Here we are on the last day of November and as I pull out my planner and road map for 2022 I’m thinking even more heavily about progress and how to measure progress. As a coach you are likely thinking about progress from many different points of view. You are considering your client’s progress toward their vision, you are considering your own health and wellness progress, and your business progress as an entrepreneur.
Progress is exciting to think about, and it can be a bit overwhelming at the same time. When you start measuring and thinking about progress it can lead to a feeling or desire to do something about the progress you have made. Maybe it is to amplify the progress you have already experienced, maybe it is to adjust course and take a different path to progress, and maybe it is acknowledging that bigger changes might be on the horizon.
Regardless of what you feel when you think about progress or when you sit down to think about progress with a client, it is critical to take things one step at a time. Today, I’d like to share with you three things that can help you move through this process of thinking about progress without the feeling of overwhelm, questioning, or highs and lows.
This is so important as you and your clients work on the next steps. By exploring the process of thinking through progress you will feel enlightened instead of burdened and hopeful instead of lost.
Are you ready? Grab a pen and paper, your tablet, or the free downloadable PDF that I created with the 3-step process we are about to discuss. If you want to grab the PDF, head over to www.hivechallenge.com/progressguide and I’ll email you a copy of the Progress Management Guide right away.
I know I’m ready to dive in and if you are too, let’s get started.
Ideas for Processing Progress
I promised you three steps for moving through the process of thinking about progress, but first lets take a look back and gain some context. At the beginning of this year when I started this podcast and moved more fully into my role as a coach mentor, I was looking at the progress or lack there-of with a critical eye. Often what happened when I looked at a new metric was that I would shut down. My brain saw the gaps and the negatives. The wins were so small at that point that I felt like they were barely there even with a magnifying glass.
It was in those moments that I realized the importance of having a plan for looking at the progress measurements. I needed that information so I couldn’t just ignore it, nor could I allow it to derail the progress I was making.
Enter these three steps that I’m about to share. It has shifted my perspective when I work on personal or professional plans and I think it will help you as well. Now, as promised, here are the three steps.
Step 1: Before looking at any metrics or progress measurements first identify one plan, or piece of a plan that went well.
Why would you do that before even looking at what worked? The answer is simple, you are priming your brain to see the good and the growth that has occurred. It is kind of like a seatbelt. It is getting you ready for a safe trip. By identifying a positive you will be more inclined to see the progress measures with an eye toward what HAS happened rather than what HASN’T happened.
For example, when I started my podcast I didn’t immediately have a lot of listeners, but each time I sat down to explore the metrics I first recognized how many episodes I had published. This was something that I could identify as a win. In fact, as of this recording, I have posted a new podcast episode every Tuesday for the last 44 weeks. That is a huge win and sets me up for finding the other positives.
When you talk with a client about their progress, before you even get to the nitty gritty details, encourage them to identify something that worked. When you have a client who partially completes a plan this means getting started. If you have a client who didn’t even start the plan, how did they spend their time? Chances are something else was going on in their life to delay the plan and if not, then they are becoming more self-aware. These are all things to acknowledge.
So, Step 1 is all about identifying one plan, or piece of the plan that went well. This primes the brain to look forward rather than getting stuck in the past.
Step 2: When you get ready to look at the measurement of progress, actively remind yourself that this is not personal, and it has nothing to do with your self-worth as a human being.
So often when we get a metric back or any kind of evaluative tool we interlace those results with our self-worth. The fact is that they are two entirely different things.
Going back to my podcast example, if I login and see that my listeners have plateaued, have decreased, or have stopped growing it can be tempting to make that personal. It is easy to start thinking, “I don’t have a worthy message,” or “See that stats show that I shouldn’t be doing this.” Or maybe even “I should shut this down, there are so many other better podcasts out there.”
These statements are laced with doubt about our own self-worth. In fact, the success of this podcast does not determine my worth just like the success of your plan does not determine your worth.
When clients are faced with a measurement that doesn’t align with their plan, they may even think that they aren’t worth the change, the coaching, or to achieve the vision they carefully crafted.
This is why reminding yourself before looking at any metric that it has no impact on your self-worth. I would even encourage you to say out loud, “I am worthy of this journey, regardless of the progress at this exact moment.”
By saying this out loud, you have the benefit of speaking it in your own voice and hearing it spoken in your own voice. It becomes a multi-sensory message. Add in a smile and look yourself in the mirror and you are adding a visual component that makes it hard for your brain to ignore.
Are you starting to get the picture here? We need to actively look at progress from a positive perspective. This doesn’t mean rose colored glasses as I’ll share in Step 3.
To quickly recap, Step 1 was to identify one plan, or piece of a plan that went well before looking at any metrics or progress measurements. Step 2 was to actively remind yourself that this is not personal, and it has nothing to do with your self-worth as a human being by saying “I am worthy of this journey, regardless of the progress at this exact moment.”
Now you might be thinking, this is all fine and good, but I DO have to look at the progress measurements I have been carefully, diligently collecting and you are right this is where Step 3 comes into play.
Step 3: Examine the measurements that you have collected and write down 3 objective observations you can make.
Let that sink in for a moment. Identify 3 objective observations or things that you have learned. Going back to the podcast example, I might say that podcasts where I post a reel to Instagram have a higher download rate than those where I don’t take this step. Another observation might be that Mindset was more popular than a discussion of OARS. And a third observation might be that episodes with a free piece of content do no better or worse than a podcast episode without additional free content like a downloadable PDF, like the one I’ve provided in this conversation today.
By looking at the measurements and metrics objectively there is no judgment, and the observation becomes something that allows for a shift in planning and future decisions. It has nothing to do with self-worth or failure. It has everything to do with being a worthy human being who can now look at the data and make informed decisions for how to move forward.
When you have a client who is working toward a plan, the same process applies. Until they learn how to make a simple observation, you may find it helpful to start the process by offering an observation. Make the observation with neutral, fact-based language and then encourage them to find an observation to make. You can even alternate as you identify the observations to be made from the data gathered. This will help your client to learn how to have a really good relationship with progress measurement tools.
As I mentioned, this does not mean you don’t recognize the challenges and the room for growth, change, and improvement. In fact, this process, this step, puts those concepts front and center, but in an observationally neutral way. When you have these objectively stated observations, you can then make decisions about how to proceed.
So, with Step 3 you are going to write down 3 objective things you have learned based on the measurement data you are examining.
What do you think of this process? It makes the idea of looking at your measurement data and metrics much more inviting and honestly, usable. Before discovering this process, I would cringe and procrastinate with the best when it was time to look at the data and make adjustments. Once I adopted this three-step process it became simple to handle the data in a positive way, even if the measurement didn’t meet my planned goals.
Looking at the data reminds us that there is always room for growth and building on what we have already accomplished. It isn’t about tearing someone down but taking those strengths that already exist and making them even more powerful.
To help you implement this process, I have created a simple PDF that you can download at www.hivechallenge.com/progressguide. This is a PDF that you can use each time you sit down for a meaningful exploration of your progress and even those in between times when you need a quick look. I’ve included a quick guide in this PDF as well as a workbook style for you to write and jot down notes each step of the way.
What are you waiting for? Go, get that PDF today and begin looking at your data with a different lens.
On that note, I hope you have a happy, safe and peaceful week. I’ll see you back here next week for a new conversation and topic. Have a great week!
~ Dr. Moira