On Coaching

I’ve been working with a coach for the best part of a year now. I started because I called my friend Camille stressed out of my mind and she said – like a good friend will – you need someone to do this for you. It was one of the most helpful pieces of advice I have ever got and I really appreciated her giving it me.

There’s a lot of stuff all over the internet about coaching – what it is and what you will get out of it. But here are three things that have really made a big difference to me.

Context and Continuity

A lot has changed over the last year – I was living (kinda) in Colombia and leading a 6 person team at a struggling startup. Now I’m living (still kinda – I guess that bit hasn’t changed) in Lisbon and leading a ~25 person team at a company that has been around for over a decade. My coach gets WTHIC, we speak three times a month and before each call I send my “prep”. She has more context on my life than almost anyone else. But she’s not part of it – she doesn’t work at the same company, we don’t move in the same social circle. This is so helpful. Often the thorny problems in our lives have so much backstory and context, and when we seek someone out to talk to we have to explain that. But like any relationship, when you invest in over the long term, it gets easier and easier to talk about things.

The Best Cate

Whilst coaching definitely makes me better at my job, the focus is on me holistically. Medium to long term happiness and success depend on every part of my life being sustainable.

Personal Goals

At the end of 2016 we did a year review, and I set 40 goals for 2017. I put it in a spreadsheet, and now we’re in Q2… I colour coded it.

I’m terrible at personal goals, and this is why I rely on processes. My ability to define processes and execute on them is a strength – and a curse. I can blog multiple times a week for years, but can’t contemplate how to do something bigger and more nebulous. Something like… write a book. It’s much harder to define a sustainable process that will achieve that kind of larger project. I know this about myself, so I rarely set goals for myself.

But when you work with someone else, you get another perspective on how to approach and evaluate things. It’s exciting that I defined goals for the year for once, and cool that I already achieved two of them and made progress on many others. It’s nice that I can see clearly what I important to me that I haven’t made progress on and interesting to see how my ideas of what is important have changed over the past three months.

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