Personal Development

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“The Knowing – Doing Gap”

In addition to being the title of a 2000 bestseller by Harvard Business School Press, The Knowing – Doing Gap is a common theme among my clients. When people are successful and goal-oriented, they often know exactly what needs to be done. They are aware of the possible solutions and outcomes. What keep them from implementing these solutions? The Knowing-Doing Gap describes the distance between what we know and the action that is indicated.

One way to address the gap is through understanding of our motivations. What motivates you to take any action? What is the fuel for the fire?

Here’s a list of possible motivators and a general description. The trick is to identify which of the motivators work best for you and then to focus yourself on them.

  1. HONOR – the core of yourself
  2. INTEGRITY –What you stand on
  3. STYLE – How well you self-express
  4. CARING – How well you treat others
  5. EFFECTIVENESS – How smart you operate
  6. SELF – How you feel within
  7. OPENESS – How you relate with the world
  8. DELIVERY – How well you perform
  9. LIFE SKILLS – Your personal tools
  10. COMMUNICATION – How well you come across

Adapted from Thomas Leonard, Coach U

These are some of the Motivators that can help you close the Knowing – Doing Gap. What are you willing to change? The possibilities are endless!

“Finding A Mentor”

Successful executives report and research confirms:

Mentoring makes a positive difference in one’s career. Few people doubt this; rather, many seek a mentoring relationship and often have trouble getting one. Mentors can be helpful in all stages of a career. An individual will need different types of mentors for different career stages. Also consider that you may benefit from having multiple mentors.

Finding a mentor can be a challenge. The critical first step is deciding “What do I want in a mentor?” First, make a list of all the things you would want a mentor to do and be as specific as possible. Secondly, match what you need with people who might give it to you. Thirdly, consider whether anyone on your list has shown an interest in you or has helped you in any way. This is a good place to start.

If your company offers a formal mentoring program, consider participating in it. Other options include enlisting an external mentor, someone who you may know from your networking activities or community organizations. Regardless the path, a mentoring relationship can be worth the time and effort needed to establish it and reap the benefits.

Adapted from Be Your Own Mentor by S. Wellington

Your EQ Assessment

Up to 90% of your career success comes from a compendium of skills, attitudes and behaviors called “emotional intelligence” or EQ. For “free agents” the following five are particularly important.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=low and 10=high) estimate where you stand on each one.

  1. Realistic self-appraisal/desire to improve
  2. Adaptability/ flexibility
  3. Optimism/ Generally positive expectations
  4. Self-control and follow through
  5. Initiative and drive

Now show your “profile” to someone that you trust – does that person agree with your self-analysis? If not, discuss the discrepancies.

For those areas that you scored 5 or less, consider ways that you might build to a higher level. Consider a mentor, peer group, counselor or coach as a resource. Whatever you decide, take action today for a brighter tomorrow!

Adapted from Free To Succeed by Barbara Reinhold

“Making Choices”

Learning to make choices is one of the most overlooked aspects of our traditional education. What often happens is that well-meaning educators prepare students for life by teaching them that the choices they have are limited. Thus the real lesson they teach is compromise: Learn to live with what you don't really like because you will have plenty of that.

Making choices is a vital part of the creative process, and when adopting a creative mindset, there are no formulas to follow. You make it up as you go along and learn from failures as well as success. In the creative orientation, you consciously choose the results you want to see. This is also described by many as being proactive, rather than reactive.

Being creative is not limited to artists, designers, or photographers in the traditionally creative fields. Rather, anyone can create whatever he or she envisions in any aspect of his or her personal or professional lives. You do this by knowing what you want in a very clear sense. It is as simple as that.

Adapted from The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz

"The Elephant In The Room"

There is something big in our midst that we rarely discuss. It has an impact on us every day in our businesses, homes and organizations. It determines our level of personal and professional success. It energizes us if we accept it and defeats us if we ignore it. Can you guess what "it" is? Two simple words with far reaching power: Personal Accountability. When we accept the responsibility of any situation or circumstance and blame no one, not even ourselves, we take a giant step toward a solution. "Personal accountability is not about changing others. It’s about making a difference by changing ourselves." Are you willing?

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

“Asking Good Questions”

When was the last time someone asked you a good question? It probably caused you to pause and really reflect on the response. This underscores the belief that asking good questions is a skill that can be developed with practice. The end result is what you may recall, a thoughtful, more accurate response. So why don't we inquire more deeply, ask certain types of questions? Ivy Sea, Inc. gives the following reasons

  1. We don't want to hear the answer
  2. We assume we already know the answer
  3. We fear conflict or controversy (and emotional response)
  4. We fear we lack the skill to handle the response
  5. We don't know what to ask, or what we don't know.

If we want a thoughtful, clear and accurate response, perhaps we can develop better questions. The following tips are from MSN Careers:

  1. Ask "How" and "Why" questions that require a certain amount of elaboration as opposed to questions that can be answered with a yes or no.
  2. It often times helps if you share a little bit of yourself while asking questions.
  3. Ask tough questions, but do it with a smile. You can ask difficult or even awkward questions without being confrontational.

Next time you communicate, try focusing on your questions!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"When Failure Means Success"

Does your success plan include time and space for failure? Most of us would rather not admit that we sometimes fail. We soft-pedal it by blaming something or someone else. We call it a "change in plans" or "an adjustment" when it is really failure. When we can look at failure with realistic eyes and examine it with a balanced view, our success is that much closer. It may seem counterintuitive to expect failure in our plans; it's when we DON"T plan for it that we completely derail. So, will you include space for failure in your next plan? Your success depends on it!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

“What Succeeds Today”

We are living in rapidly changing times. Some of us actively resist, others go with the flow, and most of us are just hanging on. What would it take for today's times to really work for you? Let's look at the most marketable skills of yesterday compared with those you need to succeed today.

YESTERDAY: Consistency, Routinization, Enormous size, Hierarchically controlled information, Insistence on rational logic, Reliance on tried-and-true methods, Cultural conformity.

TODAY: Flexibility, Innovation, Lean structure, Open communication, Tolerance for incongruity, Openness to new ideas, Cultural diversity. Which of today's skills fit like a glove? The ways we achieve success toady is unlike any other time in history. Maximize the skills you already have! Make today's times work for you!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"Who is Responsible for Your Development?"

There was a time when the answer to this question would be "the company". Now that we have experienced The New Economy and moved into the next millennium, there is a different answer. Personal development, at its best, is a partnership between you and your organization, both having equal responsibilities and commitments. Far too frequently, development lands squarely on the lap of the individual, as companies neglect their employees during tough times. It is important to determine what kind of company you keep: Does your company invest in you by supporting personal development planning, external or internal seminars, or time off to attend relevant classes? Does your manager discuss your progress with you more than once a year during performance reviews? If your answers to these questions are "Yes" then you probably have a partner to support your growth. If the answers are "No", don't despair. This is an opportunity to create a starting point for development by demonstrating your drive and initiative with management. Bring up the topic of development and you may be surprised at the possibilities. Taking ownership for your growth is often the most challenging but most rewarding move. Consider this today!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

Are You Looking For Change?

What’s the most important thing we know about “change”? It happens constantly, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes we are ready to accept change, most of the time we are not ready. When change occurs in organizations there is a rippling effect due to hierarchical structure; faster in small companies and slower in large ones. For individuals, change takes a variety of disguises; the big surprise you weren’t expecting, the disappointment on results, the “AHA” moment of discovery. If you’re not watching for signs of change you will find yourself more reactionary and less proactive. What are you doing to prepare for change? You can be sure it is coming!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

“Do You Know What Your Values Are?”

Most people automatically respond to this question with “Of course I know my values”. Then when they reflect on second thought, they seem a little unsure. Review the list below and select 10 that appeal to you. Of that 10, ask yourself this question – Am I really bringing this value to life in my work and/or personal life? If the answer is Yes, you are truly living in integrity. If the answer is NO, are you willing to continue with your values unexpressed?

Achievement • Balance • Belonging • Commitment • Contributing • Equality
Community Involvement • Honesty • Independence • Influence • Integrity
Power • Respect • Responsibility • Self-respect • Decision-making • Detail-oriented
Helping • Organizing • Physical • Problem-solving • Public content • Risk-taking • Variety
Benefits • Comfortable income • Excitement • Fast-paced • Flexibility • High earnings
Learning • Location • Public safety • Predictability • Quietness • Competition
Cooperation • Diversity • Friendships • Fun • Harmony • Individualism • Leadership
Loyalty • Management • Communication • Recognition • Status • Support • Teamwork

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

Are You Connected?

We live in a constant state of change, where some aspect of our lives is either beginning, in progress or ending. How we view the transitions that occur is a big factor in assessing our personal state of mind. How would you describe your current state of mind? Are you anxious, happy, depressed, hopeful or angry? Do you even know how you feel? Are you connected to the internal compass that guides you?
These questions are often unanswered by people who don’t take the time to really notice what they feel. Those who do are more aware and each day is more meaningful when they monitor both their internal and external environments. This practice also contributes to the fuller life that many people desire. Begin by being aware of what’s going on inside, as well as outside. Then listen, really listen to what you hear.

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

Leverage Your Motivations – Make Them Work!

Have you given any consideration lately to your motivations? Can you put your finger on the inner drive that causes you to act? Most people have multiple motivators; some may be linked to a specific circumstance or individual. And there may be more than one motivator contributing to a particular behavior. More specifically, after we satisfy our basic needs of food, shelter and safety, we embrace other incentives that drive our actions. An athlete is motivated to daily practice by the desire to be a state champion in his/her sport. A father is motivated to coach his daughter’s soccer team to strengthen their relationship. A manager is motivated to develop creative ideas to support his staff development. The challenge here is to identify what those motivations are in order to magnify and leverage their effect. Said another way, make your motivation get more mileage.

Common motivators include

  1. gaining or losing status
  2. achieving financial success
  3. avoiding a crisis
  4. engaging in an enjoyable activity
  5. improving personal performance
  6. seeking recognition from peers or other influences.

Knowing what your motivators are answers the question ”Why am I doing this?” and gives it more power. It also saves you from the frustrating feeling of functioning on automatic pilot, doing something just because you’ve always done it. Motivators are powerful keys to our success if you really make them work!

By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

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