“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” — Aldous Huxley
As a mentor at work, I like to checkpoint results.
While I can do area-specific coaching, I tend to take a more holistic approach. For me, it’s more rewarding to find ways to unleash somebody’s full potential and improve their overall effectiveness.
Are You Improving Where It Counts?
Aside from checking against specific goals, I use my Improvement Frame to gauge progress.
I’ve used my Improvement Frame as a very effective lens for quickly finding areas that need work or for finding sticking points. It also helps show where there’s been dramatic changes. While situations or circumstances may not change much, I find that changes in strategies and approaches can have a profound impact.
My take on this is that while you can’t always control what’s on your plate, you can control how you eat it.
6 Key Categories for Improvement
Here are the categories I use for my “Improvement Frame”:
- Thinking / Feeling
- Time / Task Management
- Domain Knowledge
- Strategies / Approaches
The Improvement Frame
Here’s a sampling of the questions I use.
|Thinking / Feeling
- Do you find your work rewarding?
- Are you passionate about what you do?
- Are you spending more time feeling good?
- What thoughts dominate your mind now?
- Is your general outlook more positive or negative?
- Do you have more energy or less in general?
- Are you still worried about the same things?
- Are you excited about anything?
- Have you changed your self-talk from inner-critic to coach?
- Are you spending more time working on what you enjoy?
- What would you rather be spending more time doing?
- Do you have the manager you want?
- Do you have the job you want?
- Are you moving toward or away from your career goals?
- If your situation was never going to change, what one skill would you need to make the most of it?
|Time / Task Management
- Are you driving your day or being driven?
- Are you spending less time on administration?
- Are you getting your “MUSTs” done?
- Are you dropping the ball on anything important?
- Do you have a task management system you trust?
- Are you avoiding using your head as a collection point?
- How are you avoiding biting off more than you can chew?
- How are you delivering incremental value?
- Have you learned new skills?
- Have you sharpened your key strengths?
- Have you reduced your key liabilities?
- What are you the go-to person for?
- What could you learn that would make your more valuable to your team?
|Strategies / Approaches
- What are you approaching differently than the past?
- How are you more resourceful?
- How are you finding lessons in everything you do?
- How are you learning from everybody that you can?
- How are you improving your effectiveness?
- How are you modeling the success of others?
- How are you tailoring advice to make it work for you?
- Are you managing up effectively?
- Are your priorities in sync with your manager’s?
- Has your support network grown or shrunk?
- How are you participating in new circles of influence?
- How are you spending more time with people that catalyze you?
- How are you working more effectively with people that drain you?
- How are you leveraging more mentors and area specific coaches?
Your mileage will vary.
As you get comfortable with the frame and checking your progress, you can add new categories and create new prompts.
Your personal improvement frame should be a continuous improvement frame that adapts along with your personal growth.
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