UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 6: BARRIERS POSED BY PEOPLE, MONEY & TIME

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The coach has another crucial role, then: he or she has enabled the client to get clarity on where the destination leads, but now the coach has to help the client understand what needs to be done to get there. That is, how does the client demolish the barriers that are preventing access to the ‘promised land’” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

Up to this stage, we have predominantly looked at the primary role of the coach, in which the coach attempts to help their client realise where their destination is. Now, we intend to examine the complimentary function of helping them demolish the barriers that are preventing success. Last week we started looking at ways to form new habits with kaizen, and therefore take the first initial steps towards progress (the first step on a journey of a thousand miles), but now we will look at how to overcome larger obstacles. It’s worth recapping what we learned last week, however:

 

RECAP: Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!

 

The barriers to progress we face are most commonly divided into one of three primary categories: time, money, or people. These categories actually correspond with the three motivational clusters of Relationship, Achievement and Growth. So, if you recall the nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.

 

Each of these motivators falls into one of the three ‘clusters’: Defender, Friend and Star fall into the ‘Relationship’ cluster, as they deal with personal relationships and the past. Director, Builder and Expert fall into the ‘Achievement’ cluster, as they are concerned with success in the workplace and present-tasks. Finally, Creator, Spirit and Searcher fall into the ‘Growth’ cluster as they are focused on personal development. They are ‘future’ focused.

 

People corresponds with the Relationship cluster. Consider if you find meeting and working together with the right people to be a big barrier, how your Relationship motivators stand. Money corresponds with the Achievement cluster. If you find money to be a barrier, look at whether your Achievement motivators are low on your profile. If time is your key barrier, it might be that you struggle to look ahead, which is where Growth cluster motivators excel.

 

So, the primary obstacles we face eerily correspond to our motivational profiles. This is possibly because in actuality, none of these factors are the real obstacles to our progress. In fact, most of what is preventing us from overcoming barriers is internal: our outlook and frame of mind.

 

You will have heard it endless reiterated that to achieve your dreams you ‘just need to believe’ or ‘be confident in yourself’ or ‘make it happen’. Confidence and self-belief have been turned into a branding commodity; a logo that you put on tea-mugs and designer-pillows: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. We see these slogans every day and they have been repeated so often, and without nuance, that they have lost all meaning. At this stage, I am sure that even the wide-eyed and optimistic among you have a niggle of scepticism regarding the power of ‘belief’.

 

So, let us examine what we really mean when we talk about self-confidence or self-belief. What we really mean is a state of mind. In Japanese warrior culture, there is a heightened state of awareness called zanshin. It literally means ‘no-mind’. In this state, warriors empty themselves of all their petty thoughts, doubts and considerations so they become entirely ‘present’, able to perceive every incoming blow from every angle. They are relaxed enough that their muscles can respond frictionlessly to dangers, but alert enough that they do not miss any opportunity. In this state, it is said the great Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the greatest samurai ever to have lived, defeated hundreds of warriors at once in combat. Musashi believed he was the best. He never doubted the speed or power of his sword-stroke, or his victory. That is belief.

 

State of mind is everything. Belief is not an airy-fairy concept. Nor is confidence. It is a story you tell yourself and a mind-set that you inhabit. Henry Ford once said: ‘If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ This is a profound commentary on self-fulfilling prophecies. We make these prophecies for ourselves every day: ‘I’m not good enough for this’, ‘I’m stressed out of my mind’, ‘I can’t think straight’. Inevitably, these predictions become true as we obsess over them. The brain moves towards where it is directed by our thoughts.

 

Think of this another way. By controlling how we respond to the world, we control the outcome. We cannot control the world, it is outside of our sphere of influence. We cannot stop people being rude to us, or bills coming in, or changes in government legislation that are unfavourable (at least, most of us can’t!). However, we can change how we respond and adapt to these events. Do we respond in a state of zanshin, or in self-defeating mode?

 

Similar to the events and buffets of the world beyond our control, we have the barriers to stop us doing great things: ‘I can’t find the people to help me’, ‘I don’t have the money’, ‘I don’t have the time’. However, when we approach these problems with the right mind-set, we can see that none of these are insurmountable. There are numerous online and face-to-face platforms for meeting the right entrepreneurs and professionals. Collaboration has also never been more accessible with online calls, seminars, shared-docs, and tools such as Slack.

 

EXERCISE: Create a list of ways you can find the best people to help you achieve your goal. What networks will have the right people. How can you use what you have learned about Motivational Maps to make sure you find people with the right motivational alignment / balance that will compliment yours?

 

It is highly possible in today’s world to loan money to start a business, or even to find investors. It is not easy, no one would ever say that, but there are ample solutions. New solutions are emerging all the time as well. Kickstarter and crowd-funding campaigns are changing the game of start-ups. Kickstarter has raised something like $4.17 billion dollars for businesses worldwide. Money is out there for you. You just have to be creative about how you get it, and offer value to people.

 

EXERCISE: Create a list of ways that you could raise capital. Weigh the pros and cons of each method.

 

The same is true of Time. One of the key strategies for maximising our time is using the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle taps into the uneven nature of the universe. For example, most of us assume that everything we do is equally valuable. If we have 100 emails, we read them all with equal attention. In reality of course, only 20% of those emails probably contain anything worthwhile! Pareto posits that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. 20% of people in a large company are producing 80% of the sales. 20% of homes cause 80% of the fires. 20% of people own 80% of the money of the world (in fact, it is actually a far more unbalanced statistic than that). However, this principle is not to be railed against. On the contrary, it can be used to our advantage. Once we become aware that 20% of what we do is producing 80% of the value, we can do more of what is in that 20% to double, quadruple, quintuple our value-output.

 

For example, if each day you were trying to sell a product online, but never got much traction, but you also made one phone call that instantly led to a sale, wouldn’t it be sensible to increase the number of calls you made? Or, vice-a-versa. If you sold hundreds online, but only ever made one or two sales via the phone. Why keep making phone calls? Harness the most productive aspects of what you do, and do more of them and less of what isn’t working!

 

EXERCISE: Make a list of all the things you do in your day and week. Now, identify what roughly 20% of those things (it might even be 30% in some cases) are valuable and creating the most value for you. Now, as yourself how you can do more of those things.

 

Hopefully you can see that all barriers can be overcome with the right thinking and tools. That is the role of the coach, and has been my role in writing this summary-article for you. Next week, we will be giving you a break to catch up with everything we’ve written. After that, we’ll be returning with part 7, out first look into Mapping Motivation for Engagement, co-written with Steve Jones.

 

FINAL RECAP:

 

Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.

 

Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!

 

The key barriers of people, time and money correspond with the Relationship-Achievement-Growth clusters of Motivational Maps. The real obstacles, however, are our approach and mind-set. We must cultivate self-belief and motivation to overcome barriers with creative solutions!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 5: THE JOURNEY OF A 1000 MILES

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By now, if you have been following this blog series, we should have some idea of the Self. I asked you previously to assess your physical health, mental strength, emotional well-being and spiritual health in order to give you a picture of where you are at now and how you can improve to give your best performance. Combining this with the Maps is very powerful, as you now not only know where you may need to improve, but what kind of actions motivate you – killing two birds with one stone. For example, if you wanted to improve your physical health and you were a Builder motivator (at the number one slot), then it would probably benefit you to do a competitive sport, rather than simply going to the gym. Competing would boost your motivation levels, whilst also improving your fitness, leading to a massive overall increase in your well-being!

 

However, I am skipping ahead slightly. Let’s quickly re-cap on the purpose of coaching (which includes self-coaching):

 

Recap: Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.

 

So, how can we use coaching techniques to build a plan to improve our lives (or indeed, to improve the lives of those who work with/for us). I’d like to introduce to one powerful technique called “kaizen”. Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means “improvement”, however, as with many words derived from Japanese kanji, it has many deeper meanings and associations, one of which is specific to business practice. The business philosophy of Kaizen is: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It is a process whereby one makes continuous small improvements which over time become exponential. In the West, we tend to think of “innovation”. We want to make big bold creative leaps, where we imagine something entirely alien and new, and then bring it into being, thus radicalising the market and world around us. However, these are tremendously risky and one tends to fall victim to the ‘mad scientist’ psychological trap of always chasing an event horizon that never manifests, or manifests in undesirable ways.

 

Kaizen is a subtle alternative that the Japanese automotive and electronics industries have used to gain world market domination in a relatively short space of time.

 

So far as coaching goes this is important because one aim of the coach is to get the client to adopt new habits or rituals that are more helpful to them than the ones that led to their issue.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

In order to change our lives, we have to change our habits. This much, we know. We know that to lose weight, we need to exercise more and to diet. We know that to break addictions, we have to form new patterns. However, doing it is always significantly harder than we think. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that most of us believe that we have to go on ‘crash courses’ in order to transform ourselves. We fast or only drink special shakes, we eat radically different food, we start running every day. This is a tremendous amount of effort and automatically sparks the ‘fear response’ in us that says: I don’t want to do that. The second reason is linked to the first: our brains are hard-wired to repetition. Even the most creative and spontaneous of us have patterns; we eat similar foods each day, walk similar paths, drink tea or coffee at the same times, have similar conversations, have similar practices for getting ‘in the zone’. Repetition is security. The more that the brain can put on auto-pilot, the less it has to worry about infinitesimal details or things going wrong. That’s why, in order to get really fit, the best way is actually to continuously vary your exercise regime, so the body doesn’t have time to adjust or fall into a pattern. The military use this to great effect.

 

So, we know we need to create new habits and change, but we can’t. The exercise regime is too stringent, the diet is too controlled, etcetera. How do we break through these mental blocks and doubts? The answer is kaizen. The ‘small steps’ of kaizen allow us to circumnavigate the fear response. Let’s do an exercise.

 

Exercise: Consider a key area in your life where you are not satisfied, or that you want to improve. Now ask yourself the question: What is the smallest possible step I could take towards my destination?

 

In order to help you with this exercise, let me give you a brilliant example. There was a study done on two office blocks in Manhattan. Specifically, companies that worked on the tenth floors, really high up. Both organisations had problems with employee fitness levels due to the location of the offices. In order to help employees, each company was offered a fitness plan. Company A employees were given unlimited gym membership and access. They could go any time, use any machines, swimming pool, all of it. Company B employees were asked to, once per day in their lunch break, walk up and down a flight of stairs. Each day, they had to add one step to the number they climbed. After a year, the fitness levels of the employees were measured. To the surprise-not-surprise of the researchers, Company B employees, termed affectionately ‘the steppers’, were fitter in every single metric. Most Company A employees had barely used the gym. It was too much, an overwhelming amount of options, and required them to travel and find a place in their busy lives to schedule it in. The change for Company B employees was so manageable, they stuck to it.

 

Consider now how this might apply to your life, or indeed the life of someone you know. How can you make one simple, minuscule change that will, over time, have a tremendous impact? Many successful people cite tiny routines, that they keep to every day, that have laid the foundation for their achievements. Remember, the habit must be small, manageable, and easy to incorporate into your existing daily life. Telling yourself you will run four miles every day will probably not work. You might manage it one or two days, or even a week, but after a while you’ll burn out. However, doing five (or even three or one) push ups before you go to work, and adding one push up each week, that is stick-able to!

 

Circling back to the beginning of this article, let’s look now at how you can use your Motivational Map, or your sense of what your top motivators are, to maximise this kaizen activity. If you wanted to improve your mental well-being, and you were a Creator, then perhaps journaling dreams or experiences or writing creative fiction, for just five minutes a day, would be a good exercise. You don’t need to write The Odyssey. Sketching out ideas, without the burden of engaging in a full blown project, will be liberating. On the other hand, if Defender was your top motivator, and you wanted to improve your mental well-being, then you would probably have a different strategy; planning your daily and weekly activities ahead of time, and doing this every day for a few minutes, would probably be a better solution.

 

I hope this article has given you some more ideas about you can use kaizen and coaching to drastically improve areas of your life. Thanks once again for stopping by!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.

 

 

 

 

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 4: THE ROLE OF A COACH

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Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last three episodes, we discussed content from my book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. This week, we will be taking our first dive into Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the next in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development.

 

Before we get going, I should say that if you are sceptical about the number of books in this series, I don’t blame you. These days, there are so many publishers and writers and film-makers and all sorts cashing in on the idea of a series that largely repeats itself with every entry. However, it is my express intention not to do this. The subject of motivation is rich and can be applied to many different fields. This is partly why I have recruited experts in various fields, such as Bevis Moynan, Director of Magenta Coaching Solutions, an organisation that fosters excellent coaches, therapists, trainers and consultants. My hope is that each entry in this series is as fruitful as the last and offers new insights rather than endless re-iteration. So, on that note, let’s look at coaching!

 

So, firstly, what is coaching? Professor Nigel MacLennan defines it as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement.’

 

Phew! This is a comprehensive definition, and needs some unpacking. Firstly, at a basic level, it is a process where ‘one individual helps another’. In other words, it is one-to-one, unlike training or teaching, which can be one-to-many. Interestingly, a recent survey showed that training (one-to-many) increased organisational productivity 22.4%, whereas select one-to-one coaching increased organisational productivity 88%! That is a significant difference of 4x!

 

When most people hear the word ‘coach’ they immediately think of a sports coach. It conjures the image of a sweat-suit clad person standing at the side of a race-track or basketball court, yelling advice at the top of their lungs. However, we should not dismiss the association. The purpose of a sports coach is to get the best out of their player, their performer, and this is through one-to-one interactions before the game / event, and also by offering advice and strategy through the day itself. As business people, we need coaches too. We need someone helping us to unlock our best performance throughout the day-to-day stuff, and ‘on the day’ too. ‘On the day’ could mean many different things depending on where you work and in what role; it could be a major sales event, a management meeting, a performance review, a pitch, a presentation, or a networking event. The point is, there are certain occasions, whether we are Olympic athletes or marketing executives, where we need to perform at our very best.

 

I think one of the most powerful definitions included in MacLennan’s quote is ‘to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’. The role of the coach is not just physical, passing on wisdom, practical advice, and techniques to get them to the next level, but also psychological. It is about overcoming the inhibitions present within our own minds! And I’d argue it is almost impossible to do this yourself. We need coaches, or at least a role model, to help us do it. We also need tools. I mentioned in an earlier article that the Motivational Maps function as a mirror, allowing us to see ourselves in a way we previously could not.

 

There is one aspect missing from MacLennan’s awesome definition, and that is motivation itself. One of the primary roles of the coach is to motivate. Motivation leads to performance, as we have already seen in previous blogs in this series. Motivation is the fuel, the driving force, the energy, that allows us to do great things. A coach should inspire those motivation levels and be able to maintain them. The problem is, we are all motivated differently, and discovering what drives someone has hitherto been quite a lengthy and laborious process, more akin to a series of therapy sessions. Most trainers or managers or leaders follow one of two modus operandi. Either, they define motivating people as a ‘carrot or stick’ approach, effectively reducing people to one of those two boxes. Or, even worse, they commit to a cookie-cutter ‘one approach fits all’. In the latter, we often see what has aptly been termed ‘Ra Ra’ motivation: fire-walking, motivational speeches, away-days doing extreme sports, activities that are sure to raise the adrenaline and motivation levels temporarily, but wear off within a fortnight.

 

So, what we propose is that by using the Maps, which provide immediate insight into motivation levels, we can empower coaches to work even more effectively with their clients, and we can even empower people to become self-coaches too!

 

“Coaching starts with considering the issue of self-awareness for the simple reason that the person who is not self-aware has – by definition – no awareness, or consciousness, that there is anything on which to work within oneself.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

So, to become a coach, we need self-awareness. But not only that, to benefit from coaching, we need self-awareness as a first step. We need to identify whether something is wrong and get at least an approximation of where that something is. Here is a model that can help you with these early stages of self-awareness. We call it the four strands that form a person: the body (physical – doing), the mind (mental – thinking), the emotions (feeling), and the spirit (knowing / being). Well-being is critical in all four areas. Whilst the areas each have separate domains which I have extrapolated in brackets, they are also deeply connected, and one affects the other. We only have to look at studies such as psycho-immunology, the effect that psychology has on the immune system response, to know that each part of us is interconnected with the whole in more ways than we can imagine. Let’s look at this another way:

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH Health

MENTAL STRENGTH Clarity

EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING Optimism

SPIRITUAL HEALTH Mission

 

EXERCISE: As a starting point for self-awareness, ask ‘How resilient am I in each of these four areas (or strands)?’ Rate yourself out of 10: 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest.

 

You should now have a rough picture of where you are and what areas you feel are weaker. Note that Spiritual Health does not necessarily mean religious in the strict sense. It could be another core belief, such as vegetarianism or responsible ecology. How connected are you to that ‘mission’ and purpose? Do you feel it is being fulfilled?

 

Now, take your lowest score, and use this as the basis for forming an ongoing development plan that takes at least 18 months to complete. Nobody can change their life overnight. It takes a while to introduce new habits, and to transform thought processes. We’ll be looking more into how you can form this plan, using Kaizen and other methodologies, next week. Until next time, thank you for reading; stay motivated!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 3: THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

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Last week, we explored the nature and applications of Motivational Maps in greater detail. We talked about the deeper values and emotional drivers our motivators represent and how this can lead to conflicts. We also discussed how these conflicts can be resolved using the appropriate language to talk about our motivations. This week’s blog will be the last blog focused on the first Mapping Motivation book. Next week, we will be looking at Mapping Motivation for Coaching, my book co-written with Bevis Moynan! This second book focuses more on coaching and one-to-one motivational interactions: how you can boost the motivation levels of others. For now, however, let us continue our personal journey with the Maps.

 

RECAP: The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.

 

I want to share some insights from the book relating to how the Maps can change over time. The Maps do not stereotype people, nor are they fixed. Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. There is a lot more to be said about the ‘Self’, how it is compartmentalised, and how we can define it, but it would be too much to go into in the space of this one blog. Suffice to say, when we talk about what your ‘top motivators’ are, we are talking about a moment in time. It’s important to always bear in mind that as your life changes and you grow as a person (hopefully we are all looking to grow), your motivators will change.

 

A classic example of this is someone who has fallen on hard times suddenly finding that the Builder motivator is in their top three, whereas before it was way down at the bottom of the motivational list! A financial crisis means that even someone for whom money is not normally important begins to recognise its value. Positive changes can also influence our profile. Sometimes, as we move towards our motivators, we can sometimes grow beyond them. For example, how many teenagers do we know that desperately want autonomy? They are driven by a powerful Spirit motivator. However, once they get out into the world away from home and begin struggling in the Darwinian kingdom of work, many of them suddenly recognise the value of the support families and friends can offer. They have proven to themselves they have autonomy and now it becomes less of a core driver. New horizons emerge.

 

A change in our circumstances, in our situation, may mean a slow or a swift change in our beliefs: in our self-concept, beliefs directed inwards about our Self; and in our expectations, beliefs directly outwardly and about outcomes.” – Mapping Motivation

 

The phrase ‘mid-life crisis’ is becoming more and more common, it seems, but what does it really mean? This sudden realisation many middle-aged people seem to come to, that everything they have been striving towards is suddenly worth very little to them, is nothing other than the sudden (or seemingly sudden) emergence of new motivational values. However, without the understanding and language to deal with this, it can feel like a very serious issue indeed.

 

Understanding how motivators change, and specifically how your motivations in life have shifted over time, is a great way to re-evaluate what you might deem as past ‘mistakes’. It is a great way to understand how you got from then to now, and why you may have made certain choices.

 

EXERCISE: Rank your top three motivators in the here and now. Then, think back to 5 years ago and rank your top three motivators as you think they might have been then (it is okay if they are the same, but it is likely at least one has shifted). Do the same for 10 and 15 years ago. You should now have four stages of motivational evolution. What does this tell you? What key events may have influenced these changes?

 

Hopefully the above exercise has been insightful for you. I know that my motivators have shifted greatly over time. As a drama teacher going back some thirty years, I know I was motivated by making a difference to my students (Searcher) and possibly also by that recognition so key to those in theatre and performing arts (Star). However, I have always carried the Creator deep in my soul, I think, in the form of poetry, which I have not stopped writing for forty years. Some things, of course, do not change, and that can be just as revealing as what does.

 

FINAL RECAP:

 

The nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.

 

The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.

 

Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. This means they change over time.

 

Next week we will be having a short break, so see you in two week’s time where we will be talking about motivation and coaching!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.