There is a practice that seems prevalent amongst most business coaches. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach which involves setting high goals; constant tracking and measuring and a lot of shaming when you don’t accomplish. An assumption based on the idea that we’re all pursuing the same ‘success.’
I was sitting in a session recently where the coach (whom I totally respect by the way, AND believe he’s doing his best to motivate AND I’ll even say that he does a great job of it) drew the parallel between why some people don’t lose weight. ‘We can all agree it is a simple equation of diet and exercise and if you aren’t watching what you eat, and exercising, then you’re not losing weight and the same can be said about building your business.’ In other words, you’re not successful and its YOUR FAULT.’
Business Doesn’t Build Itself
Now let me be clear. Business doesn’t build itself. Trust me – I KNOW! But I’ve been studying lately WHAT WE VALUE. What are people willing to pay for? That tends to be where most companies, businesses focus their attention. The ones who are successful are delivering a service/product that the customer believes he needs and values.
But what if the customer doesn’t know WHAT to value?
Let me backtrack. We were talking about the metaphor of diet and exercise. The other night I rented a Netflix documentary Fed Up that claims:
Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.
In an attempt to explain the increasing number of obesity cases in America, the documentary goes on to lay the case for how SUGAR has been hidden in all of our processed foods under a litany of different names and is as addictive as any other drug. In fact, your brain looks exactly the same on sugar as it would on cocaine. Then they pose the question “You wouldn’t have alcohol lying around the house if you lived with an alcoholic would you? Why then do we expect people to ‘WILL POWER’ their way to health and simply improve their eating habits?’ Its in the food industry’s interest to have you addicted to their products of course.
What If We’ve Been Taking The Wrong Approach?
So what if that claim is right? It means that we’ve been thinking about our approach to diet and exercise all wrong. No amount of diet and exercise can win the battle when it doesn’t even know what fight it’s in. What’s worse is the judgement and shame that is attached to this issue.
I think the same sort of confusion is happening in business and coaching. Time and time again, we’re told exactly what to do to be successful. Why then don’t we just do it? It has to be more complicated then just following a formula. There must be other mitigating factors. Perhaps, as I have suggested before, “Success” means different things to different people. Perhaps the client has emotional blocks. Perhaps different approaches in different markets with different personalities are at play. I don’t believe there is a singular formula that can be applied to everyone and I’m quite sure SHAMING isn’t the answer. It’s not a motivator.
I believe the power of coaching is in holding the space for the client to be HEARD and UNDERSTOOD. That one-on-one attention that so many of us crave to be given the opportunity to discover for ourselves what lies beneath our very own surface or as my good friend Nelson Goulart said to me today, “We’re looking for strong leadership.” Indeed. (Nelson is VP Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Canada and Broker Owner BH&G Signature Service Mississauga, Ont who joined me for a Conversation That Matters) We need someone to offer the 10,000 ft view and to help identify the limiting beliefs we hold and carry.
You have to feel GOOD to get motivated. To chase your dreams. To believe in yourself. All the kicking in the ass in the world isn’t going to move the needle for you if you don’t believe in yourself and your mission. Even THEN, there will be challenges. There is no one size fits all. We all have different drivers, skills and gifts and we have to be honest with ourselves about what we really want and how we want to achieve it.
Join me in the conversation ~ How do YOU define Success?
*Further reading on Motivation (TIME article with video from Dan Pink and Simon Sinek): How To Motivate People: 4 Steps Backed by Science