“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.

“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.”

—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Jammie Templeton

As part of my coaching discovery process, I ask prospective clients to answer a number of questions that help them fully examine the potential value of us working together.

These questions help them expand what is working, and impact what is not. For many individuals, the following question provokes considerable interest:

What do you expect to achieve in your professional
and personal life, given your current plans, strategies,
and general direction?

Given time to explore this question fully, most people see the need to change course if they are to fully realize their highest priority goals and not end up where they are currently heading.


Consider answering this question for yourself and discussing any insights and potential actions you plan to take with a friend, colleague, mentor, family member, or coach.

Feel free to reply to this post with what value you create.

“Turn in the direction of the skid.”

“Turn in the direction of the skid.”

—Driving School adage

Image from Unsplash by Meghan Schiereck

Having lived in Michigan over half my life, I’ve experienced my share of icy roads! Before front or four-wheel drive, traction control, and the latest in snow tire technology, today’s quote was the best advice and coaching to avoid or minimize accidents.

How do you try to control the many aspects of your life? How fast are you going these days? How many icy patches are you experiencing on your personal and professional roads through life?

It turns out the more we slam on the brakes and over-steer, the worse things become.


Where is it appropriate for you to fully embrace an icy patch or two in your world? How can you calmly turn into these skids to get back on the road to a better life?

“I will accept your influence, guidance, and direction if (and only if) I believe that you and I share similar goals.”

“I will accept your influence, guidance, and direction if (and only if) I believe that you and I share similar goals.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

Image from Unsplash by Nik MacMillan

How coachable are you? How open and receptive are you to the guidance, direction and influences of others in your professional or personal life?

I begin working with all new clients with an all-day, one-on-one workshop in my office to clarify and fully align on the specific goals and objectives we intend to produce. With this up-front investment to align our objectives we can optimize the full benefit and value of our relationship.


How can and will you enhance the receptivity and coach-ability of yourself and those around you by doing the up-front work of assuring shared goals for your efforts?

If there was only the ‘right’ way to do something, Fosbury would never have flopped

“If there was only the ‘right’ way to do something, Fosbury would never have flopped.”

—John Whitmore, 20th Century South African Surfer

Image of Fosbury doing the flop

image from itv

When was the last time you asked for directions?

When was the last time you asked more than one person for directions to the same destination?

With today’s technology, we check Google maps, Waze, or other tech tools to see what is recommended. What is the fastest route? The most scenic? Which has the fewest tolls?

What is the best, or in the case of today’s quote, the “right” way to go?

Where do right and wrong apply in your personal and professional communities? Where do you find yourself on the same page, or on the other side of decisions, resulting in friction or upset?


How and in what ways can and will you be far more open and accepting of other’s right to be right?

Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

—Jean-Paul Sartre, 20th Century French Philosopher and Playwright

Image of men rowing against a black background

Image from Unsplash by Josh Calabrese

What is your immediate interpretation of today’s quote? Is being a boat rocker a bad thing or a good thing? How much does it depends on where the boat is headed?

Most people, on many occasions, tend to go along to get along. They do not want to be seen as individuals who are not pulling their weight. If and when they do stop rowing and stand up to look around, the other rowers will often apply peer pressure to have them sit down and get back with the program.

Conformity and going with the flow just doesn’t suit the vision, values, and sense of self for many folks these days. They feel compelled to stand up and look toward an alternate horizon more in alignment with their true selves. The boat rocking may result in them jumping ship or being forced to walk the plank due to the apparent disconnect or perceived mutiny observed by the boat’s captain and crew.


Where are your personal and professional boats headed? In which situations is it warranted to put more of your legs and back into your rowing efforts, or stand up and rock the boat, to either change its direction or jump ship?

Direction is so much more important than speed

“Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a woman pointing the way for a man

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalogue

In the battle between the urgent and the important aspects of life, urgency and the need to get things done fast seem to be winning.

Unfortunately for many, levels of life satisfaction and fulfillment are declining, often with considerable consequences to our health and overall well-being.

Perhaps some course corrections are in order for your personal or professional life, especially if you are pursuing paths others have mapped out for you.


Where can you slow down or even stop to look within to ask your sources of inner wisdom for directions before you gas up and head full speed ahead toward your life destiny?

The Safe Route and the Best Route

“In your life the safe route and the best route may not be the same route.”

—Author Unknown

What is your perspective or personal philosophy on these phrases?:

  • No risk no reward
  • The biggest risk is not taking any
  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all
  • Do one thing every day that scares you
  • Leap and the net will appear


Select the phrases that resonate the most for you and display them on a Post-it Note in a highly visible location in your personal or professional world.

What action will you take to put yourself on the best route to more fully realize your most important and meaningful life goals?

Feel free to reply to this post with the quotes you selected and the actions you plan to take.

Some People Cross Your Path

“Some people cross your path and change your whole direction.”

-Author Unknown

Change Your Direction

Image from timemachine.wikia.com

Those who have been following The Quotable Coach for some time already have a mental “time machine,” and have taken various trips into the past and future. If you have not yet built your imaginary time machine, take a moment to do so now.

Today’s trip takes you back in time to visit the friends, family, teachers, mentors, and coaches who have made a positive and lasting difference in your life.

Examine the way in which they were “there for you,” guiding, supporting, and even providing tough love to help you discover and pursue your destiny.


Should any of these people still be around, find a way to acknowledge and thank them for the difference they made in your life.

Where can you play a similar role to support a special person in your personal or professional world?

“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.”

“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.”

– Mabel Newcomer, economics professor

535Image from Flickr by joeflintham.

The quote above makes me think about the words “effective” and “efficient”. Many people today aim to quicken their pace at lots of daily activities – including eating, work, and most forms of interpersonal communication.

A critical downside of our multi-tasking, fast-paced society is that we are often focused on doing things efficiently, without always being sure we are actually accomplishing what we intend to achieve.


During your day, take a few moments to ask yourself the following question: Is what I’m doing (or about to do) moving me forward to what I desire?

By focusing on where you truly want to go, you won’t mistake activity for achievement.

“Knowing where you’re going is the first step to getting there.”

“Knowing where you’re going is the first step to getting there.”

– Ken Blanchard, American author and management expert

478Image from Flickr by malfet_

About ten years ago I had the opportunity to meet Ken Blanchard in person at a coaching conference where he was the keynote speaker. He has co-authored over 30 books including his famous The One Minute Manager. After his keynote, he had a separate breakout session with a smaller group of coaches to conduct an open forum on topics of interest to the group.

Surprisingly, he brought his coach Shirley with him to the discussion. During our session, she made a statement about Ken that left a lasting impression on me. She said, “When I coach Ken, I need to both remember who he is and at the same time forget who he is.” This way, she would be an advocate for his greatness, and not be intimidated by it at the same time.


How can you, like the accomplished Ken Blanchard, keep setting your sights on your personal and professional goals as the first step in achieving them? If you’ve already read The One Minute Manager, consider reading some of his other books: three of my other favourites include Raving Fans, Gung Ho! and Whale Done!