Beating Procrastination: the Power of a Simple Question

What the Five-Minute Coach has done for me

Jo Bonsey


· coaching and communication

Despite working as a leadership coach and trainer for the past 14 years, I have a guilty secret. A special talent which I keep hidden out of view and cover up at all costs: I am an incredibly good procrastinator. If they handed out gold medals, I’d be there on the podium, albeit with a downcast, ashamed look on my face.

Waiting for the petrol gauge to be on empty (with interesting consequences in the recent petrol crisis… but that is another story!), pushing deadlines to the limits or, more seriously, delaying restructuring my business model and promoting our services until I have nearly run out of money - I’ve done them all.

The drivers of my procrastination habit are multiple, but that isn’t the point of this blog. I am writing this is because in the last 12 months I have noticed a difference. Early last year I attended the Five-Minute Coach training.  A simple, powerful and versatile tool, I’ve found it incredibly useful with my clients, helping them to get clarity about what they really want, help ‘snap’ them out of their story, and empower them to take the first steps to resolving their issue or achieving their goal.

A new pattern

It took me a little while to connect my increasingly organised workspace, improved broadband connection, and growing bank balance with the Five-Minute Coach. It happened when I came across a quote which re-emerged from the piles of paper when organising in my  office:

“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do your fears.”

I realised in that moment that this is what the Five-Minute Coach had been helping me do.

The simple, yet incredibly artfully worded, set of questions starts with: “And what would you like to have happen?”  That is what I have been doing differently: I ask myself that question with increasing regularity. Whether getting organised for Christmas, prioritising my workload or arranging my social life, I consider what I’d like to have happen - with positive results. It gets me focused on the end result, my ‘dream’, giving me a clear picture of what I am moving towards.

Now I know for many of you this is going to seem obvious, but as someone who has made being motivated by avoiding problems or averting disaster an art form, this has been something of a revelation for me. Not only that, I am what those of you who are familiar with the colours communication style models (such as Insights or Social Styles) would term as more ‘green’ in the way that I communicate. This means I too often say ‘yes’ to avoid conflict or put others’ needs ahead of my own. Asking myself what I would like to have happen focuses me on my own agenda - what I want. This is incredibly valuable for my wellbeing and my productivity.  Not only am I in a better place to coach my clients, but I have a great coaching approach to help them achieve similar changes in their lives.