As a result, the breakthrough coaching process is designed to raise personal and collective expectations, as well as to achieve unprecedented measurable quality levels, cost savings, and/or profit-oriented outcomes.
Before we go into detail about a breakthrough coaching process, we’ll make some general observations about how a large number of corporations conduct business and the difference between management and leadership when it comes to setting goals for themselves, their teams, and their personnel.
THE BUDGET APPROACH IN MANAGEMENT
Typically, performing managers evaluate all of their available means before setting goals, whereas performing leaders set extraordinary goals first and then motivate everyone to find or develop previously unavailable means to reach and then exceed them.
Executives use the budgeting process to put these same managers under pressure by optimistically forecasting more facility, room for savings or growth, and the need for greater management and organizational efficiency.
As a result, executives are attempting to “tighten” and stretch budgets in order to make them more difficult, while managers and personnel negotiate to “loosen” them, allowing for more maneuverability. As various career and political strategies come into play, this process frequently takes the form of a “power game.” As a result, budget negotiations are frequently taken for several re-negotiating loops, wasting valuable time and creating frustration among personnel, management, and executives.
THE BREAKTHROUGH COACHING PROCESS
Before going for the breakthrough process, we therefore suggest that one still complete the well-known “budgeting procedure”:
Obtain all possible correct and pertinent figures for the previous year(s).
Establish the coming year budget by setting challenging goals, without getting too emotionally involved. (Remember that it is only an accounting procedure).
1. DEFINE AN ULTIMATE POTENTIAL
The first step in coaching a breakthrough process in the way a system sets goals is to stop thinking in terms of past achievement, no matter how successful these in fact were.
An “ultimate potential” is the result a person, a team or an organization determines they could ultimately achieve in the best of all possible worlds, with the basic means they already have at their disposal.
The questions that could be asked to define “ultimate potentials” for individuals, teams and organizations include some of the following:
“What could be the results…?”
- If we sold out every day of the year at the highest possible rate.
- If I were fully trained and as efficient as possible in my field.
- If we had total effectiveness in purchase and management of raw materials.
- If I organized myself to become fully time-efficient.
- If we produced full throttle, three shifts a day, all year.
- If I managed my team in a way that maximized each person’s motivation.
- If we had zero defects, returns, client complaints.
- If we had just-in-time production and delivery (zero inventory and deadlines).
- If we had zero waste, loss and/or theft.
- If each individual developed and implemented full personal capability and professional competency.
2. DETERMINE A BREAKTHROUGH CHALLENGE
The question to be asked again and again in this part of the process is “what could really be a challenging goal for this year, considering the gap between budget and what is perceived as “ultimate potential”.
As we have seen above, an ultimate potential is not a goal. Intuition, motivation and teamwork are central elements in determining a good, motivating and achievable challenge.
Team motivation will strive to push the goal up towards the ultimate potential, team intuition will try and keep the number within a feasible range and often, fear of the unknown, joking, conservatism, management pressure or complacency will tend to drive the goal down to safer, more reasonable or comfortable levels.
3. BRAINSTORM NEW MEANS AND PLAN IMMEDIATE ACTION
Outrageously new challenges need extraordinary new means. These means need to be as immediately practical as possible. This part of the breakthrough coaching process consequently needs to be a very practical brainstorming sequence.
To be successful, a brainstorming process for new means to reach a challenging goal must be well defined and precisely action-oriented. Consequently, individuals and team need to avoid accepting a general principle such as “cut expenses”, but should push for a more detailed and practical way to cut a specific expense in a precise way, within a clear deadline.
Consequently, for each idea proposed by any one team member and before volunteering another idea, the whole group needs to participate by suggesting specific areas, actions, numbers, deadlines. This is what we call “practical action brainstorming”.
4. DESIGN FOLLOW UP AND TRACKING SYSTEMS
This step is paradoxically the one that doesn’t get enough interest. It is nonetheless a central key for long term success with the breakthrough coaching process. It concerns designing tools by which individuals and teams will regularly measure the long-term follow-up of a success-oriented strategy.
Success rests on a well implemented simple idea much more than on a brilliant concept with no follow-up.
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5. ACT NOW !
Every wasted day is money lost! The breakthrough coaching process generally stimulates individuals and teams to the point that they want to implement their changes immediately.
They get to work in the realms with the highest and quickest return without delay. Their awareness of possible immediate returns creates a sense of urgency that stimulates individuals and teams through quick planning and into immediate action.
Consequently, the deadlines for implementing action are often now, tonight or next week. If the deadlines are consistently “next month” or within two months or more, it may be useful to check again to see where the breakthrough coaching process was poorly implemented. Are the actions really
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