Six foundations of self-development

Every coaching journey is unique. Every client has their own goals, their priorities and their own map of the world. Every delegate in my management development programmes has a unique combination of skills, qualities and development needs. So every assignment is unique for me. It's why I love what I do. 


When I speak to a prospective client for the first time, my immediate priority is to establish whether I think I can help them. Can I help the individual in front of me make the transformation they want to see? It could be...

  • A step-change in their performance at work.
  • A step-change in their career.
  • A renewed sense of purpose.
  • A better work-life balance.
  • A seamless transition into retirement. 
  • A bounce back from redundancy.

For me, the theme of the coaching is not the most important consideration. What matters more is whether I believe my prospective client is ready to be coached. 

For this, I look for what I refer to as the six foundations of self-development.

1. Self-awareness

To be able to grow or improve at anything, we have to believe we have development needs. As the late Jim Rohn said, 'Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better'. There's another side to the coin, though. We all have weaknesses, but we also have strengths. I often find my clients find it harder to talk about their qualities, but it's important that you do. How can we start building something great if you don't bring your toolkit?

2. Honesty

Fundamental to a successful coaching or training outcome is complete honesty, both with me and with yourself. Sometimes the truth hurts, so we tend to shield ourselves from it, particularly early on in a coaching relationship. However, to get the best possible results we need to be in lockstep throughout - we're on the same side so we need to know where you're starting from and how you feel at every stage of the journey.

3. Openness to feedback

An important input into any coaching or development journey is feedback from others. Whether in a work context or any other area of life, those around you will have views on what you do well, what you could do differently and where you need to develop. You always have the power to choose what you do with feedback, but if you're not open to hearing it you're only considering one perspective - your own. 

4. Trust

My coaching and management development programmes are all about helping you make big changes in your life. I don't take that responsibility lightly, so from that first conversation I need you to trust me and trust my methods. Equally I need to be able to trust you'll do what you say you'll do and fully commit to making the changes you need to make. 

5. Openness to coaching

The best coaching is supportive and challenging in equal measure. Being open to coaching means being able to accept support where it might be helpful, and being open to challenge where it's needed. As your coach, I'll want to push you to think differently, tap into your creative side (yes, you do have one) to find fresh alternatives to old problems, and face your limiting beliefs. You need to be willing to feel vulnerable, but always with the safety net of knowing I'm on your side. 

6. Ambition

This one is absolutely critical for me. I win when you win, so for me to feel fulfilled in my work I want to see you achieve great things. The more ambitious your goals, the more excited I can get about helping you get there. 

If you're looking for a coach and you think I might be the right one for you, get in touch and I'll book you in for a free introductory call. Now you know what I'll be looking out for!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53
Written by Alan Evans, Executive Coach, Life Coach
Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53

Alan is an experienced and qualified coach and mentor to individuals and organisations.

He has a thoughtful and supportive coaching style. He helps individuals to reach their full potential by focusing on what really matters.

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