We hear variations of Mike Tyson’s famous words across the coaching spectrum.

It’s all too common to hear coaches report their customers saying things like, ‘all I need to do is XYZ, I’m not worried about anything else’ or ‘If I can just address this one issue everything else will fall into place’.

In reality we all know that it’s relatively easy to run headfirst at a tactic as a perceived solution to what is often a larger and more strategic issue that just doesn’t need planning once, but needs planning and reviewing regularly. When we do come across a plan, we often find it’s often not much of one.

Many customers perceive the process of planning as being a ‘necessary waste of time’ and in many cases their initial views arise from the perception that planning is a discrete project, a one-time activity, an annual task or ‘that thing that happens on the anniversary of…’. What we find is that in many of those situations, it is usual for the plan to be written in a notebook or pad which is then unceremoniously dropped into a drawer or worse still half-way down the pile of things that ‘I really need to do’ and as a result never sees the light of day again.

The truth is that in reality, when done often and rigorously this repeated planning process evens out the changes in your and your client’s environment and as markets, situations, geography, attitudes and other elements change so does the plan to address those changes, optimising the approach each time.

What you also know all too well as a coach is that your client may well want you to develop a plan for them and hand it over for implementation with a view to getting it ‘done’ and then moving on to the important stuff. More often than not, naturally, this fails. Instead, it’s critical for your client to view their plan as a living, breathing thing, and ultimately a representation of the ‘important stuff’ and something that needs to be constantly tested, reworked challenged and sometimes scrapped altogether. Ouch!