The work of a business coach inevitably revolves around change, and clients’ desire to do things differently in order to gain different outcomes.
Irrespective of the dimensions of change required, the need to shift out of comfortable, well-trodden and familiar paradigms is a challenge.
Change requires work and a level of determination that is able to withstand the constant seduction of reverting back to the same.
I have written previously about the importance of vision and having a ‘picture’ of what is desired to be achieved, which ultimately becomes the roadmap to change. Although it may take a little time to determine and define what the vision is, once established it becomes easier to take small, daily steps to attain what is sought. These steps are both incremental and imperative. Change seldom occurs overnight, and is not usually achieved in one, singular step. Rather, change takes place as one achieves mini-goals along the way.
A favourite example of the process of change is that of becoming physically fit. If one starts a fitness program from the position of being unfit and aims to become sufficiently fit to run for 10 kilometres at a stretch, it is virtually impossible to put on the running shoes and go out and run the distance. Fitness is built up over time, running a little further each day in order to increase pulmonary and muscular strength, as well as endurance.
Overdoing training often results in injury, whereas under training limits success. It is a carefully managed process, step-by-step; day-by-day, until the day arrives that the goal is finally achieved.
Various other shifts in daily routine are required in getting fit, such as making the time to run, adhering to the program, eating better, getting enough rest breaks in between periods of exercise etc., all of which are required in supporting a successful outcome. In addition to proper management, further challenges such as inclement weather, work deadlines, social life and other distractions can pose legitimate reasons to ‘skip’ a training session, slowing down the process of change, possibly even halting it altogether if the momentum of change is lost. These require management too.
Change is active work. It takes clarity of mind, a carefully structured plan and a daily review of what is required, followed by taking small mini-steps towards achieving success every day. It is a conscious and mindful process constantly challenged by the demands of daily life that tend to discourage, such as ‘there is no time’ or ‘things will work out’, amongst other default semi-delusional type thinking, which we are all vulnerable to believing in tough moments.
In the words of Barack Obama: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”
Change can also be a lonely and difficult path, especially when others do not seem to support it, a reality that usually has more to do with them than with us, but is never-the-less difficult to manage.
One of the reasons many of us have a business or personal coach is that, besides the objective input and on-going discussion around vision and the attainment of specific goals, a coach provides a constant source of reflection, support, guidance and a sense that one is not alone.
It is also wonderful to share the success of hard earned change with somebody who understands and appreciates the courage it has taken to embark on the journey, reaching a destination that the naysayers – possibly including ourselves – did not believe was possible.
8th of May 2019