Tag Archives: goals

Is a manager the best person to be a mentor?

businessman with mentor/coach

The title above is a query someone posed me in a LinkedIn discussion, which was about an article entitled “Can a manager be a coach?”  This got me thinking generally about coaching and mentoring and who is the best person to provide these services. However, before answering the query, some definitions: what is the difference between coaching and mentoring?  Firstly neither is counselling or therapy.  Both coaching and mentoring are future focused interventions to help […]

When the going gets tough

Earlier this week I ‘appeared’ on the “Just Do It!” show presented by Ali Crook on MarlowFM, a community radio station here in the UK. Ali’s show provides ideas for listeners to live life to the full and I’d be invited on to talk about some of the major challenges I’ve faced in my own life. During the conversation we got onto discussing what happens when you’re trying to achieve that great goal you’ve set, but your motivation levels drop and the progress slows down or comes to a halt. What do you do then? There is a plethora of personal development books out there giving a whole host of methods for achieving your goals, so knowing which methods work and which don’t can be difficult. Thankfully in recent years there has been a lot of psychological research into this area, much of which Professor Richard Wiseman summarises in his book “59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot”. In one of his own studies, involving over 5,000 participants, Wiseman looked at what techniques people used for achieving goals and which generally worked and which didn’t. For example, visualisation in terms of fantasising about how your life will be when you’ve achieved that goal, something widely promoted in self-help books, was seen not to work when used in isolation; and indeed some studies have shown it to be detrimental. However, whilst I’d certainly agree that visualisation alone doesn’t work – achieving goals requires action - I think it’s a useful step to help formulate the goal and to get the unconscious mind to look for the opportunities you need to achieve your goal. So here are six things that the research says you should be doing: • Make a step by step plan. Large goals are good for generating excitement and motivation; however having one big step is usually too big to appear achievable. Plan out some intermediate, stepping-stone goals. Make the steps as small as you personally need them to be to make them achievable. This is something I’ve covered in a previous blog “Taking one step at a time”. • Consider the obstacles. This instinctively seems the wrong thing to do; however the reality is things will get in the way of you achieving your goal. You need to be optimistic in achieving the goal, but at the same time realistic about some of the problems that will occur. As setbacks inevitably occur, instead of just giving up on the whole goal, you simply see it as part of the journey and get on with the task of overcoming them. • Tell other people about your goals. Keeping things to yourself helps ease the fear of failure and makes it too easy to avoid changing your life and drift back into bad habits. So make yourself accountable to others. • Think about the good things that will happen. This is the benefits and rewards you will reap when you achieve your goal. Conversely, the research shows that thinking about the bad things that will occur if you fail is generally not useful. • Reward yourself for progress. This one is missed out by many people. They seem to think they’re only allowed a reward when they achieve the final goal. Not the case. Reward each step; however it does need to be appropriate of course - if you’re trying to lose weight, rewarding yourself with a big restaurant meal is not going to help. • Record progress in a journal or chart. This makes progress to your goal seem more concrete. Expressing progress in writing helps remind you of the positive progress you’re making. Finally, when you find your motivation flagging and procrastination sets in, remember motivation by itself doesn’t achieve a goal, taking action does. If necessary create smaller steps and take even smaller actions. It’s been found that if people can simply work on an activity for a few minutes, they often feel an urge to see it through to completion. Persistence is key; remember ... “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill Mike Jones specialises in helping people to achieve their goals and improve performance. If you would like help to improve your and your team’s performance call him now on +44 (0)1908 509088 or email mike@potentialmatters.co.uk.

Earlier this week I ‘appeared’ on the “Just Do It!” show presented by Ali Crook on MarlowFM, a community radio station here in the UK.  Ali’s show provides ideas for listeners to live life to the full and I’d be invited on to talk about some of the major challenges I’ve faced in my own life.  During the conversation we got onto discussing what happens when you’re trying to achieve that great goal you’ve set, but your motivation levels […]

Are you feeling lucky?

Business woman throwing dice

Would you consider yourself lucky?  Would you like to be luckier than you feel you are?  Then read on. In his book, “The Luck Factor”, Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, looks at the experimental evidence for some people being luckier than others and concludes that people make their own luck.  In one of his own experiments he gave participants a newspaper and asked them to count […]

New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time

Man playing piano

OK, the title of this blog is purposely a bit provocative, but do I really mean New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time? Well in the vast majority of cases … Yes. Most people who set themselves resolutions at this time of year will frame them in a negative way.  It’ll be things like stop smoking, drink less, or give up eating cakes.  Like with any goal, phrasing the outcome in a negative way […]

End of the world? Not for me.

Girl sitting thinking next to Mayan carving

If you’re reading this there is a good chance that the world has not ended today, which is what some say will happen today on the 21st December 2012 according to the Mayan calendar.  Of course some point out the Mayans never predicted what would actually happen when their 5125 year calendar came to an end.  Some say they would have just started again – a new era so to speak. But what if it […]

Letting go of the baby

Baby being handed from one person to another

Owners of small to medium sized businesses often don’t have a clear idea of what will happen with the company when they eventually come to retire or simply want to pursue different interests.  Even when they do, they simply have trouble “letting go of the baby”. Will the company continue?  Is the company in a suitable state to be able to sell it or will it be the case of shutting the door and walking […]

One step at a time

Business man taking small steps

I met someone recently who’d done everything right in terms or setting a goal, making it a big goal to challenge himself and checking all the classic points of it being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely; however he kept failing in his attempts to achieve the goal. The problem was not to do with the goal itself; it was how he was attempting to achieve it.  Setting big goals is good because it stretches […]