Last Autumn I was interviewed by Nick Bolton, and I talked about how I had approached my training to get my coaching business started. I shared my approach, which was to pair my months of training with developing self-care strategies and using a mentor to develop my business vision. I wanted to finish my training with a clear idea of how I was going to start my business, since this was a complete career change for me. I had spent time interviewing my target market, and I had some clear ideas about my probable niche. I was ready to build a website, I was charging for my coaching, and I was ready to start networking and marketing myself.
Something really stood out for me during that recorded interview. Despite my methodical approach, I was really stumped when he asked me about what my vision was for the next six to twelve months. I was only just graduating, and I still felt quite unsure about what kind of coach I was. I felt justified in arguing that my next few months would be spent exploring group coaching and coaching in different settings, to explore what worked and what didn’t.
I have been reflecting on why I felt so stumped by the question, and I realise that despite my careful preparations there was a part of me that was holding back “because I didn’t feel ready”. When I think about it now, my vision has always been the same, so not talking about my vision is just a form of resistance. I was telling myself that I was just “living in the moment” and exploring the possibilities, but really I was holding back from committing to what my coaching could be!
Now, a few months further into my new life, I am working to tackle my lack of clarity. I’m asking myself the questions:
Why am I a coach? What do I believe in?
What vision am I working towards?
What will my business look like in 1 year and 3 years? (I’m not quite ready for 5 years!)
I realise I have grown as a coach in the past 3 months, so I recognise that my goals may change. But I am now certain that if I don’t set really clear goals for my business I will drift through the next 12 months only achieving a small percentage of my potential, and not knowing what to focus on.
Interestingly when I considered why I am a coach, I realised that my vision is really clear: I want to live in a more compassionate world. A world where men and women are not shackled by self-doubt, and who don’t feel the need to criticise and compare, but who know their own worth and can reach their potential. A world where success is measured by happiness and giving, rather than by what we can get back. I struggled for many years with self-doubt and self-criticism, and I wasted a lot of energy feeling “not good enough” despite being a high functioning doctor.
I was developing compassion-fatigue – always giving out support, but never giving any back to myself. I found a way to completely change my thinking, and to be my own best friend, and through that, I find I am more gentle and compassionate with others too. Self-compassion may sound like a selfish act, but the positive rewards for society are immeasurable. Through my work as a coach, I can empower others to be their own best friend, to challenge their own thinking, to beat self-criticism and self-sabotage, and in turn to bring more compassion into the world.
Now I am setting my goals, I realise that I work best with daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals as well as my 1 year and 3-year aspirations. I have never been this structured before, but in setting clear goals I am more productive and focused. I think it also helps reduce anxiety about what I “should be doing” – a legacy of having previously been employed.
I’m grateful that I made the video with Nick. It helped me celebrate how much I’d achieved, and his questions revealed to me my next lesson: clearly stating my goals helps me to achieve my goals!