Categories | Best Practices of GTD | Getting Started | Getting Things Done | Training
As many of you know, I was not a GTD’er prior to accepting the position of Executive Editor here at GTDtimes. I had read David’s book and my best friend was widely known in our technology community as a long time practitioner and unquestioned authority on GTD but I had remained unconvinced that I myself needed to employ such a rigorous methodology to my own day to day life. As I’ve mentioned, the event that caused me to decide to open up to GTD was attending one of David Allen’s Seminars and seeing the connections between his “Horizons of Focus” and the periodized approach towards training a world class athlete with which I was familiar.
As you might imagine, in order to take on editing GTDtimes with any degree of credibility it was essential that I practice GTD and moreover that I also become a student of the practice so that I could effectively edit this online publication in a way that other GTD practitioners could see was genuine and not merely giving lip-service to the principles and techniques that David has developed. Over the past five months I have learned a great deal about GTD and even a few things about myself. However one thing that I didn’t learn from GTD was how important coaching is when trying to quickly acquire a new skill or when one is attempting to perfect a skill that is complicated or difficult to master. I already knew this from my career as an athlete.
Thus, when I got the opportunity to have some coaching to help me apply GTD to my life I jumped at the chance. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have worked with some truly excellent coaches and as a result I know a few things about being coached that are very important if you wish to derive the maximum benefit from the coaching you receive. Before I talk about my GTD coaching experience let me briefly share what it is that I’ve learned is essential if you want your coaching experience to really make a difference:
1. Choose a coach that you know is truly an expert in the area in which you desire improvement
2. Make a commitment to believing in your coach and doing what they say to the best of your ability
2. Be honest with your coach: if he or she doesn’t know what is really going on with you their help cannot be targeted upon those things that are really giving you difficulties.
3. Be honest with yourself: this one should probably be first. In any case, acknowledging where you are weak and where you are stronger will allow you to identify what aspects of your life or your sport or your practice of GTD are working and which are not.
4. Communicate openly with your coach. If something is making it difficult for you to comply with your coach’s training let them know about the problem so that you can work together to overcome it.
5. Treat your relationship with your coach like a partnership; as much as you are relying on your coach to help you succeed they are relying on you to show that their advice is a key to your success.
6. Know when it is time to move on. At times the student can achieve a skill that exceeds his or her coach. When this happens it is important to recognize this fact and identify a new coach that can help you achieve ever greater skill in your chosen activity
Personally, I’ve had he good fortune to be working with one of the David Allen Company Certified Coaches, Julie Ireland . Her thoughtful analysis of my own efforts at implementing GTD have proven to be extremely valuable. In much the way that a coach for gymnastics or figure skating has that external view point that is clearer than the internal view that the athlete may have, Julie has been methodical in working with me to tune various aspects of my own GTD system in order to help me adhere as closely as possible to the practices that David has developed and refined to such a precise degree.
Having a coach help you improve is like having a mirror that always tells the truth. Sometimes it isn’t what you want to hear but if you’re more interested in improvement than in being told how wonderful you are nothing can be as effective as having a great coach to help you find your best form and then to help you stay at that peak condition as long as possible.
That’s not to say that you need a coach all the time. The more experienced you are the less coaching you probably need. But even the best among us – even Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods take advantage of the external viewpoint, the practiced eye and the measured criticism offered by an experienced coach from time to time.
If, like me, you are just beginning your life in the GTD realm, I can’t think of a better way to get off on the right foot and heading down the correct path. if, on the other hand you are an accomplished GTD practitioner, you might find a coach offers insight that can allow you to make another jump to an even greater degree of GTD proficiency. Finally, if your own GTD skills are truly exceptional, perhaps you should consider becoming a coach so that you can share your skill and knowledge with others in the GTD community who would appreciate the gift that great coaching bestows upon the recipient.