“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems” Lee Lacocca
Everything till now is entirely possible through self-coaching. This is the part where self-discipline, commitment and follow-through are critical for success in making the changes you want. This is the time when a coach or accountability buddy would be most beneficial.
It’s all well and good to have a great SMART goal, several smaller outcomes and a comprehensive action plan. Without the action they just make for great plans and dreams.
Even when you work with a coach, it’s still you who has to do the work.
If you are someone who uses to-do lists and actually does what your tasks remind you to do, you may be OK with this step. If not, you can either invest in coaching or (usually somewhat more cheaply) invest in some software that might help you. There are many goal setting systems you could consider that may help or, my personal recommendation, use coachaccountable (affiliate link
). No system however, can cause you to actually do what you said you would do.
Perhaps this is the time to let you know that there are no short cuts. There is no ‘silver bullet’. No instant success formula. Anyone promising you a ‘quick and easy’ way to change and have the dreams you desire has an issue with reality and truth.
There are six main areas where a coach can help at this stage of your growth and learning:
- Giving Feedback
- Providing accountability
- Stimulating your self-confidence
- Keeping hope alive
Feedback is one of the most powerful ways a coach can keep you focused on improving the situation or your performance. In my experience, most people are quick and ready to ‘beat themselves up’ for doing something wrong or badly. I still do it myself. Rarely do people give themselves positive feedback and, sadly, rarely do we receive positive or reinforcing feedback from others.
This is why I encourage you, nay, implore you to keep a journal and/or use “What’s Better Today?
This book was entitled for this and, in my years of coaching and developing others, have found nothing quite as powerful in transforming lives.
The job of a cheer leader is to encourage the spectators to show their team more support to further encourage the team. So to a coach, at times, will be your cheer leader. Sharing your joy when things go well, and commiserating briefly when things go less well, followed swiftly by more encouragement that you can do it and you can achieve it.
If you don’t have someone physically to help you, use the “Who’s your Caddy
” template again… choosing someone who would inspire you as your external viewer.
It can be difficult to make changes on our own. This is especially true when we are trying to change long-established habits.
Remember with a habit, you get rid of the H, and you still have “a bit”. You get rid of the A, and you still have “bit”. Then you get rid of the B, and you still have “it”. The trick is to get rid of the I, and focus on the “t”. Those who have ears to hear…
Again, I urge you to keep a journal. (Remember all the great leaders of this world have kept journals… otherwise how can they write their memoirs?) Review your journal weekly, monthly and yearly. Share your goals and commitments with someone who cares for you and ask them to help keep you accountable.
Stimulating your self-confidence
Several years ago I stood at the top of an infamous black ski-slope known as “the wall” in Avoriaz, France. It is a long, mogul run very steeply descending from the top of the mountain down to Switzerland below. I was a reasonable skier and had the skills to make it down safely. But standing at the edge, the three or four centimetres before total commitment, my legs were shaking, my heart racing and my fear at an all time high. I was so ready to chicken out and back off. Then my friend came beside me and gently assured me I could do it. Would he come with me? No, but he was going to watch and join me at the bottom by taking the somewhat safer alternate route down on the chair lift. That was all I needed,m to know someone thought that I could, even when I feared I could not.
Yes, I did make it. My legs shaking the entire time. I fell once. Just at the restaurant deck as I came to a stop. Exhausted, exhilarated and after a couple of vin chaud with my cheering friend, ready to face it again.
There are times we need re-affirmation of who we are and what we can achieve. People who believe in us and want the best for us. Find someone who will help push you off the edge (in a loving way) and remind you of your own beliefs and principles and to assess the opportunities you have in front of you.
To be empowered by someone is to be loaned their power. Sometimes, we need others to do this for us, or to teach us what we need to do. Other times, you can find out how to do something new, or to take a slightly greater risk than you are naturally inclined to take by reading, by watching a movie, a documentary or drawing on your own inner strengths.
There is something in your life that you are talented at doing. It’s more than a strength. It’s something you are simply very good at doing and probably enjoy doing. It may be a hobby or something you learned when young. If I now asked you how you do it, you’d probably respond: “I don’t know, I just do it”.
Whatever that talent is (and we all have at least one) reflect on it a moment. At one time, you were unable to do it. But you learned, you persevered, you overcame. Now that you have found that you possess that inner strength, go put it to use in this new area of your life.
Keeping hope alive
A coach can also be someone who helps keep hope alive. Recognise your own efforts and re-affirm your commitment. Things can get better and the change you desire to make will get easier.
Change is uncomfortable. Sit there for a moment with your arms crossed. Now, change the way you cross your arms (instead of left over right, go right over left for example). Comfortable? I thought not. How long or how many times would you have to force yourself to do this before this way of crossing your arms was comfortable? However long or however many, you know that eventually it would be OK. The same is true for the change you want to make. There’s hope.
When we move from plan to implementation, a coach will consistently remind you to look for the opportunities to resolve the situation holding fast to your own values and beliefs.
To enable this, you need to be able to assess and analyse the opportunities in front of you and to be clear about the purpose for making the change you want.
The three templates we will be using are designed to do just this.