I recently swam the English Channel as part of a 4-man relay. Since each team member trained alone, I needed to learn how to coach myself. According to the medical forms required by the Channel Swimming Association, participants can die doing this swim. The good news about this fun fact was that it forced me to learn how to effectively coach myself under penalty of death.
Without that penalty I am sure I would have trained hard, not realizing how much harder I could train when trying to avoid death. How different one approaches things when failure is not an option. Your business and you life will benefit if you live and work as if your life depended on it.
Coaches must combine their knowledge of “best practices” for a particular activity with their ability to tailor their coaching message to each individual in order to get improved performance from the person they are coaching. They must know when to validate, praise and show “tough love.” The great coaches get people to do things – and reach new levels of success they would not achieve without a coach. Given that, how could I replicate this coaching effect by myself?
If you want to effectively coach yourself to actually change behavior and form new habits, you must answer five key questions about yourself. These questions will help you find the discipline and determination to coach yourself. This applies coaching other members of your team as well. The process of answering these seemingly easy questions will lead to lasting changes and knowledge of principles which will easily transfer between goals.
Question #1 – What is the #1 desired outcome for the person I am coaching?
If you are coaching yourself, than this is an easy question to answer. But if you are coaching someone else, you have to reconcile your employee’s desire with your own. Each person you coach has a different desire for their own life. As the business leader, I have a #1 desire for what I want each person to achieve. If I am to have an effect on my employee’s day-to-day behavior, I need to show that person how the two goals are related.
For example, you want to be a financially successful person and I, as your coach, want you to cover and penetrate your sales territory. That includes lead generation, networking, cold calling, making appointments, etc. Only if I can show you how those prospecting activities that I want you to do connect to your goal will I successfully get you to prospect right. The truth is you cannot motivate others. You can, however, get others to motivate themselves by showing them how they can get what they want by doing what you want.
Question #2 - What is the very next thing that needs to happen in my life?
At this point, you or the person you are coaching know the answer to question #1. Now, how do you move forward? Most people either have no plan, or come up with a one dimensional plan that depend on another person to do something - accept you, make a call for you, introduce you to someone else, give you a chance to do something, etc). Instead of limiting himself to the actions of one other person, a soon-to-be-successful person develops a multi-option plan that has enough wiggle room to allow for a good percentage of the “other people” to fail without ruining the plan.
In other words, if your goal is contingent on another person then you need a never ending supply of these potentially helpful people. But, most people don’t continuously replace or add to their list of people, and so they hit dead ends when pursuing a goal. You also need to continue to add steps after each accomplishment you make for yourself.
For example, in sales, if I don’t keep prospecting while I am selling, I will run out of prospects. If I am in business development, I must continually find new opportunities because so many of the opportunities will get delayed or shelved. We need to continuously network and reach out to others in order to have a pipeline full of other people, with all of the potential opportunities they may bring.
Steve Bookbinder recently launched Steve Bookbinder Associates, a sales consulting firm providing services for all sales channels: sales training for salespeople and sales management as well as search engine marketing for websites. The article is based on Steve's latest book, How to be Your Own Coach (www.byourowncoach.com). He can be reached at email@example.com