The Model of Immediacy

improving performance by getting specific about the here & now.

Does the following scenario sound familiar to you? You’ve diligently planned for a crucial coaching conversation with someone. You’re prepared to talk directly about their need to improve performance, their current challenges and the necessary changes they need to make to improve their effectiveness. But what happens too often? The real conversation that needs to take place doesn’t really happen. Yes, you meet and talk. But the flow of the conversation leads you to begin talking in sweeping generalities about the intended topic. You talk about “how things used to be” or “how things were at their old company.” Far to often you end up having a coaching conversation about “someone not even in the room.” The result? You leave the conversation without any meaningful outcomes on important issues that will serve your organization or the person being coached. You end up muttering – “Boy, that sure didn’t go the way I planned.”

Why does this happen? Simply, because it is much safer and there is less accountability for the person being coached. So how do you transform these passive conversations, filled with empty outcomes, to direct conversations that create immediacy, promote accountability and ignite performance on the biggest opportunities? A simple and direct way is to improve the quality of your coaching conversations through the use of a powerful coaching model – The Model of Immediacy.

The fundamental shift that needs to take place in your coaching conversations is to bring the focus of the conversation back “inside the lines” of the model. You create a bias towards action and strengthen the individual being coached when your coaching conversations move from:

  • Then to NOW
  • General to SPECIFICS
  • There to HERE
  • Them to YPutting The Immediacy Model to Work: Reframe and redirect the conversations.

The Model of Immediacy requires a “here and now” orientation for the “leader-coach.” It requires a strong active presence with the courage to speak openly and to provide direct feedback when needed. Here are a few examples of the model in use during coaching conversations:

Example I – Getting into The Now: When you find the conversation drifting back in time, redirect and bring it “back into the now.” Far too much time is spent looking backward in the rear view mirror when the real focus of a “leader-coach” is to anchor their client on what is happening today.

  • Employee: “Expectations were really different under the old leadership team.”
  • Leader-coach: “That was how it was then. Let’s talk about what the expectations are now.”

Example II – Getting Specific: When the other person uses general statements, use specifics in your questions to reframe and provide clarity. You goal is to limit “aboutism’s” that often time sound good, but don’t provide the needed clarity about the topic at hand. You need to move from a place where you think you know what someone is talking about to where you know specifically what is on their mind. When you are in a place of knowing you can coach the real issue.

  • Employee: “The Company’s new bonus program isn’t fair.”
  • Leader-coach: “Can you give me a specific example of what’s not fair about the program?”

Example III – Talking About You: When the person being coached brings the focus on someone “not in the room”, it is important for the leader-coach to redirect the conversation and bring it back to the person being coached to provide personal accountability:


  • Employee: “I’m frustrated. My store managers don’t get it. They fail to maximize our key promotions and as a result we are always at the bottom of the Region’s reports.”
  • Leader-coach: “This is an important topic. Let’s talk specifically aboutyou and what you are doing to improve your team’s execution & performance of key promotions?”

Your turn: How competent and confident are you in creating “immediacy” in your coaching conversations? Target the areas where you know you need to improve. (i.e. – Having a more strong active presence. The courage to provide direct feedback.) With whom do you need add immediacy to your coaching conversations? Make a plan to meet to talk to them – today, this week, this month.


Anchoring Thought:

You’ll never make it as a wandering generality, you must become a meaningful specific.” – Zig Ziglar

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