Coaching 101: The Passenger-Driver relationship of Emotion and Rational


“Are you willing?” is a question I always ask in coaching. If the answer is YES, than there is work to be done. If the answer is NO, than no amount of coaching and strategising will help. Move on to what is next.

The emotional part is ‘The Elephant’ in Chip & Dan Heath book Switch. Change will only happen when the elephant decides to move.

The notion that emotions has no role to plan in decision making is a myth. It has to do a lot with the decision that you make; in fact a huge part. And get this, it is not the whole part 🙂

A decision that is made with the absence of emotion will be one that is, at best, devoid of energy, motivation and push. While at its worst is a decision void of compassion, humility and humanity. Bare in mind having, recognising and acknowledging your emotion is very different than being emotional. Being emotional is acting at the spur of the moment with the emotion driving the action full force without a passenger-driver called rational.

A healthy balance of both rational and emotion is needed. Both needs to be taken into consideration. One is flawed without the other.

Having said all that, at the end, the emotional part of the decision is what will determine its success. Once a decision is made; either via the rational or emotional argument, the emotion will need to take the lead to drive it with the rational at the front passenger seat. As time goes by, rational will need to trade place with emotion and vis versa throughout the journey till you reach your destination.

One thought on “Coaching 101: The Passenger-Driver relationship of Emotion and Rational

  1. sabri says:

    Coaching 101: I take it that the question “are you willing?” is directed to participants who are one way or other, a coach or a coachee? It is interesting that Emotion and Rational are introduced to the subject of coaching. Through my past learnings, the answers to the above question whether a “yes” or a “no” has something to do with Motivation, no? It can be broken down into 4 quadrants i.e. “can do will do”, “can do won’t do” , “can’t do will do” and “can’t do won’t do”. A good leader/coach should be able to identify and group his/her team members in these quadrants and initiate development plans.
    Emotions can run high/low during the coaching process, and this is where feedback comes into the picture. So Coaching & Feedback must go together, hand in glove. Just my humble comment. : )

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