I don't have time for coaching

"I'm swamped at the moment. It's going to be impossible to schedule a session in this week,"

I heard myself say to the amazing coach that I've been working with this summer.

It's a sentiment I've heard from my own clients many times. We're all so time poor, and the urgent stuff is often so compelling, SO imperative, that self-development gets squeezed out. It can wait.

But can it, really?

Resistance to self-development of any kind - coaching or other - always gets me curious. That's especially true when I spot that resistance in myself.

As a coach, I'm really familiar with the paradox that it's precisely when we're most busy and under pressure that coaching can deliver the most significant wins.

This infographic explains this beautifully – coaching can help us "plug the holes" when we feel as though our attention's spilling all over the place, and we're becoming depleted and worn out.

 Image © Staff Training

Image © Staff Training

Coaching helps you become more effective. It saves you time elsewhere. It allows you to take stock, spot patterns, stand back from your busy-ness just for a short while, and regroup.

So contrary to what we might think, coaching helps create space, create options. It's a de-frazzler. And that's exactly what I needed to remind myself of when I found myself delaying a session with my coach.

"I don't have an hour to spare"

If you notice, like I did, feelings of resistance and powerlessness about a situation (the classic "I'd love to, but I just can't...") then it might be the perfect time to tap into a coaching exercise that only takes a few minutes, to get you back on track.

 Photo © Alan O'Rourke, Flickr CC

Photo © Alan O'Rourke, Flickr CC

One of the very best ways I know to get a quick hit of coaching when I'm feeling pressured and/or stuck is to stop for a matter of moments, and run a mental 'body scan' to check what's going on outside of my head.

I often discover that I have a knot in my stomach or that I'm frowning at the computer screen, squinting at something in the effort of trying to figure it out. The data you get from paying attention to your body provides a wealth of clues to listen to, when choosing where to focus next.

Self-coaching is a fantastic skill to master in leadership terms. Having the ability to know that you're feeling hustled, and becoming less effective - that's crucial. Self-awareness can simply not be overrated.

What's really going on?

Sometimes, 'I don't have time' is a cover for the real issue in play; it can mean 'I don't understand how coaching can help', or I don't know where to start', or most commonly of all,  'I'm not ready'. They're all totally valid sentiments.

So when you feel some resistance to working on your own self-development, get curious. Ask yourself what's really at play.  Are you ready? Are you choosing other priorities, or are you on autopilot?

Accept responsibility for how you're choosing to spend your time. Evaluate the different options, even the ones which don't feel like they're realistic, and make a conscious effort to actively choose the ones that align with your goals and the goals of your team and company.

Over to you

How often do you let your schedule run your priorities? If you prioritised self-development, what would be possible then? Is self-coaching something you can build into the next 10 minutes? How about tomorrow?  Come over to twitter, let us know.

Time to take stock?

If you don't have time for a 6-month coaching programme, but could use some objective support by phone for an hour - to help you get creative, or stand back and see the wood for the trees –  a 60-minute Take Stock call could be the tool you need to help you find clarity and objective insight. You'll be paired up with one of our team of talented coaches, who have bags of experience helping senior executives turn indecision into clarity and calm action. You need just one hour. Got time? Go ahead and book yourself in.

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