If I had a client who was seeking my support to succeed in a high stakes contest which would be won on the grounds of communicating a vision of building a great country, I would ask them to define their vision of what a great country is. Then I’d ask them to define goals to achieve that vision.
If that client was the incumbent government I’d wonder if they took my advise at all.
If they were to ask me why I wondered this, I would have to ask them this:
“Do you think: ‘lets keep the recovering going’ was a strong enough vision?”
If they responded with a confused look to explain what I mean I’d use the case of the recovering patient who seeks coaching to rebuild their life after illness.
Such a client would want to achieve more than just keep recovering. Their vision would be to do anything they want without medication and with no need for financial and any other kind of assistance; without fear they’ll get sick again. They’ll want to set goals around feeling well; becoming fit and strong. Like completing a half marathon in 6 months. That’s a specific goal that will stretch them and encourage them to reach their potential.
Perhaps then they’d understand what I mean. They set a weak goal. That seeking only to keep recovering was just not good enough as a vision that would inspire a nation.
Ireland was sick. For 8 years we suffered the effects of economic exhaustion borne of the virus in our banking system. Now we’re recovering. Surely the next step is for Ireland to get well. Become strong.
Surely a better slogan would have gone something like this: Making Ireland better than ever before.
A coach advises clients against comparing themselves to others when defining their own success.
I’ll be honest. I’d no idea who to vote for in this election. The rhetoric during the debates between the 4 big parties was trite, cynical and very sad. Sad because 100 years after the Easter Rising the two biggest parties are evidently still caught up in what happened after it.
A coach will also advise clients that it is best to set goals in a positive frame. Unfortunately for Fine Gael, starting an answer to a question about their plans for the economy with ‘Well considering the state of the country after Fianna Fail were in power…’ was not exactly the most positive frame in which to set their goal for the economy!
I shook my head then, and I shake my head now as I remember that final debate moderated by Miriam O’Callaghan. Seriously guys, isn’t it time to move on?
When a client seeks a coach’s support to transform their life they are told to look forward not back. That would be my tip to the Irish politicians holding the reins of the bigger parties. And I would suggest they change the discourse around what they want to achieve so that it includes words that uplift and inspire, not condemn and attack other’s for past mistakes.
The country needs to be inspired; we need to believe that we can achieve great things. But to progress and build there needs to be a balance in policies between stability and risk; progress and transformation require imagination, bravery and the self belief that it is possible to progress and transform. Where was this imagination, bravery and self belief during those debates?
Remember President Obama’s first election campaign slogan. That famous line his team used to tell the US electorate that what was once thought unbelievable, was, in fact, possible: That one day there could be a black president of the United States.
It went like this: ‘Yes we can’.
And what was so great about that slogan?
It was positive. Decisive. Forward looking.
We need our political leaders to start thinking about their own version of ‘Yes we can’.
We need our political leaders to be visionaries just like they were 100 years ago when they envisioned a free Ireland. We are free now but still it seems mired in the past.