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The One Thing You Need to Close the Deal on Change

The One Thing You Need to Close the Deal on Change

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    You know what you want. You know what to do. So why is nothing happening?

    There are thousands of texts and approaches in the productivity & success universe. Many of them are good, some are great. Some, like the writings of Marcus Buckingham approach genius in their rich simplicity.

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    So why, if there are so many great ways to become more productive and more successful, are so many of us still struggling to make real change happen in our businesses and lives?

    I believe we consistently miss one key element is undertaking a change process: the coaching relationship.

    Change is an abstract idea until it is made real in three ways: what you are committing to must appear on your schedule, have a line in your budget, and be supported by a coaching relationship. I have seen no evidence that it is possible to successfully conclude a change process without commitment through these three constants.

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    Of the three constants that must be brought to bear on a change process, the most important is the coaching relationship. I want to be clear that I am not talking only about professional business or personal coaches, but any person or group that meets certain criteria in order to play a coaching role in your process.

    Coaching relationships are distinct from others in your life. A coaching relationship is one that fits the following criteria:

    • Coaching requires fearless honesty. Not brutal, not abrasive, just consistent, unflinching honest feedback about your goals and your progress.
    • Coaching has a mentoring component. While it is possible to be in a coaching relationship with an individual or group that is not an expert in the area you are working on changing (health, finances, employee relations, etc.), the risk of making errors that may derail you will increase.
    • Look for commitment. The coaching relationship is a formal one, with a clear commitment to a particular process. If you have hired a professional coach like a personal trainer, a business coach, a re-designer, a financial advisor, etc. the commitment on their part is built in. The commitment is that you will work with them for a specified period of time to reach a specified goal. That same commitment can be made between friends, collegues, mentors at work, or other team members. The more clearly the nature of the coaching relationship is spelled out (preferably in writing) the greater the chance of success.
    • Look for ease and openness. A great coaching relationship has one additional hallmark: an inter-personal ease that encourages openness, honesty, and trust. Keep this in mind when seeking or establishing a coaching relationship. Mentoring is possible between people who do not share that ease that is also found in great friendships, but coaching is made more difficult without it.

    When you have established a coaching relationship, what role will it play in your change process?

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    • Outside perspective. We all have blind spots. The best coaching relationships allow the perceptions and voice of another person to help us avoid old patterns or see things in ways defined by our existing prejudices. Great coaching relationships allow us to break truly new ground in our journeys.
    • Scaffolding. A good coach will provide a manageable approach to the change process by creating a structure to follow, and by breaking down a huge task into small, daily or weekly pieces. This is the mentoring component of most coaching relationships, and why they should be knowledgeable in the area they are coaching you in. They erect the scaffold for you based on what they know about what needs to be done. You do the building.
    • Accountability. A coach will help you be accountable for your commitments. A coach will monitor your progress and encourage you to complete the tasks you have committed to.
    • Unconditional support. Change is hard. Sometimes change is deeply disruptive in unpredictable ways. There are always moments where everything feels like it is going backwards, and things are worse than they ever were. In those moments, coaching provides support, encouragement, comfort, and the confidence that you need to refocus on your journey. Coaching support is unconditional. It is without judgement, without expectations other than your success, and is unshakeable within the timeframe you have committed to.

    As you can see from this list, sustained success without coaching support is almost impossible. Without the outside perspective, scaffolding, formal accountability, and unconditional support, the likelihood that a change process will stall or go off the rails is unacceptably high.

    Without a coach, a plan is only a possibility. Without a coach, a budget and a timeline only signal good intentions.

    When you rely entirely on your own perspectives and habits there is a good chance that, like someone lost in the woods, you will find yourself where you started again, after months of hard work. When you work without a scaffold assembled by a knowledgeable mentor, the task becomes overwhelming, its foundations weakened by flaws right at the start. When you have not made yourself accountable to someone, in the darkest moments it is too easy to walk away, because no one will know. When you hit those those deeply disruptive setbacks that come out of nowhere, there are few of us who can keep moving forward without someone providing that steadying hand on our shoulder.

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    When you begin the next change in your business or in life, consider it truly started once it has a place on your schedule and budget. But most of all don’t start without identifying the one relationship that will make the difference between getting lost and getting there: the coaching relationship.

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    Last Updated on January 27, 2021

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career, and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in your craft, it’s difficult to excel in your chosen career or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation. Visual learning is one way to do this, and it can be incredibly effective in helping you work better.

    Content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

    The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

    Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, but you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

    It all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

    As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts. Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However, I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

    There are several types of learning styles, which exist as part of the VARK model. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

    The four most popular types of learning styles are:

    • Visual learning style (learning by seeing)
    • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information spoken or presented)
    • Read/Write learning style (learning that involves reading and writing texts)
    • Tactile/Kinesthetic learning style (learning by touching and doing)

    For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning.

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    Are You a Visual Learner?

    When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

    This may mean you prefer to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. It may also mean that you have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

    Visual Learner Infographic

      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles[1]. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

      However, visual learning in particular can really boost your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not, and here’s why:

      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory, which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[2]

      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e. learning about human DNA).

      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain, and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

      Here are 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

      1. Bring Back the To-Do List

      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. However, written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

      2. Add Graphs, Charts, and Symbols to Reports

      Yes, it seems like more work for you, but graphs enable you to monitor the heartbeat of your business.

      Graphs and charts help you find trends in your finances, make a budget, and analyze data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and convert it to relevant information displayed in different shapes and images in a matter of minutes.

      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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      When broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

      3. Effectively Brainstorm With Mind-Mapping

      With mind-mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole, which is a great way to tap into visual learning.

      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare, while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

      4. Add Video Streaming to Meetings

      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation?

      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories as images in our minds.

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      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance as people can see their colleagues in addition to whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

      Final Thoughts

      The question is not whether visual learning is better than the other learning styles. Each has their merits and situations where they will be most useful.

      The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts is much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

      More About Learning Styles

      Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

      Reference

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