There's a lot to be learned from reading books and attending seminars. I routinely do both. But when I really want to improve my skills or performance in a given area I turn to a coach, a mentor, or an expert that can help me accomplish my objectives. I think it's important to understand that hiring a productivity coach is not a magic bullet for getting things done. YOU have to do the work, but a good coach can help you see what may not be readily apparent to you and encourage you to build sustainable habits. (I'll talk more about sustainable habits at the end of this post.)
Here's what I wrote to the person who asked me about getting things done on the run...
IV. Get Coached
If you are really serious about getting things done, then workflow coaching will transform the way you work. There are three kinds of coaching that I'm aware of. I know you've already spoken with Karen Fay; she can give you the details of the DavidCo offerings. here we go:
1. Workflow coaching: This is the ultimate in GTD coaching. If you can afford the investment, go for it. A GTD Coach will come to your site and work with you for two days plus some follow-up calls. I did this -- it took me 5 days, but I was a real problem case. ;-) Check the DavidCo web site or talk with Karen or Meg at DavidCo for details.
2. GTD Telecoaching: I've been through the GTD telecoaching program, too. In fact, my coach is Meg Edwards. She's an outstanding GTD telecoach and she really knows her stuff, but I think anyone on the DAC team can help you. Either Meg or Julie are wonderful telecoaches. (I still work with Meg from time to time and learn something from each interaction.)
3. eProductivity Coaching: Once you've got a handle on the methodology of productivity (GTD), I can show you how to get a grip on the technology of productivity. Basically, I'll work with you to show you how to use Information, Communication, and Action technnologies to get things done. As I mentioned in the call, I am not a GTD coach. My focus is on the tools and technology, whereas only DavidCo GTD Coaches are authorized to provide coaching on the GTD methodology. If you are interested in eProductivity coaching, I would be happy to help you. if you are constrained by time and/or budget, I recommend that you start with the GTD telecoaching, first. It's much more important for you to get grounded in the methodology first, then you can apply what you have learned to the tools that you use. (e.g. Lotus Notes)
4. Other Coaching: There are a number of people offering all kinds of coaching, and some of them can be very valuable. I know of individuals that focus their coaching practice on specific market segments or occupations or blend traditional productivity coaching with various approaches to other aspects of peak performance, such as health and fitness. Ask around, check references, and be a continuous learner. This will help you get the most from any coaching experience.
Coaching to help build sustainable habits
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that a good coach won't do your work for you. The role of a good coach is to help you not only do the work but, more important, build sustainable habits. Coaching is not a small investment. It takes time off work for you, the investment in the coach's fees, and time for follow-up. Even if you find a friend to coach you for free, all of this would be a wasted investment if you did not leave the coaching process having experienced not only what it feels like to truly get "in" to "empty" but also to have learned how to properly use the methodologies and tools along the way. The goal is that at the end of the coaching process you will have experienced the process and developed the skill to repeat the process on your own, perhaps with some occasional follow-up, as needed.
I routinely get out of control (you should see my desk and in basket today, having just returned from a week of travel) but I know how to get back in control and how to regain perspective so that I can focus on the outcomes that are important to me. I thank my coach for that.
In the final post in this series, I will write about a number of resources that I have found to support me in maintaining my productive edge. Meanwhile, I would like to hear from my readers. Have you used a coach to help you learn to get things done? What was your experience?
Links to related posts in this discussion:
I. The eProductivity equation
III. Technology for Notes & GTD