3 Lessons On Process from a One-Hour Football Game

Gloria DeGaetanoParent Coaching Process

football, super bowl

Imagine an NFL football game lasting five minutes and the first team that scores, wins. I’m not talking about overtime or sudden death—but the entire game played within a five-minute span. That would mean fans would pay good money for tickets to see players personally rough and tumble for a few fleeting minutes. Owners and advertisers would invest millions to drive folks to these games. Televised games would pass in the blink of an eye with commercials taking more time than the game itself. Imagine athletes conditioning for up to eight hours daily for years of their lives to use their prowess so briefly.

Who would do any of this for five-minute games?

Yet, we tack on 55 additional minutes and decide it works. 60 minutes of game time is worth investing millions of dollars and plenty of effort. 60 minutes of game time attracts many in fun camaraderie and some in risky gambling. 60 minutes of game time means advertisers spend exorbitant sums huckstering their wares because they know multitudes are watching. Last year’s Super Bowl, for instance, attracted a 114.4 million viewing audience, making it the most-watched broadcast in the history of U.S. television. Expecting to get close to these numbers for the Feb. 7, 2016 Super Bowl, advertisers are paying as much as $5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

Quite the exorbitant one-hour, wouldn’t you say?

No, I am not football bashing in the least. Growing up in central Pennsylvania, Friday night football family rituals taught me to respect and enjoy the amazing athleticism necessary to play this game well. When our sons wanted to play football both my husband and I had mixed feelings because of the dangers involved. After careful consideration, we allowed it. But now looking back, we didn’t have the statistics on brain injury parents do today and if we had had it, our decision may have been different.

Thankfully they were not harmed. However, cheering them on—often in cold Pacific Northwest rain and chilling winds—I may have welcomed a respite with a five-minute game now and then.

But there we have it, the football experts have decided the game is a 60-minute process and everyone accepts that as normal. Nothing wrong with that in the least. It actually makes a certain amount of sense—any longer might bring players to a level of fatigue with higher risk for injuries—any shorter, well, it wouldn’t be worth our time and money. Right?

In thinking about all this as Super Bowl 2016 is soon upon us, I realized that many people-made processes are arbitrary. We concoct time periods based on best options which have probably been based on past experiences—some work well, others could use improving—like a 45-minute class high school class schedule, for instance.

Questioning the time limits we place on our processes is part of being a responsible human. Is it too much time? Too little time? How do we become like Goldilocks and know when the time we invest in a process is “just right?”

“The nature of things is resistance to change, while the nature of process is resistance to stasis.”

The quote above by William Least Heat-Moon, makes such an important point. Process moves, by its veery nature, it can’t stay static.

I believe we figure out right process by keenly observing what is working to serve our needs and aims. Let’s not rule out old-fashioned trial and error as a discerning method. Experimenting while noticing activates critical analysis so our choices are based on a clear perception of reality. We know what works because we have clearly experienced it.

Over the last ten years of training family support professionals to become PCI Certified Parent Coaches® at the PCI and coaching parents personally, I and my colleagues discovered that10-12 sessions over a three or six-month period works best for most parents. Sure sometimes, 5 coaching sessions can help. But for long-term, sustainable results—deep lasting family changes—a minimum of 10 coaching sessions works best.

“Anything less is like a five minute football game, rushed, with questionable purpose.”

I have become very confident about a 10-session coaching process and even provide a money-back guarantee if my clients go through 10 sessions with me and don’t get what they want. (Note: I have never been asked for payment back.) I know through years of experience that a 10-session process not only helps parents resolve the parenting concerns that prompted them to seek a parent coach in the first place, but also gives them so much more than they bargained for—like a much better understanding of their own strengths and their children’s strengths, along with new strategies and attitudes that now will help them in any parenting challenge. Because let’s be real here—the challenges will keep coming after the coaching is finished.

Parents willing to invest in 10 coaching sessions with me, or a PCI-trained parent coach, experience the three primary lessons of a One-Hour Football Game:

  1. The time limit of the process was set to optimize results after careful thought and consideration.
  2. The process gives enough time for participants to use their abilities and shine while they play the game.
  3. The process is the right amount of time to be fun and memorable, while learning how to hone skills for future games.

Participating in any process, whether a football game or a coaching series, means we open ourselves up to something new. Whether open-armed welcoming change, or armored with fear of change’s inherent uncertainties, we learn. And if we learn well, we grow, prepared for more wins—and new processes.

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2016. All rights reserved.