If you ever played sport and had a coach, you may remember their comments on gameplay, timing and vision; all of which are needed for improving performance to ultimately win the game.

In my experience as a World Champion Player and Coach these three aspects have been useful in helping business owners understand their challenges and opportunities for improvement.

A coach plays two roles: A mirror and a guide. Nudging you in the right direction and keeping you honest. Using game-play questions that help you focus on what you envisioned about what your business or sporting goal would look like and using the right time to grow your business through creating the right internal framework and systems to achieve the vision.

In these COVID times there is another way to improve youself and your business. While coaching and mentor-ship is a powerful tool, the truth is, it is not always at our disposal. Obstacles, challenges, and daily fires can crop up at any time. In these situations, how do you reflect and navigate? An empowering skill that you can benefit from is self-coaching.

Being coached is an incredible journey, one that we must experience for ourselves. Being coached can also include coaching yourself, also known as, self-coaching. Self-coaching is the ability to look inward, be objective and direct your own learning, thoughts, and actions. It is a great way to direct your own life, stay on track with your goals and commit to life-long learning. More importantly, it is always at your disposal which makes problem-solving and growing an ongoing process without scheduling hassles and wait-listing.

Prior to you hitting the self-coaching gym: You need the right tools and techniques. But a per-requisite to start on this self-coaching journey is the right mindset.
– You must acknowledge that whilst you are awesome, you are also a work in progress. There is always room to improve!
– You must be vulnerable and honest with yourself whilst no-one is looking
– You must be committed to being uncomfortable
– Like most things, it takes committed action and discipline

DISCLAIMER: In no way am I endorsing this to be a substitute for coaching and mentorship. These still serve as powerful motivators to improve you and your business. Think of it as an addition to when outside coaching is not available.

Warm-up & Stretch To get started, here is a simple 5 step process:

  1. Pick an area of business or personal growth and a goal that you have not hit or not acted on
  2. Acknowledge that there is nothing wrong (move away from the blame game and being harsh on yourself). Acknowledge that the goal was not met either because there was something missing or something that was holding you back
    Keep away from negative monologues with yourself.
  3. Identifying limiting beliefs: These are thoughts, beliefs, and stories that hold us back. Mostly operating at a subconscious level, these beliefs keep us in the “safe zone” and avoid us from breaking away and taking risks. When these subconscious thoughts operate deep down, our goal attainment abilities are made so much harder to achieve. You know there is a limiting factor at play when you find yourself saying “I told you so” or “I knew it”. Rich Litvin introduced us to the power of limiting beliefs, and ever since, it has been a core component of how we operate and coach. We all have these beliefs that we build over time or are conditioned into, again, nothing wrong with it. Identifying it is the first step! A fitness example, “I have the tummy genes” or “I’m just not a sporty person” are excuses that hold you back from committing to breakthroughs in fitness. With money, “I am just not good with money matters” or “revenue won’t get me social standing” distort your orientation towards monetary gains. As entrepreneurs, “I am too young”, “I can scale when I have capital” hold entrepreneurs back from starting and growing.
  4. Get uncomfortable: To unearth these deep-rooted restricting issues, start by asking yourself the toughest question – “WHAT’S STOPPING ME” to deconstruct your action or inaction. Do not stop at one, ask multiple rounds of the what is stopping question and dig deep. The objective is to unearth an insight. The objective is also to get uncomfortable because you caught the sneaky thought that was restraining you. Here is a simple example. Let us say that I was to prepare a presentation in a week when I had 5 full days of training to plan and execute. Here is how I would coach myself:Coach Me: “What stopped me from doing the presentation this week?”
    Me: “Training took up most of my time!” Coach Me: “What stopped me from making time and pre-planning time for the presentation?”
    Me: “Training was a priority; I did not want to be distracted!” Coach Me: “What stopped me from getting the presentation out of the way at the start of the week?”
    Me: “I can’t do strategy and delivery work at the same time during delivery intensive weeks.” The insight I get is that the limiting belief I am operating with is that “I have limited capacity”, or my workdays “cannot entail both delivery and strategy”.  Also, a presentation takes “plenty of time”, could be an excuse you use.
  5. Breaking away: Think of these negative thoughts like weights on your back as you run on a treadmill. Unfortunately, with these thoughts, you cannot just get rid of them. You must keep a check on them and find a way to counter them and gradually break away. The best way to do this is by :
    A. finding accountability, the right kind – Ask a team member or a partner to call you out on it, gently, without being harsh, in ways that work for you.
    B. Pre-empt and plan: Think on ways to counter this thought from stopping you. Perhaps do the opposite of what this thought would have you do. For example, if my issue was that I could only do this or that, I would plan in advance to make sure that I make slots for both and have someone or something ensure that I do both! You can always outsmart yourself if you are aware!
  6. Commit and repeat: Not every solution will work, it will take time and multiple experiments to find the right solution that works for you.  Eventually you will see results in how you operate, as you catch those negative thoughts and take on the challenge of letting loose. In conclusion, you are your biggest asset and investment.