“Anything worth having is worth working for. Persistence is often the defining quality between those who fail and those who succeed.”
—On Ho‘omau, the Hawaiian value of persistence and perseverance, in Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

Persistence is one of those work qualities that we universally value in business. We believe that the obstacles which test us can actually make us stronger. However I have also found that persistence is something managers don’t articulate very well in coaching their staff. If we want to encourage those we manage so that they dig deep, calling on their innate talents, we have to say more than, “try it again.”

These are all coaching statements connected to what I’ve come to think of as “the battle cry” of Ho‘omau, persistence and perseverance:

“Giving up is just one option when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped; let’s figure out our other options.”

“Are we doing this again, or are we doing this better? How can we do it better?”

“Are there any ideas you can share with me? Maybe if we talk them through, we can figure something out together.”

And perhaps the best one of all:

“How can I help you or support you? Are there any other tools you might need which would make a difference?”

Coaching persistence is part of helping people come up with options they can choose from in making their best decision. People are more apt to invest in and be committed to their own decisions than they are to following the marching orders of a leader—even a leader they respect and trust to make decisions for them.

Why coach decision-making?

    Increased confidence in decision-making leads to increased confidence in seizing initiative.
    Increased confidence in seizing initiative results in increased action and performance.
    Persistent, smart action in work performance will usually reveal a person’s innate talents and strengths; they will repeat doing what they do best.

And their best is what you want, isn’t it?

Related articles:
Ho‘omau: Reveal Strengths and Talents
Ho‘omau; Cause the Good to Last

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. Rosa is founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers (and why Managers Matter).

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