The Essential Outcome of Quadrant 1: Physical Centeredness

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The touchstones in Quadrant 1 work together to form the foundation

for experiencing physical centeredness. Physical centeredness is

the ability to stay calm and focused even when the world around

you is not. As Amanda helped Jane recognize and shift habits and

patterns that no longer worked for her, Jane naturally found herself

becoming calmer and more focused. This quieter presence paid dividends

in many ways, including increasing Jane’s ability to get more

done in less time, enabling Jane to make clearer choices, and making

Jane more approachable for her clients. It is not necessary to be in

this centered place all of the time, but it is essential for a client to

have cultivated the ability to create this space from time to time in

order to progress into Quadrant 2 coaching work.

People who are running around constantly reacting to the latest

crisis (and creating more crises as they clash with others) can wreak

havoc in a workplace. There is a huge price to be paid in organizations

when workers do not take responsibility for how they manage

themselves. It is like a basketball game in which none of the players

has enough control over his body to keep from knocking the other

players. You can’t pass and execute a play, or plan a strategy if you

can’t control the ball. The development in Quadrant 1 is analogous

to getting your own game under control so that you can gain access

to more of your talent. This is an essential platform for playing a

bigger game.

This book is not intended to teach specific coaching skills, but rather,

to guide coaches to apply their skills in particular ways that enhance

the value delivered to the client and the organization. Every quadrant

of the Leading with Insight model holds different challenges for

the coach. In Quadrant 1, the main challenges are establishing a solid

foundation for coaching, guiding the client to engage fully in the

coaching process, and shepherding the client through potential

rough spots. The following are strategies for coaches to consider

integrating into their Quadrant 1 coaching engagements:

_ Get the whole story. Every coach has her own way of gathering

background information on a client, some more extensively

than others. The choices that are made tend to reflect the background

and training of the coach. A few things are essential to

know about a client in order to coach the person from the

strongest vantage point. The coach needs insight into the following


_ The culture and current business challenges the client’s

company faces. Some sources to look at for this information

include the company Web site, news articles, annual reports,

and asking the client. Before meeting with Jane, Amanda

did a literature search on her company and read some of

the latest articles that had been printed about the merger

and the challenges that this move was creating for the new

organization. She also spoke to Jane’s manager to get a

feeling for the priorities of the HR department in facilitating

the smooth transition to one new company.

_ The role and responsibilities of the client and how that role

contributes strategically to the overall organization. One of

the key insights that Amanda made while inquiring about

Jane’s role and responsibilities was the fact that the merger

changed the whole focus of Jane’s role in some significant

ways, but Jane had not fully recognized how extensively she

needed to change the focus of her work in order to fulfill

the new expectations.

_ The network of relationships that the client works within and

what state those relationships are in. Amanda had Jane draw

a diagram of her most important business relationships and

highlight for Amanda which ones were strategically and

politically most important. Jane also shared with Amanda

her perception of which of those relationships were on solid

ground and which ones needed some more care and attention.

Given the merger environment, Jane’s network of

influence had expanded considerably, and Amanda could

readily see that Jane could benefit from developing deeper

business relationships with several key influencers.

_ The client’s work and, possibly, personal history. The story of

the client’s life will tell the coach many things about the

client, including what is going on in his professional (and

possibly personal) life, what he excels at, what frustrates

him, what he wants for himself, what bores him, and what

he finds challenging—to name a few things. This in-depth

understanding of the client enables the coach to see patterns

of behavior, gain insight into the client’s strengths and

development opportunities, and help the client see how

coaching can further his development.

_ Current challenges the client faces. The client’s story naturally

leads into a discussion of what is currently going well for

the client and where he wants to make changes. Clients

often describe symptoms of problems, and it is the coach’s

role to look beyond the presenting symptoms and identify

the patterns of behaviors that support them.

_ Set clear, progressive developmental goals. The written goals for

the coaching engagement lay the path that the client will follow

as she progresses toward the attainment of her aspirations.

The goals need to be clear and sufficiently descriptive that the

client will recognize when she has attained the goals and will

be able to support the assertion that the goals have been

attained with anecdotal evidence, if more tangible results are

not appropriate.

Goal setting needs to be done in the context of the stated

goals for the coaching initiative. If the overarching organizational

goal is to create a pipeline of future leaders, then the

coaching goals for individual coaching participants need to

reflect the individuals’ development needs in terms of the organization’s

required leadership capabilities. Assessments can be

helpful to determine areas in which development is needed. It

is important to choose assessment instruments that offer real

insight into the development needed by the individual, as well

as to reach the organization’s stated goals. Coaches should not

rely on formal assessments alone to set goals; they should also

include their own observations and insights from listening to

the client’s story and probing the client to gain an understanding

of what the client really wants to achieve.

The Leading with Insight quadrant model can be used as a

guide for breaking down the more global goals of a coaching

engagement into clear, actionable, developmental steps that

lead to the attainment of the larger goals. The coach will be able

to determine in which quadrant the outcomes the client is

driving for will reside. For example, a client whose main focus

is improving her personal interactions with her colleagues will

be focused in Quadrant 2, whereas a client who faces the challenge

of building a new corporate university will continue his

coaching work into Quadrant 3. The touchstones in each quadrant

provide a guide for the coach and the client in terms of

discerning the underlying development that will be necessary

to attain the desired goals. The following is an example of one

of Jane’s coaching goals that reflects the development she will

focus on in Quadrant 1:

Coaching will enable Jane to focus her efforts on achieving

her highest priorities by guiding her to:

_ Develop strategies for dealing with stress, including gaining

awareness of her own stress levels, and incorporating techniques

to maintain her sense of balance when she becomes


_ Identify her highest priorities, including expected outcomes

_ Manage her time in alignment with her priorities, including

reducing or eliminating low-priority commitments, time

blocking, and increased delegation

Notice that the touchstones in Quadrant 1 are reflected in

the detail of how the goal will be achieved. If Jane found that

she was not making satisfactory progress toward achieving her

top priorities, she could review the detail of the goal description

to see which of the touchstones needs more attention.

_ Recognize patterns of behavior. In Quadrant 1, clients work on

cleaning up old habits and shifting patterns of behavior that no

longer serve them. It is the coaches’ responsibility to connect

the dots and help clients to see how they unconsciously repeat

the same pattern or take the same approach, even when it is

clearly not working. In the case study, Amanda pointed out to

Jane that she tended to say “yes” to almost everything that was

asked of her, and as a result, Jane felt constantly overwhelmed

and rarely had the time to do anything well. Through discussion,

Amanda learned that as an assistant HR representative,

Jane had made a name for herself in her department as the

go-to person—the person that others could count on to get

even the tough assignments done. Jane had developed the

pattern in those early years of taking any assignment and

throwing herself into her work. This pattern served her well

then, but now that Jane had more responsibilities, this way of

working was no longer effective. Working with Amanda, Jane

could see that she needed to be more discerning about how she

focused her time and energy.

Other patterns that coaches may notice include gathering

tons of information before making a decision, the need to keep

control of every detail of an initiative, or the habit of taking on

tasks that belong to others. Some people naturally evolve their

working styles as they progress in their careers, whereas others

hold on to the old patterns. The latter are most likely to have

some significant work to do in Quadrant 1. The coach’s role is

to illuminate the patterns she sees and help the client name the

pattern, understand how the pattern is impacting his work, and

choose how to evolve to a more effective way of getting things


_ Orchestrate early wins. The coach typically sets the pace of

the coaching relationship at its inception. It is important for

the client to make progress immediately and to be aware of the

value of that progress. The coach can guide the client to work

in areas that will make the most significant difference for the

client. Typically, it is most fruitful to look at the pattern of

behavior that is creating the greatest havoc or impeding the

most progress and find a way to create a shift. In Jane’s case,

Amanda initially focused on helping her to create the time and

space to participate in coaching. She also shared with Jane some

strategies for calming down when Jane felt like things were

spinning out of control. These small but significant changes

made such a difference for Jane that she became increasingly

motivated to participate fully in the coaching relationship.

Change is difficult, so clients need to have some incentive for

going through the process. Creating a space where the client

can prove to herself that she can make significant change is

essential for cementing commitment to take on bigger


_ Shine the light ahead on the path. The work in Quadrant 1 can

be a tough slog for some clients. There can be a real rollercoaster

of emotions, especially if clients were told to enter

into a coaching relationship to improve their performance. As

clients start to evaluate the choices they have made in the past

in a new light, they may become discouraged or regretful. It is

essential that the coach help the client see that change is possible

and will bring positive outcomes, if the client sticks with

it. By illuminating the path forward, the coach can help the

client step into the challenge of changing ingrained patterns of

behavior, and this is where the real value lies for the client and

the organization.

A couple of months into their coaching engagement, Jane

came to the coaching call and somewhat sheepishly admitted

to Amanda that she had been abrupt with one of her clients.

To her credit, she had recognized her misstep almost immediately

and had apologized to the client, who seemed to understand.

Still, Jane felt disappointed in herself. Amanda reassured

Jane that changing patterns of behavior is an iterative process,

and it was expected that some days would be better than others.

Amanda explained to Jane that with experience she would

become more adept at noticing when she was becoming overly

stressed and, with practice, she would be able to keep her cool.

She also reassured Jane that this would all get easier over time.

Amanda shared with Jane some of the benefits she could expect

to derive in the future as she increased her ability to remain

centered and focused. Jane found the conversation to be reassuring,

and Amanda helped Jane to keep a more positive

attitude about her own development.

Quadrant 1: Finding Focus

Insight: Reflective

Focus: Personal effectiveness


_ Commit to change

_ Cultivate the ability to stay calm

_ Get clear on what matters most

_ Create a positive energy balance