So often when I am working with clients, I find that they are making life difficult for themselves. These are just some of the ways:
It’s funny, a lot of people may have heard of hiring a life coach, and been intrigued…But perhaps didn’t take action because the idea was so new, or not well understood.
It took me halfway through our first session to realize that a life coach was exactly what I had been looking for.
It seems like a good idea, right?
“Two things to remember in life. Take care of your thoughts when you are alone, and take care of your words when you are with people.”
The Guardian recently published a great article about a nurse’s discussions with people at the end of their lives. What did they look back on and regret?
There were some common themes!
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this is a list very consistent with the major themes of coaching.
Happiness matters, and is largely under your control.
Most people I speak with are giving more to their job than their job gives to them.
Most people I speak with have dreams, values, and personal characteristics they aren’t living.
Most people get true fulfillment in life from their personal relationships.
Most people can gain immeasurably by expressing their feelings. It is a key to not only deepening relationships, but also understanding yourself, who you want to be, and accessing the wisdom and energy required to create a truly great life.
Read the full article here…Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
Coaches vary widely in their approach, background, training, style and ideal client!
Some coaches are very nuts and bolts, some are very spiritual and high level. Some coaches will excel at helping you reach specific goals, and some coaches will excel at helping you get good at reaching goals on your own! Some coaches are pragmatic and high-level/transformative at the same time.
In my opinion (certainly biased because this is the type of coach I am!), the best coaches will help you grow in line with how you are meant to be growing. For example, this may be a time in your life when you are learning to live in prosperity, or maybe this is a time in your life when you are learning to express your truth more often in the work arena.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, growing in your own way will help you in all of the areas of your life you’ve identified as needing improvement, even if the exact growth area seems totally unrelated. So, for example, let’s say you want a new job, but it becomes very apparent early in your coaching that you have no idea how to organize your time effectively. Working on your routines and discipline will end up leading directly to more satisfying career conditions. That’s just how it works.
Here are some things to look for if you want a truly satisfying coaching experience…
Green Flags (things that are good signs that this is excellent coaching for you!)
- Your conversations with your coach are different than conversations with friends and family
- You always leave a coaching conversation with new insights, or at least thoughts to ponder, about yourself
- You feel more confident in yourself
- You feel more confident that you are moving in the right directions
- There are some significant changes in your life, some of them even challenging, but you feel well equipped to master your moments
- You feel more of how you want to feel, be that happy, fulfilled, energetic, peaceful…
- You are getting lots of new ideas of things you could do in your life
- Your relationships are moving in healthy directions, or ending if they are unhealthy
- Your coach is clearly 100% focused on you
- You have no doubt that your coach “has your back”
- You know your coaching goals/objectives and you can measure/assess your progress
- You are frequently amazed at how fast/simply things seem to be transforming for you! (“I can’t believe how much of a difference this coaching has made for me!”)
Red Flags (signs this may not be the best coaching for you)
- Your coach seems to be giving you a lot of “advice”
- Your coach doesn’t seem to be listening to you
- It seems like nothing is changing
- You aren’t looking forward to talking to your coach
- You feel “pushed” (challenged and stimulated and expanded past your normal limits is good, feeling “pushed” into things probably isn’t!)
- You used to have great chemistry with your coach, but now it has dropped off
You may find that you find one coach that you LOVE and keep using for years. You may find that you have a coach that works great for you for a while, then you go off on your own. Or, you may find that different kinds of coaches work for you best at different times in your life.
To get started, do your research, and choose, 1, 2 or 3 coaches to have free sessions with. If you feel great about the first coach you talk to, give them a try for 1-3 months! Or, talk to a few coaches until you find someone you feel you click with.
There is no way a coach can prove to you that coaching is going to “work” for you without you giving it a try. You have to put yourself out there a bit and be willing to take a chance! The green flags and red flags listed above will help you assess early on if you are getting great coaching for YOU. When you connect with a great coach for you, there will be absolutely no stopping you in life. All of your dreams, even the ones you dared not dream, can come true. You will be accessing your unlimited potential, living the way that you want to be living, and absolutely in love with your life!
The snowstorm hitting the Northeast, Ontario and Atlantic provinces certainly is a challenge! Yet, like all challenges it contains some great opportunities for learning, appreciation, enjoyment and fulfillment. There is a lot to love here!
Top 5 Things to Love About the Snowstorm:
5. A Change From Your Usual Routine (a big one!)
It’s great when the weather simply makes it impossible to engage in your usual responsibilities. This is a chance to take a mini-break from work, school and even your usual mental concerns. Allow yourself this break! What does this break allow you to do that you usually can not? Play in the snow is an obvious first option!
4. A Super Chance for Learning
Yes, in a situation like this, some things are not going to go perfectly. That’s ok, that’s what growth looks like! This is a great chance for individuals, and towns, cities, states, provinces and countries to refine methods of communication, mutual support, and logistics. For example, we have ever increasing numbers of cool technologies now, cell phone cameras, Twitter, Facebook, crowd sourcing…How can they be used in situations like this? How can we engage weather events in better, smarter more organized ways? It doesn’t seem like there is going to be a decrease in challenging and unique weather events any time soon. No time like the present to get smart!
3. Exercise Your Appreciation Muscles!
The corner variety store owner. The snowplowing crews. The police, firefighters and emergency workers. The city workers and administrators. How often do you stop and give notice to how much these people help you? Not just in emergencies, but all the time! There is a complex network of people around you, helping you live the very best life you can. If it isn’t always obvious, it should be obvious right now. Feel the appreciation and share the love with a heartfelt thanks!
2. A Chance to Commune and Cooperate with Our Neighbors
We may have our Facebook friends, our co-workers and our families, but how often do we actually come out of our houses and talk to our neighbors? How often do we get to pitch in and help? Helping your community feels great and can make a huge contribution. Who needs help digging out? Is there an elderly person in the neighborhood you might check on? Do you have extra supplies you can share? Are there any pets or wildlife in distress? If you can’t find a way to pitch in and help, you’re not trying! (Conversely, if you need help, ask for it! Most people would love to help you if you tell them what you need.)
1. A Chance to Have Quality (Quiet!) Time with Our Family
Typical day at home…Everyone is in their own room staring at their own screens. There’s nothing like a power outage to bring everyone into the same room. And, gasp, talk to each other! Talk, play games, tell stories, work together and create memories. Maybe even a little snuggling to stay warm. 🙂 There can be nothing more refreshing, fulfilling and enjoyable than quality time with your family. Even if it wasn’t necessarily by choice. You may find that you enjoy it so much, you make some new resolutions, like one “blackout” evening per month from now on!
True fulfillment in life does not necessarily come when everything is “fine” and “normal”. True fulfillment comes in growth, creativity, overcoming challenges, helping others and connecting with other people. This snowstorm is a great opportunity for the quality moments that develop character and add depth and meaning to our lives.
I had fun the other night, imaging how the 9 Enneagram personality types might respond to an identical input…
Let’s say, someone’s boss approaches and says something like “that was a horrible way to do that.” How might the different types react to this challenging input? For the responses below, I am imagining people at a moderate (a.k.a. normal) level of personal development.
Boss: “That was a horrible way to do that.”
Type 1: Look of derision. Anger/tension visible just under the surface. Too upset to speak right away. (Thoughts of all the ways the boss is incompetent. Afraid that too much anger will come out if they say anything. Lots of energy rising inside.)
Type 2: Almost crying, or crying…”But I worked really hard on that.” (Feeling wounded, feeling like the boss is saying they are a bad person.)
Type 3: “There were some difficulties in this case. My actions were within the guidelines of latest professional practice. However, I’ve adjusted my approach since then and am having perfect results henceforth. Thanks for the feedback, I’m always open to constructive criticism from a professional such as yourself.” (Saying all the right things, but feeling deep shame.)
Type 4: “What? How dare you say that?! I put my heart and soul into this! This is my finest work!” (Personally offended and outraged.)
Type 5: Low personal development: “Well, if you don’t want my help, I’m outta here.” Moderate personal development: “I don’t believe that is correct, and here is why…” (Emotionally disconnecting, retreating into “superior” logic.)
Type 6: “Oh, I’m sorry”. (Panicking internally, oh-my-god, is he right?)
Type 7: “Whoops! Let’s go grab a beer…” (Avoiding feeling pain, replacing with fun activity.)
Type 8: “Screw you. This is your fault! You are the one that screws up everything. You’ve really lost your focus ever since your wife left you, and I’m not going to pay the price for it.” (Aggressively fighting back, personal attacks.)
Type 9: “It’s cool man, no problem. How about I fix it tomorrow, ok?” (Taking the fastest road to everyone feeling calm.)
Obviously, these are attempts at predicting stereotypical responses, and people are much more complicated than that in reality! Also, you may find people of various types expressing patterns of almost any of the types at different times. Yet, I hope this gives a basic window into responses that might be ‘typical’ of the Enneagram types!
Back in 1981, Ken Blanchard wrote his #1 bestselling book, “The One Minute Manager”. The book demonstrates some very practical and proactive ways to manage your people, all centered on the thought process of quick and focused interactions with your employees. The end goal was an empowered team that was led by a proactive and focused manager. Some thirty years later, it seems that our business culture has morphed many of our leaders into the “Got a Minute Manager”. The “Got a Minute Manager” is characterized as being easily accessible, constantly operating in interruption mode, and micromanaging the team to the point that the entire organization operates with a short term, tactical focus. The end result is a team and organization that is working harder, not smarter, and employees asking the question, “Whatever happened to great leadership?” If you find yourself living in the world as the “Got a Minute Manager”, here are some steps to get you back to the “One Minute Manager” mentality:
Take Back Your Time by Implementing Strong Boundaries
The key to ending your days as the “Got a Minute Manager” is to build some strong boundaries around your time. The best way to accomplish this is to tell your staff that they are no longer free to interrupt or approach you whenever they feel like it. Ken Blanchard suggested in “The One Minute Manager” to set up 15 or 30 minute touch bases once a week with your employees. Instruct your employees to bring their questions and issues to their weekly touch bases. If there is an emergency and they absolutely have to talk to you, set up two or three 10-minute times during the day where you have an “open door” to address those specific issues. Taking this step will free up your time so that you aren’t in constant reactionary mode, and will allow you to have time to actually lead, instead of react. Additionally, it will empower your employees to find their own solutions to problems, instead of constantly relying on your direction.
End Wasteful Meetings – Once and for All
“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’” – Dave Barry
As the quote above suggests, most meetings are a complete waste of time. If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in wasteful meetings, here are a couple of key things you can do to end this problem:
- Have a written meeting agenda for every meeting you hold, and demand the same from others
- End your meetings with specific assigned actions items and due dates
- Make sure your meetings have a time limit, and stick to it
Following these three simple keys will eliminate 80% of your wasteful meetings, and open up huge blocks of time to focus on the two key areas every great leader focuses on, which is leading and developing.
Lead and Develop Yourself and Your Team
Great leaders do two things well – they lead their teams, and they develop the capacity of their people. One of the main reasons that we have so many “Got a Minute Managers” these days is simply because managers don’t understand how to lead, and the power of developing the talents of their team. So, it becomes easier to completely avoid these things by being ‘busy’ reacting to things all the time. By installing some boundaries and managing your time, you can open up the time to lead and develop.
Great leaders take the time to understand the needs of their employees, and work with them to develop their talents so they can move up within the company, as well as increase their capacity to contribute to the team. Now that you have extra time for this, set up a time to talk to each of your employees to have a discussion about where they want to go with their careers, and how you can help them. Put together a formal development program, where you are meeting on a regular basis to develop your staff and provide them the tools and training to do so. Additionally, be a role model by doing the same for yourself.
If you follow the 3 keys above, you’ll quickly make the shift from the “Got a Minute Manager” to the “One Minute Manager”. The end result will be a team that works smarter, not harder, and an environment of development, growth, and superior results. Now, go be a great leader!
A well-known study of Harvard students ten years after graduation showed that those who had specific goals made three times the annual salary of average Harvard graduates. However, this number was increased exponentially by those graduates who had taken an extra step. The graduates who had specific written goals made ten times the average amount in annual salary! Although money is definitely not the sole measure of success, this study illustrates the power of planning, focus and direction.
Take a few minutes to consider the following questions.
- How viable is your position to the success of your organization?
- Is your industry/field expanding and experiencing increased demand in today’s market?
- Is your job currently meeting your needs for meaningful and challenging work?
- Are you given sufficient opportunities for advancement and professional growth?
- Is your current work allowing enough time for family, relationship and lifestyle needs?
- Are you receiving compensation and benefits appropriate to your financial goals?
- Generally, are your relationships with your boss/co-workers/clients/customers positive?
If fewer than 6 of your answers were positive it is time to re-evaluate your career, develop goals, and create specific plans to meet those goals.