Archive for December, 2015

Need New Year’s Revolutions? Try an executive coach.

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

No, I didn’t misspell the word. Maybe instead of thinking about resolutions at the end of the year, it is time to make a plan for a personal or business revolution. What’s the difference, and why would one work and the other not?

Resolutions are about a desire and commitment to change. They usually involve will power or renewed effort. Problem is that if you weren’t already doing the good and right thing, you are not likely to do it just by invoking your will. You may have known what you should do, but something seems to get in the way. And whatever that thing is that gets in the way, it is probably invisible to you. Most likely, you will continue with the same personal behavior or business model you have been implementing all along.

So, what can you do? Well, one option is to get out of your own head by bringing in an outside head, a different executive function. Oddly enough, bringing in another head makes things less crowded in there. Here’s the deal. Our brains are a bit like an 8 Track Cassette (this dates me, doesn’t it): we get in a neural pathway and it plays as a loop. It happens in our personal relationships and in our business plans. In our love life we tend to have the same emotional and cognitive reactions over and over. Hence the same repeated fight in our marriages. In the business world we have developed our marketing and operating plans carefully and thoroughly, reviewing and implementing. It gets very hard to see the plan any other way, to see the data objectively, to see it outside the box.

Executive coaches are not hired to tell you what to do. They are there to help you out of your loop, to think outside the box. There are steps you should look for in a quality coaching experience:

1. Goal definition. First, the coach should work with you to do a thorough review of what your goals are for the engagement. Is it personal growth, a performance improvement, or a shift of strategy?

2. Thorough effort assessment. Second, you and the coach should review what you have been doing to achieve your goals. What processes have you been using, personal or in business? Given your goals, which of the processes are working and which need modification?

3. Make the change plan. Third, build a plan for change. What needs to happen and how? Sometimes this is the obvious part. Like “build leadership skills” or “create a new marketing plan.”

4. Change assessment. Fourth, complete a change assessment. With the changes in mind, what has blocked them from implementation? What resources are available for achieving the goals? What are your abilities or skills needed to achieve those changes?

5. Change management. Fifth, and critically, what is the plan to implement, monitor, train, regulate, manage those newly desired efforts? This is a critical role of the coach: hold you or your system’s feet to the fire. The coach is not there to criticize or push, but to hold others accountable to the new process desired. And when it inevitably goes off the track, the coach is there to help guide you back on track through continuous program modification. All plans change in the heat of battle.

6. Accountability and outcome measurement. Sixth, the coach should help you measure the outcome and prove that the process worked.

Want a real revolution in your personal or business success? Get someone to work with you. Doing it alone leaves you at risk of succumbing to your weaknesses (and strengths). The outcome will be more than worth the investment.

Tom DeMaio, PhD