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#42: Measuring Progress: A Judgment Free Space

Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
#42: Measuring Progress: A Judgment Free Space
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Introduction

Welcome back to another episode of the Coaching Hive podcast.  November has been such a big month for so many.  I am part of an entrepreneur group who is working fearlessly on launching a new set of workshops. There are some amazing topics and I love the diversity that entrepreneurship allows.  Here at the Coaching Hive, I’m preparing to launch a new workshop called Finding Time in the In-Between.  No magic wands, no extra hours, no overwhelm are required to take action on your coaching business in December.  If that sounds intriguing, I’d love to have you join me.  Just send me a quick DM saying “I’m in” or an email to moira[at]coachinghive.com and I’ll send you the details ASAP.

Now what does all of this have to do with today’s episode of the Coaching Hive podcast?  I’m glad you asked.  November is all about measuring progress.  So far we discussed the concept of a holistic view of progress in Episode 40, and then in Episode 41 we took time to talk about the fact that you are enough just as you are.  There are some podcast episodes that I come back to time and again when that entrepreneurial journey gets tough.  Will Episode 41 be one of those reminders for you to keep working?  I hope so!

So where am I headed with today’s episode?  Funny thing happened.  I had this idea and was so excited to record the concept for you and then, I got distracted and could not remember what I wanted to share.  We’ve all been there.  In fact, if I don’t write it down, I probably won’t remember that idea two days from now.  I’m focused in the moment and rely on my lists.  How about you?

What that means is that I sat down and realized that I needed a new idea and I realized that we shouldn’t make things more difficult than they need to be.  This led me down a path that I want to share with you today.  Are you ready for today’s topic?  

Plain and simple.  Remember that measurement is not about judgment.  

In fact, I would encourage you to look at measurement of progress as a tool much like you would look at a Philips head screwdriver, a lawnmower, or a drill as a tool.  It is the same as a spatula, pot, or mixer in your kitchen.  The same as a hairdryer, mirror, or brush in your bathroom.  These are all tools.  Now if the lawnmower doesn’t work in the way you expect, do you berate the lawnmower for underperforming?  Probably not.  You would look pretty silly standing on your lawn telling the lawnmower you were disappointed in its performance or ability to trim the grass to a specific height, right?  So why would you berate yourself or judge yourself when the progress isn’t exactly what you hoped for when you made your plans?

Let me ask you a question, and you will need what you learned in last week’s episode to answer.  Are you still “enough” even when the measurement doesn’t pan out the way you hoped?

Yes!  You are enough.  That is definitive.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth, but please if you find yourself judging your work harshly ask what it will accomplish.  Chances are it will make you feel “less than”, you might feel that “imposter syndrome” creep in, and you may even find yourself questioning your ability to make the concept, plan, or business component successful.

This is not what measuring progress is all about. 

Measuring progress is simply a tool in your toolbox to help you navigate when to make adjustments, tweaks, and shifts in your approach.

Let’s walk through a couple of concrete examples so that you can really get the picture here.

Examples

One of the concepts that I talk with all Coaching Hive coaches about is the idea of making progress-driven learning decisions.  So, for my first example, what if you choose a training that you think will be really beneficial for your business.  Perhaps it is a training on marketing, maybe it is a new coaching tool that you’d like to integrate, or maybe it is a course on effective planning.

You are excited and ready to take the course.  You get halfway through the course, and you feel like this is still a solid progress-driven learning decision.  You are starting to implement what you have learned, and you can see the benefits.  You are making meaningful progress in your business, but then the course progresses and suddenly you are lost. You realize that maybe this wasn’t the investment you were hoping for and that the progress-driven learning decision you made isn’t turning out to be quite the boon you were hoping for your business.  You have two choices here.  You can fuss at yourself for the lack of progress and the decision that might be costing you time, money, and energy or you can use it as a learning experience.  You can remind yourself that you have learned something.  Perhaps it is that you have a better idea of what you are looking for now or maybe you have a new set of questions that you ask yourself before investing in a learning opportunity.  You are using the measurement as a tool instead of a way to berate or belittle your initial decision.

Let’s look at a client driven example.  Many of our clients are looking to make a change.  It might be to get more sleep, pursue a more passion-driven work opportunity, or to achieve a healthier weight.  In each case they are setting a SMART goal that aligns with the path of change they have chosen.  One week the client comes for their session, and they are smiling from ear to ear and you know without asking that their measurement of progress, well, it measured up.  They met the goal and are excited.  The next week, however, is the opposite story and they share that they messed up and didn’t come close to the planned goal.  This is a harsh self-judgment and is likely to slow or stop the change journey.  Instead, if the client can re-frame and use the measurement tool as just a tool meant to help make adjustments – like a wrench can help adjust the tightness of nut – then it is viewed more impartially.  There isn’t any inherent worth.  It is simply a step along the path to the ultimate vision.

Conclusions

What do you think of this concept that measuring progress is a tool, just like a screwdriver, blender, hair dryer, or wrench?  Can you see yourself making this mental shift?  Measurement is not about judgment.  It is not saying anything about your personal worth, intentions, or future success.  It is a snapshot into the right now and can open doors to future possibilities.

I like to think about it like one of those traditional Polaroid snapshots, you know, you take the picture, and the Polaroid would come out and you would wave it around in the air for a few minutes.  I know I’m dating myself and then you could see the picture come into focus. That’s what it’s like. That’s what measuring progress is like. It’s like that Polaroid picture as you’re waving it in the air, waiting for it to finish developing. And it comes into focus, measuring progress is a tool that helps us to become more focused and how to move forward.

It’s not about whether someone or something is good or bad wrong, or right. It is simply about this is where we’re at. And now we can make adjustments to think about how to take the next step forward. This is different way of thinking about progress and a different way of thinking about measuring progress, but it aligns beautifully with what we’ve talked about the last two weeks, thinking about the fact that you are enough, we don’t need that judgment to be part of the progress measurement. And we also need to remember that measuring progress is a holistic concept. It’s not just a number. It’s not just one little thing. It’s a conglomeration of things. And when we look at it more holistically, we are going to be naturally predisposed to view progress measurement as a tool.

I don’t know about you, but in my toolbox in the garage, I don’t assign worth to the screwdriver, to the pliers, to the hammer, to the mallet, to the drill, to the saw, they are simply tools there to be used to make a change more effective. What if you view measuring progress in the same way, I promised you a short episode today to give you time to rest and digest, to think about this concept of measuring progress, being simply a tool. So now take that time and think about a time you measured progress. Maybe it was recently, maybe it’s something that you know is coming up in the next week or two. Maybe it’s a little bit more distant in the past and think about how you viewed measuring progress in that instance, in that situation. Was it as a judgment or was it simply as a neutral tool that allows you to make change?

As always, I hope that this podcast has given you something to think about, something to practice, and something to explore.  I look forward to your DMs and reviews of this podcast.  Until next time, have a happy, safe, and healthy week!

~ Dr. Moira

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