Goal-setting is a weird paradox. It doesn’t sound like it’s a difficult thing to do, but every January people get serious about it, trying to figure out some magic fix or shortcut. Well, this isn’t a post that will give you a shortcut, but it will give you tools and techniques to help you set and reach your goals. This one doesn’t get talked about as much because it’s kind of a hard sell. It can be a tough move to make, but in my experience, it’s been worth it.
New year, new practices
If you’ve been reading at all these last couple of weeks, you know I’m shoving off to a decent start this year on seven very definitive goals I’m setting for myself this year. And while I’m doing my best to keep you clued in on what’s working and what’s not, there is still one area I’ve not mentioned yet – and it is a doozy.
My biggest problem
I often feel like I’m the most disorganized person on the planet. I juggle a day job, a family, several client projects and a growing Facebook Group on a daily basis and some days, it’s a tough hurdle to clear. What’s worse is that when I fall behind, I have a natural tendency to let things build up to a point that it’s nearly impossible to get caught up. I’m paralyzed by the downward spiral and all I can do is watch is sink further and further. At the beginning of this year, I realized that I was going to have to get some help. And so I did–I hired a coach. Best decision I’ve made so far this year.
What a coach is for
My desire in hiring a coach was someone that could handle several things for me that I couldn’t seem to do well for myself:
- Remind me to look at the big picture every once in awhile and not focus so much the day-to-day.
- Keep me accountable to the goals I’ve set for myself.
- Make sure I’m staying on top of things financially.
- Help instill good practices and habits that will get my goals accomplished.
- Give an outsider’s view of how I’m handling my projects and organizing my life.
The main theme through all this is accountability. When you’re running your own business and literally have nobody else to report to except the clients, it can be easy to be impulsive when it comes to your decision-making. I know that was the case for me. Instead of setting core values and leading from those, I was just reacting to everything that came my way and just trying to “wing it.” There was no strategic thought given and not much planning–wishful thinking at most, really. It’s a lousy way to run a business and a really lousy way to serve my clients. My coach has helped me to rise above the impulsiveness of the daily grind and see farther out than just the next project.
How does this work?
Your mileage may vary, but my relationship with my coach Gina is very straightforward; we have a bi-weekly phone call that lasts about a half-hour, and she updates me on a regular basis through a private Google Plus Community. She is excellent about keeping good records and following up. Most importantly, she knows how to calmly but assertively tell me when I’m getting off-track and need to rethink things a bit. She asks a lot of questions. She’s been a great coach to me and I really don’t believe I’d be where I am so far this year without her guidance.
Should you hire a coach?
Maybe you don’t need a coach, but just someone take some tasks off of your plate so you can do what you need to be doing. If that’s the case, it sounds more like you need a Virtual Assistant. For more on that, I’d check out this post by Michael Hyatt.
If what you need is someone who can act as a mentor and a sometimes butt-kicker, you need a coach. Here’s what to look for in a prospective coach:
Someone who has the heart of a teacher. They need to be willing to show you through examples and communicate clearly how you can reach the goals that you’re tackling together. Coach is about teaching and guiding, not yelling and punishing.
Someone who can be gentle but firm and will hold you accountable. You don’t need your mommy, here. Neither do I really recommend that your coach be someone inside your family – you need someone from the outside who recognizes the responsibility they have to help you get to where you want to be, not be your best friend.
Someone who has a winning record. Obviously, you can learn the most from those who have been there themselves. If they’ve learned some tough lessons, that’s great, but how are they now? Running a successful business? Winning at life in general? If they’re still struggling in the same areas you are, they’re not going to be a lot of help. Choose your coach wisely–they’re teaching you how to play the game.
If you can afford it, I’d wholly recommend hiring a coach, particularly if you feel you need some help to clear the hurdles in your life or business that seem to constantly trip you up. My hope is that you’ll connect with someone who will take you farther, faster and help you live the life you want!