When you first start out on a journey of transformation, new habits, self-critiquing thoughts and mindful life choices feel alien and laboured. I am not going to dress it up, it’s hard work and something that needs focus and dedication to keep front of mind.
But as with everything, with work, elements start to become easier and more second nature. With the right approach, before you know it you have successfully embedded one new self-care habit in to your life so that it runs on auto pilot for the majority of the time. This in turn creates a stepping stone for you to progress to your next goal.
It’s a repeating cycle of raising awareness, goal setting and action.
Phase 1 – Raising awareness
The first stage is always self-awareness. This is hard to achieve alone as by their very nature, your unseen habits, behaviours and moods are hidden from your consciousness.
The unique approach of a coach is not one of expert, but as the mirror and empathetic provocateur, raising your awareness to what is unseen and offering the support and challenge necessary to interrogate and understand what you find.
Through listening and insightful questioning, a coach helps you understand your habits, your belief systems, your values and your behaviours in the here and now. They help you connect your current reality with your ideal future and identify the gap, which then on becomes ‘the work’.
Phase 2 – Goal setting
Considered and stress tested goal setting is often the bit that is overlooked when we think about what we want in our lives. Sweeping new year’s resolutions and unrealistic fitness goals are often the cause of further spiralling down the opposite path.
For goal setting to be robust and truly inspiring, we must first ensure that goals align with our core values and beliefs and satisfy our humanistic and socialistic needs. Goals inherited by societal pressures, family demands, peer pressure and senses of duty are rarely truly achieved, and arguably, enjoyed.
The gift of being heard in a safe space that you are granted in the coaching relationship gives you permission to dream, experiment and explore like no other platform. As a coach, I greet every new client with intrigue and uncapped excitement about what they can achieve in their lives and share in the joy as they do.
At the same time, I create a structure and format that allows all options to be considered, rationalised, tested and quantified, resources to be identified and contingency plans made for failure.
All of this structure and space helps my clients ensure that what they really want is actually what they want and indeed need.
This creates ‘stickier’ and more bought in to goals from which to create an achievable and realistic action plan from.
Phase 3 – Action
Usually the hardest bit of any transformation, action born out of truly understood goals routed in self-awareness somehow becomes a little easier. Plans made mindfully and with the support of professionals are more intrinsic, realistic and achievable and therefore naturally more likely to be achieved (and appropriately adjusted when they are not – life happens, plans change and the ability to flex and pivot is also an essential skill when working towards goals).
Each action that creates an achieved outcome fuels the next action.
Coaching programmes span longer between sessions (usually 4-6 weeks) than therapy (1-2 weeks) to allow time for just this to start happening between them. Action taken → micro goal met → self-reflection (and goal/action plan adjustment) → Action taken and so forth. All the time your coach walks beside you, working with everything that comes up helping you to adapt and progress at the pace you set.
I am a work in progress
Embracing that we are all work in progress and letting go of your “be perfect” or “please people” drivers that so many of us use to push ourselves forward in life, ironically opens you up to be a better version of yourself and therefore more available and enriching to those around you.
No matter what your goals, an innate understanding of who and what you are and the ‘why’ behind your ambitions is the most powerful tool in helping you to achieve them.
What would you like to achieve together?
Tracy James is a Berkshire based Life Coach and Team & Leadership Coach whose mission it is to help people deal with their ‘stuff’ and get what they want from life. Tracy’s own journey through coaching has helped her to transform her life and she loves sharing those opportunities with her clients.Learn more about Tracy at www.brightyellowcoaching.com or connect with her @brightyellowcoaching, or contact her direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or (+44) 7738686694 for an initial free 30 minute chat about what you could achieve together.