The Action/Insight Connection

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_ The key to deepening insight is action. Action fuels insight.When

clients take action, they have real data to learn from. Possibilities

go from being hypothetical to real. The things that clients

feared most are experienced and most likely found to be far less

harrowing than anticipated. By taking action, clients learn what

they are made of as they reach deeper into their bench

of talents and capabilities to make things happen. Coaches

encourage clients to reflect on their experiences, enabling them

to see situations from new perspectives, uncover hidden obstacles,

and increase their confidence in their abilities to use new

capabilities and approaches.

_ Actions that lead to lasting change rest on a foundation of insight.

As clients take on increasingly complex initiatives, they require

deeper levels of insight to support those actions. Someone who

is focused on improving his productivity will not need to tap

into the same depth of insight as someone who is turning a

team around or championing a culture change initiative. The

more wide-ranging an effort is, the more information needs to

be synthesized to guide it to completion. The deeper levels of

insight, intuitive, and inspirational, become increasingly

important in ever-changing environments.

_ Taking action and evolving insight are inextricably connected.

The relationship between actions and insight is much like the

system of roots, trunk, and branches of a tree. Insight is like

the ever-deepening roots that nourish and support the tree. As

the roots grow deeper into the ground, they create a solid foundation

for the tree to grow. In order for the tree to grow in

stature, it requires a deeper root system. So it is with action and

insight. As clients desire to successfully take on greater challenges,

they need to deepen the levels of insight to which they

have access. Just as the trunk and the roots are constantly

exchanging resources, in transformational coaching, clients are

constantly gaining insight from their experiences and translating

the insight they gain into more effective and complex

actions. This exchange of insight and action forms the cornerstones

of the Leading with Insight model of coaching.

_ The development of insight tends to come online in phases. Continuing

our analogy, insight develops in similar ways to the

roots of a tree. Just as a tree’s roots start out close to the surface

and grow deeper and more complex as the demands from the

tree above increase, so it is with insight.When clients enter into

coaching relationships with coaches who use a transformational

model, they initially focus, at least in part, on improving

their personal effectiveness. The coaches will encourage their

clients to reflect on their experiences in order to gain insight

into what is going well and what could be improved, and in

doing so, instill in their clients the ability to draw on reflective

insight.

Most clients move quickly into enhancing their interpersonal

relationships in some way; perhaps they need to communicate

more effectively with their employees or smooth out their relationships

with their peers.Whatever the impetus, coaches will

encourage clients who are focused on improving interpersonal

relationships to expand their insight to include gaining insight

from the emotional context of these relationships. Clients who

hold responsibilities that include groups, teams, or working

with networks of people in some way often find that as they

gain facility at tuning into and dealing with the emotional

dynamics of situations, they have more intuitive information

available to them than they had previously noticed. The

demands of these more complex situations provide the fodder

for deepening intuitive insight, as clients find that it is not possible

to have complete information all of the time and work at

the pace that most environments demand. The jump to inspirational

insight is often just a matter of having the courage to

act on intuitive insights that expand the client and the client’s

organization in a new direction. As the complexity of experiences

increases, the roots of insight grow deeper and wider.

_ Each level of insight supports the next. Reflection is an integral

part of emotional insight, just as emotional insight is an essential

component of intuitive insight, and inspiration is a more

evolved form of intuition. Each level of insight forms a foundation

for the next. As insight deepens, clients will not differentiate

between one level and another. Just as a tree uses all of

its roots, clients will tend to use all of their insight once they

have access to it.