November 1, 2011

How coaching gets me where I want to be



I had a meeting with my fitness trainer last week. We didn't work out; in fact, we had lunch. But I didn't need a workout on that particular day. I needed motivation and a new strategy.

My exercise routine has served many functions, including providing fodder for this blog. It helps me clear my head, it exposes me to beautiful Santa Barbara scenery, it helps me maintain a healthy weight and healthy mind, and it feels fantastic! I love working out.

But... I'm in an exercise and diet crisis, a rut of epic proportions. We moved into our new place almost three months ago, and since that time, my routine has been off. I've only been to the stadium three or four times. I do walk to the post office and Trader Joe's from time to time and it's a few miles round trip, up and down some hills. I know it's helping, but it's not enough. Add to that the fact that, since we moved, I've been on a crazy sugar binge, where I'm snacking like never before, and have gone back to old bad habits like eating at night in front of the TV.

There are probably all kinds of reasons for this lax behavior, but the fact remains: I need to DO something.

So I met with Nicole, who put me at ease and gave me the perspective I had been craving (along with the sugar). She pointed out that the long walks up and down hills were good, and that I should keep doing those twice a week. And that I should make Monday a mandatory exercise day, because it starts off the week on the right foot. And that, if I can get in one session at the stadium and the other two long walks, I'd be good.

As for my dietary challenges, she suggested I work on one thing at a time. Don't try to cut back on dairy, eliminate sugar, and stop eating after 7:00 all at once, or I would surely fail from all the pressure. Pick one.

I walked away from our meeting feeling positive, hopeful, and certain that I could do it. And Nicole helped me realize that I was already doing a lot of things right, but I couldn't see it because I was so down on myself for the things I was doing wrong.

I love having a coach! My fitness trainer has been critical to getting me on track, helping me arrange my lifestyle and make the changes I need to improve my health and fitness.

If you need to move forward, face your challenges and improve as a speaker, a coach can help you, too!

A coach gives outside perspective.

You might have fears and concerns about your abilities as a speaker, but a professional coach can cut through the forest and help you see the trees. You may think your voice quivers, or you use your hands too much, or you make funny faces. Your coach will give you the realistic, unbiased view of your presentation habits and style.

A coach gives guidance and support.

A coach helps you see what you're already doing right, find your strengths and then apply them to the problem. As a speaker, you're doing a lot of things right and you have a lot of strengths; a coach can help you appreciate and apply those strengths to your presentations.

A coach is a partner, not a taskmaster.

A coach works with you, your lifestyle, your personality, your strengths and your goals. A speaking coach should encourage (and sometimes prod) you to leave your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals, but should never make unrealistic demands or expect you to adopt behaviors that are not in sync with who you are as a person.

A coach promotes accountability.

Nicole will check in with me and see what my plan is and how it's coming along, which makes me just that much more likely to follow through on what I said I would do. A big part of my coaching process with clients is also accountability. Did they practice as much as we talked about? Did they do the voice exercises? Did they sign up to present a brown bag lunch talk? Without accountability, it's a lot harder to achieve one's goals.

A coach teaches new skills.

If I need to shake up my workout, Nicole has plenty of new moves for me, based on what I want to achieve and what fits my lifestyle and workout habits. My coaching clients also frequently need to learn new skills in order to shake up their presentations. Depending on their needs, I've got plenty of new moves for them.

A coach inspires and motivates.

A coach should be someone who makes you feel good about your progress, whether it's in baby steps or in huge leaps. A coach doesn't berate, belittle or treat you like a child. We're grownups, and we are ultimately responsible for our own learning and growth. How much you choose to do to move forward is up to you, but your coach should make you feel positive and excited about doing the necessary work.

This is why having a fitness coach is important to me, and why my clients hire me as their public speaking coach. What kinds of coaches are helping you stay motivated and accountable?

More motivational blog posts based on my workouts:

You thought you could never do it

Should you trust your inner quitter?

I do and I understand

I do and I understand, Part 2

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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