Most people fall way, way short of fulfilling their potential and it happens for loads of different reasons. It is all too easy to lose sight of your goals, to get bogged down, to spend time on the wrong things or to try to do everything. Coaching can play a major part in unlocking performance, but you don’t actually need a coach to get some of the benefits of coaching. I’ve written before about some ways to coach yourself, but this is nowhere near as powerful as sitting down with somebody else.
Which brings me onto something that I’ve been doing for the last few years that has been immensely helpful to me; The Strategic Latte. There are a group of people with whom I meet up individually from time to time for a Strategic Latte – some monthly, some less frequent – and all we do is chat.
Why ‘Strategic’? Because Strategy is the process whereby you stop and do some hard thinking; Where you look to the future and think about your goals; where you reflect on how things have been going, and make clear decisions about what you’re going to do and (just as importantly) about what you’re not going to do.
Why Latte? Because I’m a bit of a Latte addict and because I think there’s a real benefit of getting away from your normal workplace and into a coffee shop. That said, you don’t have to go to a coffee shop or even drink Latte for the Strategic Latte to work.
So how do you use the Strategic Latte?
Firstly, what kind of support do you need? I love the idea of a Personal Board of Directors; Who is going to challenge you, support you, stretch you, hold you accountable for what you’ve said you’ll do? If you’re going to have Strategic Lattes with a few people, go for variety and don’t pick people who are just like you. When you suggest meeting for a Strategic Latte to help each other, you don’t have to commit to meeting regularly for a year; Just meet once and see how it goes.
When you meet up, make sure you spend an equal amount of time talking about each other. The Strategic Latte is more than a chat, so when you’re talking about the other person ask them:
- how things are really going for them (not the usual ‘fine, thank you’)
- How they’re doing in terms of moving towards their big goals (and what their big goals are).
- What’s holding them back and how they’re overcoming any barriers
- Is there anything you can do to help
That’s it: Just a brief time to sit down and talk honestly and openly, and to reflect on things. .
I would wholeheartedly recommend that you give it a go and I’d love to hear your experiences.