April 25, 2024

Self Coaching Skills: Take Control of Your Life

Did you declare a New Year’s resolution?

And are you now wondering why you still can’t seem to change a behavior? (My nemesis remains getting into conversations and then talking over the other person.)

Maybe you’d like to develop skills for your business or employer or personal life. Have you ever worked with a coach—for business, life, or golf—but you still struggle to realize certain goals?

That’s because your coach is not enough. (That’s right. The one who insists that YOU are enough is coming up short!)

After 15 years of coaching teams and individuals, here’s what I’ve learned: The best coaching doesn’t simply replace your dad, who told you to try harder, or your supervisor, who said to increase your sales or hit the road. Why not? Because it takes TWO to tango (or to mix metaphors… or do anything and everything else well).

I’ve resorted to tough-love micro-managing coaching from time to time, as some of you know. But what I’ve found to be even more productive–as measured by long-lasting change—is when my student becomes his own coach to develop his own paths to the clarity I coach.

I have dozens of past Clarity students who regale me with tales of addressing a challenge with “What would Kim say?”  When they do that, they become the Kim (coach) of the moment!

It really does become quite circular—like a beautiful Latin dance worth watching.

I’ve also learned that the best outcomes don’t seem to come from my own ‘parental self-talk,’ where I order myself to eat less, exercise more, lose weight, go to church, drive slower, yada, yada, yada. (We didn’t listen to our parents, so why do we expect that turning into our parents to talk to ourselves will work?)

In my experience, most people instantly push back at parent-like orders to do or not do something like a New Years’ Resolution to “lose 50 pounds by July 1”. When I think now of ordering myself around, I instantly hear my hypercritical Mom again trying to “fix” me. It’s like she’s right back in my ear! (Hi, Mom!)

Doing what my parents and elders wanted me to do and getting rewarded accordingly is how I learned the rules of life, of course, many of which I still follow today. Yes, I admit that I’ve run on much of that ruleset for 70-plus years! (But don’t tell Mom.)

Affecting any real change, I’ve discovered, requires developing the ability to see inside one’s own rulebook and make some decisions about which rules are working and which aren’t.

I’ve altered many of those rules to better suit my own life and goals, of course. For example, one early childhood rule was “Don’t talk to strangers.”  But only by talking to strangers can I meet interesting people, engage in meaningful conversations, and sometimes start new mutually beneficial relationships. Something my life benefits from.

You have a whole lifetime of other internalized rules too—that allow you to know what to do and how. (Many make you uniquely you.) DISC or Myers-Briggs or other behavior-predicting assessments are scarily accurate in predicting what your internal rulebook would have you do in certain situations.

So what’s my point? You need both. You need your coach. An external influencer who shows you how to use tools to get clear and observe what’s taking you off track Then you need to become your own coach to test your coach.

Simply put, some of the rules we locked in at five, six, or seven years old don’t work for us anymore. And then changing such rules becomes an important inside job. Yes, the two of us are now tangoing.

If a coach can open your eyes to some of those automatic rules that no longer serve you or what you want to achieve, then try something different (said the external coach)! But then get comfortable using the tools imparted by the external coach to develop internal clarity and see the dysfunctional parts of that DISC profile and make the best executive decision for you.

The rest always remains up to you.

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