Hammock in woodland.

Coaching without a Coach

I spoke to a lovely Pro-Manchester audience recently about self-coaching, or adapting the tools and techniques of coaching to improve your professional life long-term even when not in a coaching relationship.

If you’ve ever been coached, you would probably agree that the magic happens in between the sessions, just as often as it happens within the session.

The conversation which takes place in the reflective coaching space is usually just the start.

And there are undoubtedly tools which you can adapt for use between coaching assignments or when the budget doesn’t allow for coaching.

Here are some of the tools I shared in that workshop which can even be practised from a sun-lounger or hammock:

Say it out loud or write it down

The best part of my job is watching a coaching client hear the answer they have been looking for come out of their own mouth.

There is something really quite magical about being heard, or somebody asking you the right question.

But, if needs be, the person asking the question can be you.

If talking out loud in a hammock is a step too far then I would recommend some freestyle writing instead.

Again, ask yourself the question that’s troubling you and write without editing for a fixed period. See how surprised you can be at what comes out of the pen.

Make reflection a habit

Summer is the ideal time to get into this habit, because reflection is a habit that requires you to pause and that may not come easily to hard-working professionals.

The other obstacle that many hit when getting used to becoming more reflective is that they are naturally drawn to reflect more on the negatives than the positives.

To put it bluntly – that isn’t fair.

So the next time you pause, make sure you focus on what’s going well just as much as what can be improved.

The parts that are going well might hold the answer to the improvement.  No need to reinvent the wheel every time.

Build in some accountability

Dart in bullseye.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t hit your targets/achieved your goals, or even stuck to your new fitness regime, it might well be because you have tried to do it all alone, without anybody to hold you accountable.

Whether it’s producing newsletters, writing blogs or updating my website, for tasks that I know I should do but which don’t have a deadline attached, I know I’m much more likely to complete them if I make a firm commitment to doing them by a certain date.

I can make that commitment to myself simply by setting a date but I know that I do a lot better at fulfilling those commitments if I make myself accountable to others – I tell the VA I will get the draft to her by a specific date, I commit to actions with a coach or I share my commitment with an accountability buddy and agree when we will check in with each other.

So, tell somebody what it is you’re planning to do and the timescale you have set.  Then get ready to tick things off your to do list.


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