In this article, we are giving you the gift of a simple tool that you can use to perform a simple and important reflection exercise to help you prepare for next year. You can also download the Reflection & Planning tool here. I encourage you to print and complete this exercise yourself.
I personally have spent the last two months in planning mode for next year. The planning involves three key and, I believe, critical components to our success as coaches.
The three areas include: Business Planning, Coaching Skills Refinement and Professional Development.
If you’re like me, it’s a lot easier to work with something that is already started. A blank sheet of paper can be quite intimidating, especially around business planning. I’m hoping that the following questions will help you to feel like you’re not starting from scratch and instead, build upon the work you did in 2021. To help make the process more enjoyable, please consider setting an alarm and, for your first pass, do not spent more than 2 minutes on each question. You can go back and dig into the ones that you sense the Lord and you have more work to do, later. This is a “at first blush” look to get you going.
- Where did my clients come from this year?
- How long did I have these clients?
- Why did these clients leave/complete their engagement?
- Which clients were most enjoyable to work with?
- What did I learn about my schedule that I want to adjust for next year?
- What did I learn about my prospect initial call that I want to change for next year?
- Where was I scared and didn’t do what I know I needed to do?
- Where was I distracted and did things I didn’t really need to do?
- What do I sense is the one thing I need to be doing more of next year?
- What do I sense is the one thing I need to be doing less of next year?
Coaching Skills Refinement
When I first started coaching, 17 years ago, there were maybe 20-30 books on the market. Now? There are literally thousands of books out there! Similarly, with my education, there were only 2 Christian coach training programs available. Now? There are at least 70-80 of them. And finally, for those aligned with the International Coach Federation, you know that significant changes have occurred both with the core competency structure and with the credentialing requirements. All that to say, there are a number of factors to consider as we put our coaching skills refinement plans together. As with Business Reflection/Planning, the following list of questions is intended to assist you in developing this portion of your 2022 plan.
- What is my credential renewal plan – renewal or upgrade?
- Where am I most uncomfortable in the coaching process itself and want to improve? (Agreement, Awareness, Action)
- How often do I want to introduce tools into my coaching sessions with my clients next year to keep our engagements fresh?
- What would it look like for me to be more brave/bold in my coaching conversations?
- How quickly do I feel like I “stall out” in my coaching conversations with clients and what would I like to that to look like in the future?
- How long does it take for me to build trust with a new client and is there a way for me to expedite that trust building process?
- What are my clients teaching me about me that would help me to know what I should work on next year?
- What are patterns have I noticed this year in my coaching conversations that I might want to consider changing for next year?
- Where do I need to grow in order to allow for more complex and/or longer-term coaching engagements?
- What ethical dilemmas did I face this year that I would like to make adjustments for next year?
This is a fun topic. Most of us are lifelong learners and the marketplace creates an infinite number of opportunities for us to continue to grow. As a rule of thumb, we keep growing outside of the coaching arena in order to continue to be effective inside the coaching arena. Yet, we have a very small amount of time to dedicate to this. Once you are in business for yourself, the ratio of time you spend on this should drop substantially. Below I’ve put together very simple guidelines to assist in distributing your time as you finalize your planning for 2022. They are just that – guidelines – but notice that I never have Professional Development as more than 10% of my annual development plan.
|% of clients relative to “full practice”||Business Development||Skills Refinement||Professional Development||Community/Industry Giveback|
|25% or less||60%||20%||10%||10%|
|80% – 100%||20%||40%||10%||20%|
- If you listen to several podcasts and were to narrow it to one key podcast, which one would you listen to?
- Of all the books you could read, which 4 books (1 per quarter) would you read and why?
- How many “voices” are currently speaking into you life, in general, and how many voices are you really paying attention to?
- Where do you need to be stretched next year, professionally?
- Looking at your pipeline feed (networking, speaking, writing, etc.), what specific skill do you want to further develop to enhance your pipeline feed? (Writing class, public speaking training)
- What assessment tool can you take in 2022 to do a check in with yourself as a business owner, coach and/or professional (Strength’s finder, conflict styles, feedback plan from clients)
- We are emerging from COVID – time for a wardrobe/personal brand refresh, perhaps?
- Look at your office space; what could you remove, change, or add to make the space more comfortable for you since you spend so much time there?
- How are you staying connected to the more specific niches that you coach in such as a professional association, networking groups and/or masterminds?
- What could be a stretch goal pertaining to your professional development this year that may or may not be attainable but that you want to keep in front of you?
It has been a pleasure journeying with you this year! We do not do a lot on the social media channels and rely on you to help us keep the content that you are receiving available to all. Please pass the word to other coaches that you feel would benefit from our perspectives and provide this link for them to receive expert, practical and simplifying content right in their inbox.
Have a blessed holiday season, my friend.