You’ve set your goals and you’ve made them S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound), but somehow, you keep getting stalled on the road to achieving them. Those you’ve discussed it with have suggested you get a coach. And that’s excellent advice; there’s mmeasurable value in working with one. A recent Forbes article reported that, according to a new study by the International Coach Federation, an overwhelming majority of people (83%) who have experienced professional coaching are satisfied with their experience and would recommend it to others.Whether used for personal fulfillment or professional goal achievement, coaching has been found to yield a return ranging from three to seven times its initial investment. Coaches help you to create focus and clarity, and provide the tools, structure and ongoing support that will empower you to achieve your “stretch” goals.
But, while extremely impactful, coaching is simply not affordable for everyone, especially those who are in the early stage of their careers. Fortunately, there are several options to individual coaching that can provide significant incremental progress toward one’s goals, whether they relate to job performance or personal growth.
Accountability and support are essential to success in any life area. Therefore, it’s recommend that any professional have a personal “board of directors” — a support network of positive people who will hold them accountable for maintaining their focus and moving forward with their goals. Stephen Covey said, “Accountability breeds response-ablity.” There is something about knowing that you will have to answer to someone that motivates you to complete a task. Below are seven ways to develop your own board so that you can get moving in the right direction in ways that are affordable to any budget:
- Join A Coaching Group. Group coaching is a more reasonably priced option to individual coaching. It provides great insights, tools, and guidance, along with an opportunity for additional perspectives from fellow group members. Look for a group with a similar focus to yours and one which is small enough to allow personal interaction from each member.
- Get A Mentor. A mentor is someone who will give advice, share resources, and introduce you to people who can help you move forward in your career. Reach out to someone doing well in their field or in the field you want to go into and request a small amount of their time. This relationship should develop naturally over time and can be formal or informal.
- Start A Mastermind Group. This is an alliance of like-minded, achievement-oriented individuals who meet to leverage each other’s success. Participants raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect, and compassion. Mastermind participants act as catalysts for growth; you’re each other’s biggest critics and strongest supporters. The group should consist of three to six people who are goal-focused and who will give you honest feedback and practical advice. Iron sharpens iron.
- Get An Accountability Partner. This is someone who will encourage you to achieve your goals while holding your feet to the fire. Preferably not a close friend or family member, your accountability partner should be someone who will give you honest feedback and suggestions, and who will not allow you to make excuses for non-performance. Set a weekly schedule to check in with him or her.
- Declare Integrity Days. An integrity day is a day that you agree with at least one other person to check in at regular intervals to account for progress toward your goals. At the beginning of each time block, each person gives a report of their progress during the last time block and states what they will focus on during the next one. The check-ins should only take 30 seconds to one minute per person, so that it does not distract from your productivity.
- Invest In Professional Development. Be a lifelong learner. Invest in yourself and continue to grow your skills by reading relevant books, attending workshops and conference,s and joining professional organizations.
- Expand Your Network. Connect with likeminded people who can share information, contacts, and ideas. Network for quality, not quantity. Focus on building relationships that will be mutually beneficial through in-person networking events, volunteer organizations, and professional online forums such as LinkedIn. Look to give as well as to get; offer assistance to others so that people begin to recognize your value. Always follow up within 48 hours of initial contact to explore any synergies that you might have identified.
If you ever get stuck in a rut, lose focus while working toward your goals, or just need another point of view, be sure to enlist the aid of your boards. Whether your goals are personal or professional, taking accountability and utilizing a support team will give you the clarity and momentum you need to succeed. So challenge yourself to create your personal board of directors in order to accelerate your path to achievement. And while you’re moving along that path, remember to reach back and mentor someone else along the way.
Talayah Stovall is an author, speaker, and certified life-purpose coach who guides others to tap into their gifts and use their passion to live in their purpose. She specializes in working with individuals and groups to set and achieve their life goals. For information on her products and services, email talayah (at) talayahstovall (dot) com or visit www.talayahstovall.com.