“A program of self-recognition and self-change “reads easy and does hard.” Many failures come from trying to do too much too fast – and from expecting results overnight.” – One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
Over the course of my career, I’ve attended many training sessions and motivational seminars. I’ve read countless self-help books and training manuals written by some pretty brilliant people. Nearly all of them were valuable on some level. I’d take away a morsel of information from some or an insight on how I do things from another. There were even times I walked away with a very detailed process that promised to enhance the capability and effectiveness of professionals who used it. Did those processes work? I imagine they did. Did those processes work for me? Nope. Within a few days of attending the seminar, I was back to doing things the way I’d always done them. I can’t say that I ever applied all the concepts I learned from attending a training session or from reading a book. A speaker I once heard described this phenomenon by saying, “Things lose their shine with me real quick!”
Think of the last time you attended a training session. You learned something that you just knew would make you a bigger success or better at whatever it is you do. Has your behavior changed significantly since that seminar? Do your actions reflect what you learned? Have you assimilated that new skill or knowledge into your life or your work? If you’re like the majority of successful business professionals, the answer is most likely, “no.” So, how do we justify our failure to implement? We blame the training session. The process doesn’t work. Or the instructor didn’t know what he was talking about.
But was it the process or the method that didn’t work? Was the book’s advice bad or the teacher’s approach flawed?
I don’t think so. I believe what didn’t work was “ME!” I failed to implement because I didn’t have an implementation strategy. I didn’t have a process in place that would take what I had learned and transfer it into meaningful action. I am simply not able to change my behavior (and thinking) without outside help. If I could have – I would have. So, what outside help can I employ to apply what I learn so I change my behavior and improve my results? A coach can help.
A simple coaching process promotes awareness of how ‘who I am’ is not in sync with the concepts that are introduced. The actual coaching session provides a private and safe place to expose this gap so a person can come to a place of acceptance of what is – without judgment, remorse, or shame. In accepting this current reality, an individual can become open to possibilities for change and willing to move toward action. This critical phase of development cannot happen in the public, group setting. Would you be willing to expose intimate details about what is blocking you from success within a group?
It’s not always easy for high-achieving, successful professionals to admit their faults or deficiencies…even in private, yet in doing so, they find the humility to move toward the next stage of the growth process called action. The action phase of the growth process is typically the primary focus of most training sessions and seminars and books. Participants learn the Top Ten Ways to achieve this goal, or the Five Keys to Success in that endeavor. And the information shared is often valuable. The advice is usually sound. But without adherence to a process of growth, the lists of action items promoted by seminar facilitators, motivational speakers and self-help book authors, get filed away in an executive’s ever-expanding collection of training binders that line the shelves in their offices.
Have you gone to a seminar recently that inspired you? Have you read a book whose principles made sense to you? Would you like to make what you’ve learned in a training event actually stick?
Consider investing in a coach. A very wise person once said, “Faith without works is dead.” Likewise, knowledge without application is useless.