Get the Habit (29 December 2013)

Like all professions, it seems, coaching has its sacred texts and gurus; they may not be up there with the I Ching (for me, at least), but they have huge influence.

Ages ago, in a bout of rampant, self-developing enthusiasm, I bought a copy of one such text: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. (the R. is key…..) Covey. I decided, as 2013 ends, to see what it says.

Firstly, I needed to cross some of my own personal belief barriers (yes, the R. was one of them). So: the book has “15 million copies sold!” prominently on the cover, and six pages of positive plaudits (“Covey is hot, and getting hotter!” proclaims Business Week magazine). Also…….. Covey says in his Foreword: “All of our children are married and, with their spouses, have developed principle-based mission statements focused on service. To see them live these mission statements gives us joy in our posterity.” Sounds a bit scary to me; but I shall discuss with my twins what should feature in their mission statements, before it is too late.

See, even coaches struggle with their values and beliefs; you just have to know they are there, and not let them hold you back! So I ploughed on into Mr Covey’s 15 million bestseller.

One story caught my eye. Their young daughter, some years ago, was having her third birthday, and wouldn’t share her presents with the other children. Cover tried various ploys: requesting, reasoning, bribing, threatening (because he was embarrassed), finally force – he took the presents away, gave them to the other children. As he reflected later, he used his strength, he failed to give patience or understanding, to let his daughter be herself; he was, effectively, weakened, largely because he felt he was being judged by the other parents.

What conclusion or lesson to draw from this as we head into 2014? Your own perspective, with your feelings and emotions, govern the way you look at life, and you should understand and respect them. But remember others see the world differently – they have different “mission statements” – and you need to know this and accommodate it as you make your way in your life and your work.

So, over the New Year, tackle the other 300 pages of “7 Habits” or re-read Mervyn Peake? Decisions, decisions….

All the best

Graham - email: - tel: + (44) (0) 7890 360 806 - skype: tigercoaching1