Consistency is King
"Success doesn't come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently." - Marie Forleo
I've had the pleasure of working with some remarkable people through the years, and I've coached many dreamers who originally came to coaching feeling stuck.
Statistically speaking, feeling stuck is the number one reason people coach with me.
Once we get started, set our agreements, and get to dreaming, then the work begins. We set a plan: a course of action that takes them from dreaming to achieving. With my particular methodology (accountability coaching), we set specific metrics and move forward in the process.
There's work involved -- lots of work, as you expect from a process that is supposed to change one's life. We work on mindset next, dispelling negativity and maximizing their abundant strengths (everyone has plenty of strengths to uncover,especially those who feel like they have very few).
Most people can stay on track and solidify their habits. These habits are, after all, what will set the tone for the rest of their lives. Traction kicks in and, voila! We get this beautiful, self-orchestrated shift. The coachee has done most of the work, of course. I just facilitated it and helped them discover their potential.
I love when that happens. My clients love when that happens, too. And since I work with a lot of coaches, the success stories are that much more powerful. The coaches that I coach pass on their strengths and new-found confidence to their clients. It's a daisy-chain of positive action.
But that's not always the case. It shouldn't be, anyway. Life isn't that perfect and neat. Sometimes, clients have a difficult path ahead of them.
During a recent workshop I put on for coaches, we had hot seat topics. One coach spoke about a client who couldn't put their rubber to the road. Then when they could apply themselves, they would spin in place and lose steam again, starting from square one.
Other coaches in the room nodded in agreement. All of us have had clients suffer from the same issue.
The coach dug deeper until he struck the root of the problem: his client had no consistency. Again, most of the coaches nodded.
So I brought up something I'd learned over the years -- something we all have to be mindful of.
It's not that people who can't get motivated lack consistency; they're often just consistently inconsistent. I invited all the coaches in the room to give me examples of consistent inconsistently. Unsurprisingly, I got a lot of hand-raises and chime-ins. A lot of the answers and examples were strikingly similar. That must mean that we need to be looking out for this pattern in our coaching practice.
With as sick as it sounds, there are people who become expert self-sabotage artists. They don't mean to do it, but their subconscious guides them to the perfect negative resolution every time.Talk about consistency.
Self saboteurs are their own worst enemy,but most don't realize it.
As coaches, we need to develop our sense of when this pattern is booting up. Then we need to pause with our clients and explore what's happening. 99.99% of the time, self-sabotage is a mindset issue. Mindset issues need to be explored before you go back into goals and action-focused coaching.
Mindset issues will have different origins and incarnations for different people, but there are a few general issues you ought to look at to cross off the checklist. Here are a few:
Clarity:How much clarity do they have on what they want to accomplish? How sure are they that their goal is something they REALLY want to achieve?
I've seen it often enough -- a client hesitates on a goal not because they lack the skill or the courage, but because it's not what they actually want. It's what they feel they should do or what's been ingrained in their head from family or peers.
Explore their clarity and read between the lines when they're talking about big goals and secondary goals.
Organization:Many times, the lack of consistency is really more a lack of organization. Though we may feel confident that we have everything in place in our heads, things can get overwhelming very fast. Get your clients to write everything out. Offer them mind-mapping if visualization is more their style and see what comes up.
For every large circle in their mind map, create a list of tasks and break everything down into bite-sized pieces. Once they have a bird's eye view, they can prioritize and see what's working, what’s not working, what’s missing and what needs to change. This will streamline your process significantly.
Vision:If they don't already have a vision board or haven’t revamped it in a while, help them make a new one altogether. This will really help with the clarity part and get them refocused on what they want. You can reinvigorate their motivation by reminding them of what they're working toward.
Time Management:Poor time management is another offender in the war against consistency. Are your clients just rusty with a calendar? Would a day-planner or even a phone app help them focus their time in the right places?
Perhaps they need strict borders in their lives -- maybe you can suggest time-blocking until they've set new habits. Taking control of their time can be extremely empowering.
Accountability:This is all you.If you're coaching, you likely have an accountability tracking system in place. But if you don't have something that you and your clients can chart together,this is a huge deal and you should implement something right way.
Holding them accountable from session to session is one thing, but keeping them on the hook through smaller metrics and micro-goals can keep the momentum going throughout their day-to-day.