The lyrics of the song: "I'm starting with the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways and no message could have been any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change". This is exactly what I did and I never looked back from the moment that decision was made. Change can be scary and you may well go through a range of emotions whilst on the journey…
Step 1. Identify your biggest fear?
It is often said that FEAR stands for False Evidence that Appears Real and this can hold you back from achieving your goal. Some people may have a fear of failure whilst others fear success. Whatever your fear is make sure you work to recognise it. My motto is that “failure is not an option”. The reason is I believe this is because until you stop trying, the reality is you haven’t failed, you have just learnt from your mistakes along the way. You go through, around or over the obstacles that are in front of you. People who fear success generally self sabotage just at the point they are going to take the podium position. One thing that I remember from my childhood is my Dad telling me “unless you are going to win there is no point in entering the race”. This belief created my competitive nature and over time I have changed that belief and recognise that there are 3 places on a podium and everyone on that podium is a winner having their successful moment. It’s there for the taking so embrace the challenge.
2. Understand the beliefs you hold when experiencing change?
This depends on where you are on the change curve. John Fisher explains this on his transition curve.
• Anxiety – “Can I cope?”
• Happiness – “At last, somethings going to change!”
• Fear – “What impact will this have?” “How will it affect me?”
• Threat – “This is bigger than I thought”
• Denial – “Change, what change?”
• Guilt – “Did I really do that?”
• Depression – “Who am I?”
• Disillusionment – “I’m off, this isn’t for me!”
• Hostility – “I’ll make this work if it kills me!!”
• Gradual Acceptance – “I can see myself in the future”
• Moving Forward – “This can work and be good”
3. Responding to change
How you respond to the change is first being able to understand yourself, recognise the thoughts and feelings that are triggering your behaviour. Start to work on an action plan to improve your thoughts, feelings and behaviour so that you continue to move forward. When working with my clients I ask them to plot themselves on the transition curve at the start of the journey, midway and at the end. I find that this is a great visual tool to measure the success of the clients coaching journey and remember to celebrate success along the way.
4. Identify your strengths?
When going through change, it’s empowering to focus on your strengths, the things that you are good at. An excellent tool you can use is a SWOT analysis. Make a list under the following headings and ask yourself these questions.
Once you know what you are good at, what you are passionate about, consider how you can use this new-found knowledge to start to see obstacles as opportunities. Think about how you can move around them, over them and through them. By developing these opportunities, notice how you grow. Suddenly your flame has been ignited and the change is coming from within.
Remember change comes from within and begins with the man or woman in the mirror, decide to create your own handbook to success. I did and you can too! Coaching can be the catalyst to change.
Let me know what changes you have decided to make in the comments below.
Do you have people or systems (or both) that help you review your ongoing development?
As a guide and starting point, I’ve listed below 8 ways to keep your coaching skills sharp – covering external CPD, internal reflection and coachee feedback.
Which do you already do, and what would you add to this list?
1. Practise the skills of coaching outside formal coaching sessions
This is particularly relevant if you don’t get to coach very often. You can still keep your coaching skills sharp by, for example:
2. Attend coaching supervision
With a growing appreciation for the power and benefit supervision has on our coaching practice (and hence our coachees!) supervision is becoming more popular and more in demand. Supervision can be 1-1 or group supervision. It can be over the phone or in person.
Supervision often involves a teaching or mentoring element on the part of the coach supervisor, always involves reflection on the part of the coach being supervised, and has a holistic focus on a coach’s development. I’ve always learned something new about myself, the coaching profession and how I run my coaching business when I’ve attended coaching supervision. It’s definitely a must for my ongoing development as a coach.
3. Carry out coaching self-reviews regularly
This involves taking an open and honest look at your own practice, and can include reviews of:
4. Ask your coachees for feedback
How often do you do this? What format does it take? How do you use it?!
I have found questions, such as those below, useful to gain a coachee’s feedback:
5. Keep a journal – record your reflections
I’ve been using journals more and more recently. I have different journals for different reflections: one for reflecting on my training, one for coaching, one for supervision, a gratitude journal, and one to record things I learn from reading coaching and other books.
One of the advantages of journalling is that you need to organise your thoughts in order to put pen to paper. This helps you identify the most important and relevant parts about what you want to say, as well as the most relevant next steps … the ‘So what?’ bit. They can also be useful to do a ‘dump’ of unhelpful emotions/feelings/thoughts, things that are tying you up in knots.
6. Join a coaching CPD / support group
It can be a lonely job if you’re the only one in your organisation delivering coaching, or you’re running your own coaching business. It’s a good idea to find (or create!) a coaching support group in your area to keep your motivation levels up, keep your skills sharp, and learn from other like-minded people.
Try a Google search for your nearest one, or if you’re in the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire or Yorkshire areas, you’d be very welcome to come along and visit us at The 3 Shires Coaching Group. (Click here to find out more.) We’ve found that our best support and development comes from:
7. Attend CPD days (further training / conferences / webinars etc.)
This is different to #6, in that these are stand alone events.
8. Gather testimonials
This may sound self-serving, but it’s useful feedback on what’s working. You can then use this as part of your overall feedback picture. Often we focus on what we ‘need to do better’, and forget what we do well. By gathering testimonials, you will be making productive in-roads towards gaining positive external feedback.
Testimonials Tip …
Despite coachees painting glowing pictures of how coaching has helped them (particularly at the end of a session), and their willingness to write a testimonial for you, it may not materialise. They may have the best intentions to do this for you, but once the session’s finished and they go about their daily routine, the latter takes over and/or they may forget. Make it easy for them by giving them a starting point. For example, at the end of your programme of sessions with them, ask the following questions:
So what do you do to keep your coaching skills sharp? And which ideas from the above list will you use?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments box. Click on the comments link under the blog title :)