“How can I learn to make decisions?”
I’d say this makes my top five requested coaching outcomes. There’s no obvious correlation between these clients – gender, profession, role, seniority.
This isn’t about making better decisions – it’s about making any decision, even down to “which ice cream flavour?
So what’s really going on here?
I’ve come across two common themes – there are more and there will be variation between clients, but two things are often present – and deeply intertwined:
- the illusion of control – that if they make the “right” decision they will be able to control the outcome, avoiding risk and staying safe and secure;
- that if they control the outcome, they can avoid feelings that they can’t cope with: fear, uncertainty, disappointment..and more.
So how does understanding this lead to being better able to make decisions?
Three things seem to help:
- accept that the world is ultimately not controllable – if a decision is hard, that’s because there is no “right” decision and that to move on you have to take a risk;
- understand your emotional footprint, including your emotional drivers. Practise negotiating with your emotions, rather than letting them drive you;
- practice making decisions. Start off small. Hold both your understanding that you can’t control the outcome of a nuanced decision and that your reluctance is driven by your feelings. Remember you are the boss of your feelings.
- remember that risk ( at the heart of every difficult decision) is wholly and completely necessary for change and development.
Credit: Liane Metzler/Unsplash