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4 Decision making

For some people, the key to good decision making is to be as informed as possible; for others, it centres on a gut reaction.

Watch this Psychologies video from life coach Barry Ennis to hear a bit more about these two approaches and the value of using both to explore the options that might be open to you.

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Before we do, I would like you just to make a note of the real-life decision coming up for you that we can use as a case study throughout this four-week coaching programme. And we can reference it and come back to it. But have it in mind all the way throughout.
So once you've made a note of that, this week, I really want to explore the difference between a thinking-based decision and a feeling-based decision. And so using your example, first of all, I want you to think about the feelings that immediately come up when you think about the decision that you have to make. Quite often, our decisions are driven by fear.
We're scared of making the wrong decision, and we're scared of not making a decision at all. We're scared about having certain kinds of conversations and asking for things. So have a check-in with yourself and just write down some of those immediate emotions that are coming up for you.
I then want you to go one step further and start listening and giving life to that little voice inside of you that feels like they already know the right answer-- the gut instinct, your intuition. Pay attention to that. We don't have to act upon it, but just make sure that we're connecting into that voice.
What is your gut instinct telling you? We don't need to rationalise it at this stage. We don't need to understand it. We just need to listen to it.
So if you can, what's your gut instinct telling you to do at this moment? Make a note of that. Put a circle around it. It doesn't have to be that it is the decision that you make.
Conversely, for those of you that are quite prone to making gut decisions-- and I am one of them-- try a different tact here, which is to really think about the evidence, to really think about the available information, the data, that could support the decision-making style. That might be opinion. That might be reviews. That might be advice. What's stopping you from collecting more information? What's holding you back from making sure that you have all of the information available to you?
So two sides to that, really, and I would like you to do both, regardless of where you are on that spectrum between systematic and spontaneity. I'd like you try both and make a log of each side of that decision-- your emotional response, your gut response, and also your more thinking and logical response. And see if there's any difference and similarity there.
Most importantly, are there any more options available to you now? This is what we're going to be coming back to you throughout the course-- is what further options are available to you now? Work as a coach is really just shining the light on options that didn't seem to be available or visible before. And so by applying some different thinking and feeling and behavioural responses, we will see that we have more options available to us.
OK, that's it for this week. I look forward to seeing you again next week for week two of, are you making the right decision?
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A useful approach is to think about how you’ve made significant decisions in the past, and whether the choices you made were good ones. For example, how did you choose previous jobs, your university course or a major holiday?

There is no right or wrong way of making decisions, but knowing which style you naturally favour can give you more confidence in your final choices. If you can view it from both perspectives, this will potentially give you a greater insight.

If you struggle with decision making and feel you would benefit from a more analytical approach, you might find it useful to use a decision-making tool such as the decision matrix analysis. You will look at this next.


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