Posts Taged goal-setting

Change Your Habits in 2015

chocolate barsIf you are like most of us, you made a resolution or two to start the New Year.  If you were like me, you probably made a wish and then gave a thought or two of planning an action step crossed your mind.  The sad news is that there is very little likelihood that anything worthwhile will come from your resolution.  One researcher found that by the end of January, 30 percent of us would have failed and by the end of June, over half would have gone by the wayside.  Michael Hyatt says that between 150 and 200 million Americans make resolutions and the research shows around 8% succeed with them.

Now about wiping your slate clean and trying something different?  Most of us fail at our resolutions because we plop this idea down in the midst of a lifetime of habits.  So instead of a resolution, think about changing a habit and see if you can be more successful.  Here are five questions to ask yourself.  Your answers will be the pathway to a successful change in 2015.  By the way, whether the habit is having sweet deserts, Facebook, or interrupting people, the process works the same when it comes to changing a habit.  We’re going to talk about sweets, since that is my annual resolution and has been for several years.

  1. What’s the habit I want to change? The more specifically that you identify the habit, the better you will be able to change it. The answer to this question may take some time.  Habits are routines, and most pieces are performed subconsciously.  Take some time to think about your trigger.  In my case, the difficulty is stopping at a meal.  I wanted to go back for second helpings until I developed a habit of having something sweet as a signal to my system that the meal was over.  Now I have a new habit of having desert. (I’m not sure which is worse.)
  2. What’s the replacement for the habit? We can’t create a vacuum in our behaviors or thoughts. We have to find a substitute.  In my case, I decided a healthy sweet would be the way to go.  So what I want to do is have coffee with a sweetener or maybe some dried cranberries.
  3. How do I begin strongly? You can’t just ease into a new habit.  If you ease your way in, you’ll soon find yourself easing your way back out.  Draw a line in the sand.  Say or do things like:

–Announce it to people (more on this later).

–Write it down.

–Set a starting day and time.

–Have a clear new routine. My question used to be, “What’s for dessert?”  Now, it’s “Ready for some coffee?”

  1. How do I stay strong? There is no better way to say it that the old cliché: DO NOT DEVIATE DESPITE TEMPTATION. What will you do when tempted? How will you avoid temptations?
  2. Who will I ask to hold me accountable? If you are a softy, you might want to call this, “Who do I ask for help?” For either question, you are making your behavior change public.  Moreover, once you announce it, you make it hard to retreat.  If you are making a giant change or an unpleasant one, then think about a support team.  There is no limit on the number of supporters you can have.  You might even want to work with a coach if you are talking about a deep-seated habit.  There is some pretty clear research that making public support does very powerful things to your efforts. id

How will you know when your habit is changed?  The answer is that you will know when it feels wrong to not engage in the replacement behavior.  Since I’ve given up on desserts, I feel guilt reaching for one when it’s offered.  That’s a good sign.  Since I’m still tempted, I know I don’t have the new habit in place.

What’s your new habit going to be?

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Use the Whole Brain for Goal Achievement, Part One

Coach the Whole BrainIf nothing else, we are a goal-oriented species.  We think about the future and act in ways to shape it.  There is a large body of evidence to suggest that using your whole brain to accomplish your goals will make you more likely to achieve them.

This is the first of a three part series on using the whole brain for goal achievement.  Part one (which you are reading) explores the differences between left and right brain thinkers.  Part two is about visualizing success.  Part three is about using affirmations.

Some of you are oriented toward the right-brain.  You are creative, spatial thinkers, intuitive and spontaneous.  You often think in pictures, colors, or feelings.  You can be great starters who are often haphazard finishers. You see the goal and yet struggle to articulate how you will achieve what you see so clearly in your mind.

Others are oriented towards the left brain.  The left brain is very language oriented.  Language is very rational and business-like.  Left brain people are oriented toward logical, problem-solving paradigms: they are very linear in their thinking. Left brain thinkers go from point A to point B to point C.  They find a problem; they solve it.  Then they find another problem and solve it and pretty soon they’re so engaged in the process that they’ve become problem solvers rather than goal-reachers.

To use your whole brain you have to think in both terms of language and pictures.  Pictures lead you to use visualizations.  Language leads you to use affirmations.  Pictures are right brain; language is left brain.  Visualizations are right brain; affirmations are left brain.  When you use both sides of our brain to focus on our goals, you send a message to our subconscious that leads you to the accomplishment of our goals.

Visualizations are powerful in the attainment of a goal.  In their book, Seeing with the Mind’s Eye, Mike and Nancy Samuels describe a simple experiment using some high school kids and visualization.

A random sample of high school boys are broken into three groups. All of the boys spend time shooting basketballs to see what percentage of free throws they make. Like any experiment they go out and shoot baskets the first day, twenty days later they go out and shoot baskets again and the difference between the scores shows how much they’ve grown in the process.

The first group practices everyday and then they shoot baskets at the end.  They show 24% improvement.  The second group shoots baskets on the first day, they don’t do anything in-between, and on the last day they shoot baskets again.  They’ve shown no improvement.  Interestingly, the third group shoots baskets on the first day and then go through a process of visualization: they practice seeing themselves shooting those baskets for the next twenty days and improving in their mind’s eye.  In the end, when they shoot the baskets, they show a 23% improvement.

Think about it:  24% improvement by practice:  23% by visualization.  Visualization is powerful when it comes to achieving your goals.

Part two is about using visualizations.  How do you support your clients in goal setting?

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Seven Tips to Stealth Branding Your Coaching Culture

Minolta DSCStart with an assumption:  you want more coaching in your company. Maybe you are just getting started and want to do more than hang on until “coaching” catches on.  Maybe you want to find those pockets of resistance.  Maybe you are tired of the snickers and snide comments from unbelievers who haven’t bothered to discover what coaching has to offer.  Now is the time to do some stealth branding.

Follow with a confession: I am not a marketer and I certainly can’t teach anyone about branding.  However, I do know branding when I see it.  Branding is what sets you apart.  It’s your difference; your uniqueness.  Now is the time to start introducing (by stealth) some branding elements to introducing a bit of change in the culture.

Here are seven easy ideas to start changing your culture.  They are small ideas that when consistently pressed, will get people talking and thinking differently.

1. Change the language.  Start to introduce some coaching language into the company. As the language shifts, the thought patterns tend to shift as well.

When someone comes to you and asks for help, reply by asking, “How can I support you?” The shift from help to support introduces independence rather than dependence.

Descriptive words and phrase will come to you as you get started.  Maybe a phrase jumps out at you from a coaching book or a class.  Claim it, own it, and use it religiously.

2. Answer with questions rather than statements (thoughtful questions prompt better thoughts and promote independence).  What have you done so far? What gets you excellence?  What’s stopping you?  What’s your breakthrough idea?

3. Work from a model.  When setting a goal, set a SMART goal.  Push others to do the same.  Broader coaching models work well for problem solving situations.  Sir James Whitmore in Coaching for Performance introduces the GROW model (goal, reality, options, will).  At Ultimate coach University, we teach a model called CDDC (connect, discover, design, commit).

4. Tell your Story. As anyone in sales will tell, you, “facts tell, stories sell.”  Use your personal narrative to show your results.  You can give more vivid details about your life than anything else.

5. Find a metric. Discover the one thing that your coaching seems to influence and measure it.  Retention? (HINT: retention is almost always improved.)  Personal performance? Team building? Manager development? Sales? Recruiting?

6. Gather love hugs. As you coaching and use coaching in your other activities, your team will start to appreciate your effort. They will share their hugs. You can share them, too. Put them on your white board.  Add them to the bottom of your newsletter.  Ask them to say something in public. Love hugs are the start of gaining momentum.  Let the MO flow!

7. Shrug away resistance. You know you have a great idea. Would you want to be ignored or resisted? What are you worried about? When the resistance starts to show, just smile cryptically and go about your business.  Your detractors will be curious and their curiosity will lead them into the change.

What do you think?  Are their simplere ideas that come to mind?  Please share.

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Gratitude Matters

iStock_000007716756SmallI have a lot to say about coaching, but sometimes it’s better to shut my mouth and let others do the talking.  Many knowledgeable people write about leadership, psychology, and coaching.  Here are some of their thoughts about gratitude.

I am thankful for my life.  In just the last two weeks, I’ve gotten to train a dozen new coaches at Ultimate Coach University, to train 35 new and exciting leaders at J. Hilburn, meet 10 new clients and start two Master Mind groups. I’m exhausted, and very grateful for all of these opportunities.  One of life’s little puzzles is how often we read about what we are feeling. You have to wonder about a grand plan wherein you start to feel grateful and then see articles about it.

Sometimes you don’t feel very grateful. You want to “do down” for a day or two.  The Change Blog has a list of seven ways to pull yourself out of it.   Read Why Gratitude Will Save Your Life (& 7 Ways to Increase It Starting Today).

While “gratitude” is an important topic when it comes to leadership by example, there is more to it than that.  As a leader, creating and maintaining an environment of gratitude is a good work practice.  Christine Riordan write in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network about why and how to Foster a Culture of Gratitude.

If this all sounds a bit heavy for you, chuck the attitude.  Leonie Dawson wants you to smile a lot and her blog shows it.  Read what she has to say about WANT TO GET HAPPY? ADOPT AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

I know, some of you are saying to yourself, “Gratitude has nothing to do with it. I’m just a realist.”  Maybe you are.  Read Tim Brownson’s article about What Is A Self Limiting Belief?  Maybe you will discover that gratitude is a whole new way of looking at things.

Thank you for your time.  I’d be very thankful if you would leave a comment about gratitude.  I’d also love to hear from you about this type of post.  Is it useful?

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Who Are You Kidding?

iStock_000001754493SmallI have a coach to support me in my weight loss process.  Part of my commitment is to be more active.  When I started last December I set a goal to increase my number of steps by 500 per day every week.  I moved from 3,000 to 8,000 steps a day which was pretty great for me.  Today I hit 10,000 steps every single day.  The new habit required change.

Looking back, I remember the week where I was upping my steps, didn’t make it and almost wrote down the number I had committed to achieving.  I stopped and said to myself, “Who are you kidding?”

Who wants to lose weight?  Me.

Who committed to the changes?  Me.

Who benefits from the steps?  Me.

Who am I kidding?

Of course my coach wouldn’t know. But I would know.  I stopped and marveled at my own conniving. Who am I kidding?

As I coach many top sales people, I hear, “I made a TON of calls,”  “I worked sooo hard!”  and lots of other statements.  Who are you kidding?

When I coach direct sellers, I often remind them that I want to not only hold their dreams, but hold them to the activities that will lead to their dreams.  When you make a commitment, there is a temptation to want to appear to be doing things “right” for your coach.  Stop and ask yourself, “Who am I kidding?”

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As coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture? How do we support them in making it sustainable? (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Develop a coaching cultureAs coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture?  How do we support them in making it sustainable?  (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Executives who benefit from coaching want make coaching sustainable across the company.  One common solution is to hire more coaches and hope that when enough employees have been through the process it starts to catch on and become cultural.  While that sometimes works, the results are often haphazard.  The results are not systematic.  Rather, they are person-specific.  They depend on the people who have received coaching being able to be coaches without any training, time, or encouragement.

A better approach to building a coaching culture is to treat it like any other initiative. Figure out what you want, build a program to provide it, and evaluate the results along the way. The key step is deciding WHAT you want the coaching program to accomplish so that you know how to build and evaluate it.

A good place to start looking for program goals is the International Coach Federation. Every year they host an annual competition in which the “ICF honors organizations who have demonstrated that professional coaching used as a leadership strategy can pay off greatly.” Since the applicants cover fields ranging from IBM to BC Housing Canada, the ICF has developed four selection criteria that universally work.  The four criteria are:

  • Effectiveness – How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact – How has coaching improved the culture of the organization? What are the benefits?
  • Strategic Significance – How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization? (Examples include retention, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and team development.)
  • ROI/ROE – What are the tangible results/the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization as a result of the coaching initiative?

Of course, criteria like these are always easier to say than develop. When you start with the goal in mind, the job does become easier.

What other criteria come to mind to evaluate a program designed to create a coaching culture?

LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Don’t forget to share it with your friends! Don’t forget to leave your comments.

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Coach Advice: Breathe out 2012

Breathe out the old before breathing in the new.

Breathe out the old before breathing in the new.

As you get ready for 2013, you are preparing to breathe in your future.  The fresh air will bring you a boost of oxygen and along with it, a feeling of energy and sharpness to your thoughts.

However, there is one thing that has to happen first.  You have to empty your lungs before you can breathe in.

Breathing is a two-step process. To breathe in you need to breathe out first.  Before you breathe in 2013, you need to breathe out the old year.  How do you do that?

Release your feelings.  What happened is a fact.  Everything else in in your thoughts.  Let go of the regrets, the doubts and the misgivings. They are those bits of old air stuck in your lungs.  Bring one of those bits into active thought and then breathe it out.  Those feelings are only there for you.  They cease to exist when you breather them out.

Before you can set new goals and intentions, you need to create a space for them. Empty a space so that you can fill it with sharp, clean, crisp positivity.

Just about everybody involving in a birthing event understands the process of taking a cleansing breath.  Cleansing breaths are also a technique to stimulate your mind and body. That’s what you are going to do with 2012.

I read recently that over 90% of the New Year resolutions are broken within the first month.  I suspect that part of the cause is a failure to breathe out.  Does it really matter if you gave up regular exercise in 2012?  No.  Does it really matter if never got around to starting that savings account?  No.  Breathe out those regrets.  They’re gone.

What are you breathing out today?

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Watch David Rock Coaching

Have you ever wondered why your brain seems to operate differently at work than it does when relaxing with friends and family? Maybe you’ve been curious about how sometimes it’s hard to focus or collaborate with others.  You are not alone.

Dr. David Rock is one of the thought leaders in the human-performance coaching field. Since the mid-90’s, he has trained over thousands of executive, personal and workplace coaches in more than 60 countries.  Two of his more recent books are Coaching with the Brain in Mind: Foundations for Practice and Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. David Rock works in the area of NeuroLeadership (in fact, he coined the term) and believes that coaching is a powerful tool for discovering what goes on in the brain and is a key for performance improvement.

This 10 minute video is a sample of David Rock coaching an executive.  From a rtechnical standpoint, he leaves a lot to be desired.  Most of his questions are closed and require either a yes-no answer or a choice among alternative he provides.  He’s quick and seldom leaves time for reflective thought.  On the other hand, the client finds some really powerful insights.

Watch the video and then make your judgment:  good coaching or bad?

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Own Your Life

As a coach, I love short, powerful phrases.  A few months ago I wrote about “break their fear,”  a phrase that appeared in an interview about the Arab Spring in Egypt last year.  About a month ago, I saw another one; the phrase was “own your life.”

I was attending the Direct Selling Association’s annual convention as a representative of Ultimate Coach University.  At one of the general sessions, different phrases about direct sales were being scrolled across the screen, and one of them was “own your life.”  I had to stop and think about it.

You own your life. You don’t lease it, rent it, borrow it, or just control it. (You control your leased car, but you certainly don’t own it.) You have a power over your life than no one else had, has, or will ever have.  You can treasure your life or treat it like a dump.  It’s 100 percent yours.

What do you want to do with it? No one else can decide. Choose. Have fun with it for a while. Maybe read a book, go for a walk, or do something monumental. All of the choices are suitable, because you own your life.

Do you realize you’ve been deciding all along? Ever since you created your first “no” you have been totally in charge of your life.  You have done it for all these years without breaking a sweat.  That’s really awesome!

Consider a grand opening! While you can’t say that you are under new ownership, you can claim to have remodeled and redesigned the place.  Consider the possibilities!

Phrases like this are what make me feel alive as a coach.  You come to a coach because you own your life and want to be clear about it.  My job is to support you as you gain that clarity about yourself and asset your ownership.

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Bring your Passion to Your Work

Passion is not a simple thingPassion is an overworked word these days. You are told to follow your passion or to find your passion or to justify quitting a job so you can discover what makes you passionate. While these are all nice thoughts, you can do better. Here is what’s wrong with all of those options.

You have more than one simple passion. You are a complex person. Every day you think 50,000 thoughts. You think about a million and a half thoughts every month! To reduce your passion to one simple thought says really ugly things about your thought processes.

Passion is not a simple word. After 39 years of marriage, I’m still passionate about my wife. Every day it crops up in lots of different ways. As a word, passion describes a whole collection of things and not a simple, singular synaptic flash.

Passions change. Think back about 10 years in your life. Your passions were different. A little over ten years ago, you were learning to live in a post 9-11 world. Then think about all of the other facts of your life that have changed. As the world changes around you, your passions will change as well.

Age changes your passions. There is an old cliché that you are a passionate democrat in your youth and a passionate republican in your old age. You change. Your understanding of the world gets tempered by your wisdom and your passions change.

There are more reasons to not follow your passions.  You can come up with even more if you want.  So if you can’t follow your passion, what should you do? How about turning the direction for your life over?  Instead of following your passion, take it with you to everything.  Work with a coach, journal, meditate, or ponder the question on Facebook.  Discover the passion that you have right here and now and then take it everywhere.  When you discover it changes, then take your new passions to new places.  Don’t use passion as an excuse to not get along with people or not work hard.  Dig deeper in your motivations.  Be passionate about understanding yourself.

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