This article was based on episode 055 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Executive coaching has gained in popularity over the past thirty years, in part perhaps because of the multiple benefits it provides. As a form of professional development, it’s become accepted as normal or even expected for many senior leaders.
Unfortunately, it can also be quite expensive and therefore not accessible to all managers who might benefit from coaching. That’s why Jennifer DiMotta, developed her program 6 Steps to Becoming Your Own Leadership Coach.
Jennifer built the program from her extensive experience in corporations and as Owner and President of her fast-growing firm, DiMotta Consulting LLC where she takes her 20+ years of triple-digit growth success and transforms it to easily digestible strategies and plans for clients, particularly in the luxury direct to consumer market.
IS IT HARD TO COACH YOURSELF?
The short answer: yes.
Coaching yourself can be hard, but it doesn’t need to be. In essence, coaching yourself means standing outside yourself and reflecting back what needs to be said to help you unleash your own potential and achieve your goals.
Without a framework or process to follow, coaching yourself may seem like wasted effort. We all have blind spots that others can see more easily than ourselves. Often times we know what we need to change, we just don’t hold ourselves accountable to implementing in the same way we would with an external coach both reminding us and cheering us on.
That’s where this 6-step process come in. With a robust structure to follow, you’re able to walk yourself through a solid coaching process.
6 STEPS TO A STRONGER YOU
Step 1: Assess Yourself.
It’s hard to change if you don’t know what needs to change. Therefore, step one is to become more self-aware.
Through a mix of assessments, (Jennfier recommends Strengths Finder and Myers Briggs Type Indicator), you can discover your strengths, personality traits, and preferences to lean into as well as areas for growth. You may also identify activities, competencies or roles you’d prefer to avoid rather than develop.
Step 2: Develop Your Vision.
Knowing yourself is only half the battle. You also need to be clear about where you’re headed. Don’t be afraid to think big. A strong vision takes years to achieve.
To help you craft a vision for your leadership, consider the following prompts:
Do you have a favorite leader? Why do you admire them?
What are their top qualities?
What are the leadership qualities you want to be better at? Why?
Great leaders come in all different sizes and shapes. Each has different characteristics and strengths. While there are common attributes such as trust, great listening, curiosity, courage and integrity, there are no right answers.
Clarifying what kind of leader you want to be will help you focus on developing those specific qualities.
Step 3: Design SMART Goals
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s time go move from aspirational vision to practical implementation by crafting SMART goals. Based on what you know about yourself and where you’d like to be, write 1-3 SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Jennifer recommends you write 60-day goals that address the following:
Decide what YOU want. Select goals that you hope to achieve for yourself and not to impress someone else.
Translate your ideas into something more precise. Perhaps instead of losing weight or exercising regularly, you want to lose 10 lbs or run a 5 kilometer twice per week.
Identify who is involved in or impacted by your growth process. Answer the 5 W questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Who is involved in the process? Why is he or she involved? What process is he or she involved in? Where will you interact with them?
Determine how you will measure success. The more specific your measurements, the easier it will be to reflect on progress and decide what’s working and what isn’t. Quantifiable metrics are preferred but qualitative metrics may be more appropriate depending on your goal.
Determine when and where your actions toward the goal will happen. Identify the actions you’ll take along with the location(s) and time when you will do them. Will it be daily? In every meeting?
For example, one of Jennifer’s goals is:
Improve my listening skills by repeating back what someone said in summary, each time I'm in a one-on-one or a meeting where I can do this exercise. I do this to focus on building relationships as a characteristic of great leadership. I will focus on this for 60 days and I will document the examples each week and reassess at the end of 60 days.
These goal statements will be long, but they are the beginning of the roadmap that will enable you to make progress toward your vision. If you’re struggling to create them, you may want to move to step for and engage your Accountability Partner in helping you set goals.
Step 4: Find An Accountability Partner
Few of us are able to hold ourselves accountable to the same extent as an external partner. It may be challenging to identify the right person, but it’s worth the effort because you’ll significantly increase your chances of achieving your goals and vision.
The ideal Accountability Partner will meet this criteria:
They are truthful. You need more than a cheerleader, although positive encouragement is important for motivation. You need a person who will call you out when you’re making excuses, offer a different perspective, and hold you accountable to your action plans.
They are willing. You cannot convince someone to be your accountability partner unless they’re up for the job. It takes time to meet with you regularly and they may need to say things to you they aren’t excited to say, taking your relationship into new territory. This role should be taken seriously and only filled by someone who is ready to commit.
You respect them. Your accountability partner might say stuff that you don’t like or don’t want to hear, especially if you are not meeting your goals. You need to respect and trust this person enough to listen and be open to hearing their feedback. Ideally, this person will also have insights that make them particularly well suited for helping you.
An Accountability Partner can be a family member, colleague or close friend as long as they meet the above criteria.
Set up regular check ins with your Accountability Partner in whatever format works best for you. That may be weekly 15 minute Zoom calls or a monthly lunch date. Then, treat these times as sacred.
Step 5: Reflect on Progress and Reward Yourself
Every 60-90 days, it’s time to look back. What actions have you taken? How have you made progress toward your goals? What’s worked well and where might you want to try something new?
You won’t always see progress, but that’s OK. You're more likely to stay motivated when you reflect on and celebrate wins–big and small–and acknowledge struggles with an eye towards modifying your goals or action plans. Use this time to recommit to ongoing goals or create new, more appropriate goals.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for sticking with the plan and any making progress. Treat yourself in whatever way is meaningful to you. (Personally, I treat myself with some extra time out of the office.)
Step 6: Empower Others
As you coach yourself, don’t forget to also support and coach others. Share praise and appreciation with your team members.
Coaching works when you’ve got the right coach and are willing to be coached. When coaching yourself, you need to trust the process, have a strong Accountability Partner, and come to the experience with a curious and optimistic mindset.
You can become the leader you desire.
Join the Modern Manager community and get free access to Jennifer's Six Steps to Becoming Your Own Leadership Coach assessment and your first 2.5 hours free, plus additional guest offers and materials to support your journey to rockstar manager.
This article was based on episode 055 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.
You can also listen to every episode here.
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