In the Hollywood world, coaches are the new personal trainers. Stars like Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman and Serena Williams are performing better, working smarter and making better decisions as a result. But for people without plenty of money to spare, hiring a coach just isn’t within budget. There are bills to pay and food needs to be put on the table. The good news is, you can be your own coach.
Think of it this way, many people cannot afford a personal trainer and so they take matters into their own hands. They train themselves; sometimes in a gym but sometimes under their own roof. The same is possible with coaching. Self-coaching is about applying professional coaching techniques to your own goals without the support of an external party. It requires discipline and dedication and it’s what I teach my own clients to do. That’s the goal. Over our six months together, I equip them with the skills and techniques they need to manage life’s ups and downs in the future.
People seek coaching because they want to make some sort of change in their lives but they don’t think that they can do it alone. Other times, they are already going through a change or a period of transition and they are struggling to navigate it. Coaching is a great opportunity for people to spend some time reflecting on how their life is looking. Common reasons people look for a coach include, getting a promotion at work, feeling unhappy at work, the breakdown of a relationship, poor work-life balance etc. If you are feeling low or anxious, it could be a sign that you are in need of some coaching.
1. Identify areas for self-improvement
Once you have come to notice that you are wanting to make some changes in your life, the next step is to identify what changes these are.
The eight sections in the wheel of life represent different aspects of your life. Take the centre of the wheel as 0 (totally dissatisfied) and the outer edge as 10 (totally satisfied). Score your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by putting a cross on the relevant spoke and draw a line to join the crosses. How balanced does your wheel look?
What would a score of ‘10’ look like in each of these areas? What would you be doing?
2. Honour your values
A value is something that you believe to be fundamentally important. When we honour our values, it can give us a real sense of purpose. They not only motivate us to take action, but the action that is right for us. Ignoring or disrespecting them makes us feel stuck, stressed and frustrated.
From the following list, write down as many of the words that are important to you. Do this instinctively and if any of your values are missing, feel free to add them.
3. Set manageable goals
When you want to make changes in life, you will be more successful if you choose a few areas to work on rather than trying to change everything at once. Your goals should inspire and motivate you, and be aligned with your values. If they are specific and measureable, you will know when you have achieved them. Likewise, research shows that goals which are short and to the point (3-7 words) are easier to remember. If you can’t remember something, it doesn’t live in your world.
Setting three to five goals for the next 12 months helps you to stay focused. Create a 6×6 table and put the following in the top column:
1. Focus Area: What are your key focus areas for the year ahead?
2. Goal: What is the goal in this area?
3. Why: Why is this goal important to you?
4. Top Actions: Break your goals into smaller steps
5. Deadline: Keep track of your progress
6. Support network: Who will you tell?
4. Stay balanced
With all of this hard work you are doing, you need to make sure that you are still looking after yourself. Sometimes when life gets busy and stressful, we stop doing the things that we love. A top ten “things I love to do” list can give you an instant lift.
What are the things that you love to do? People you love to spend time with, simple things in life that energise you, give you pleasure and make you smile?
In order to make the changes you want for yourself, you need to make commitments to yourself. Making commitments means carrying on with the promise you made to yourself, even on the days you don’t feel like it e.g. going for a run three times a week even when it’s cold and raining.