Category Archives: Coaches

Who in Your Life…?

Who do you have in your life who does the following?

  •  They listen to you well. They hear what others don’t, hear what even you likely haven’t put together. They listen to what your heart and gut are saying.
  •  They identify — verbally and often — your skills, gifts, passions, values, interests and desires. And when they do, they help you grasp how you’re put together.
  •  They believe in you. Not like your 7th grade English teacher who took everyone aside and said “you have great potential!” This is the man or woman who discerns your unique design. They assist you with seeing your purpose,  related to your unique design and life experiences…therefore equipping you to know where you will make your greatest impact.
  •  Finally, they aren’t content to let you just know these things. The press you — not just to do your best, but to be your best.

Who is there who fills that role in your life?

Those practices paint a picture of the privileged role that we as coaches get to fill every day — and also helps you understand why we’re so passionate about doing it well!

Why I Need a Coach (and you probably do too)

A few years ago, I began a coaching relationship. It wasn’t a simple decision. There were issues that held me back.

Fear held me back. I knew if I launched out and actually discussed goals, dreams and plans that I’d actually have to do something about my goals, dreams and plans! And of course, like most people, I so often prefer the comfort of “what I know” (even though it’s not very comfortable) to the discomfort of decision-making…choices which mean change…and communicating my goals to others. In all of it, I of course, also feared failure. But I began to realize that the road I was on was a slow track to a more ultimate failure: the failure to actually be what I knew I could be!

The idea of accountability held me back. Like a lot of people, I was hiding under the radar of glib statements like: “I’m busy” or “I’m doing the best I can with the (time/money/resources/relationships) I’ve got. But then I realized, accountability isn’t about just exposing excuses, it is about ownership and intentionality – things which move me forward – past excuses, out of my comfort and into the kind of effective and fruitful life about which I had only dreamt!

So what’s coaching done for me?

Just given me an honest environment where I can speak freely, dream greatly and choose repeatedly to do what I know I really want! It offers me a confidential “sounding board” environment. My coach provides absolute confidentiality. We can discuss and analyze fear and hesitations. I can talk through dreams – even the ones I’ve never spoken aloud to myself before. Coaching also provides me support and encouragement like I’ve had in just a couple of other relationships. And my coach’s encouragement isn’t the “pat on the back”/“you can do it” kind. He challenges me relentlessly; questions me progressively; gives me the freedom to admit it when I’m making excuses. And the best part: he reminds me of the astounding value and purpose that are part of how I’m created!

His encouragement literally consists of “pouring courage into me” when my human nature would rather excuse, be lazy or fall back to my lack of confidence.

So, if you’re in need of challenge, clarity, insight…and support, encouragement and accountability, I urge you to get in touch! It’s the first in a long series of good choices you’ll make!

Leverage Your Discontent

Thomas Edison said, “Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” When I consider change (almost any change) the risks associated or the pain (i.e. discipline, work) required by that change can keep me firmly fixed in place. Two views can give me the motivation to “move out”:

One view is the vision of your preferred future. When I paint a clear, vivid, compelling picture of what life will be like (a deepening relationship, growing sales, financial freedom, increasing health) I suddenly have a powerful tool which gets me moving and keeps me motivated.The second view is what Edison described. It is the real and honest view that comes when I evaluate my present state. It is coming to terms with where today’s path will get me if I continue on it! It likely will feature descriptions of my future which – when I see them on paper – will repeatedly get me “unstuck” and move me into a growth mode.
If you want help to think about where you really want to go, click or call! I love helping clients redesign their futures.

In need of some new motivation?

Goals are highly motivational the first few days or weeks after they’re written. Then come the “lag times” – when we’d rather do just about anything than what the goals require of us daily or weekly, to see the goals achieved. Here are some good ways to find some new motivation.

1. Review how far you’ve come since you laid out the goal. Looking forward at a goal can be daunting – but observing the climb you’ve got behind you will often encourage you to stay the course!

2. Re-write your goal in new terms and read it aloud several times a day. If the goal doesn’t excite you, recast it in terms that do. Then remind yourself of it verbally again and again; let it become part of your thinking.

3. Revisit your vision statement. The goal might be for something 6 months away, but keep asking yourself, “What will life look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now if I keep to this course and keep improving it?” My immediate goal might be lowering my blood pressure through working out 6 days a week; my vision might be running a “senior’s marathon” when I’m 75!

4. Recruit 2 friends or colleagues to provide you with weekly check-ups. Find people who are also pursuing some goal – you need challengers and encouragers!

5. Record you progress on a graph or chart and post it where your family or co-workers can see it. A public record on the refrigerator or bulletin board or blog might be just the thing to kick your motivation into high gear again.

And, if you need help, not just with vision and goals, but with the elements which will get you moving toward them (support, encouragement and motivation) call me!

I’d love to help.

Any Incentive?

A few years ago, a Michigan State University study centered on 2 groups of faculty and staff. In both groups, individuals had committed to a 6-month exercise program. The difference in the 2 groups was simple. In one, individuals willingly bet $40 that they would stay with the program. Members of the other group declined to place bets on their own success.

97% of the faculty members and staff who had placed personal bets were successful. With the non-betting group, only 19% completed the program!

What incentives do you put alongside your goals to insure changes in your thoughts, decisions and actions?

As coaches, we assist clients not only in setting great goals, but in understanding the reasons they want to reach them: most often those reasons flow from their purpose, passion and core values.

My Final Weight Loss (part 4)

In earlier posts, I discussed my motivations to get started, pairing vision with goals and incorporating a program which supports real life. Here’s the final fundamental for me:

 Pursue health with support, encouragement and accountability.

 I knew I couldn’t do it alone. There are plenty of people who are highly disciplined – who can take a book or program and work it, all by themselves. I had to admit, that wasn’t me! Even today, after years of success under my belt, I need reminders, ideas and renewed motivation. I very rarely miss a weekly meeting (led by my wife, an added bonus!)

 When my wife and I restarted Weight Watchers, we were signing up for an atmosphere of learning, challenge, encouragement – and not a small dose of accountability. There’s something about stepping on a scale with someone on the other side of the desk that gives enough of a dose to make me want to do well! Their statistics actually say that there is a great difference in weight loss when people actually come every week to face the scale. A favorite phrase from our first leader was, “the scale is not about failure, it’s just feedback.” It’s that small dose of accountability that sort of sums up my choices for the last 7 days. It’s a gentle reminder that weight and health aren’t about hoping and dreaming that I’ll “get there” – it’s about measuring how well I’m doing with new habits.

 Weekly meetings offered us insights from fellow travelers. Some had been “at goal” for months or years and continue to come to be encouraged and encourage others. They’re great teachers and idea generators. The meetings offer insights into the program, into food, into navigating the minefield of a food-obsessed culture. They also provides the encouragement of “good job!” at the scale and in the “celebration time” in the meeting (applause for losing another 5 pounds, getting to 10% goal and the like).

 The other huge part of the final fundamental – my wife and I worked the program together. Two people agreed on and pursuing the same goal is powerful. We started together, continued going week in, week out, when there were “ups” and when there were “downs”. We stayed on the pursuit of health at home; cooking better, agreeing on which restaurants we’d no longer frequent or which foods (French fries for instance) we’d never order in a restaurant.

 Support, encouragement and accountability made the difference when I was motivated; they were more critical when I wasn’t. We challenged either other saying: “we can do this” or even “remember what we decided.” (see the post from 7/7/12: Can you motivate others?)

 So, if you’re ready to embark on a healthy weight loss journey, I’d tell you: get the support, encouragement and accountability you’ll need. Get it before you begin. It could be a spouse, friend, sibling, parent/child team. It can come from a coach as well. We get excited everyday to offer just those elements to our clients. Call us and we can discuss your vision and goals.  

 Thanks for reading my account. I’d love to get your comments!

Ready for a Look Back?

If you’re ready to do a review of 2012, here are some questions to help you take an effective look back.

1. What were the highlights of this past year — people, achievements, effective changes carried through?

2. How do I gauge the following areas for 2012: vocation/business, spiritual life, marriage/family, other key relationships, finances, health and wellness, balance/recreation.

3. Have “first things” really first? Is my spiritual life developing? Is my marriage better? Is there growth in other key relationships?

3. As I measure the investment of time and finances, which areas have received too little, too much, or “just right” investment?

4. What has drained me? What has energized me?

6. How am I preparing for 5 years from now? 10 years?

7. What have I been putting off that I need to address in January? What other planning or goal areas come to mind?

Now what? How will I move ahead in 2013?

Experts agree that an “outside” look — like from a coach — can help us make strides foward which we simply can’t make on our own.

We’re experts at asking questions; you’re the expert on your dreams and desires. We can help; call us, and let’s begin asking the right questions to get you started in 2013!

Creativity Unleashed

I’ve been fascinated by Eric Hoffer’s thoughts on “alibis” — what we would call an excuse.

Hoffer wrote, “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life. Moreover, when we have an alibi for not writing a book, painting a picture, and so on, we have an alibi for not writing the greatest book and not painting the greatest picture. Small wonder that the effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked achievement.”

It’s so often stunned me that humans will expend seemingly unlimited strength of mind and creativity to excuse what is often a simple dodge of responsibility. What’s sadder, in the case of many excuses (and that to which Hoffer alludes) we fail others and certainly fail ourselves when we default to offering up a cheap “word of dodging” rather than a what might have been the product of that strength and creativity.

If you know there’s more in you than the average effort, the average process and the average product which have been flowing from your work, shoot us an email or call us. We love to help creative people really succeed!

 

Feedback: Breakfast of Champions

It was a phrase I heard at Weight Watchers: “The scale isn’t failure, it’s just feedback.”

If you’re on the road to weight loss and have a week or two of making choices which don’t support your goals, “the scale” – that weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers – might look like something to avoid!

Coaching is all about feedback. Catalyst Coaches offer to clients an encouraging environment in which they can clearly see if  their recent choices moved them closer to their goals or not.

Feedback can be embraced!

Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson said it like this: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

Keeping on keeping on

The great runner Jim Ryun said, “Motivation is what gets you going, habit is what keeps you going.”And of course, habit is, as they say, “where the rub is.”

The desire to make a change involves one or more motivations — those might flow out of the social, spiritual, physical or emotional areas of our lives.

 But to change a habit will often engage us at levels of decisionmaking we have resisted stubbornly, sometimes for a lifetime.We tend to drift into bad habits over long periods of time without realizing it; we conform, we “fit in”, we get comfortable in the mode of doing the easy thing. Our friends, family and business associates have grown accustomed to us at that “level”. And, “life happens” — and suddenly long term habits, well entrenched, become what mark us and in reality hold us in their tight grip.

As coaches, we often see clients who are willing to begin, perhaps simply, in one or two areas. Some motivation has moved them to think about change and with us, begin to envision and plan for change. The encouragement and support of well crafted goals and regular interaction with a coach then begin to help a client view old habits in new light and then: new habits begin to overtake old ones.

If you’re at a place where you’re motivated in one or more of life’s dimensions, don’t let things stop there! At a minimum, put something specific on paper. And if you’re ready, call us so we can assist you to form new habits which will keep you going.