You’ve heard of Planning Fallacy, right? This phenomenon suggests that we all have a tendency to predict that we can complete tasks and projects more quickly than we ultimately do or that we can achieve more than we eventually produce. We are optimistically biased.
This has a significant impact on the effectiveness of our coaching. Why? Because the people you are coaching are likely to over-estimate what or when they can complete their commitments and that’s bad for business – theirs and possibly yours too.
Success breeds success whilst conversely, failure to deliver can also lead to decreasing engagement. Knowing that this is a possibility should lead you to be more challenging and spend more time at the points in your coaching sessions when the coachee is planning their action steps. It won’t eradicate the tendency to be too optimistic but we can help our clients limit the negative impacts of this on their ability to produce great results. In turn we are being more effective in our role too.
There is a way that is more certain to produce better quality planning and thus limit the damage that might be caused by planning fallacy and that is by requiring your coachee to relate past experiences to the future and the plans they are proposing to put in place in order that they can achieve their goals. The plans for the future need to be grounded in past experience (good and bad) in order to minimise (note: not eliminate) optimism bias.
As a technical sidebar this approach is called recall-relevance manipulation!! Just sayin’
Glenn Wallis is an experienced Executive Coach and Coach Developer who will help you improve your own results and those of your organisation. When you are ready to raise your performance to the next level, find out more here