A couple of weeks ago, I had a coaching session with a very experienced executive business Coach which was exhilarating, challenging and conscious shaking, I was really challenged – in a good way both myself (and my ego). As it was a while since I’ve had some coaching, I was genuinely keen to find out where my blocks were and how I can move forward. It was a great coaching session, he asked me to provide a verbal overview of what I did and where I had the potential to flourish and, most importantly, what I felt was getting in the way.
This was sounding really good. Over the years working self-employed, I struggle prioritising what is important, learning new stuff, or doing those tasks that really don’t excite or energise me including, the latest gizmo on Social Media, IT – mobile & tablet, book-keeping, accounts blah, blah… Sometimes I feel that I am being pulled in all directions, but in reality these are the things that get in the way of the one thing that I really enjoy doing – Selling activities. So what made this session challenging and conscious shaking? It was that last question he asked me and he said – “before we wrap up this session, I want to ask you this – who grounds you or holds you accountable” That question caught me completely by surprise.
My ongoing challenge and goal is to find more consistent time doing sales activities to sustain and grow my business, my revelation was that I had nobody to hold me accountable for the most valuable and important part of my business. I was hooked…was it really a lack of accountability that has made me into a serial procrastinator?
During my coaching training a large part of the Coach training is doing coaching practice as well as providing evidence of coaching others and being coached. Looking back, that was the most productive period of my life, I set and achieved some life changing goals and really moved forward and I can put that down to being held accountable in a supportive way.
This reminded me of a small owner managed business I worked with a couple of years ago. The owner wanted me to motivate and improve his small sales team of 4, bring some experience and implement some structure to their sales prospecting activities. Eventually the real goal became clear, they each needed to generate and attend 3 meetings per week and my job was to hold each of them accountable. What stopped them – they were all (in their own way) procrastinators and being held accountable, again in a supportive way, made a huge difference to all of their sales prospecting activities and ultimately to their sales.
To gain another perspective for this Blog, I asked my good friend Catherine Dudmesh who works as a Strengths & Leadership Coach, about how she approaches accountability issues when coaching senior managers or business leaders; she said that “leaders with no accountability can foster procrastination and in action. Coaching can help to reflect underlying beliefs and thinking, that block forward momentum”, she went on to add that “sometimes it is lack of confidence or lack of know-how or faulty thinking that is getting in the way”
It was the last sentence that resonated with me, definitely the lack of know-how and faulty thinking, that negative chatter that stops you from just doing it. Sometimes, I feel it is the overwhelmingness of everything I have to do and perhaps a symptom of the self-employed or people who work alone. Catherine finished by supporting that statement and added “Accountability with support is what a coach brings – to challenge procrastination and inaction, a good coach will also help you to reflect on the underlying beliefs and thinking that are blocking forward momentum”.
Hurrah, I’m saved, that’s such a relief… Now where’s the number of that Coach. Watch out World!
Catherine Dudmesh is a Director of The Strengths People a management development consultancy that focuses on developing the strengths of people and teams in the workplace. http://www.strengthspeople.com/