Not everyone likes New Year’s Resolutions but I do – I think they provide a great opportunity to look back on the past year and make decisions about what you want to change in the next few months.
Having coached plenty of people through the process of making resolutions and putting them into action, I’ve seen a fair cross-section of what works and what doesn’t. So I’m going to post soon on Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail – and how you can succeed at keeping yours. It’s only fair to share my own resolutions with you, so I’ll post them up here and then use one or two of them as ‘case material’ for my ‘How To’ posts.
So here goes with my first one…
1. Make my blogging more like my coaching.
When I started this blog, I thought of my website primarily as a marketing platform, but I’ve come to realise it’s much more interesting than that. As well as attracting new clients (which is always nice), I’ve discovered that it adds a new dimension to my coaching with existing clients.
For one thing, clients are reading the blog and coming to me with questions, ideas and suggestions based on what they read. And now I often suggest that they read a particular category before or after a coaching sessions as preparation or part of the follow-up. The feedback I’m getting from clients is that the blog adds the following extra dimension to their coaching:
- Continuing the coaching beyond the session. I do my best to reply promptly to e-mails, but the blog is instantly available 24/7 – a way of being ‘always available’ to clients. Some of them say that just popping into the blog can reignite their enthusiasm for getting on with the agreed next steps. And lot of my coaching is highly-focused short-term work, with clients who consult me occasionally whenever they feel the need – in these cases, the blog is a good way for them to stay in touch in the meanwhile and receive a drip-feed of inspiration.
- More information and ideas – there’s only so much we can say during a coaching session, and the blog is a great way of expanding on discussions by providing extra material. It also helps me keep ‘information transfer’ to a minimum and focus on the really important stuff, like helping them find new options in their work.
- Realising they’re not alone – and that I’m not joking when I say that lots of other people have faced the same challenges as them. Creative work can get pretty lonely sometimes, even if you’re in an agency, and it’s often a huge relief to clients to realise the difficulties they are having are due to the situation or the medium, rather than something personal to them.
- Finding new avenues to explore. I have pretty wide creative interests and deliberately work across the whole spectrum of creativity, artistic and commercial. The non-linear format of the blog means clients frequently stumble across areas they might not have previously considered, which are outside their discipline or frame of reference. An obvious example is ‘artistic’ types being interested in becoming more ‘businesslike’ or (whisper it) ‘commercial’, with agency or studio creatives wanting to ‘fend off the organisation’ (as Russell said to me when I interviewed him) and inject some extra creative passion. But it’s also heartening to hear from technophobes whose curiosity has been aroused by my blogging for creatives page, non-designers who have been inspired by reading about Thomas Heatherwick, and managers who want to know what creative flow and synaesthesia can do for their creative team.
- Discovering new resources. I started the Books + Links section as a way of gathering together some of the books, websites and other stuff I regularly recommend to clients. So far I’ve made a start on four topics – creativity, creative careers, blogging and intellectual property, which have been enthusiastically received by clients – the books and websites they read invariably spark new coaching discussions. I’ve got a long list of other topics to cover, so watch out for new links in the left sidebar over the next few months.
It was only when I stopped to review at the end of 2006 that I realised how much the blog is transforming my coaching. So my first resolution for 2007 is to accelerate this convergence by making this blog as much like my coaching as possible. I’m sure there are limits to what can be achieved on a blog as opposed to a face-to-face or phone conversation – but I want to see how far I can push those limits…
Luckily for me, blogging and coaching are both conversations – so there’s lots of potential for me to develop Wishful Thinking as a discussion space, and for extending the conversation onto other blogs. For that to really work of course I’ll need your input – so please feel free to send me questions you want me to answer or topics you’d like me to cover on the blog – whether about your own creative process or career, creative collaboration with others, or managing creative professionals. Comments or e-mails always welcome – and let me know if you want to remain anonymous when I answer your question on the blog.
In terms of the blog content, I want to incorporate more of the recurring themes of my coaching with clients – i.e. to start capturing more of the things I find myself saying over and over again. The best example of this is my post on why enthusiasm is better than confidence – I heard myself saying it a couple of months ago and thought “I’ve said this hundreds of times, I need to put it on the blog”. Although it’s relatively recent, it’s been far and away my most popular post, in terms of traffic, links and other feedback. And there’s plenty more where that came from – so in 2007 I’m aiming to capture more of my ‘coaching memes’ and get them out there on this blog.
Right, that’s Resolution no.1 – I’ll post another 2 or 3 of my own, then start looking at Why most New Year’s Resolutions fail – and what to do about it.