Personal Development: You Can’t Be Different If You Don’t Change!

One of the greatest issues in self-improvement is (here comes a blinding flash of the obvious!) that people want to be different but don’t want to change. It’s one of the biggest barriers in my coaching work. Let me rephrase that: It’s one of the biggest issues for those people I won’t coach.

I’m sure you know many overweight people who’d like to be thinner but won’t change their diet, or others who want to be active but won’t exercise. This isn’t rocket surgery! However, we all have this dysfunction to some degree.

I recently wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog about how to screw up as a coachee (see “You Cannot Be Helped!”). But how to succeed as a coachee? To be effective, coaching requires courage, adherence to process and vulnerability.

Courage to get feedback you may not want to hear, to address demons you may not want to face, and to admit you cannot do it on your own.

Adherence to a process sounds like an engineering maxim, but it’s critical to coaching. We all need to respond to triggering events with effective processes. When someone criticizes me, I need to change my self-talk from “Screw that guy!” to “Could this be a gift?” When I lose sight of my objectives, I need a reflection and planning process in place to course correct. Part of being a successful leader is creating a toolkit of effective processes. Coaching isn’t psychotherapy. Whatever Mommy and Daddy did to you isn’t part of the conversation. Coaching is about changing thoughts and behaviors, and often the behavioral change needs to drive the change in thought.

Vulnerability is the antithesis of the tough-guy or tough-gal mindset that may have put you in the big chair. If “I need your help” or “I apologize” or “I screwed up” aren’t part of your weekly dialog, you’re probably a blockhead and need to change. If you really do have all the answers, good on you. You’re a black swan (I’m going to short your stock and bet on a firing, financial ruin and divorce).

I hope I’m thinner tomorrow than I am today. I wonder if I should do the pizza, beer and ice cream thing again tonight?

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