- Posted by Liz Gooster
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- Brian Tracy, business coaching, business publishing, Eat That Frog!, Financial Times Guide to Business Networking, frog, goals, GROW model, Heather Townsend, new year's resolutions, performance, will
“Only about 3% of adults have clear written goals. These people accomplish five and ten times as much as people of equal or better education and ability but who, for whatever reason, have not taken the time to write out exactly what it is they want.” Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog!
This is a quote from my favourite time management/productivity book, Eat That Frog (http://tinyurl.com/2aw8x3g), written by Brian Tracy and published by my lovely fellow publishers at Berrett Koehler. When I first read the book, I was very taken with its straightforward advice on how to stop procrastinating and get more of the important things done. The main message is to make the first thing you do each day the most important thing, the thing which could make the most positive impact if you complete it, which is often also the thing you’re most likely to put off. If you think of your biggest chore as a frog, once you’ve eaten it (ie accomplished the task), your day can only get better, especially as you’ll be buoyed up by the sense of achievement that will wash over you, once you’ve scoffed off your amphibian.
I proselytized widely about this concept when I first came across it. So much so that even my mum and sister, not generally very impressed with business advice, now regularly report that they have been ‘busy eating frogs!’. I recently came across the quote which opens this post again while reading some draft chapters of one of the books I’m publishing in 2011 (Financial Times Guide to Business Networking, by Heather Townsend). I was taken anew by the starkness of the success-failure divide between those with clear, written goals and those without. On New Year’s Eve, the time when we are traditionally mulling over our resolutions for the new year, it strikes a particularly relevant note.
It also occurred to me that this message is enormously relevant to coaching. If, as business coaches, we can encourage our clients to fomulate clearly their goals and then, critically, to write them down, we can help them boost their chances of success immensely. Tracy’s insights meld perfectly with coaching tools such as the GROW model. If you don’t know what you want to do, how will you do it? If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you know if you’ve achieved it? And it seems that writing down the things you want to do not only helps crystallise your goals, but has a direct correlation with how likely you are to fulfil those goals. Following Tracy’s statistics, writing down your goals can elevate you into the top 3% of people in terms of achievement.
I’d argue that coaching can play a similar, complementary role, because coaches can help ensure that clients are truly motivated to achieve their goals (again, the GROW model is relevant here because of its ‘will’ component) and then hold them accountable for fulfilling them. Having started this train of thought, I think that one of my own goals for 2011 will have to be to reread Eat That Frog! and start discussing with coaching clients how implementing some of Tracy’s techniques can help accelerate their performance. Now, where’s my pen so I can write it down …
Best wishes everyone for a happy and successful 2011. I’m grateful to you for reading and look forward to continuong our conversations in the new year.
I like to describe myself as happily ‘At Large’ in an independent portfolio career, balancing coaching, leadership development, coach training and being a mum to my young daughter. Positive psychology is a big influence on my work and I’m currently studying for an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology. Other interests include travel writing, literature, fitness, food and drink. Connect with me on Twitter @lizgooster.