Showing posts with label ProStar Coach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ProStar Coach. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Support Coaching Is Essential for New Habits

“Mastering any kind of skill takes time, effort and patience. Along the way, there’s much you can do to help someone stay on track.” 
– Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D. in Support Coaching

Do you know someone who’s trying to break a bad habit or form a new, positive one?

Think back to when you’ve attempted to make such a change. It’s not easy.

People will experience setbacks and failures as they work to adopt a new way that’s different from their familiar, comfortable pattern. Along the way, they’re likely to feel discouraged, frustrated, and disappointed with the lack of progress.

There’s a risk they’ll give up because the change sometimes feels too hard. They question if it’s worth the effort.

As a caring person, you’d probably like to help. But maybe you’re not sure what to do.

I can tell you from personal experience that offering advice, giving criticism or pointing out flaws – no matter how well-intentioned your motive – will not be welcomed or appreciated.

One of the best things you can do is become their “Support Coach.” And you don’t even have to get “certified” to serve in this role!

But you do have to know the kinds of things you can do that will be perceived as helpful...from their perspective.

A few surefire tips…

1 – Listen.

That’s right. Get the other person talking. What’s going well? What’s holding you back? 

Most people are absorbed in their own lives. Very few are interested in learning about the struggles of a fellow human being. You’ll stand out by just taking time to truly hear what’s going on in their head and heart.

2 – Encourage.

Offering encouragement starts with listening, and then builds on it. You affirm past successes and offer a balanced perspective. You ask what kind of support they’d like from you…and then you deliver.

3 – Guide learning from experience.

If we don’t learn from what happens to us, we’re likely to repeat the same mistakes going forward. Asking someone to think about what happened, why it happened that way, and what the consequences were draws out important insights that can be applied the next time.

There's additional value you add as a support coach, things that communicate you care about their progress as they’re working to make a change or deal with challenges.

My business partner of 24 years, Denny Coates, and I have created some new resources to show how you can become an effective support coach.

And they’re FREE!

Access 9 short videos and an ebook on Support Coaching.

Then apply what you learn.

The people who are trying so hard to make positive changes will appreciate the ways you show that you’re in their corner.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Best Kind of Accountability Coach

Several years ago we retained the services of a marketing consultant who gave us some terrific ideas for growing our business.

In the process of working together, I got to know “Brian” well, both personally and professionally. On occasion, he’d confide in me about challenges he was facing with his college-age son.

I remember one time in particular.

Brian described how he’d responded to one of his son’s many requests. I was dumbfounded. This dad was clearly engaging in what any counselor would call “enabling” behavior – doing something for another person that he should be doing for himself. Creating dependence. Not preparing this young man to become a responsible, successful adult.

I made the decision in a split-second to jump in with both feet and ask him some hard questions.

Questions that forced him to think about the consequences of his actions.

He was clearly uncomfortable trying to come up with responses to my questions, but I persisted. I could envision the disastrous father-son relationship unfolding with all kinds of undesirable outcomes. I felt compelled to help Brian see what could happen if he continued to rescue his son.

Later, Brian thanked me and said that conversation was a turning point in their relationship.

And then he used a phrase to describe me that I cherish to this day:


I pride myself on speaking the truth to people, but I try to do it gently, to maintain the other person’s dignity and self-esteem.

I got to thinking…we all need at least one person in our lives who’s willing to be that kind of coach for us, an accountability coach.

Your motivation increases – sometimes by a factor of 10 or more – when you know you have to answer to someone else for your actions.

The founders of 12-step programs understood this. When people start attending meetings, they are encouraged to get a “sponsor.” This is a person who will be there to support them and ask the hard questions to keep them on track.

If you’re trying to make a significant change in your life – whether it’s related to your career, a personal relationship, an addiction, eating habits, or exercise routine – make it a priority to find someone who will agree to be your accountability coach.

This person’s main job is to contact you regularly and ask whether you did what you said you were going to do.

Knowing you’ll have to face this person’s questions helps you stay on track during moments of weakness, distraction or potential excuse-making.

Who’s the best person to ask?

1. Someone you trust. You’re going to be opening yourself up to scrutiny and making yourself vulnerable. So you have to feel confident that he or she will have your best interest at heart and keep confidential anything you share.

2. Someone who will be honest with you. Who would make the best “velvet hammer” for you? You need a person who will tell you the truth without sugar-coating it.

3. Someone who’s willing to contact you regularly. Who can you count on to follow through and stick with the schedule you both agree to? Consistency is key here, so you need a person you can depend on.

Having an accountability coach doesn't have to take a lot of time for either party. The goal is to keep you on track with frequent touch-points. Your coach’s role is to ask questions that reveal if you've been completing the actions you committed to. You can even create the questions you want the person to ask you. After all, YOU know better than anyone what you want to achieve…and what sort of accountability structure will best keep you on track.

If you’d like to investigate a technology that combines a proven process for building new habits with a group of support coaches, check out ProStar Coach. A one-year subscription to this online development system can help you develop the strengths and skills you need to be strong for every aspect of your life.

Monday, December 19, 2011

3 Questions to Make Next Year Your Best Year

As we approach January 1, you’ll hear a lot about the importance of making New Year’s resolutions. But most goals that people set at the beginning of the year - such as getting physically fit, getting out of debt or making more money - do not become reality.

There are many reasons for this, such as a lack of sufficient motivation, inadequate commitment, or an unwillingness to experience discomfort. And sometimes the goals are simply outside the realm of possibility.

The problem is, if you create unrealistic goals, you don’t just set yourself up for failure. You set yourself up for lowering your self-respect and self-confidence, which then impacts the effort you’ll invest in working towards your goals. And your belief in what’s possible for you diminishes as well, as you see yourself falling short of what you hoped for.

You can inoculate yourself from these downsides and increase your chances of success if you carve out some time to write out the answers to three questions.

1. What positive results did I get that I am proud of and WHY?

You HAVE accomplished many good things this year, and you need to recognize them. List as many as you can think of, no matter how small or trivial they may seem to you. Reviewing all your achievements serves to expand your beliefs about what’s possible for the next 12 months.

For each item on your list, include WHY you got the result you did. What specifically did you do? When you understand cause and effect, you can figure out how to repeat the process.

2. What results didn’t work out the way I hoped and WHY?

No one is perfect, and that includes you. So despite your best efforts, you made some mistakes and experienced setbacks or failures. You need to learn from them so you don’t repeat them next year.

After you describe the situation, examine what you did or didn’t do that contributed to the undesirable outcome. You’ve got to be totally honest with yourself if you are serious about getting a different result in the coming months.

3. What results do I want next year, and what actions will I need to take to make them a reality?

If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you can’t expect the outcome to be different. By definition, a goal is a destination you haven’t achieved yet. So you’ll need to make some changes in order to make your resolutions a reality. That means getting outside your comfort zone and stretching to make them happen.

Most likely, you’ll have to engage several personal strengths in the process – like courage, initiative, perseverance, effort, and self-discipline. You’ll need grit and determination to say “NO” to temptations and distractions. You’ll need open-mindedness and decisiveness to say “YES” to the opportunities that present themselves.

How can you do this? Very few people can stick with their commitment to change on their own. Having a support system in place can mean the difference between success and failure.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a coach available 24/7 to help you through the rough spots, offer encouragement whenever you needed it and hold your accountable for taking action and getting results?

That type of coach is available to you today. If you’re committed to becoming a stronger, better version of yourself in the coming year, I encourage you to check out ProStar Coach. It combines virtual coaching with coaching from real people who care about your success. It’s like having your own private online gym for working out to build personal strength instead of physical strength – and it’s never closed!
"The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it's who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment." - Anthony Robbins, American author (1960- )

Friday, July 22, 2011

Give Constructive Feedback the Right Way

Have you ever have to deal with a situation like this?

Someone – maybe a customer, colleague, friend or family member – said or did something that caused problems for you. And you weren't sure how to handle it - what to say, what to avoid saying, whether you should say anything at all…

You’re not alone.

Many people are hesitant to give constructive feedback to someone else, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they're afraid of an angry or defensive reaction. Or they don't want to cause hurt feelings.

Or they hope the person will recognize the problem and eventually correct it without the need to bring up the subject. But that's not what usually happens.

When others make mistakes or disappoint you, it’s important to address the issue because these individuals often don’t realize they’re causing problems for you. They don’t see their actions the way you do. This behavior is a blind spot for them, and they're unlikely to change unless you tell them. They can't read your mind, and a heavy sigh or a glare does not communicate what you want from them.

If you're like me, you never had a course in high school or college on how to give feedback to someone whose behavior is creating issues for you. And it's unlikely your parents or other adults provided a good role model for this skill when you were growing up, because they weren't taught the right way to do it either.

You already know what doesn't feel good when you're on the receiving end of criticism. Name-calling. Judgmental statements that label you. Phrases that imply a permanent condition, such as, "You always..." or "You never..."

So what approach can you take that allows you to express your needs and preserves the other person's dignity at the same time?

Over the years, my business partner Denny Coates and I have learned the secret for giving others feedback. We've consolidated all the nuggets into a 10 minute video, How to Give Constructive Feedback.

You don’t have to opt in to watch it. Just be ready to take notes, because the steps are all laid out for you.

By the way, this is just one of two dozen People Skill videos we've created in our ProStar Coach online virtual coaching system. If you're serious about making long-term changes in habits that have been holding you back, this is a program you'll want to check out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do Your Workouts Include MENTAL Weight Training?

Sometimes you find life lessons in surprising places.

I was reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by brothers Chip and Dan Heath to stimulate my creative thinking for marketing strategies. It’s a fascinating, clearly-written book that outlines six principles for helping people remember and act on the ideas you’re presenting.

And these ideas aren’t just for marketers. They apply to anyone who needs to communicate effectively, including leaders, parents, and teachers.

One of the principles is the power of stories to convey an idea. Because of my ongoing passion in my work to help people learn new skills and change behavior patterns, the following story was especially memorable.

A high school algebra teacher was participating in an online discussion forum with other math teachers. They were wrestling with a question they commonly get from their students regarding the application of a specific math concept or formula:

“When will I ever use this?” 

The algebra teacher shared how he responds when his students pose this question. It’s brilliant.
“This question used to really bother me, and I would look, as a result, for justification for everything I taught. Now I say, ‘Never. You will never use this.’

“I then go on to remind them that people don’t lift weights so that they will be prepared, should one day someone knock them over on the street and lay a barbell across their chests. You lift weights so you can knock over a defensive lineman, or carry your groceries or lift your grandchildren without being sore the next day. You do math exercises so that you can improve your ability to think logically, so that you can be a better lawyer, doctor, architect, prison warden or parent.

MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end for most people, not an end in itself.”
Some of the things we’re asked to learn may not seem to have immediate relevance in our lives, yet the mental work required to do them prepares us for future challenges. That’s because this “mental weight training” enables the brain to build the neural pathways needed to complete important tasks with less effort.

This process is exactly what my company has done with our online ProStar Coach program. We call it your “virtual gym for becoming stronger as a person” because it provides mental workouts in the critical areas of people skills and personal strengths. We recognized that a cycle of taking action and then reflecting on lessons learned from the action is critical to transforming a behavior pattern or ingraining a new skill.

What are you doing each day to stretch and strengthen your brain so you’re prepared for unexpected situations when they arise?

There could be one habit or behavior pattern that’s been holding you back from being as effective as you could be – maybe a lack of self-confidence, patience, composure or self-discipline. If you could strengthen this one area, it would make a huge difference in the results you achieve. 

You can do this on your own, of course. But you could get even greater results with the power of a virtual coach, combined with coaching from people who care about your success. You can get both types of coaching in ProStar Coach.

Are you ready to do the mental weight training to get to the next level in your own development?
"Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity."
Stephen Covey, American author

Thursday, October 15, 2009

About Me - Meredith Bell

I love encouraging action-oriented people to make changes that help them achieve greater success, both personally and professionally. I've been doing that as president of Performance Support Systems for the past 26 years and as an entrepreneur since 1982.

I'm very excited that our latest product, StrongForPerformance, gives leaders the tools they need to take their performance to the next level. This unique online coaching system combines assessment, learning resources and a self-selected network of support coaches to help people ingrain skills and new behavior patterns.

For many years, my business provided management consulting services. Then, in 1994 we published 20/20 Insight, a software program for hosting a wide variety of surveys. We later introduced Surveys for Small Business, designed to help small organizations get feedback from their customers and employees.

During the past 25 years, I've coached and encouraged hundreds of consultants and learning & development professionals who use our programs. I'm passionate about helping people discover how to leverage their strengths to achieve their goals.

On a personal note, my husband Lee and I have a grown daughter, Alison, who lives nearby with her husband and 2 children. They all bring tremendous joy to our lives, and we relish our role as grandparents. Lee and I are avid bird watchers. Observing nature at work is my favorite way to relax and be "in the moment."

You can reach me at: 
Performance Support Systems, Inc.
8270 Little England Rd
Hayes, VA  23072
800-488-6463 x201 or 757-656-4765