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Top 10 professional life coaching myths

Here is a great article on coaching I found and thought I would share with everyone.  A lot of people I run into have questions about coaching this is a great source of information as shows how valuable it can be for people seeking develop both personally or professionally.  “Wellness programs have been shown to provide approximately a 300% return on investment (ROI). In other words, companies who spend $1 in a wellness program (e.g., exercise clubs, personal trainers, smoking cessation workshops) earn $3 as a result of decreased turnover, fewer sick days, reduced health insurance costs, etc. It’s no wonder wellness programs have experienced such tremendous growth — it makes financial sense.”


Let’s talk about setting goals as it applies to professional development.  Setting goals is like having the light at the end of a tunnel.  They give you a target to aim for.  Once you have hit your target you can celebrate your successes.  I’ll break down the most effective way to set a goal with what is called a SMART goal. 

SMART Goals are:

Specific – As in what is the specific action.

Measurable – Can it be measured? Completed a self-study coarse? Took a test? Got certified in something etc.

Aligned – Is it relevant to what you want to achieve?

Realistic – Is it feasible? It’s great to have ambitious goals but make sure they are something that you can manage and then celebrate when you achieve them.

Time Bound – Set an end date.  For example I will have read my book by the end of the month.

In order to set a goal it is helpful to take inventory of one’s self and really know one’s self.  What is it that makes you want to achieve this? Is it to be financially secure? Is it to gain credibility or additional knowledge in a particular field? Or is it to accomplish something you’ve wanted for years and you have yet to do it? It’s about one’s mindset.  Where are you right now mentally? While you’re reading this blog what else is going on in your head? If you’re like me you have a lot of different thoughts and ideas racing around all at the same time.  Sometimes you just need to slow the >insert expletive here< down, clear your thoughts.  What does success look like to you? An exercise you can try is to make a success collage. Grab images from magazines or whatever you have available and select the images that represent your goal or the success of that goal.  What do you see? What stands out to you? Sometimes having this visual representation in front of you can bring some clarity to what you need to look at closer. What is your short-term goal? What is your long-term goal?  If your goal is a big one try breaking it down in parts or different stages. 

What are your relevant skills that you can apply to reach you goal?  If your goal is to go into sales, can you sell? If your goal is design clothing, do you know graphic design? Be optimistic what are you good at? What are you strengths?

If your goal is land a position in a certain industry, what is going on in that particular industry now? If it is company specific, research the company.  Have they just had a lay off or are they hiring? Do you know how well they are performing? Did you research the company? Do your homework: Google them, follow them on Twitter, check them out on LinkedIn.

What is your financial plan? How long do you have to meet your goal? Do you have the financial resources to meet the goal? If you’re making a transition in to a new industry it’s a good rule of thumb to have at least 6 months of salary saved in order to give you time unless you have other financial resources available.

Learn to be patient.   One must be tolerant so as not to get frustrated and feel defeated.   Stick to your plan.  For every door that closes another one opens.

Have a support system.  Look to your friends and family. Let them know what you are doing.  Even have someone to keep you accountable and on track of your goal. Check in with them or give them a status of where you are in achieving what you set out to do.  Having someone to keep you accountable is a very good way to keep you on track.  I ran a marathon once.  It took 6 months of training and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  If I were in it alone I would have never finished the race.  I had a team to keep me getting up at ungodly hours in the morning to train and keep me training.  We were in it together.  Even during the race I had friends that would not let me give up no matter how bad the pain got.  They kept me on target, they wouldn’t let me quit, and I finished that marathon.  It was difficult, painful, and took over 6 months to do it but now I can say I did it and I have my medal to show for it.  Having a support system to keep you accountable is very helpful and they can give you feedback if they know if they know what you are trying to achieve they can even help introduce you to other people who can help you.  This can be key. I’ll talk more about this “hidden job market” later.


Emotional Intelligence

I figure by now everyone has a list of resolutions in front of them… What ever they may be don’t worry,  you don’t have to start them all at the same time.  I have many myself and for most people these resolutions boil down to helping you become the best self you can be. You want to take positive and proactive steps to becoming your best self.  That is why you’re here.  I want to start the year on the topic of Emotional Intelligence.  “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotion as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence. “ – Robert K. Cooper and Ayman Sawaf, Executive EQ

Let me start with a story I used to open a speech I gave at a dinner event for a nonprofit here in Los Angeles.
A man went to buy an expensive talking parrot from a pet store one day.  He paid $1,000 for this special talking parrot.  When he got it home the parrot started talking but the words that cam out of its mouth were all insults and curse words directed at the man.  Them man politely ask the parrot to stop but the parrot persisted.  The man asked again to please stop but the parrot got louder.  The man, noticeably getting agitated told the parrot to stop cursing.  The parrot, getting even louder continued and started even making up curse words that don’t even exist.  Finally the man loosing all his patience grabbed the parrot rom its cage, stomped over to the freezer and opened the door pushed aside the ice cube tray and frozen chicken and placed the parrot in the freezer and slammed the door.  The parrot continued to squawk and curse loudly and then suddenly it became silent.  The man, pleased with the result walked over to the freezer and opened the door.  The parrot slowly walked out up the man’s arm and began to speak: “I’m sorry sir, we seem to have gotten of on the wrong foot.  I apologize if my language offended you.  I want you to know I deeply regret it and I have the utmost respect for you.”  The man thought to himself: “this is more like it!” The parrot spoke again: “I just have one question: What did the Chicken do?”
What this story satirically illustrates is the realty that some people have when communicating with others.   They don’t recognize the social cues given to them when engaging with each other.  Someone with a high level of Emotional Intelligence or “EQ” (think IQ) can use empathy to read others’ emotions without them having to tell them what they are feeling.  This social intelligence is our ability to monitor our own and others’ emotions.   When we have achieved this we can then differentiate among these emotions and use the information to guide our thinking, actions, and responses.  Someone with a high level of EQ will effectively be able to respond to tough questions or difficult people rather than react.
Think of our brain in three parts.  There is the Cerebrum, (the part that make us human) the Limbic system, (the source of our emotional responses) and the Brainstem Medulla (our first brains).   Our Cerebrum is the part of the brain that make us human.  This part of the brain deals with decision-making, problem solving, vision, hearing memory, and language.  The Limbic System – The processor of many of our emotional reactions, especially our life sustaining ones, which have to do with aggression. Incoming cognitions arrive here first and if the emotions are over whelming, go no further.  The oldest part of the brain is the Brainstem Medulla – This is located at the top of our spine and virtually identical to the brain of a reptile. It governs consciousness, breathing, and heart rate.   So imagine you’re walking through your home at night in the dark and you stub your toe on a table or you step on a LEGO with your bare feet.  The first part of your brain that triggers is the Limbic system when wen you yell out load at the pain.  The part of the brain that allows you to reason and not kick the table or through the LEGOs out the window is the Cerebrum.   It keeps our emotions in check.  It allows us to make decisions and not turn into a angry rage monster for every time we’re in pain.
EQ has four competencies. 
Self-Awareness -The ability to recognize your emotions as they happen. 
Self-Management – The ability to manage and productively harness you emotions and not let them control you. 
Social Awareness – The ability to read the emotional state o others. 
Relationship Management – The ability to handle interpersonal relationships. 
To recognize your feelings as they occur is the fundamental key to EQ.  Once you’ve got this you’ll be able to recognize your own emotions and understand the causes of your feelings. 
Let’s take on our resolutions with enthusiasm! I’m managing one of mine right now as I write.  
Make it a great day.