Self-coaching is necessary because today’s organizational world is changing so fast that organizations frequently don’t know what their key products and services - and sometimes even their core business - will look like two or three years from now. So how can they know how many people they will need and what skills those people will need to have? Add to that the fact that people are changing jobs these days with increasing frequency and it simply makes no economic sense for organizations to assume the role of coach and mentor for their employees.

The Seven Keys to
Effective Self-Coaching

Is self-coaching as effective as working with a professional career coach? I would argue that it is because you know your personality, your corporate culture and the direction you want your career to take. Self-coaching allows you to adapt to change in your organization that a professional coach would be unable to anticipate. Your self-coaching action plan has that flexibility built in.

Set your goals and be sure they are realistic. Although you may deserve it, your next step may not be the president’s corner office.

Compile an inventory of your skills, experiences and successes (your resume) to be sure you have the ones you need to take your next step.

Develop an action plan.

  • Clearly state your goal.
  • Write out the organization’s mission and list its business objectives.
  • Itemize your skills and successes, matching them with the organization’s mission and business objectives.
  • Check the timing to be sure it’s realistic for implementing your goals.
  • Allow for changes on the horizon. They always happen!
  • Talk to a few people you trust (particularly your mentor) and conduct a reality check on your plan.

You will need self-confidence and it will be there if you have the following inner skills:

  • The willingness to accept responsibility for your own success
  • The character to keep agreements with yourself and others - the heart of your business reputation
  • The belief that you live and work by choice not chance
  • The persistence to achieve your personal best

Fine tune your people skills. “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” (John Hancock)

Become an empathetic person. Understand the worlds other people live in and be able to communicate that understanding. The best way to become more empathetic is to develop your listening skills.

  • Pay attention when people speak to you
  • Encourage people to talk to you
  • Paraphrase what they’ve said
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Be quiet!

Always have a back-up plan. Assume there will be changes! Select the most likely scenario(s), determine how it will impact you, and develop your Plan B accordingly.

Practice Self-Management. To all top performers, self-management means “managing not only your work but your relationships with people, your career and your career assets over time.” All top performers know how to get ahead of the game while average performers wait for the game to come to them. Top performers know they are expected to manage time and projects well – it’s part of their jobs.

Self-management skills include:

  1. Understanding your organization, its culture and mission – the “big picture”. How?

    • Learn about the organization’s history, how and why it started, and its significant milestones. Is it privately or publicly held?

    • Learn about the people at the top, their management styles, where else they’ve been and the people who surround them.

    • Where is your organization headed in the short- and long-term? Is major growth occurring in the existing business? Is new business being developed? How far and how fast are these developments occurring? Is the organization a merger or takeover target? Who are your major competitors? Who are your major customers? Is your overall industry expanding or contracting.

  2. Gather this information by:

    • Reading annual reports

    • Reviewing your organization’s web site

    • Asking questions of people “in the know"

    • Observe what books are being read and displayed by senior managers. That way you can understand whose work they respect and what direction they may be headed in. Then read a couple of those books.

    • Don’t forget: there’s valuable information in the fact that you can’t find answers to some questions.

  3. Once you have a picture of your organization’s culture, mission and larger purpose, align yourself with its mission so you contribute more directly to this larger purpose. How do you align yourself?

    • Start by understanding who you are and how you work best. (Trying to change who you are almost never works.) It’s more important to recognize how you work and convert that to your advantage.

    • Identify where your skills best contribute to the organization’s mission.

    • Talk to highly successful people within the organization and apply their techniques to your situation.

Final Thoughts on Self-Coaching

Self-coaching is about accepting responsibility for your career, the decisions you make, the outcomes of those decisions and how you handle the outcomes. The business world today is moving very fast and it is expensive to find a professional to coach you.

Don’t sit back and wait for your organization to take you by the hand and provide you with a successful career. Coach yourself and you’ll have one!