In my last post, I wrote that “Emotions are real, but they are poor decision makers.” This does not mean that when coaching a client I cannot consider the emotional component. The focus is not to deny emotions, but rather to deny emotions the opportunity to force bad decisions. One of the greatest examples of where emotions can cause bad decisions is in the world of finance. You may have heard the term “emotional investing.” This concept describes the state of one’s mental capacity when the markets are volatile. Emotions can drive investors to push the limits of risk and pull out when the markets correct. Some of the more intense coaching I do is centered on financial mentoring. When a person first begins to learn about investing, he or she sees the market through pre-conceived beliefs. Some of these can be quite accurate, but most are developed through the horror stories of those who have lost their life’s savings. It is an interesting psychology how the human mind tends to hold on to the traumatic and quickly forgets the pleasant. When the markets fall, we quickly forget the times of plenty when that stock we now loathe provided double digit returns. This psychology is not just confined to investors. When you think about your life, prosperity does not just exist in the financial aspects. You can be prosperous in your knowledge, in your talents, and in your God given gifts. You can be prosperous in your achievements and results. You can even be prosperous in your giving and serving others. I have observed many who emotionally limit themselves in their success. Coaching individuals and couples in setting goals can reveal self-imposed limitations in the emotional arena. I have seen individuals who do not believe that they deserve to be successful even though they strive every day to succeed. It should be noted that coaching is not counseling. When a client has emotional traumas present, it is most important for the coach to recommend addressing emotional trauma with a trained professional counselor. Coaching is not designed to help a person overcome emotional trauma, but it is designed to help a person overcome emotional roadblocks. This is what Four-Quadrant Coaching is designed to do. As I wrote in the opening line of this post, emotions are real; they are just bad decision makers. So, Four-Quadrant Coaching acknowledges the emotions but works to aligning the emotions with reality through a process of logical application. In Four-Quadrant Coaching, it is imperative to drill down to the drivers of your emotions. If you are experiencing fear, there is some concrete reason for this emotion. Although emotions are not good decision makers, they are a great warning sign. Emotions tend to indicate that there is something not right. However, to react to the emotion without drilling down to the underlying drivers has the potential to cause you to not realize your goals or produce the desired results. This drilling down process consists of seven steps. 1.Reflect on what brought you to your current reality. Think about your decisions, actions, and circumstances. For instance, if you are experiencing anxiety about your current financial situation, consider how you arrived at your current circumstances. Was it your spending habits that caused your financial situation? Was it medical bills or some other anomaly that jeopardized your financial stability? Was the problem a result of your reaction to something? What you are trying to accomplish in a short amount of time is to identify the path that resulted in your current destination. 2.Evaluate your current options from a logical point of view. A previous supervisor of mine once said that he believes in going “three questions deep.” It was his policy to ask additional questions about a given situation in order to understand the dynamics better. The key question to start with is “Regardless of how I got here, what can I do to reframe the problem?” It is important to know how you arrived where you are only for the sake of not repeating those behaviors. Beyond that, you need to be thinking about logical steps towards resolving the problem. 3.Align your emotions with your thoughts and not the other way around. This is critical. When you align your thoughts with your emotions you will make very bad decisions. Remember emotions are poor decision makers. They are important because they are great warning sirens. You need to feel better about the decisions you are making instead of making decisions to make yourself feel better. How do you accomplish this step? Simple. If you think “I will feel better if I just…(fill in the blank), then you are not aligning your emotions with your thoughts. That is where Four-Quadrant Coaching comes in. Four-Quadrant Coaching develops a strategic path and the execution of that path results in positive emotional responses. 4.Lean not only on your own understanding but seek the counsel of many. One of the best ways to move from emotional reaction to logical decision is to discuss your situations with a trusted group of friends. I would suggest not doing it as a group. Having individual, one-on-one conversations can provide you a multitude of strong counsel. Again, Four-Quadrant Coaching provides an avenue for discussion that will lead you to a logical decision that evolves from within yourself. Often times, when you come up with the answers to your problems, you are more likely to follow through on the solution. 5.Investigate what others have done in similar situations. Experience is the greatest teacher. Someone else’s experience is the greatest teacher without having to face the consequences. You can actually improve your success by the power of observation. When you develop the ability to observe the behaviors of others you can garner information that is applicable to your situations. Doing this over the course of your lifetime affords you the collective wisdom of decades of learning. 6.Trade your negative self-talk for positive reinforcement. This is really about accepting who you are and not telling yourself emotionally charged negative statements about yourself. Phrases such as, “I could never do…” or “I do not deserve…” elicit emotional responses that results in bad decision making. Thomas A. Edison once said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” That is positive reinforcement. Finally, 7.Yield only to emotions when your life depends upon it. As I have stated, emotions are good for warning you that something is wrong. If you are in a social situation and you begin to experience anxiety, you need to evaluate the drivers quickly. If there is no logical driver, then you need to remove yourself from that situation so that you can get to a place where logic can then take over. The only decision you need to make in these types of situations is to remove yourself. From there, you can better assess the situation and act appropriately. When it comes to Four-Quadrant Coaching, addressing emotions can be tricky because of the very nature of emotions. I do not suggest ignoring emotions all together. However, I do encourage appropriately applying what can be learned from emotions as an aid to success. Part of this can be seen in the emotional response to investing. There are levels of risk tolerance that illicit emotional responses. If you cross your threshold, you can make some real poor investment decisions. Understand the role emotions can play in how you make decisions. Try to reduce the level of emotional decision making. Reflect on what brought you to your current reality. Evaluate your current options from a logical point of view. Align your emotions with your thoughts and not the other way around. Lean not only on your own understanding, but seek the counsel of many. Investigate what others have done in similar situations. Trade your negative self-talk for positive reinforcement. And yield only to emotions when your life depends upon it. If you are contemplating the value of The Four-Quadrant Coaching model and how it might help you accelerate your life to achieve your goals and get results, visit http://kenrupert,com to learn more. You might also want to pick up a copy of Planned Excellence – How to Achieve Greatness through Strategic Planning. A link can be found on my website.