- Improvement takes practice
- Experience isn't practice
- Practice takes skill
- "Self-coaching" is a practice program
- ...Designed for the busy manager
The "self-coaching" practice program is based on 6 routine behaviors -
- INFORMAL LEARNING - acquiring knowledge in the normal course of work
- MENTAL MODELING - developing the right mindset (aka "mental picture")
- CONSTRUCTIVE THINKING - choosing your most useful thoughts
- VISUALIZATION - mentally rehearsing your behaviors
- PURPOSEFUL PRACTICE - improving the new behaviors
- SELF-REFLECTION - keeping in the right frame of mind
The goal is to activate learning opportunities as part of your normal routine. 80% of adult learning is informal (Cerasoli, et al 2018). Experience is the best teacher, but you have to be intentional about your learning.
- Elevate - set your sights on higher personal standards
- Watch & listen - study those performing to those standards
- Experiment - try new approaches
- Trial & error - grow by doing, experiencing and even failing
- Collaborate - take all you can from co-workers
Mental models allow you to process a large amount of information quickly, and lead to faster, more accurate decisions. They also improve memory, pattern recognition and problem solving.
- Remember - identify the beliefs and useful thoughts that you want guiding your behavior
- Anticipate - set realistic expectations
- Plan - develop "if/then" contingencies for anticipated challenges
- Repeat - identify the useful behaviors you want to become routine
You process thousands of thoughts daily, and 95% of thinking is sub-conscious (Zaltman, 2003). Thoughts are rational, emotional or habitual. Your habitual brain works 20x faster than your rational brain and 4x faster than your emotional brain. (Peters, 2012). When you don't like how you're feeling, you collect your thoughts, consider the source (rational, emotional or habitual), and choose your most useful thoughts.
Visualization is deliberate practice to train your mind. You rehearse the Mental Models you've created.
- Situation - visualize the challenge ahead, and how you want to handle. When doing so, think in the 3rd person (he/she) vs. 1st person (I/my).
- Outcome - focus on the intended result. Don't choose outcomes that you're confident in achieving. Choose situations and outcomes that are outside your comfort zone.
- Challenge - use your Mental Model to recall realistic expectations. Visualize the obstacles you anticipate. How do they make you feel? What are your initial, emotional responses?
- Plans - visualize yourself using the "if/then" contingencies stored in your Mental Model.
- Process - mentally rehearse the habits and routines you want to repeat.
- Outcome - envision the end result. What have you gained? How do you feel? What's next?
The way you practice is more important than the time you spend practicing (Ericsson, 2016). Growth happens outside your comfort zone. That's why you practice things outside your comfort zone. You have to test yourself.
- Focus - pick one specific skill you need to improve
- Goals - set a specific practice goal
- Feedback - find ways to collect real time feedback
Self-awareness, control, motivation and confidence all begin w/self-reflection.
- Mindfulness - you don't have to meditate to practice mindfulness, you just have to avoid mental time travel. What happened in the past and what might happen in the future aren't as important as this very moment.
- Gratitude - it's easy to focus on the negative, so make a habit to look for the good stuff in your life.
- Empathy - it helps to imagine yourself in someone else's shoes, and you'll understand them (and yourself) better.
- Perspective - mindfulness, gratitude and empathy will improve your ability to perceive the world around you in a more realistic and useful way.
- Values - with the proper perspective, the important things in life, business and relationships becomes much clearer.
- Purpose - values give you purpose, motivation and self-worth.