A Powerful Opportunity for Growth

david carmean Jan 29, 2024

The holidays are always an interesting and challenging time as a coach. 

While my work with clients typically revolves around the idea of creating structured routines and consistency, the holiday season usually does a pretty good job of throwing all of that out the window. As a result, many clients struggle to maintain the momentum they have in working toward their goals. On the other hand, the holiday season often invites new challenges and opportunities for growth in the form of reconnecting with family, working to maintain momentum when their routines are thrown off, and being exposed to old friends and environments while spending time at home with their families and all of the challenges that come along with those situations. 

All in all, the holiday season shakes things up, and regardless of how clients meet that challenge, this time of year provides them with a powerful opportunity for growth. I’ve found the same to be true for me, both in my personal life and as a coach. This is a great time of year for me to rigorously practice meeting clients where they’re at.

Something I started doing with clients a couple of years ago and recently just finished doing with my current clients is taking a look back at:

  • the big steps they’ve taken, both toward and away
  • how they’ve grown
  • where they’ve misstepped
  • where they’ve leaned into the difficult situations and how they’ve grown as a result
  • when they may have stepped down from the challenge through avoidance or destructive behavior and what may have happened as a result

From there I work with them to identify three big goals they’d like to achieve in the new year. Sometimes clients know exactly what they want to work toward in the new year, and sometimes they haven’t given it much thought at all. 

If a client already has some goals in mind, I help them to specify their goals so that they fit into a SMART goal format. If a client has no idea of what they want to begin working toward, we look back at what they’ve identified as being their core values, what areas of their life they wish to broaden and feel more fulfilled in, and what sort of actions they can take that are in alignment with those values and result in a feeling of fulfillment. In my experience, young adults always have goals for themselves that they want to achieve, but they don’t always make the leap from feeling unfulfilled to asking themselves why and what they can do about it. 

Once we have the three big goals well defined, I issue them a challenge for the new year based on specific patterns of behavior that I’ve noticed in them during our time working together. For a client who struggles with scheduling/time management, an example of a challenge might be, “For the first 8 weeks of the new year, send me a picture of your planner every Monday morning with your full week planned out and follow up with me on Friday with a list of what you did or did not follow through with and whether or not you were on time”. Most of my clients respond positively to this exercise, and for the clients I’ve worked with over a long period of time, it’s been cool to look back together at the progress they’ve made and to see them be reminded of all their strengths and what they’re capable of.

At a time of year when sticking to a routine can be particularly challenging, this is the coaching routine I’ve made for myself and I’ve found it to be a productive way to round out the year and move powerfully into the next.

David Carmean, Transition Coach

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