Mining your own resources (or: What I’ve learned from coaching clients)

You might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed by resources at the minute. I know that every time I look at Twitter or LinkedIn someone is telling me how best to work from home, or manage my time, or get into a routine.

These posts are now being joined by those which want to tell you how to prepare for the brave new dawn ahead.

Some of those pieces of advice will resonate with me, others won’t. I have a little bit of inner obstinance that means I don’t always want to get up at the same time if I don’t have to. And I don’t think I need to have a business suit on to make a work call. Although I can see how that might work for some people.

Personally, I gravitate naturally to the resources that tell me be kind to myself and take it easy. I like seeing those written down – giving some credibility to my own instincts about what to do when times are hard.

This ties in with the fundamental principle of my coaching philosophy which is that we have all of the resources, ability and intellect we need to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve, but we sometimes need some help and support to find and deploy those resources.

I guess it’s a bit like the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz – Dorothy always had the means to get home, but needed some outside help to utilise their powers. (This seems like a winning analogy to me at the minute, but maybe I’ve been inside too long?).

So I thought I’d share some of the most common resources that emerge in coaching sessions, that enable my clients to overcome obstacles and make the progress they deserve, whatever the situation. And I will keep it to three potential strategies.

They are:

1. Past victories: when have you previously tackled a similar issue, or found yourself in a similar situation? List everything you can remember about what you did then, what worked or didn’t, and then analyse the list closely to work out what you can adapt now to help you with your current situation. For example, if you are nervous about stepping up to a new position, what did you do when you first got your current job? More preparation or planning? Rehearsal of important conversations? Can you use those strategies again?

2. People: who is available to help you? People love to help. We’re seeing it all around us at the minute. The difficulty often lies in our own reluctance to ask for, or accept help. Look for people who are willing and able to listen, people who have been there and done it, whatever it is, or just people which can hold you accountable. They can make all the difference. And, if you can’t pay it back, you can always pay it forward and become one of those people.

3. Your own narrative: many successful people fall into the habit of being their own worst enemy, of getting in their own way. It is common to hear them play down their strengths and successes, and to over-emphasise their perceived weaknesses. But, with some work, you can change that. Start by noticing that nagging voice, then work on changing it, bit by bit: hear what is being said and tweak it. Turn yourself into your own cheerleader.

I will finish by sharing another favourite principle, from the world of neuro-linguistic programming: “everybody is doing the best they can with the resources they have available”. Mine your resources, do the best you can, but also be kind to yourself.

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