It’s foggy and cool around my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. That means it’s August and Labor Day is just around the corner.
Which has got me to thinking about what’s next. Where will I choose to put my energy? What’s important now? How will this inform my primary focus for the remainder of 2017? There are many options and realistically only so much time and energy.
How about you? How is the last stretch of 2017 sitting with you? Is there work to complete, work to generate, or are you already looking forward and planning for 2018?
Here are some DIY coaching questions to help you consider what’s next for you in 2017:
Clarity This is my favorite place to start, with my clients and for myself:
What’s top of mind for you right now?
What options are you considering?
What’s not yet clear?
What’s getting in the way of seeing clearly?
What, if anything, are you avoiding?
Work-Life Integration This is a good place to turn next next, looking at work, home/family, community, personal well-being and health:
What needs your attention most?
What causes your stress levels to rise?
What can you dial up, or dial down, in terms of your health and well-being?
What do you need to say ‘no’ to, at least for now?
How can you be more supported as you move forward?
Presence Here, we’re looking at authority, emotional resilience, confidence, sincerity, and also at external factors like body language, tone of voice and how you’re dressed.
How are you showing up now in your work?
What changes do you want to make?
Who are the professionals that will help you in your transition?
What do you need to start doing, or stop doing, to keep you on track?
How will you handle the predictable distractions and bumps in the road?
Action Finally, we’re focused on moving forward:
What’s a useful next step?
What’s an even smaller next step, towards that next step?
What will be the signs that you are moving forward?
How can you create good habits?
What will help you persevere and keep up your momentum when the challenges hit?’
How will you celebrate your success?
Here’s how I walked myself through this exercise today:
Clarity–I’m sitting with competing priorities. But, as I sink into this question I am being pulled in one direction more than the other.
Work-Life Integration–I need more energy to propel me through to the end of 2017. I know what works for me in terms of exercise, rest and intake. It’s time to put this front and center to create a stronger foundation.
Presence–I will pay more attention to how I can roll with the punches when things get stressful.
Action–I need to create structure, a specific project outline and then a plan. Executing is less challenging for me once I’m well set up.
If you’re ready to dig into the rest of your calendar year drop me a line! There are many ways for the team at Business Presence, LLC to partner with you to ensure you end the year fulfilled– from career, business and leadership coaching, to media training, image consulting and headshots. Contact us today for a complimentary Discovery session!
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Today I completed a three session clarity package with a client looking to make changes to her career and life heading into 2017.
The client had quit her career in public policy work nine years ago, early in her career, to take on the family business. It was a decision she felt pressured into making. Recently, she’s been missing the intellectual challenges and the sense of ‘making a difference’ that accompanied her work in human rights. To prepare for an upcoming shift she delegated a number of day-to-day tasks to a management company. But, she’s not looking to leave the family business fully yet, as it will provide her with a good income while she navigates what comes next.
In our initial consultation we did an exercise to provide more context for her desired changes. What surfaced is that her health is a concern and needs to be factored into to her thinking. It’s always useful to get the bigger picture going into any coaching engagement. Sometimes a client may want to make a change in one area but other parts of their life may not be lined up to support them.
In our first full session we uncovered her values. Advocacy, community, learning, connecting, making a difference, and her recent marriage were all important. It turned out that several of her values were being honored in her current work but some scored low in the assessment. Through discovery and scoring we got an honest snapshot of her current situation.
Some of the proposed actions that came out of this session turned out to be premature. At the start of our second session the client indicated that she needed to do more self discovery and research about potential opportunities before moving into action. In short, she needed to slow things down. Her timeframe shifted from being a few months to at least six months, and she now realized that there would be fewer hours in the week to give to a different type of work (5-10 hours rather than 20 hours). Often, our Saboteurs — or inner critic voices — awaken when we’re looking to make changes in our lives, and they can put lead boots on us that slow down progress. However, with this client I sensed a re-frame, that rather than a big shift in her career she was looking to pursue her passions more incrementally.
So, next we shifted to her role and purpose. She came up with the phrase ‘change agent’ in one of the visualizations, and that resonated with her both professionally and personally.
Our final session started with some positive updates. After connecting with friends and relatives she had signed up for an orientation class around learning a new technical skill, specifically a computer programming language. She’d also connected with an online nonprofit matching service where she could offer her professional services for a few hours at a time. These were two ways she could honor her values more fully. She saw potential obstacles around prioritizing her new goals versus family, but she also felt a high level of commitment to fulfilling them.
The focus of the third session was to create a vision for 2017. I asked my client to provide a headline for the year ahead: “Restructuring and reinvention – in that order!” she replied. By putting structures and systems in place within her existing business she would be creating more freedom and space for reinvention. And, by digging into personal finances, estate planning and home improvements she would be honoring her relationship with her new spouse.
Ultimately, she completed the Clarity Package with specific goals for 2017:
“I am clear that I want to get my house in order in 2017. I’m clear that I want to learn something in technology. I’m clear that I want to give back, and that I want to learn more about myself.”
The next step is to follow up with some assessment tools to help her with discovery around her personal strengths and blind spots.
Recently we arrived at the office of a client to prepare her for an upcoming speech at a national sales convention. She is a regular client who has worked with us on many presentations over the last three years. We’ve developed a very good working relationship, and we were confident about how the session would go — we’d go through the deck, tweak the language and slides, then polish her presentation. This is the usual flow for our voice and presentation coaching.
But when we arrived our client was in an emotional turmoil because she found out that she may have been passed over for a promotion to VP. What we thought would be a good rehearsal turned out to be both an emotional roller coaster to navigate and a strategy session for making her case. First step, allowing her to vent and get her emotions out of the way. Then, we used a set of visual imagination techniques to get her clear on what she really wanted amidst the tight deadlines and the emotional stress.
From there, we engaged in a strategy session to help her prepare for her meeting that hour (!) with the human resources representative to discuss her job status We wanted her to understand that the HR person, while friendly with her, was not her confidante or best advocate. That meant: listen, stay calm, and let it be known that you are the best candidate for the VP position.
We left her that day knowing that she felt less hurt and more confident, which gave her courage and fortitude to face this difficult interaction. We had no idea what the outcome would be but we knew we’d coached her through her moment of crisis to a place where she was able to own her accomplishments and ask confidently for the promotion she’d worked long and hard to achieve.
The next week we heard from our client that she’d met with the CEO and team and, as she expressed it, “got her stripes.” She thanked us for our real-time “multifaceted assistance” towards getting her VP promotion. As coaches we have to be ready for anything, but it’s key to build a strong foundation with clients so that when the unexpected occurs we have the tools and rapport to have an impact no matter what circumstances we walk into.
Voice & Presentation Coach Marilyn Pittman and Executive Producer Marianne Wilman were the coaches at this session
Today I had a completion session with a 31-year-old client who I partnered with for three months. When she came to me she’d been in a job for more than 10 years and had been feeling stuck for some time. She was ready for a change but had a lot of fears about taking a leap. She didn’t trust that a new opportunity was going to emerge and her saboteurs were strong, magnifying the challenge.
In our coaching we came up with the metaphor of the long jump, and returned to it over many sessions. Early on we physically moved to a place that we called the ‘starting line,’ where all the possibilities and all the fears stood in front of her. Next she felt what it was like to pick up speed as she moved towards the white take-off line, (aka her job search). Then we went into slow motion — what would it be like to put just the ball of one foot on that white line? What did she feel as she began to lift off the starting line? What did she notice as she looked out from the peak of her jump? What was the feeling as she brought her legs out in front of her reaching for maximum distance? And what was there for her as she landed? Slowing down each part of the process gave her time to see and feel more clearly. I love working with metaphor, it’s visual and playful but very, very real for the client-coach partnership, and a useful way for clients to get outside of their situation and into what’s possible vs. what’s not.
For my client there were false starts along the way as she looked to completely change the direction of her career. There was guilt around letting other people down as she stumbled. Half way through our work there was also a calling and deep connection to her spirituality which gave her a new confidence, strength and direction.
When I asked my client what she’d learned about herself she said, “I make things bigger in my mind but once I had trust it was liberating. I saw that by taking a big chance, bigger things can happen”.
I am proud of her getting herself unstuck. She was not living her values at her previous job, she was unhappy, unfulfilled and under-earning. But she liked her colleagues.
My client left her job two weeks ago and is now freelancing in the part of her industry she loves the most. There’s lots of room for her to grow and she’s not letting the fears get in her way, instead she sees opportunity. And she’s earning more in 6 hours than she was in a full week at her old job!