Do you find it difficult to focus? Is a lack of accountability challenging you? Are you unable to concentrate for more than 5 minutes without giving in to the slightest distraction? You’re not alone!
I know that I find it incredibly tempting to do lots of other things before I settle down to work. Right now for instance, I have a pile of washing that needs attending to, a dishwasher that needs emptying, dinner to sort out for the family tonight, and a messy lounge. Not to mention the other distractions that easily take my attention – FaceBook, Twitter, Jeremy Vine on Radio 2. And, finally, being a natural people person means I find it challenging to get creative and innivotive on my own. When I do come up with my next magnificant goal or intention, the only person who really cares whether or not I implement it, is me.
If you recognise yourself in my description, then you’ll welcome an idea to help you get focused, and working smarter. The most important, and single most beneficial thing that I’ve done this year is collaborate with two like-minded associates to set up our own ‘support team’. It has already reaped its rewards, and I’ve had my most successful January ever!
If you’re a sole trader like me, then you don’t have the luxury of a boss to help whip you into action. Finding other people who can help act as a steer to help guide your otherwise rudderless ship, can be priceless. Its all about accountability. When the only person we’re accountable to is ourselves, its all too easy to move the goal posts. Infact, its all too easy to not know where they are in the first place.
Your own personal ‘support team’ can include anyone, as long as they want to support you to be the best you can be (and you them of course). Let’s face it, you wouldn’t expect to find an Olympic athlete training on their own without the inspiration and motivation that a sports coach provides them. Your support team might come from existing friendships, associates, or from the services of a professional business coach. There are no rules about how big, or small your support team should be. Ours is three strong, myself and my two associates. Obviously, the bigger your group, the more organising it takes and you might find this defeats the object.
The most important thing is that you absolutely must like and trust your support team. There is no point getting together with anyone unless these two fundamentals are in place.
In my team, it helps that our belief systems are very similar. We hold the same philosophy of life, and because much of our work is based on helping other people understand and develop their own emotional and spiritual intelligence, this is very useful. We don’t have to spend time explaining the fundamentals of what we each believe in order to come up with creative and supportive ideas.
In addition, whilst our mindsets are similar, our unique skills and personalities bring more ideas and a broader amount of experience to help quantify the ideas. It helps that two of us are trained coaches and therefore our facilitation skills, and management of emotions and feelings are easily contained. This is a really important factor of working with your own support team.
If the team is truly there to support each other, then each person within it will, at times, have the need to challenge the ideas that are discussed. If this is done clumsily, it could damage the relationship between you, rendering the team completely ineffective and possibly even harmed. So, its important to employ good, workable feedback techniques – such as the good old ‘feedback sandwich’ – offer a positive perspective, then the negative, then some more positive.
My team also live several miles apart from each other, and so even though our target markets are similar, we don’t feel threatened by each other and infact we are working on some collaborative projects that will bring all our talents together for the benefit of all.
When I’m acting as a business coach for other professional coaches, they tend to choose me because I’m not operating in their area – offering telephone/skype coaching helps facilitate this.
Skype is a fabulous tool to help you make the most of your time. Its low cost and a great way to stay in touch regularly. We’ve found its the best way to communicate when we just want to keep in touch in between our monthly face to face meetings. We schedule in weekly half hour skype calls. The time goes very quickly, but because we’ve agreed to just 30 minutes, it helps cut out the chit chat and gets us focused. The chit chat can happen at any time, but this is our working time and we’ve committed to each other that this is what we’ll use it for.
Taking the time to get specific with my associates has helped me become more focused. I now have a clearer idea of what projects I want to embark on this year. In turn, this has helped me get my planning head on and put some dates in the diary so that I can work towards them. What you choose to focus on with your own support team is entirely up to you. It might be broader projects you wish to undertake, or it might simply be keeping on top of day to day business.
You might want to use it to help you get clearer about what you uniquely offer your clients. I recently went to a speed networking event, which meant we each had 1 1/2 minutes to tell the person sitting opposite us who our ideal client would be. We did this at least 15 times and by the end although I was exhausted, I knew that I’d made the most of the time by being clear – because my support team and I had worked on this with each other the week before.
And finally, we all know that that a problem shared is a problem halved. What we sometimes forget is that a good laugh shared, is a good laugh doubled. Well, that’s what I think anyway! Its very easy to get so serious about our business that we forget to enjoy it. There is no point having a thriving business if you don’t enjoy it. Sharing your ups as well as your downs, is a priceless bonus to the support group idea.
If you would like to find out how I might be able to help inspire you, motivate you, focus you and share your ups and downs then I’d be delighted to hear from you. Call Swan Coaching on 01582 413013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org