Acceptance and Commitment

As a coach, I have never been one to feel wedded to a particular philosophy or specific model. There are too many rich and interesting ways of thinking out there, and to ignore them because they don’t fit with ‘your model’ seems short-sighted. Also, no two clients are ever the same, and what works best for one person may not hit the mark for another. As such, I believe that having a deep tool-bag of coaching techniques is essential. That way, and with experience of using them, you can start to get a sense of what will work best for different clients.

One area that I have recently borrowed from, and found hugely powerful in coaching practice, is that of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). ACT is based upon a model of psychological flexibility (called the ACT hexaflex).  The principle being that healthy emotional functioning is achieved as a result of finding a healthy balance of six key processes:hexaflex

  • Acceptance
  • Cognitive Defusion
  • Present Moment Awareness
  • Self Awareness
  • Values
  • Committed Action

ACT also recognises that the unique nature of human language, while clearly setting us apart from all other life on earth in our ability to plan, predict, evaluate and reason, also traps us inside a cage of emotional suffering.  The way we describe ourselves, the world, and how we interact with the world reveals much about our psychological flexibility.  Continue reading


Commitment v Compliance. What’s the difference?

All good leaders know the difference between ‘internal commitment’ and ‘compliance’. Yes, sometimes, compliance will have to do, particularly in moments of crisis and great urgency, when there is no time to put the ‘effort’ into gaining real buy-in.

But, the downsides of trying to lead when all you have behind you is ‘compliance’ are clear:-

  • People who are not fully committed to your vision and journey are unlikely to ‘go the extra mile’ when the going gets tough.
  • People will need convincing over and over again as each new situation arises.  Basically you buy compliance with a ‘for one use only’ sticker. 
  • People do not undergo learning and growth so successfully when they adopt a state of ‘grudging compliance’ , unlike when they are ‘fully committed’ and bought in to what they are doing.
  • People who are not ‘fully committed’ tend to look to others to take responsibility and blame others when things go wrong. In other words they deflect responsibility.

For a leader to be successful in their venture, they need their teams and followers to be fully committed and bought in completely to the vision and journey, and be Continue reading