Use The Power Of Simplicity

The power of simplicity can often be overlooked in a coaching conversation. There may be the tendency for leaders to focus so much on the trees that the forest is no longer visible. The perception that complexity equals effort, and simple is akin to taking things easy is not easy to shake off. Nonetheless, keeping things simple empowers people to focus on what is important. When coaches help others strip away the anxiety, chaos, and confusion, the simple solution usually emerges. When things are complex, people get in a state of imbalance and suffer from FOMO, the fear of missing out. They end up striving for everything out of the fear of missing out but end up feeling overwhelmed and lost. There is never a good reason to make things complex when they could be simple. Leaders and coaches who support people to simplify help them to get the most important things done on time. Those who get rid of distractions share three key benefits:

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.

– C. W. Ceran

3 Key Benefits

Having the time to do what they want
Enjoy life without feeling guilty that they should be doing something else
Experience clarity of thought and focus on what’s more important

To support people in gaining clarity is to keep things simple. Coaching conversations which center on the power of simplicity achieve three objectives:

3 Objectives
  1. SUPPORTING others in identifying what are the most important goals or challenges;
  2. CLEARLY identify what are the crucial roadblocks and the key solutions;
  3. DISCOVER the most important and impactful action people can take to attain their goal

The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.

– Warren Buffett

For coaching leaders, keep your communication simple and effective by using clear language. This means asking clear questions, giving straightforward suggestions after getting consent (link to RR23), and provide clear and focused feedback. If the coachee is not clear, there is no need to add further complexity with long-winded questions, recommendations, or statements. Here are some examples of keeping things simple:


What is your most compelling goal?



What is your biggest roadblock and the key solution?


What key action can best lead you to your goal?


Can you define your goal more specifically?



I noticed some hesitation, please tell me more.


Good that you are clear about the key actions to execute.


Could you make the goal more relevant to your life purpose?



Could you identify which solution is best?


Who is the best person to keep you accountable?

Another way coaches help others simplify thoughts in what can be a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world is to help the coachee “zoom out” to see the big picture. When they “zoom out”, they gain a perspective that is less cluttered. Coachees have a better idea of where they are and where they want to go when the coach enables them to orient themselves away from the chaos.


When people zoom out, they are given a sense of calm. Instead of feeling besieged by issues that seem urgent up close, an elevated view may allow the coachee to get a proper sense of what is troubling them. When people are drowning in details, they lose sense of the holistic whole and what is really important or urgent.


After they have “zoom out” and cleared their heads. It is time for the coach to zoom back in. For example, if Mary appears anxious and confused, the coach can start by asking what her biggest challenge is. If she goes on to list a few items, the coach can guide the conversation back to what is the challenge that stresses her the most. From there, the conversation can be focused on resolving the biggest challenge by coming up with solutions and key actions. The conversation can then move to the second biggest challenge, and so on. In coaching Mary, the coach seeks to help her focus on the essential core or issue of the problem. When the clutter is cleared, people are more likely to discover the solutions.


Think of simplifying as a financial executive who needs the number for the bottom line. That final spectacular financial figure. In other words, what matters the most. Likewise in coaching conversations, helping people find what their bottom line is brings great clarity and focus. Doing so also guides the conversation towards taking the right and powerful actions the coachee needs to take to achieve the bottom line.


Watch #1 Strategic Innovation Coach and ITD World CEO Dr Peter Chee shares how coaches can raise awareness and acceptance using the Pain Acceleration and Pleasure Maximization Technique during a coaching conversation with Henry, a senior leader. You can watch the entire coaching journey when you enroll in the CCMP program today.


  1. WHAT makes giving suggestions without consent problematic in a coaching session?
  2. HOW can coaches remain aware of the need to get consent before giving suggestions?
  3. HOW can coaches ensure the coaching conversation focuses on drawing out solutions?
  4. WHAT behaviours and actions do coaches need to draw out the solutions from others?
  5. WHAT can you to cultivate those behaviours and actions?


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