Often at times I’m asked from others about the work I do, specifically:
What do you do with your coaching?
How do you help people?
When you think about the term of a coach, your thoughts might immediately gravitate towards a coach for a sport. Professional sports have coaches that help with your jump shot, how to improve your fitness levels or correct your posture depending on the outcomes you’re looking to achieve. These results or outcomes tend to be outside facing, more visible and more readily measurable. At the same time these professional sport coaches work with athletes to improve their mindsets. How best to prepare for an upcoming match, how to visualize the outcome you want to achieve and how to stay focused throughout a training session or program. Well the same holds true for a professional certified coach in the knowledge working space (Psst, we’re all knowledge workers now).
Most people believe that when they need to achieve a certain outcome or result, they need to focus on their external lives, what I call the outer work. This may look like a new promotion at work, making over $250,000 a year in income or purchasing their dream home. True, these goals are important to that individual but what most people don’t realize is that in order to achieve their outer work results, they need to focus more on their inner work first.
Inner work focuses on your mindsets, your unconscious behaviours and ways of doing things that have operated in your mind over the years. Some of these unconscious behaviours have served you well and is what most likely got you to where you are today. Some of these behaviours have stopped serving you and need an adjustment or refocus. This happens for the most part when you become conscious of a new way forward, a new way of living life that wasn’t previously exposed.
The combination of working on both your inner work and outer work translates to the quality of life that you want to have. Ideally you want to work in a space that is high on the inner work and high on the outer work areas of focus, the top right of this graph.
Low inner work/low outer work
This is a tough place to be and usually looks like a stage in your life where you don’t seemingly have outer goals and work to achieve. You may be happy with what you have and achieving nothing more is fine for you, in more of a settling type of way. And while feeling grateful and present are great attributes, this space speaks more about apathy, even when you know deep down you want to change or achieve something greater. Because of this your inner work also feels stagnant. You either don’t know about the growth and development that you can achieve in this world or you simply don’t care about improving yourself. This is a dangerous place and could lead to more serious issues affecting your well being and mental health. If it does for you, find someone to talk to and ask yourself, "What am I feeling being stuck in this space?”
Low outer work/high inner work
This is a great place to start, with the awareness of a growth mindset focusing on your internal mindsets, tool sets and skill sets to get better. You understand the benefits of developing yourself and can see the reasons why improving in these areas are important. And no matter how much focus you put towards personal and professional development, your outer work seems to be stagnant. This might feel like the outcomes and goals you’ve set yourself to achieve aren’t coming to fruition. While your mindset is in the right place, your actions, even small ones, aren't amounting to the momentum needed to see this success. In this space it’s about digging deeper into the outer work goals you’ve set for yourself and honestly asking ‘Are these the most important things in my life that I want to achieve in’ and ‘What’s holding me back from directing my work into results’
Low inner work/high outer work
At first glance this seems like a great place to be. You have high goals and results and you have a history of achieving them. You are an achiever and you always find a way to get things done. This has translated into success in the physical sense, promotions, salary, house and belongings. And while these goals are just as important as any other, you feel a longing for something else. While you’ve achieved great success you have trouble reconciling that voice in your head with the things that matter most to you. How you get things done and how you operate are sticking out for you to consider as opposed to the actual results. A burning desire to look inwardly and examine all the things that are important to you and the realization that perhaps, those things are changing. In this space we look at how to synergize the great results you're achieving with the inner work and alignment that should come with it. And once you have those 2 areas aligned, you can only imagine the results you’re able to receive after that.
High inner work / high outer work
This is the utopian place to be, where we’re identifying areas both internally and externally where you want to excel and grow. You want to grow internally and view growth as a constant. You thrive on wanting to let go of old habits and paradigms while leaning into things that could make you better. You are aligned to what matters most and you continuously strive to get better. You also know that this is a journey and you will have ups and downs. You never really arrive when you focus on your inner work and giving yourself grace is just as important.
And when your inner work is aligned, now your attention can be focused on your outer work goals. Now you can double down on all the things you want to get/achieve/experience out there and set an action plan on how to get there. You can get whatever you put your attention to and you know with the right focus, you can get there.
Enjoy this space of alignment and just know when things fall from here (and it will), you can have the confidence to get back up.
And when they do, reach out and connect. Coaching is a great mechanism to get you back on track.