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Measuring Success

Measuring SuccessI often get asked how results from coaching get measured.  How does one know that the coaching worked? What is success? What does success look like?  How is it measured?

The answer is very subjective.  In individual coaching It depends on the individual and what he or she is trying to achieve.  It is all too easy to use external measures, like comparing yourself with others, ranking yourself, or as the picture depicts, using a ruler.  

As a coach, I help people achieve more fulfillment, satisfaction, and balance in their lives. That is at the heart of what many people say they would like. When someone says, “I wish I were more confident,” it is the same as saying they are unsatisfied with their current situation– whatever that may be– and believe that being more confident is the key to being happy or satisfied.  It presumes you are inadequate and shows up as “not enough.”  Because it is from a negative place, efforts directed towards changing the situation are often unsuccessful. Looking for satisfaction outside of yourself is neither authentic, nor does it last.

True, there are things that you can do that will help change the internal feeling of “not being enough”. Action is the antidote to fear, which is often what holds us back.  Thinking about going back to school to get a degree is good, and actually picking up the phone and calling a school to book a tour is even more empowering.  Thinking about a job change is fine, and getting your resume updated is even better.  In this case, the measure is whether you took action or a step to move towards the goal.

For me another measure I love is maps. I love driving and watching the “miles to go” become less and less as I head to a destination.  It keeps me focused and gives me measurable steps along the way: 200 more miles to _(your place right here)______.  Once the city I’m going to gets on a road sign, even if it’s still more than 100 miles away I get excited.  I’m getting closer.  The same is true in other areas of our lives. We just need to create a “map” showing where we are and where we are going.

So decide what it is that you want (not what you don’t want), and then work backwards until you have manageable, measurable steps to achieve it.  

In the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, Francis, the main character, buys a house in Italy.  Near her new home is a shrine that an older man lays flowers on daily.  Every day she sees him, she smiles and waves.  The old man never even acknowledges her. One day she looks out and sees the old man and on that day, he nods his head at her after many long months of ignoring her.  That gesture of acknowledgement is an example of a measure for something as friendliness or trust. Even things that cannot be easily measured in units, like inches, can still be measured if you know what tool to use.

In the example above, it would be acknowledgement measured through consistency. See it from the older man’s perspective. “Who is this stranger?  Why should I befriend her? People come and go too quickly in life.”  After recognizing her consistency, he deems that Francis is “trustworthy” or worthy of his friendly acknowledgement.

So what is success? How can you measure success?  The answer is up to you.

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Living Forward, LLC is a coaching and training company founded in 2006, that "inspires lifelong learning". Our qualified coaches specialize in workplace communication, change readiness, and performance improvement. We also offer individual coaching, group coaching and conflict resolution/mediation.

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