I have just completed a course of swimming lessons which has meant I have improved my swimming for the first time since I left school. And this is a LONG time! At the end of the course, our teacher gave us a small piece of advice: always plan your swimming sessions. Don’t just turn up and start swimming. Have a plan for how many lengths you are going to do, what stroke, what you are practising. Otherwise you will almost certainly end up doing less than you want.
My response to this was to think of all the times I have taught motivation and the importance of goal setting. And how many people told me how useful it had been. And so I found (to my shame) thinking “I know ALL about this. There’s no need to tell me.”.
And then I remembered how I had just turned up to the pool on Tuesday without a plan and had ended up doing less training than I wanted even though I know how important it is to set goals and find ways to make yourself achieve them. Indeed, the reason I am swimming is that I have an event I want to take part in later in the year. So I had set the big goal (a 2.5K open water swim in July). I had then set another (sign up for swimming lessons even though this will make me feel rather uncomfortable). I had even downloaded an app to record the amount of swimming I was doing. But I had stopped there and missed a vitally important step. And my young swimming teacher had reminded me about this and I very nearly missed it.
I am by nature pretty scatty and resist formality (hence choosing to work as an academic I suspect!). But this means I need to remember to be planned and structured about things as it doesn’t come naturally.
I think this sort of thing happens quite a lot, so I wanted to pass on what I have learned here:
- Be watchful about complacency. Even when you are regarded as an expert, you need to make sure you are heeding the advice that you would give to others.
- Be planned. And if this doesn’t come naturally, remember to watch out for times when you revert to being unplanned.
- Surround yourself with people who compliment your skills. Easily the best way I have discovered of achieving this is first check your strengths using this tool. And then have your team do the same. And think carefully about what that tells you about where your strengths as a group are, where you compliment each other. And where your blind spots might be.
- Ask yourself this question right now: what am I learning at the moment? It is a fundamental human motivation to feel we are getting somewhere, that we are growing. And if you aren’t – either at work or outside – then challenge yourself to learn something. Anything!
I have written about how to use strengths in this blog, and if you would like to discuss how I might be able to help your team, do get in touch.
Many of us are relaxing at this time of year, but for some there is a nagging feeling that we need to make some changes in our work life. Perhaps you might be worried that you aren’t doing as well as you might. Or that there are problems with managing some people in your team. Or perhaps your relationship with your boss isn’t great.
Whatever it is, I am 100% sure you are not alone. People face work challenges all the time and it has been my absolute joy to help people through them. The key is that we already know what we need to do. We often just need someone to help us realise this, and then work out how to follow through.
And so I am suggesting you take a small step. Nothing too scary. Nothing that commits you to too much. So, what do I suggest?
Regardless of what the work problem you are worried about, I am pretty certain to have seen it before. I have been coaching all kinds of people for 20 years now in all sorts of jobs in organisations as different as global oil companies to small auto dealerships. From the Civil Service to banks. And I’d love to be able to help you through whatever your challenges are. Why not arrange for us to have a chat? I promise to listen and help you clarify in your own mind what the issues are and how you can start doing things differently this year. Oh, and this first 30 minute conversation is completely free with no obligations whatever. More details about my approach are here. You can contact me via this form.
Go on – this small step could be your “giant leap” forward!
I was asked today what and who coaching was for. It’s a great question and one I haven’t really covered on my main website. So here goes:
This is not an exhaustive list but here are some of the issues people come to me with:
- I’ve promoted to line manage people for the first time and don’t know how to do it
- My boss is an idiot – how do I cope with him?
- I need to be more persuasive
- I feel overwhelmed by my work
- I think I need to change career
- I am really unhappy at work and don’t know why
- I think I waste a lot of my time at work
- I can’t make decisions
- My decisions are often bad ones
- My team isn’t working together very well
- I have a very difficult person to manage
- I need to make some changes at work
- How can I be more efficient
I won’t give you an answer right away – really good coaches don’t. I can offer advice and ideas. But the main thing I do is to help you find the solutions yourself. Every time I have coached, it has worked. People find answers, techniques, changes, styles within themselves. What I do is help people find them.
If you have challenges like these, why not get in touch using this form?