Personal development

Self-Coaching: Is It Really Effective?

With infinite information available at your fingertips, you might think you can master any field of knowledge directly, including Coaching. But does self-coaching actually work? 

What are you looking to achieve?

We hear stories every day where someone with absolutely no experience learnt how to build a house – structure, plumbing, electrical, etc. – using only YouTube tutorials. Or a complete amateur learnt how to fix a car engine simply watching a TV show.

These days, there are so many resources, guides and tools about self-development online that it’s logical for some people to think they can “coach” themselves using those resources. Yet, they may not even be sure about what coaching is exactly.

So, here’s my first question to anyone who’s considering doing that:

💡 > What is the outcome you expect from coaching?

  • If you are looking to gather information about alternative life/work experiences you could be doing in future, you can easily do that through your own research online or offline. You can find some clarifications and a few useful insights directly, but you won’t know how to best follow up.
  • If you are looking to make actual changes in your life – precisely the changes you need to make in order to achieve your specific goals – you won’t be able to do that through self-coaching attempts. You’ll need a person external to you who has the ability to guide you on how to do that: i.e., a Coach/ Mentor.

Here’s a second enlightening question for you:

💡 > If you had a chance to work with a professional Coach for free, would you still prefer self-coaching?

  • If your answer is yes, it’s likely you have a personality type that is unable to open up easily to external advisors. Perhaps you are an introvert who doesn’t like to talk about themselves or you naturally mistrust others. In this case, you should continue to explore options of what to do by yourself, until you are ready to move away from your comfort zone.
  • If your answer is no, take a moment to evaluate how much you really want to achieve those changes. First, do a little self-assessment on what you would gain from the experience of being coached (e.g., you might start a new career of your choice). Then, ask yourself how much gaining that particular outcome is worth to you (e.g., how much would you pay to confidently know what the right career path for you is).

Just going through these two questions will give you a good idea of what the right experience for you is in your present situation.

Quote from Albert Einstein

Self-Coaching: advantages and disadvantages

If you are feeling dissatisfied with where you are in your life or in your work, you may want to start a bit of self-coaching while you test for yourself if it works or if you should hire a specialist Coach instead.

But let’s look at the differences of these two options in more details.

Here are 3 practical advantages of self-coaching:

1> You have no time constraints.

You can dedicate as much time as you want to your self-discovery actions, focusing on as many options as you want, anytime, anywhere. You can keep a flexible agenda and feel less pressured about finding a solution to unblock your situation.

2> You can choose your own process.

You can use a free-flowing approach to tackling the issue or a more structured methodology. You can try all the different tools you can find online. You can do some journaling; you can take notes from listening to webinars and podcasts or you can even record yourself while stating your goal affirmations.

3> It’s free!

Best thing is self-coaching comes with no hard costs! But it does come with soft costs: all your time spent on researching and practising all the free coaching material you find. So, consider this: are those freebies going to give you what you need right now, in a way that they provide the specific learning you need for your future goals?

And here are 3 disadvantages of self-coaching:

1> You have no validation or moral support.

You might think you are able to take any event, situation, or idea and think it through with enough depth to move it from thought into action, and then to reality. But most people prefer to share their ideas with somebody they trust, to gain some form of validation or hear a different perspective. Even if you identify what your goal is by yourself, you’ll likely need plenty of moral support to make changes happen.

2> You can’t challenge your own self.

You may think that you know yourself well: you know what makes you tick, what your history is, and what your likes and dislikes are. But the truth is you don’t really know yourself, because 90% of our behaviour is ruled by our subconscious. So, how will you be able to challenge your own perceptions, beliefs, or old patterns of behaviour?

3> You can’t be accountable to yourself.

You may like to explore multiple roads and try different things to achieve your goals, but you’ll be doing this by improvising the solutions while facing a continuous flow of new options coming in. With self-coaching, you’ll have a high risk of procrastination and diversions from the main road you set off to drive through. Eventually, you may feel so stuck that you’ll either give up on your goals entirely or realize it’s time to ask for professional help.

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Why a Coach and Mentor makes a difference

I can never emphasize enough how self-analysis and self-awareness are critical. I always advise ambitious career-driven employees and entrepreneurs to have a sit down with themselves at least once a month to find out what’s working and what’s not in their personal situation.

You need to gain absolute clarity on who you are in the present time, before you can take any decisions about your future. 

This is even more important in your professional life which is influenced by many external factors as well as your inner ones.

That’s why if you are looking to resolve specific issues in your work life, hiring a professional who is an expert both in coaching and in career and business mentoring is an effective strategy to go for. And if you happen to be an entrepreneur, it’s the best route to take.

You will get more value out of your coaching experience if you can define your initial ideas with a specialist Coach first. Then, if they have mentoring skills as well, they’ll be much better positioned to steer you directly and precisely towards the outcome you want.

To give you a concrete example, I’ve come across many people who have tried out the well-known “Ikigai” exercise they found online as a way to coach themselves. Then, they realized they didn’t do it correctly or didn’t know what to do after completing it! 

This is because the Ikigai – or any other self-assessment resources – really works when you leverage the ‘Mirror Effect’ that an external Coach with outstanding global listening skills can provide. And if it’s done in relation to your career area, you’ll need expert guidance to be able to turn that newly-gained deep self-awareness into an actionable plan.

Key takeaway: self-help is beneficial but a professional coaching experience is more rapid, permanent, and life-changing. 🎯

Chat To Me.

If you are ready to see some changes in your career or business, let’s chat!

Business development

The Key To Starting Your Own Business During A Pandemic

Starting a solopreneur business is a big challenge for anybody. But how do you successfully do it during a global pandemic? Here’s my personal account.

Why do I say personal? Because my solo business turns 1 year old this April 2021! So, I want to share with you my golden nuggets of advice both as a marketing expert and as somebody who has done just that. I started my own (first) business at the same time as the worst pandemic of my lifetime.

In just 4 minutes, you’ll get a mini-guide with 3 steps to follow to MAKE IT HAPPEN! 🎯 

Time to plan your finances

Step 1 – plan your finances

If you are starting your first-ever business, make sure you have done a minimum of a business plan for the first year/preferably two.

This should include your expected return on investment in year 1 and how to reach break-even point by year 2, depending on the size and nature of your business.

If you are boot-strapping your business – as opposed to gaining external investments – it’s crucial that you plan ahead:

1- all the parallel income streams you will have in your household in your first year in business. Hint: having multiple streams is often a must-have;

2- the exact allowance you need to set aside for your personal living expenses for the first year;

3- all the expenses you must incur to take your business to launch (e.g., marketing, infrastructure, tech tools, staff support, advertising, etc.)

4- the investments you ought to make in yourself: the most important resource in your business. Too often this is the most underestimated key driver of success. If someone who wants to set up a business doesn’t appreciate the need for investing in learning, training or mentoring, they should question whether they are ready to be entrepreneurs.

In times of global economic crisis, it’s even more important to analyze your financial health and business profitability before launching.

You may likely have less money coming in and your earnings could fluctuate over an extended period of time. So, you’ll need to avoid making the right investments at the wrong time or the wrong investments all together.

Plan for your new business

Step 2 – lay your business foundation

The second essential point for the success of any new business is to have made a marketing plan before launching.

As a minimum, you need to have 4 key factors in place:

1> A clear business model devised following a market research and the validation that your products/services are viable.

2> A brand identity created on the basis of your values and your vision and in a way it’s recognizable, relatable and meaningful to your audience.

3> A marketing strategy that will make you uniquely different from the competition as opposed to being one more player in a crowded space.

4> A marketing communications plan designed to hit the business goals that you set for the short, mid and long terms.

Every week I meet at least one new person that has recently started a business without completing these actions. The common feedback they share with me is: “something isn’t right” or “it’s not kicking off” or “I don’t make enough money”.

If you are reading this, you have either started a business recently or are thinking to start one soon. So, I’d like to invite you to ask yourself this:

💡> On a scale of 1 to 10, how much am I committed to start/ continue my own business?

If you answered at least 9, ask yourself this:

💡> Looking at the 4 key factors listed above, which ones have I neglected so far?

If you have completely ignored at least 3 of them, ask yourself this:

💡> What could be the risks involved in going ahead and starting my business without doing this planning work?

If you are prepared to face those estimated risks, continue and do it that way.

If you would like more of a safety net before launching, ask yourself:

💡> What is preventing me from completing all that planning work?

Your answer will give you a clue as to what tools and resources you need to line up, in order to future-proof your business. I would advise to start this thinking process at least 3 months before your desired launch time, and monitor the market closely.

Here are 3 extra reasons to complete some robust planning at the time of a pandemic:

1> Economic crises create major changes in customer/ consumer patterns that existing businesses must be able to quickly spot, adapt and respond on. The reality is, big, structured businesses usually struggle to adapt quickly enough – and that’s how suddenly there’s an opportunity for new, lean start-ups or solopreneurs to provide the relevant products/services which are in demand at that time. But you need to spot that opportunity!

2> Market competition is at the highest levels in many sectors: with all the shifts in employment caused by the crisis, there’s an overflow of new entrepreneurs trying to start a business at the same time. Many are competing for the same slice of the market pie, so in the early stages of making your personal or business brand known, you’ll need to be smarter in your targeting and sharply on-point in your comms.

3> In cases of global pandemic, you’ll need to study the commercial and regulation dynamics in place in your sector, in order to spot the best way to market your product/services to a broader target audience, primarily using online channels both to market and to sell. This implies a bespoke lean sales infrastructure.

I am my own business

Step 3 – master your new solopreneur life 

If you are boot-strapping your small business, chances are you will be running it by yourself for several months, until you generate the level of funds needed to hire any members of staff.

This is a big operational challenge because you need to be in charge of all business functions at the same time – and naturally you may lack either the skills, the time or the energy to stay on top of them all.

As a solopreneur, you need to tick all these boxes to stay on track:

√  keep a big-picture view of what the priorities are in your business at any given point in time;

√  bounce back a natural tendency to procrastinate and carry out all priorities at the right time;

√  be positively critical with yourself to identify which tasks you really have to delegate to an external more expert person (a freelancer/ collaborator etc.);

√  identify ways of working that make you more productive and your business more profitable (these two metrics are correlated);

√  manage your own performance just like your boss would do, so that you can learn from your mistakes.

In addition to the above, when external events like a pandemic have a major impact in your life, you will need to invest a lot of extra effort to work on your resilience.

You will need to have a regular sit-down with yourself and find your way to overcome new barriers you couldn’t have predicted (e.g., social distancing, lack of products/ services, shifts in working hours and in regulations).

In many cases, you will need to devise a business pivot into online formats which may be new to you. And once again, speed to market is a winner in this case.

Drastic economic crises also bring up to the surface a Win/ Lose mentality in many people and this can add a negative toll on small business owners.

You will meet potential customers who expect your product/ services for free or with an extra-ordinary discount because they want to save their money, and neglect to consider the impact that would have on your earnings instead.

You will need to get past this negativity and continue to focus on adding value with your products/services at reasonable market prices.

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The key to make it during a pandemic?

What makes the difference during these abnormal times is to keep a steady grip on your personal balance.

Work out what makes you stronger – from both a professional performance and a personal wellbeing point of view.

The objective is to avoid overwhelm and not fall into any vicious spirals leading to you giving up on your goals.

Key takeaway: you can do it too, even during a pandemic.

Chat To Me.

If you are ready to see some changes in your career or business, let’s chat!