The Transformative Power of Accountability

A lot of factors come into play when we’re trying to move forward on something in life. One valuable tool for making progress is accountability. In its simplest form, accountability is just making a promise to do something, then having some way to track whether you actually do it.

Instead of tracking it yourself, it helps when someone else tracks it with you.

An accountability partner raises the bar. You might have tried this with exercise plans. While you might be tempted to skip a solo workout, you definitely think twice about rescheduling a tennis match because someone is counting on you.

When the stakes are higher or the goal is more complicated, an accountability partner does more than tracking and/or showing up. And that’s where an experienced coach comes into the picture. Being the perfect accountability partner is a coach superpower!

What Makes a Great Personal Accountability Partner?

First, there has to be mutual trust and respect. It’s got to feel safe, because it always feels vulnerable to invite accountability.

We have to be willing and committed to giving honest, direct feedback. We can be gentle, but we need to be truthful or else we’re no help at all.

We offer encouragement without judgment or attachment about the outcome.

It’s More Than a Checklist

Coaches know accountability is more than simply checking tasks off a list. We like to get in deep with all the subtle dynamics around your efforts. While we help track your progress, we also ask important learning questions to shed insight into your passion, your skills, your resistance. We help you rethink the steps you’re taking, offering fresh challenges and new slants. We help you re-engage with your goals when you’re struggling to focus.

A coach will dig a little deeper to help you understand your successes and your flops. A coach will ask you to reflect on what you are learning from those actions and inactions, and help you apply those insights going forward.

Accountability is quite a dance, and everyone has a different rhythm. As a coach, I’ve learned how to tune in to who you are and what makes you tick, so I can help you, with direct compassion, make progress on your goals and integrate the lessons you are learning along the way.

Mary

 

Change is in the Air

Cold fall or winter evening. People resting by the fire with blaTransitions are tough and exhilarating at the same time.

Just take a look at our Midwestern weather this time of year: you can leave the house in the morning shivering in your sweater and by lunch time, you are sweltering, ready to shed those socks and shoes for sandals! You just never know what the day will offer.

That particular lesson from Mother Nature — helps me become aware of how my mindset creates struggle or ease in the midst of transition. When I hold tightly to my expectations and things don’t turn out the way I planned, I get pretty cantankerous. It is really hard to delight in a surprise October snow shower when I had my heart set on shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt.

So when I start to feel that cranky, agitated feeling, I can step back and notice how I am contributing to the stress of this moment. I can choose to ruminate on my disappointment (I really wanted it to still be summer!) OR acknowledge my disappointment and focus my attention on something within my power (oh goody, I get to wear my cozy fleece jacket and wool socks!)

What is your attitude when change is in the air? Try this if you are feeling cranky:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing
  2. Soften or even close your eyes
  3. Take 3 nice, easy breaths — giving your breath your full attention
  4. Open your eyes and go back to whatever you were doing
  5. REPEAT AS NEEDED until crankiness subsides

Ready with socks and sandals!
Mary

Happy Mid-Year!

Yes, you read it right! I am celebrating the middle part of my year. I know most people are busy setting New Year’s resolutions.  For me, this is the best time to evaluate the plans I made way back in September.

Whatever your preference, this is a great time to stop and check in on where you are.

TRY THIS: Set a 30 minute appointment with yourself in the next week.  Hold your meeting in a quiet, distraction free space.  Bring blank paper and your favorite writing/drawing tools.  Start by closing your eyes and simply focusing on your breath.  When you are ready, ask yourself a few of these questions:

  • What is important to me in this moment of my life?
  • What is humming along quite nicely?
  • What needs fine-tuning?
  • What would I love to DUMP?
  • What are the challenges and obstacles I am facing?
  • What are my goals or aspirations for the next year?
  • Who is on my success team?
  • When will I hire Mary? ;D

Write down or draw your answers.  Remember, the most valuable answers come from your heart!

I’d love to hear what you discover.  Use the comment section below or send me an email: Mary@coacholk.com

Mary

Navigating Transitions with Grace

“Life is one transition after another” according to one of my wise friends who attended my free teleclass earlier this month. It is true. Some transitions we navigate are BIG – getting a new job or losing a job, becoming a parent or losing a parent, getting married or getting divorced!

When challenged by transitions, our natural human tendency is to RESIST change. We automatically tighten our grip on what is familiar when we face something new and unknown even when that unknown is something positive.

When we are unaware of this reaction, we struggle and make the transition even more challenging.

What helps everyone in any transition is to become aware –

How am I reacting to this change?

What are my options?

What do I want to retain?

What do I want to let go of?

What are my obstacles or challenges?

What obstacles am I creating?

How do I want to be in the midst of this change?

These are the kinds of questions that help my coaching clients successfully and powerfully navigate transitions. If you want more grace and less strain in your transitions, call me (952-939-0277). Let’s see if coaching is right for you.

Mary

Breathing Into Daily Transitions

From the moment you awake, you are moving from one thing to another. The routine tasks we perform every day are full of little transitions. If you’re like me, you’re usually thinking two steps ahead – and feeling 3 steps behind.

You’re brushing your teeth, thinking I am running late; I’ve got to get that presentation finished before noon; Remember to send an email to the car pool for tonight’s soccer game. You quickly say good morning to your family while rattling off a list of the day’s To Dos you want them to remember.

Whew, my mind is spinning just writing that!

Planning ahead is useful and necessary, but it often means I am not present in the moment. That makes life HARD and full of tension! So, what is a busy person to do? How can we move through transitions with more grace and ease?

BREATHE!

If you can anchor yourself by breathing in those moments in-between and really pay attention to where you are right then – your transitions will be smoother and you’ll be more centered. You will discover a quiet joy in those precious moments – even if it is fleeting.

So this week, experiment with breathing. Take a deep breath when you are brushing your teeth, commuting to work, or simply moving from one room to another. How does this one small thing make a difference in your daily transitions?

I would love to hear the results of your experiments. You can comment below or send me an email (Mary@coacholk.com).

Warmly (with a deep breath),

Mary

Navigating Transitions – Free Teleclass

TRANSITIONS: Successfully Navigating the Moments In-between
Thursday, October 14 at 10:30 AM CT

It’s Fall in the heartland. The trees are changing from vibrant green to shades of red and gold. The days are shorter; the air is crisp. We are slowly and surely moving from the heat of summer to the chill of winter. FALL is a season of TRANSITION.

This month The Growing Edge Teleclass will explore TRANSITION. Sometimes they are challenging, sometimes they are graceful. They are inevitably part of the natural rhythm of life.

Join me on October 14 as we tap our collective wisdom and knowledge about navigating transitions.

• Why are some transitions smooth and easy?
• How come some are rough and require lots of effort?
• What makes a transition exciting?
• What has you dreading a transition?
• What resources do you count on when you are in the midst of a transition?

I will share some strategies for staying sure-footed as you dance with the rhythms of life’s transitions.

I promise that you will leave our conversation inspired and ready for any transition that comes your way (or is already underway!)

I am looking forward to growing with you this month!

Click Here To REGISTER

Goals That Get You Grooving – Free Teleclass

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know it isn’t January but this is the time of year I stop and take stock of my life and my business. One of the things I do is set my goals and objectives for the next year.

This month in the Growing Edge Teleclass my friend and colleague, Jim Earley [Trailblazer Coaching] will join me for a lively conversation about creating goals that engage and inspire.

Be sure to bring your goals to the conversation – especially if they are dragging you down. We guarantee that you will leave the conversation with a point of view that will inspire your success!

Join us for Goals that Get You Grooving and Moving!

Thursday, September 9 at 10:30 a.m. CT

Register for Goals That Get You Grooving in This event is a teleclass.  on Eventbrite

You Can’t Say Yes To Everything!

Five Practical Strategies for Getting Stuff Done

Stressed BusinesswomanSo you find yourself in a whirlwind – so many things to do and it doesn’t seem as though you are getting anything done! That’s when I get cranky, irritable, and out of sorts.  This is not me!  What happened and how did I get here?  Does this sound familiar?

In the Growing Edge Teleclass last month we spent time exploring some practical, effective strategies for finding the way out of the whirlwind and back to sanity.  Here are the top 5 strategies from our conversation:

1. Remember — Saying YES means that you are saying NO. Before you say YES, take time to examine the ripple effects.  What you are saying NO to when you say yes?

2. Chunk it down!
a.    Instead of a project list, make a list of tasks and start with the easiest tasks to complete.
b.    Set a time focus:  What do I need to do this week? Or this month?  Only work on the tasks/projects that need to be completed in that time frame.

3. Do only one thing at a time.  STOP MULTITASKING!

4.    Daily Commitment list. Each day choose a few items from your “TO DO” list that you are 100% committed to completing today.

5.    Buddy up. Partner with a compassionate, non-judgmental friend/co-worker who will help you be accountable.

What strategy will you experiment this month? Let me know your results!

Compassionately yours,
Mary

The End of Summer

Despite what the calendar says, summer is officially over next week at our house when school starts again.  We are making the most of the last few days of our relaxed routine with extra trips to the beach, staying up late reading or roasting marshmallows at a backyard bonfire, long walks around the neighborhood, and savoring the casual conversations with friends and neighbors.

We have plans for a fun-filled escapade to the Mall of America, a few last play dates, a camping expedition and a hiking adventure in the woods surrounding our neighborhood.

This week is a celebration of all things SUMMER – fun, spontaneity, adventure, connection, recreation!

How will you be celebrating summer?

Sunny summer regards,

Mary

My Mom, My First Life Coach

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone! (one day late). I hope that you are taking some time to celebrate the wonderful women in your life. This week I was thinking about my Mom and appreciating the gifts she has given me over my lifetime, and then it hit me …

My Mom was my first life coach!

She was the first person who created a safe space for me to be all of me. She showed me that life was full of learning and that learning could be FUN! She saw my greatness when all I could see were my limitations. She nudged me out of my comfort zone, giving me opportunities to try things she had a hunch I would love. Most of all she loved me with out reservation or conditions.

Thanks Mom for giving me the best foundation for my life and my career!

Who was your first life coach?
What would a partnership with a coach give you today?

Call me and let’s get to work!