Be Your Own Coach

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Achieve your goals with tips gleaned from my postgraduate studies in psychology and my own experience as a coach. Hey, I’m feeling generous!

In my work with professionals, creatives and students I’m regularly amazed by my clients’ strengths, inner resources and creativity, and how they exploit these in pursuit of their goals.

As a solution-focused coach, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; the solution-focused approach is all about working toward a desired future by tapping into the client’s existing abilities and achievements. 

As well as its philosophy of respecting everyone as a unique individual (and tailoring each coaching engagement to the client), I love the positivity of trusting the client to achieve change in their life while acknowledging their strengths and achievements to date.

But of course, sometimes we need reminding of our past achievements and inner resources, which is one of many scenarios in which coaching can be useful.

If you’re not currently being coached – and even if you are – then here are some tips to help you identify, clarify and achieve your goals. Happy hunting!

Get specific 

What exactly do you want to achieve? ‘Get better at sales’ is not a helpful goal. ‘Increasing my sales by 20 per cent’ is better. Why? Because ‘20 per cent’ is specific and measurable.

Avoid avoidance

According to one theory, goals can be defined in two ways: approach and avoidance. Really, you want to avoid avoidance goals, which are normally negative. An example would be ‘I don’t want to mess up my presentation and embarrass myself in front of the boss’. This could be reframed positively, e.g. ‘I want to make a great-looking presentation that covers all the salient points succinctly and compellingly’. Et voila, an approach goal!

Change your perspective

If you’re struggling to reframe an avoidance goal as an approach one, a simple and effective tactic can be to ask yourself, ‘What do I want instead?’

Get real

Relative to when you actually achieve your goal, where are you right now? If your goal is specific and includes a number (see above), great. If not, don’t worry. If ‘10’ is achieving your goal, where are you now if ‘1’ is the opposite of achieving your goal?

Think small (for now)

So you’ve got your specific, measurable goal expressed positively and a sense of where you are currently. Imagining you answered ‘3’ to the previous point, what would it take or what would you have to do to get to a ‘4’ in the next week or month? Too easy? Then what would it take to get to a 5 or a 6? Often, small steps can lead to big changes.