It’s great when our managers have the opportunity to coach us on a daily basis and work with us to ensure that we perform our tasks properly. But that doesn’t always happen. Realistically, we as individuals should take responsibility for our own success and “self coach” to take full advantage of our opportunities. And there’s an art to doing it well. These are the steps I’ve learned are effective for getting good results.
7 effective steps to self coaching:
- Identify the opportunity
- Picture the desired outcome
- Establish the right attitude
- Find the right resources
- Practice and skill development
- Reinforce your progress
- Reward yourself
Identify the opportunity.
- Challenges that you notice about yourself.
When identifying opportunities for yourself, you should take into consideration things that you might have a hard time completing in your daily duties, or maybe tasks that take you longer than the time allotted by your boss. Outside of daily tasks, you can focus on skills that could help advance your career. Self-identification can be tough, as you have to be open to the fact that you are not the best at everything, and that you have the opportunity to improve.
- Challenges that someone else notices about you.
You may learn in a personal conversation or through a performance review that there is an area where you need to improve. This information may come from your family, your friends, peers, or your leadership team. The difficult part of this is staying open to hearing from someone else about things you need to improve on, and resisting the temptation to be defensive.
- Challenges that present themselves.
Challenging situations can create opportunities for you. Maybe it’s taking on tasks for a coworker, or a new project requires a new skill. Whatever it is, when the challenge is presented, it’s important to identify the situation as an opportunity to improve your skills.
Picture the desired outcome.
One of the most important concepts in self coaching is having a vision or end goal in mind. Without that, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of making the needed changes. If you can have a clear picture of what the end result should be, you will generally find yourself having the ability to move toward that end result quicker.
Maintain the right attitude.
Maintaining the right attitude throughout your self coaching process can be a very difficult thing to do, but with dedication and the end result in mind, this step can be achieved successfully.
People often say that is it natural to resist change, but many people do not understand the reasons why. People resist changing when they 1) don’t see the need, 2) don’t want to do it, or 3) believe the change is not possible for them. By coaching yourself and focusing on the end result, these obstacles can be avoided.
Find the right resources.
In order for self coaching to be successful, you need access to the appropriate resources. Your most important resources are time and a personal commitment to succeed. Other resources may include money, equipment, training, information, and upper level buy-in and support. If you are going down the path of self coaching and you do not have the required resources to be successful, you’ll need to work with your leadership and support teams to obtain these resources. You may need to explain this improvement process that you’re going through and the end result you have in mind in order to get buy-in from others.
Practice & skill development.
Once the resources are in place and the correct skillset has been identified and learned, it’s time to practice and apply. For self coaching, it is important that we continue to analyze our skill and ensure we are practicing correctly. When possible, we should try to align ourselves with other people that have the skill to get advice and ongoing best practices. The key is to continue to maintain the right attitude, focus on the end goal, and hold yourself accountable to progress.
Reinforce your progress.
Here are some of things you can do to reinforce your progress:
- Write down your old habits and read over them regularly to ensure you remember what NOT to do
- Find ways to use your new skill to be able to make new habits
- Ask for feedback from your leadership team or other experts in your area of focus
- Understand mistakes will happen, but you can learn from them and continue to improve
One of the best ways to cement growth and progress is to reward it. What we reward gets repeated. What gets repeated becomes habit. Rewarding yourself can seem strange, but unfortunately we do not always work in an environment that rewards personal growth or success. By rewarding yourself for accomplishing your goals you can hold yourself accountable and celebrate your success.
Self coaching can be difficult, but it leads to rewarding professional development. If you have the fortitude and dedication to improve yourself, and you take all of these steps, you have a good chance for success.