Put That Self-Development Book Down. Try Coaching
Don’t get me wrong. There are endless amounts of very well-written professional development, self-help, and how-to books out there for you entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business leaders. I’ve read many books and even attended seminars and trainings on various topics of leadership and small business management where I could find a takeaway or two that fits my needs and is relevant to where I was with my personal development and business.
However, that was part of my problem. From a busy full-time working, business-thinking, wife and mommy it was a major challenge to find the time to fit professional development into my schedule. Spending the time reading an entire book, or even audiobook, when you are busy working on your business or career just to find a couple of gems of knowledge that you could implement does not make sense time and money-wise.
Furthermore, often when I found a pearl of wisdom and attempted to implement the idea into my business or life, accountability issues crept up. Let’s face it…who manages the manager? You may be competent at self-direction but one of the blessings and curses of being in charge is that you don’t have to report to anyone but yourself. Freedom sometimes comes at a price. (Just an aside…accountability is actually one of the most requested outcomes of coaching for my clients.)
A one-way conversation has not been known to lead to major growth, and reading books and attending webinars and training, although helpful in some areas, is one-way communication that won’t get you the traction and momentum that you need to really see progress.
I’ve experienced this first-hand. I’ve read most of the major mainstream leadership books, a few more unknowns and even dabbled in the self-help section of the bookstore (yes, a bookstore…that was a while ago before I was married). I felt like I was a person with an addiction looking for my next improvement fix….a self-development junkie. This is the feeling I had until I came across coaching.
A friend and former colleague of mine had left her 9-5 job to start a holistic health spa. I knew she would be successful since sister had the know-how, she was confident and super self-assured. After her new business had settled in and was doing well, she shared with me that starting her own business was not easy, especially the fear and worry that came with leaving her day job, what expertise she had and what to outsource, and exactly how to make this new business work. By chance, she had connected with a professional coach living in another state and made the decision to collaborate with her throughout the transition since she was anxiously walking on egg shells every day.
One of the secrets to her spa becoming a success was to carefully and curiously become more self-aware of her skills, personality, her reactions, her stressors, decision making, and problem-solving processes. Ultimately, she learned how to get out of her own way which built the extra confidence and endurance she needed. I was amazed, curious and skeptical. She provided me with the coach’s information and honestly, even though I live for meeting people and am an extravert, I was hesitant to connect with her since I had never tried coaching and there was a cost that was not exactly inexpensive for me. However, I had been contemplating my next steps in my career and starting my own business and was stuck in a rut. I concluded that doing something about my rut is better than doing nothing so I reached out.
From the first call, I was hooked. In an hour and a half, I learned more about myself, my motivations, what’s most important, especially my beliefs that limited my goal setting. With her guidance, I developed a plan that injected more inspiration and energy than I’ve felt in a long time. I gained more knowledge and momentum in being clear about myself and my path for my business than I ever imagined. Since that time, almost 4 years ago, I’ve worked with two more coaches and found tremendous value and outcomes in each session and completed my own coach training and certification.
I admit, I purchased a coach for my first coaching session. After that I purchased personal results. I invested in myself to gain clarity and clear direction, which brings confidence and motivation and lost the frustration and confusion of how could I really be better at what I do and succeed in my business. A positive return on investment compared to the time and money I spent on books, training, and other self-development products that did not get me where I wanted to go as fast as I wanted to get there.
So how to consumers decide to buy? During my MBA program, I studied many successful organizations and I found that time and time again people don’t buy product or a service, they purchase an outcome, solution or feeling. People don’t buy a Harley Davidson, they invest in a lifestyle. People buy products from The Honest Company because it makes them feel good, not guilty. People buy unlimited phone and data plans because it’s easy to understand and they don’t have to feel anxious when they need to check where they are in the month. People buy insurance because it gives them piece of mind, not a piece of paper.
~What are you currently investing in to get you where you want to be? Where exactly do you want to be?
~How much time do you have to search to figure out your Sequel?
~Whatever you are investing in should give you the outcome you are looking for. Are you crystal clear about the outcome you are looking for?
~What is your next step?