What was the last big decision you made? I mean really big. Did you decide to hand in your notice at work without a job to go to, or perhaps shut down a company or set up a new one? Perhaps you sacked a much-respected employee, turned informant, or left your partner, maybe you decided to put a loved one in a home? Whatever it was, I am sure you remember clearly the emotions you went through to take it and how all your options towered over you as if they were a matter of life and death. Perhaps the decision you had to take was a matter of life and death, after all some people have to every day?
The process we go through in the build-up to finally taking big decisions, is complex and for some, worse than the taking of the decision itself, and certainly the aftermath of it. I am writing this blog because, recently, I have found myself having to advise a number of people that are in the process of making big decisions. It appears to me the coach or mentor needs to be extremely careful not to push the agenda or even be thought of as pushing the agenda – even when the way forward seems obvious and the person starts to believe it too. It is too easy to forget just how frightening and lonely the final act of taking a decision can be.
I know the psychological processes of decision making is something that many sales people are trained in, but usually I guess that the topics they are faced with are at best about buying an expensive car or piece of jewellery, or moving house or something like that? I don’t know. What I do know is that the decision taking process is largely emotional, rather than logical and that it can be long and frustrating for everyone, especially when those dependant on the decision taker are waiting for an answer and a glimpse of the way forward. In any case, I do know that good decisions are taken in calm circumstances, when our rational brains are in-line with our hearts and, when necessary, with those around us.
Have a good week,