This was posed in a recent discourse, I read. A coach feels that the word ‘later’ is just another way of saying I don’t want to do it; a way to avoid because later never comes.
One inspiration I immediately draw upon is the practice of being curious and non-judgmental in coaching. If I was truly non-judgemental in coaching, I will never dream of coming out with this assumption that it is just a declaration that a person made. I will need to have compassion and be curious as to what he/she means with the word ‘later’. I will seek clarity for her and for me as to a definitive time frame for this word later. This I feel is part co-creating action phase of coaching.
Below is the brief discourse; taking out comments in between:
Comment: “Being vague is a way to avoid. For example, when you say “I’ll do it later’ for an important task, you are actually saying “I don’t want to do it’.. However, you will say “I’ll do it later’ instead.. This makes you feel better than saying “I don’t want to do it’… And you don’t have to come to terms with why you don’t want to do it.
My take: “I have a different take to this word later. As I am listening to a person saying later, the only sure thing I know is that the person doesn’t want to do it NOW. Yes, I will do it later is vague and as a listener, I need to have compassion for the one saying, for he/she might just mean that it is not important for her/him to do it now or might also be a way to totally avoid doing it. I will then start to be curious as to why he/she says later. One sure thing is that “I will do it later’ is one of six Speech Acts which falls under a declaration, albeit a vague one. I will then clarify the word later as to be sure it is a declaration to create an action at a forward time or a declaration to avoid. My two cents worth. (Btw, this case study came up in my coaching school assignment)”