When I retired at the age of 60, I had no idea what I would do with this new stage of my life. I had not planned to leave work at 60; in my mind I had thought I would continue working on till 65.

Well, things did not work out as I expected. That is how I came to study life coaching and start working for myself in my early 60s.

It has not gone smoothly though, and last year I found myself discussing my difficulties with many of my friends. That seemed to be fine for a couple of months, but then I realised that everyone had a different opinion and soon I was feeling pulled in various directions.

That is why I decided this year to engage a business coach. It has proven to be a really good decision. Here is what I learned:

Accountability Is Motivating

Having one person to whom you are accountable for your actions is a powerful motivator for achievement.

Knowing that I needed something to discuss in our next meeting meant that I had to tackle the actions that I had listed after the last session and I could not afford to procrastinate or put them on the back burner.

Having a coach is like having an accountability buddy, but more. I did work with an accountability buddy last year, but somehow the formal coaching session pushed me into achieving way more because I knew my coach would ask about the things I had not done, whereas my friend did not.

I Can Break Down My Goals

Setting myself mini goals each fortnight geared me into action. At the end of each session, I made a list of what I wanted to achieve before our next meeting.

Putting this down on paper (usually in front of my coach) meant that I could not simply put them in file 13 or sweep them under the carpet, because I had committed to working on each one before our next session.

Writing Helps

On the suggestion of my coach, I started a journal for reflection. I found that writing down my reflections is far more powerful than thinking them through in my head. I learned that I should start with the “what,” followed by “so what,” and lastly, “now what.”

In plain English, that means you write down what happened and then reflect on the implications (so what). Finally, you end off with where to go from here (now what?) Doing this regularly (at least once a week) established a routine.

This method of reflection is rooted in David Kolb’s theory of Experiential Learning, a useful framework for adult learning. The theory outlines the cycle of concrete experience followed by active reflection.

Conceptualizing alternative solutions is then followed by active experimentation, coming back to more reflection and thus the learning cycle takes place.

A Friend Is Not a Coach

Perhaps the most important lesson was that I stopped dribbling my problems out to my friends and getting many different opinions reflected back to me, leaving me more confused than ever. I know I can trust my friends, but my problems need to be solved for my needs and circumstances.

It has only taken 9 sessions so far, but I now feel more confident about the direction that my life and my business are taking. It was a really good investment.

Do you know what goals you want to achieve in your life and business? What do you know about business coaching? Have you tried it? What’s stopping you? Please share in the comments below.

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