Even when you set clear goals and create a plan of action, you will face fear and procrastination as you strive to achieve a big goal. Realizing change and growth goals requires you to develop new habits. Your human nature pushes back against disrupting the status quo you have been maintaining. One of the most difficult parts of changing is just getting started. Right?
I have developed a personal coaching tool, which is based on the principles of kaizen, the practice of taking small steps and making steady alterations to improve. This process originated in the U.S. military and came to be known as kaizen and widely used by Japanese businesses to successfully transform efficiency of production and quality of products. What I learned about kaizen, I learned from Robert Maurer, and I highly recommend you read his book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.” The book explains a lot of scientific research.
Personal Coaching Tool Using Kaizen
Here’s my boiled-down, personal coaching secret recipe for achieving your big growth goals.
- Start by asking your brain SMALL QUESTIONS. When faced with big questions or large problems, the brain will trigger a threat response. A powerful way to bypass your amygdala’s fear response is breaking down your goal. Ask: “What is one small step I can take toward reaching that goal?” Do this with each and every big goal.
- Take time to THINK about your small action and VISUALIZE yourself doing it. The principle of mind sculpture suggests that the brain learns better in small increments instead of large doses. Isolate a task that makes you uncomfortable and visualize yourself working on it. Picture yourself completing the action, and think about how good you will feel after you have done it.
- Take SMALL ACTIONS. The people I coach, including executives, frequently ask too much from those they lead. The goals they set for their employees are often too large. Often, both parties ultimately feel disappointed and demoralized. As and example: instead of saying to yourself or to an employee, “You must make 20 calls per day,” start by saying, “Make two per day this week, four calls per day next week, then six calls per day the following week.” Set up your own small, increments of actions. Follow the principle of small steps.
- Link your small mistakes or shortcomings to a bigger problem or cause that is important to you. Ask yourself, “Are these problems part of a bigger problem?” If you can link the failure or small mistake to a larger issue, your brain will have a greater incentive to work on it.
- Give yourself SMALL REWARDS when you complete small actions that are in alignment with your big goals. Your brain thrives on a reward system, and you are reprogramming your brain to create new habits of behavior. You must give your brain small incremental rewards to reinforce this new course of action. Although counter intuitive, small rewards can often be a greater source of motivation than large rewards.
- Identify SMALL OPPORTUNITIES where a little can go a long way. Often people who take time to notice small changes they can make in how they operate, find that small changes pay dividends in the results. One of my clients decided to spend an extra 15 minutes speaking to employees one-one and listening to them each morning. After one month of doing this daily, she found her team productivity and goal realization increased dramatically, in the range of 40% – 80% increase in the performance numbers per team member. People felt heard, and they became more engaged and interested in improving their work. Small changes can have huge impact. Look for small opportunities to make small changes in how you communicate or operate.
This is not really a secret recipe. This is what every smart coach out there is teaching, and you can implement this improvement process yourself today. I hope you will use these steps as your own personal coaching tool.
Much Success To You,