The Pain/Gain Model of Action

The Pain/Gain Model of Action

This past weekend I was facing a significant decision impacting my business.  I had been presented with an opportunity that showed a great deal of promise, but did require detailed effort on my part to incorporate into my practice.  While I realized that I needed to give this offer consideration and had already figured on listing the pros and cons of the offer, I had a conversation with a fellow coaching colleague.   He asked me if I remembered the Pain/Gain tool that we had both learned during our coaching certification studies.

Indeed I had remembered the tool.  While I had not used it since learning it in class, I still remembered its purpose.  Before taking a significant action of which you are not sure, weigh both the pain and gain of your current situation, versus the pain and gain of your future situation if you took the action.  With the help of the model I was able to make an informed decision which was right for me in terms of my business.  Immediately I realized those that read this website could also benefit from its use, so I’m happy to share how it works.

Step One: First you start with your current pain. Ask yourself the following questions.  “What is missing from my current situation and why is that desired and important?  What is the pain of continuing this situation?”  When one really takes the time to answer this question, two types of pain usually emerge.  There are obvious surface items that will come forth that have you already considering making the change in the first place.  However, upon analysis there may be deeper pains that you are not aware of until you stop to give the situation further thought.  In my instance, the new opportunity centered upon improving my ability to offer a service to my clients that I currently do not have a complete set of tools to implement properly.  As I thought further, I realized many of those clients that are in my demographic are facing this issue.  While I have the ability to help them in some respects, their true issues center on needing a more detailed methodology to address their issues.  So, one of the things to emerge for me in this step was why this opportunity was so appealing to me.

Step Two: Next you move onto your future gain. Ask yourself these questions.  “What are the benefits for desired change and why are those benefits important?  What would I gain if I made the change?”  Again, there will be obviously stated gains for why you are considering making the change.  However, upon introspection you will likely tap into deeper motives not being met in your life.  Using my example, the new opportunity definitely made available to me an expanded stream of clients.  Since the opportunity involved working as a member of the coaching staff of another company, many of the clients would be provided to me as part of their larger client procurement efforts.  However, further thinking had me realize while clients from this new opportunity were coming to me with a specific need in mind, I had the ability to help address other needs of theirs that may exist.  In turn, even if the client did not have other immediate needs, by working with me and my practice they would become aware of additional services I offered.  As I already had a research tested methodology to support the current portion of my coaching practice, I would now have a different one for this new phase of my practice.

Step Three:  The third step one works through next is current gain. There are usually advantages to the current situation.  “How do I benefit from my current situation?  What would I gain by maintaining the status quo or not changing?”  My current situation allows me a great deal of flexibility with my time.  As such, I’m able to run and develop my business as I please.  I determine entirely what activities are done when in my day, or if I decide to do them at all.  Many times one finds they do not have in their life what they are looking to gain from a change, because it means giving up something they currently have.  Sometimes what they’re giving up is obvious.  Again, the true revelation comes when thought is given to those deeper items that they are allowing to leave their current situation.

Step Four:  The fourth and final step is the one of future pain. “What costs have to be paid in order to make this change?   What would I have to face in order to change?”  I knew the opportunity came with the expectation of me learning a methodology that would take me several months to learn.  That learning time is all self study, so I would need to be able to schedule that time into my existing schedule.  There was a monetary cost to the studies that I would be undertaking.  This question is important to explore, especially if there is any hesitancy on taking the change action.  If the change was all that easy, it would likely be made quickly without thought of the upcoming stresses and pressures it might add to one’s life.

As a final step to this process it is effective to focus on your current situation and what it brings to you, and then focus entirely on your proposed new situation and what that brings to you.  By role playing these two states, one gets a clearer picture of which scenario may work better in their life.

In my case, I have decided to pursue the opportunity that has been presented to me.  After listing out all of the pains and gains in both categories, and doing a great deal of thought on them, I could see where this opportunity helped me to meet my goals of better being able to serve my target client base.  While in my instance I chose to make the change, the outcome is not always that way.  However, with the Pain/Gain model I realize I have given this change the thought and consideration it deserved before committing to making it.