Having a measure of autopilot in your business can be a good thing when it helps you automate some processes and prevents things from falling through the cracks. But it can also take a very bad turn and become extremely detrimental to your business if the wrong type of business autopilot sets in.
In this episode, I tackle some dangerous kinds of business autopilots that you want to avoid. This goes hand-in-hand with another topic we’ve discussed recently: business ethics, and upholding both a high level of care for our clients and a high level of integrity. In the coaching world, due to the limited amount of regulation, it is imperative that we, as coaches, craft and maintain impeccable methods and procedures. In doing so, we can help dispel the uncertainty that (unfortunately) naturally clouds the field of coaching. It also goes a long way to avoiding the trap of bad business autopilot practices.
What You’ll Learn
Encouragement to reduce uncertainty and a reminder of the value you bring
Automatic patterns that don’t serve us well
Always going, always doing but not getting traction
Autopilot Trap #1: Not questioning or evaluating your plan regularly
Identify and frequently revisit your ideal life and business vision
Stop and dream
Autopilot Trap #2: Running a mental “should do” checklist without action
Employ prioritization categories
Analyze if what you’re spending the most time and effort on is worth it
Autopilot Trap #3: Taking action on feelings without examining them
Create a questioning process
Suggested questions from Molly to help you stay on track
Welcome to the Masterful Coach Podcast with Molly Claire, where coaches learn Skill Mastery, Business Mastery, and Life Mastery at a whole new level. If you’re ready to create a meaningful coaching business that makes a difference, you’re in the right place. And now your host, Master coach instructor, Molly Claire.
Hey coaches, I am so excited about our topic today. We’re talking a little business mastery, specifically business autopilot, and what this looks like, and the trap that this can create for you as you build your business. So this is great for coaches who are at all stages of your business. For those of you that have been at your business for a while, you will definitely notice this pattern. And those of you that are just starting your coaching business, this will really kind of preempt this help you to have a heads up so that you can be aware of not getting into the unhealthy form of business autopilot that I’m talking about today.
Before I dive into that, I want to just acknowledge that right now in the coaching world; I think there is a lot of controversy coming up. I know there are a lot of mixed opinions and points of view on the field being unregulated. Should it be? Should it not? What are the problems that we see it causing not because it’s unregulated, but because of some of the behaviors and practices that people have in businesses? And I have sensed this from a lot of coaches, a lot of clients, that there is more of a sense of uncertainty in the air, and conflict.
Last week, I talked about some unethical business practices in the coaching world. And I want to talk more about that because I do believe that having integrity, bring integrity into this unregulated field is really important. And making sure that we are caring for our clients in the best possible way by using the right methods for the challenges they’re facing is so important. Any of you that are feeling concerned, conflicted, possibly the sense of uncertainty, just make sure to stay focused on your values, and your best coaching practice. Because there is a reason you got into coaching. I know each of you feel in your bones, that you have a mission and a purpose. I want you to ground yourself there. I want you to make sure that you are inviting people into your world who support that as well.
Be around people with shared values, who seek integrity, and be around people who are going to help you, and you can also help them to have a positive energy as you build your business. So those are my words of encouragement for you.
Speaking of, this podcast was actually inspired by an Instagram post I came across this weekend. I was on Instagram, and I had a tag from someone, from a coach and I was thinking, who is this? This person has a coaching business. And she said, “This coach changed my life four or five years ago.” I was like, “What is this?” Because I didn’t work with coaches then. And it was just such a delight to see — this is actually a woman who had come across my book. She had never heard of coaching before that and came across my book, The Happy Mom Mindset, which was exactly what she needed at the time. And she bought my book and she did this.
I had totally forgotten about this. But when I released my book, I had done this 30 days of coaching like this jumpstart program to get more people in my coaching practice. It was such a great 30 days, and it was a 30 days where it did not make money in my business as a lot of the things that we do. But it was really a powerful opportunity to connect with some women who were struggling with motherhood, and the overwhelm and the challenges. I met some of the most amazing people in that group. It was a great experience for me and in watching her share her story. So she’s now a coach. But she shared some of the impact that that 30 days had and that book had.
The reason I bring this up, not only did this inspire this episode, but I want to offer up to all those of you out there who are doing things in your business, putting value out there writing, sharing, talking with people, you never know what kind of an impact it will have. My book feels like I wrote it so long ago. And this group this time that I did now that I remember it, I remember loving it so much but I had forgotten that I had even done that program. So it was just really rewarding and exciting and honestly very motivating to me to just remember that when you put yourself out there and when you give and create value it matters. You never know whose life you are impacting.
So fun to see this woman now with her own coaching practice, and great to see her face, and remember that amazing experience. So what does that have to do with today’s episode? I decided to talk about actually one of the concepts in my book that is geared toward moms. If you’re a mom and ever feel overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed out from trying to raise kids and wondering if you’re doing everything wrong, you should go get my book, The Happy Mom Mindset. I’ve taken a concept from this book, and I tweaked it to think about how this can apply to your business.
One of the traps that I talk about in my book is mom autopilot. This shows up slightly different than how it shows up in your business. Any of those of you listening who are moms, who have had kids, or maybe you’re a dad listening to this, and you remember those early stages of having kids, you are kind of in survival mode. I remember when I had my first child and he had every complication that he could have had. That’s an exaggeration, but he was colicky, he didn’t sleep well, everything that I thought was going to go so well did not go so well. Any of you that remember, when you first bring that baby home, you pay attention to every move they make, every noise, you are just like becoming one with the needs of another human being.
Over time, it becomes so automatic, the way that you respond to your kids. The idea is in this trap in the book, where I’m talking about long term is it doesn’t serve us when we continue in this pattern of these automatic responses without thinking about it. I decided to tweak this concept a little bit and talk to you about how I see this showing up in your coaching practices in your business. You may be experiencing business autopilot. When I say business autopilot, I want to make sure that I’m clarifying; there can be things in your business that you put on autopilot. This is a positive thing. This is when you figured out a marketing funnel, a method, a strategy or a process in your business and you don’t even have to think about it. It’s on autopilot. That is a positive thing.
What I’m talking about here is when we get into autopilot in our business, personally, mentally, emotionally in ways that are not serving us. This may be happening for you if you’re doing all the things you are supposed to be doing and you don’t take the time to question or reevaluate. You may have this laundry list of things, all these things you’ve heard, I’m supposed to do this, I’m supposed to do that, and you are just going, going, going, doing, doing, doing and possibly not even feeling like you’re getting traction. You may feel like you’re always going, always doing, but not making the progress you want. You may also see this coming up if you are taking action from a lot of impulse, fear or worry regularly, where you have sort of this auto response when you see something on Instagram or when you have any motion coming up.
If you can relate to these things, doing all the things, just going through the motions, not getting the traction or taking action constantly from that impulse, this is an indication that some of the business autopilot habits are coming up for you. I’m just going to go over some of the habits that are an indication that you are in autopilot. I’m going to touch on these and I’m also going to give you some solutions. This is a very solution focused episode. I love a good solution. You all know me.
One habit that you may have is not really questioning your plan in your business, not evaluating regularly based on your ideal life and business vision and goals. All of you know I’m really big on what is your ideal life? And based on that, what is the business that supports that? What are your values, and oftentimes, we can get in this habit of doing without really questioning how things fit into the big picture, and especially without evaluating how it fits into your unique ideal life.
Another habit that I see coming up is the running mental checklist of things you believe you should be doing. This somewhat relates to what I was saying about taking action from impulse. This is where you have this list of things you should be doing and they’re running in your mind, but they don’t actually have a place. They don’t actually make it out onto paper and on your schedule, and yet they also don’t make their way out the exit. It’s not like you are just not taking action on things, but you’re actually allowing this list of things you should be doing to crowd your mental and emotional space.
This is another way you can really get stuck, just kind of going, going on autopilot in your business is having this running mental checklist of things that you know you’re supposed to do, but you don’t do anything with them.
The third habit is taking the feelings you experience as indicators that action needs to be taken. Not really taking a moment to question your feelings. When I say question, I don’t mean to dismiss them, or to brush them aside, but I mean to evaluate. What is this feeling? Is this feeling trying to tell me something? Is this feeling simply coming from a thought that I don’t really want to keep? When you are taking action from the feelings you experience regularly without evaluation that can lead to business autopilot, where you are going, going, going, not really evaluating not being as effective.
Let’s talk specifically about some solutions for you. This one is probably obvious, and I’ve already alluded to this. A big solution for you, whether you are brand new, or whether you have had your business for a while, is remember to take the time to identify your ideal life and business vision, and revisit it regularly. If you are anything like me, or every other person on the planet, it is very easy to get out of alignment with what you really want, to get caught up in busyness, to get caught up in shoulds. This solution of not only identifying, but revisiting regularly, what your ideal life and business are, and is that what you’re moving toward means that you have to stop sometimes. Sometimes you have to stop and dream, you have to give yourself space to want to imagine, to visualize.
Someone who’s in autopilot in your business, just doing the list and going through the motions, isn’t taking the time to do that. Therefore, the actions you’re taking aren’t as effective because they’re not lined up with what you really want. They’re moving towards some goal, but we’re not really sure what that is or where it’s headed. It’s so important for you to keep top of mind, what are my values? What are my priorities? What is my ideal life in business? Create that, revisit it. Remember, this means stop, dream, want, imagine, visualize, all of it.
Solution number two, prioritize your business needs by category. There are certain activities that you do in your business that support different parts of your coaching practice. There are certain things you do to increase your knowledge, your ability to coach your clients. There are activities that you do to enhance your client experience. There are certain activities you do just to maintain your client experience, the time you spend talking with your clients, group coaching, individual coaching, whatever it is. There are things you do in your business for sales, for marketing, for increasing traffic, for converting.
When you start a coaching business, you are so many departments all at once. You’re every department. Sometimes when you can take your business and really make sure to clearly categorize it, it makes a big difference. Sometimes the most fun part of your business doesn’t need the most attention, even though we wish that it did. Sometimes the part of your business that you are spending the most time on, because it seems like you are supposed to or you have to, isn’t really where the time needs to be spent. That activity you’re spending a lot of money on or time on may not be making the money that it should be making based on the amount of time and energy you’re expending.
All the time you’re spending in that one area may not actually mean more people that you’re impacting, more people that you are allowing this opportunity to have their life changed. In fact, sometimes the time where you’re spending most of your time can just be busy work, and it can be helping you to play it safe. It’s a way of feeling productive, seeming productive, but honestly, it’s a way of keeping us safe. Always be evaluating what is going to bring the most impact to the world. What is going to bring in more money in your business now? What will bring in more money in your business in the future? What are the activities that mean you are reaching more people and making a bigger difference and growing your business?
You all ready for that last solution? Solution number three for helping you stay out of this unhealthy form of business autopilot is create a process for questioning those things that seem urgent or important. This is addressing that habit of acting on impulse or feelings. I think as entrepreneurs, we naturally have a lot of creativity. Sometimes, the ways we act from our feelings and go for it and use that impulse can actually be a huge benefit. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they’re wrong. I’m right about those. It’s actually a really powerful part of your building process. We also want to make sure that we don’t allow it to run the show to the detriment of our long term growth.
What this means is you can create a process for questioning these things that seem urgent or important. Some of the key questions, and you don’t have to use these, I want you to think about for your business and the things that come up for you and where you spend your time. What are the questions you need to help you stay on track with your business? The few that I will offer up to you are, one; what purpose does this activity serve? When you’re looking at how you’re spending your time, or you’re looking at wanting to do something new, what purpose does this activity serve?
Next, is this in line with the current needs of my business? Not only is it in line with your ideal life and business, is it in line with your values? Is this in line with the current needs of my business? Just because something seems important or seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean it’s always filling a current need, such an important question. The last question I want to offer you here is does this support the long term vision that I have for my clients and my business? When you can ask yourself questions like these or whatever, I would keep it to three to five questions at the most.
When you can ask yourself these kind of questions before you act on impulse in your business, it will allow you to spend your time and energy in the most impactful ways. It will allow you to both explore your creativity, create, move your business forward, while also keeping everything in line with where you are headed long term. That’s what I’ve got for you.
Kimberly, thank you so much for inspiring me to crack my book and to think about how this applies to these amazing business owners. I hope you all remember that the work you’re doing and what you’re putting out in the world is impacting other people in such a positive way. Keep it up, and I will see you all back here again next week. Have a good one.