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Book review: Power of Habit

Reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg changed my approach to Life & Career Coaching. Also, when struggling to change your life, "I need to alter some unhelpful habits" is a much better way to assess the situation than judging and shaming oneself for being a "bad person." (I include a copy of this book for all clients who sign on for my Platinum Coaching level of service.)

Career Coaching: Man at chalkboard Goal Setting

Getting out of your own way

This is an intriguing blog post about the hard way of going about change (lots of thought, structure, and "dos and don'ts") as opposed to the easier way (getting out of your own way and "feeling" your way through it).

My Online Life Coaching approach

As all Life Coaches do, I'll help you envision your successful change, break that down into achievable goals, and stay accountable using regularly scheduled, Online Coaching meetings.

I've dedicated myself to being a student of change, paying close attention to what's needed for it to be smooth and successful. My experiences as a corporate hiring manager, mental health counselor, Life Coach, and Career Coach have been invaluable. I'm sure I'm not alone in observing that a vision, goals, regular meetings, and an encouraging-but-hands-off mentor often aren't enough.

Here are a few key factors to successful change:

  • Dedicated, hardworking teammates not afraid to jump in and get their hands dirty.
  • Access to information and resources.
  • A focus on continuous improvement, with a tolerance for "mistakes," strategic use of trial-and-error, and an ability to fine-tune the plan based on what you've learned so far.
  • A work culture that fosters helpful habits, assisting teammates to shift out of unhelpful ones that get in the way of change.
  • A work culture that promotes continuous learning, especially the kind that involves practicing and mastering new skills.
  • Leaders and teammates who value emotional intelligence, which helps everyone to reduce stress, focus, and remain cool under pressure.

These principles and values are as true for organizations as they are for individuals; they're true for huge groups as well as a "team of two."

The level of service that I call Platinum Coaching provides this active, involved, in-the-trenches-alongside-you type of coaching. If I've got an approach for you to consider, I'll share it. If you decline my advice and move in a different direction, I follow your lead. If a teaching-learning approach can help, we'll go there. If a bad habit is in the way (such as procrastination, authority issues, trouble saying no, thinking negatively), then I'll offer assistance with habit change.

My approach is dynamic and action oriented, similar to how it might feel hiring a personal trainer at the gym, taking a professional workshop, teaming up with a financial advisor, or working with a physical therapist.

Whatever it takes for you to operate at peak performance—athletes call this being in the zone—so reaching your goals comes quicker and easier.

As a quick note before wrapping up this section, I just want to make it clear that I don't want to imply that I'm some kind of perfect guru. When it comes to many of these approaches, I'm not only the teacher and mentor, but I'm a student as well, continuously practicing skills, learning, and adjusting my approaches as I go. Think of it this way: as your teammate, we're both in the same boat, but I have a bit more sailing experience.

"I get it generally, but...more specifics please?"

Clients make an initial three-month commitment (highly recommended and saves money) or they take it one month at a time (for a slightly higher monthly fee), and they can renew monthly after that. Tightly focused resume work and interview coaching require one-month initial commitments. In my experience, it takes at least three months to foster the type of work culture described in the previous section and to see any kind of meaningful results.

My coaching packages offer varying numbers of meetings that clients can schedule as they please. So, you can schedule a combination of weekly or every-other-week meetings. Or, you can schedule your meetings randomly. It's very flexible, and it easily accommodates vacations, sick time, and life's other priorities.

Because I'm in the trenches with you, giving more advice, teaching, and helping you to learn and practice skills, I need more than the traditional coaching time of a half-hour phone call; instead, our meetings will be one hour. Most people enjoy using convenient, free online apps such as Skype, FaceTime, or VSee. (In-person meetings available. Directions) You can also mix and match in-person meetings with online meetings.

I structure the first and last ten-minutes of the meeting so that they assist with staying positive, tracking progress against goals, and solidifying new habits. We'll use the rest of the meeting for any type of discussion or activity that can assist and further your change effort.

My Platinum Coaching and Gold Coaching packages allow for brief email or phone coaching in between meetings. (Silver Coaching does not.)

Most (not all) of the focus and emotion-management skills that I teach fall under the very large umbrella of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT), which basically means "adjusting how you focus, and what you think and do." Mental health counselors use these research-proven methods for reducing emotional distress, but I use them for a different purpose. I use them because they help my clients to relax and concentrate, invoking that peak-performance state that makes any change effort smoother, more efficient, and more fun. In addition to very common and limited forms of CBT, I have advanced training in DBT (CBT on steroids), and I understand how to customize this material to make it come alive in entertaining and complelling ways.

Many people ask, How long will this take? That's a difficult question to answer, because everyone's different, and y'all are bringing me different goals. That being said, I've noticed a few patterns. As mentioned, near the three-month mark, whatever had been feeling stuck or difficult will begin to show some improvement. The do-it-themselves types will take a break from our work at that point; more cautious people who are concerned about backsliding will often stay six or seven months to make the change more of a firm habit. Finally, once in a while, a client loves Life Coaching and applies it to goal after goal—relationships, dating, saving money, being less shy, making more friends—and those folks usually work with me for a year or two. It's very common for clients to pop in and out of Life Coaching over the years as needed.

At this point, I invite you to sidle up to your computer, enjoy a cup of tea or mug of coffee, meet online with me for a half hour, and discuss further how my Life Coaching and Career Coaching can get you the level of success and happiness you most want. Call 1-410-949-7888 or email me now to schedule an appointment for your free half-hour consultation.

Or, feel free to read on!

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