I have been interested in personal development for many years and have read a great number of books on the subject. My favourite authors include Stephen Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Jack Canfield (The Success Principles and Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Anthony Robbins (Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within).
In February 2006 I attended the Anthony Robbins four-day Unleash the Power Within event in London. An incredible experience which included me walking across glowing hot coals on the very first day – a truly awesome experience.
Once I’d had the idea for my business Mind Meadow I felt that I needed to prove to myself that I was really serious about it so I searched the Internet for potential courses to develop my skills. So it was that in November 2006 that I gained a Certificate Personal Performance Coaching, an accredited course from the Coaching Academy.
A few weeks later I was able to use the skills from the course, quite by accident, while in an online chat with a friend who is an aspiring author.
What follows is a MSN messenger conversation where I went through basic coaching procedure to help my friend gain some focus for her new writing project. It clearly demonstrates the benefits of asking the right questions, NOT giving advice and providing a clear target and deadline for a particular goal.
It is reproduced with permission and includes spelling mistakes to demonstarte the spontaneity of the conversation at the time.
Jez: How’s the book going?
Pal: ok ish. I’ve just finished work and I’m taking a quick look at it
Pal: printed something off 1st 50 pages. I’ll read it tonight to see if it still amkes sense
Pal: it would be ok if I didn’t have to go out to work!!!!
Pal: I need to have time and motivation!
Jez: Why do you write?
Pal: I enjoy it
Pal: but I know now I have a dead line before I didn’t
Jez: Why the problem with motivation then?
Pal: well space is one problem
Pal: I can only get on the pc when my husband is out….he works from home in the office
Pal: so sometimes I think is it worth making a start only for Neil to come home and I have to get off the pc
Pal: we have a different pc for his work but the office is so small I can’t get in ant the same time……………
Jez: OK, bear with me with this…
Jez: On a course recently they told me this acronym
Jez: G – Your GOAL
Jez: R- REASONS for NOT achieving it already
Jez: O – OPPORTUNITIES for achieving it now
Jez: W – WHEN are you going to do it – Be specific
Jez: Think of 3 things you can do to get more PC time
Jez: It will come but you need to have an open mind
Pal: Later the kids will all be in fighting over it…………………….I need a laptop
Pal: I think also I know I’ve got this deadline…..it seems more like WORK if you know what I mean
Jez: Don’t think of reasons why you can’t but what you can do
Pal: I must not let it take away the enjoyment out of my writing
Jez: Don’t think of it as work if you enjoy it
Jez: You have an opportunity to do something you love – not many people do that
Pal: I ‘m also a bit worried that the editor won’t like my additions……………
Pal: then I’ll have to rewrite
Jez: Don’t worry about things you have no control over
Jez: You are making additions for the right reasons
Jez: You are doing them because you believe they are correct
Pal: true whose to say my aditions won’t be loved by thousands
Pal: by then won’t I get too cocky if I believe all this……..doesn’t pride happen before a fall
Jez: They say that but it’s belief that gets you where you want to go in life
Jez: If we all worried what might go wrong we’d never do anything
Pal: I know. I do believe that
Pal: but sometimes you just can’t help doubting yourself
Jez: If you feel comfortable you are not challenged so you want to feel a little uncomfortable so that you know you are moving forward
Jez: Comfortable is safe but is it fulfilling?
Pal: I know trouble is I like feeling comfortable
Pal: but you’re right
Jez: Do you want to be a writer full time?
Jez: OK, what can you do to make that a reality?
Pal: earn enough to give up my job???
Jez: How will you do that?
Pal: no really finish my manuscript and get my first novel in print
Jez: How are you going to make that happen?
Jez: And when?
Jez: Be specific
Pal: well reach my deadline!!!of end March/April
Jez: Not specific enough!
Jez: When will you complete the manuscript!
Pal: but just cos I’ts in print doesn’t mean it will sell well enough to make money
Jez: Is that important in terms of writing the manuscript?
Pal: well I said I had to re vamp up to page 50 today and I have. I want to revamp the rest by end of Jan
Pal: no it’s no important in terms of writing this
Jez: Say EXACTLY what you want to do and by when SPECIFICALLY
Pal: revamp the lot by 30th Jan
Jez: What time
Jez: OK you have something to focus on
Pal: I will do that I know…….(I have to)
Pal: shall I buy a laptop to succeed
Jez: Not because you have to but because you WANT to
Pal: I’ll tell Neil my motivational coach said it would help me acive my goal
Jez: You do that 🙂
Jez: If you want to do it and he respects your ambition you should at least discuss it
Pal: we have been discussing it but…………..
Pal: I want to go on holiday
Jez: What’s more important to you?
Jez: Genuine question
Pal: well I feel I can still do the writing even though it would be easier space wise with a lap top and a holiday would be for all the family
Jez: OK, but remember that you need to look for ways to make things happen rather than reasons not to.
Jez: Only concentrate on what you can control
Pal: that’s good advice
Jez: Yours readers may love it or hate it but you can’t do anything about it other than do the best you can with your writing
Jez: On the coaching course we were told not to give advice but to ask questions
Jez: The idea is to get the person to answer their own questions
Jez: I could say what I’d do in your situation but that’s not necessarily right for you
Jez: Only you know what is best for you
Two weeks later I received the following email.
Just wanted to let you know, I’d set the date of 30.01.07 at 6pm to complete the first re vamp of my book……………….guess what I complete it 30.01.07 4pm!!!
Thanks for that.
I felt that I got as much out of this experience as she did – it was very uplifting and fulfilling and encourages me to take these ideas and run with them.