Imagine you work as a mentor, coach or counsellor. One of the key concepts to get across to individuals is that: “You always have choices – and each choice has consequences.” Let’s explore how this can work in action.
1) You can help a person to understand that they have choices.
Imagine that somebody wants to discuss a challenge they are facing. Providing they are open to learning, you can help them to see they have various options. Even doing nothing is an option. The hard thing is to communicate this message in an encouraging way – rather than as a cop. So in your own way, you may say something like:
“You have several choices in this situation. Option ‘a’ is to: … Option ‘b’ is to … Option ‘c’ is to: … Can you think of any other options?”
How can you put this into practice? Think of a personal or professional situation where a person asks for your help. They may need to make a tough decision, recover from a setback or whatever. Try completing the followings sentences.
The specific situation where I want to help a person to
see they have choices about the way they move forward is:
The specific things I can do to help them to see that
they have choices about the way they move forward are:
2) You can help a person to explore the consequences of each option.
This calls for helping the person to do two things. a) To consider the consequences of each option – the pluses and minuses. There are seldom any ‘minus free’ options. b) To consider the ‘attractiveness’ of each option. So you may say something like:
“What do you see as the pluses and minuses of each option? On a scale 0 – 10, how attractive is each option?”
Bearing this in mind, how can you encourage the person to consider the pluses and minuses? Try completing the following sentence.
The specific things I can do to help the person
to explore the consequences of each option are:
3) You can help a person to come to their own conclusions and pursue their chosen option.
Great decision makers do three things before coming to a conclusion. First, they ask themselves: “Are there any other possible options? Is it possible to put together the best parts of each route to create another option?” Second, they make decisions based on the consequences of each option – rather than the options themselves. In this way they can be considered to ‘choose the consequences’. Third, when translating the decision into action, they aim build on the pluses and minimise the minuses. Going through this process obviously takes time – though it gets quicker with experience and wisdom.
When you work as a mentor, coach or counsellor, it is important to give the person time to reflect on their options. They are then more likely ‘own’ the decision and implement it successfully. Try completing the following sentence.
The specific things I can do to help the person to come to
their own conclusions and pursue their chosen option are:
People always have choices – even if these are limited to choosing their attitude in a given situation. Some people find this approach liberating; others find it challenging. People who embrace it find they are more able clarify their choices, make good decisions and accept the consequences.