Friday, January 25, 2013

"why shouldn't you succeed?"

A client of mine recently sent me this article from the Huffington post and I think it sums up why people who work with coaches benefit from the relationship. As the author, Deborah Gaines says, "With kindness and patience, [my coach] began to do what all good coaches do: dismantle the road blocks I had placed in the way of my own success."

For me, as a coach, this happens in two directions. First, it's about removing what you've layered onto yourself in hopes of being/having/doing all the things you've wanted to be/have/do. All of those layers aren't working, right? If they were, you'd be/have/do all the things you've wanted. So removal. Then, alignment. The second part is all about identifying what's important to you, and then getting more of that in your life.

To do this, I often have clients identify their values. What are the guiding principles that steer them through their lives? What makes them tick? What makes them uniquely them? What principles and practices are important in their lives? What do they want from the people and the world around them? And then I ask them to identify what percentage they're living that value. (Usually the answer is under 50% for at least one essential value.) And then I ask what it would take to bump that percentage up 10%. Not 100%. Not even 25%. Just 10%. And we go from there.

We're a culture that often asks "what's next?" instead of "what's possible?" And coaching, on the whole, asks both. Because what's next is of no value if you haven't truly considered what's possible.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Perils of Setting Goals

In a recent NYT article, Experts’ Advice to the Goal-Oriented: Don’t Overdo It, the author, Alina Tugend, highlights the dangers of casually setting goals without examining yourself, the process, and the goal itself.  Some goals are too overly focused, she says, and leave out important elements.  Some goals are overwhelming, and require all your effort, leaving no room for the other things you want in your life.  And some goals are too preposterous and lead easily to cheating.

That's why goal setting all by yourself can be a dangerous thing -- it's easy to lose perspective.  In my recent Make it Happen Now! class, each participant arrived on the scene with a goal in mind.  We worked together -- sometimes as a whole class, and sometimes just in pairs -- to make sure everyone's goal was viable.  That it was reasonable.  That it was only one goal (and not multiple ones).  And then we worked together to come up with actionable steps each participant could take to move that goal forward.

One participant said, "I couldn't think of a better way to start the new year than taking [this] class and getting my goals crystallized through [Kate's] methodical and proven process."  And that's what it's all about -- put your goals through a process.  Examine not only what you get when you reach a goal, but also what you get if you don't reach it.  Look at what you give up if you reach your goal.  It's counter intuitive, but doing this kind of work means you won't be blindsided by these surprises down the road.

There's still a chance to take Make it Happen Now! this year on Sunday, January 27th.  Find more information and register here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

some interesting research on goals

I saw a compelling article the other day about goal setting that I thought I would share with you. It's from a website called Leadership IQ that has great work- and management-related posts and webinars on a regular basis. But this one caught my eye.

Leadership IQ asked around 5,000 people about their goals, focusing on the differences between how men and women approach their goals.

Here are four of the study’s key findings:

Gender Study Finding #1: Women care about their goals more than men: Because women are more emotionally connected to their goals than men, they’re more likely to stick to their goals when the going gets tough.

Gender Study Finding #2: Men visualize their goals better than women: Like the visualization used by elite athletes, men more clearly picture their goals than women. This gives them greater direction and focus.

Gender Study Finding #3: Women are more likely to procrastinate than men: Women feel less urgency to achieve their goals than men. This results in procrastination, and potentially, goal failure.

Gender Study Finding #4: Women set tougher goals than men: Women are more likely to leave their comfort zones and set challenging (and even scary) goals. This leads to both greater achievement and fulfillment.

Interested in more? Read the rest of the article here.