You’ve Come A Long Way – Even If You Don’t Think So


  • Author Andrea Novakowski
  • Published September 20, 2012
  • Word count 703

Can it be we're halfway through the year already? My business coaching clients always like it when we pause at this point to assess how far they've come since January. It's a chance for us to acknowledge all the good work they've been doing. Yes, it's easy to focus on what you haven't accomplished, but I prefer to focus instead on what my clients have achieved so far.

Give it a try. Here are the questions I asked my clients this year, inspired by a similar questionnaire created by author and coach Cheryl Richardson. After each question, I've included a response or insight shared by one of my clients. Names and identifying details have been changed.

  1. What's the most important change you've made so far this year?

Sally: "I've increased my awareness of what I need to thrive in my life. The work we've done together identified my needs and values. Then we created actions that support those needs and values. Now when I'm feeling out of sorts, I know I can take one of those action steps and get back on track."

  1. How have you taken better care of yourself?

Tom: "I decide at night whether I'm going to work out in the morning. If it's a yes, I spend ten minutes before bed laying out my gym clothes and arranging the first priority for my workday on top of my desk. By doing this, I put my mind at rest that I can jump into my work when I get to the office a little later than normal. This has doubled my weekly workout sessions from the two I was doing on the weekend to four throughout the week."

  1. What risks have you taken? What fears or challenges have you faced?

Cheryl: "I started a new business this year. I'm an introvert, but I know I have to get out there and talk to people. With help from my coach, I created a plan that fits who I am. I prepare for conversations before I show up at a networking meeting. I identify the number of people I want to connect with, and I have a few questions and comments ready to go. It's a relief to know I don't have to meet everyone in the room. I can do this!"

  1. How have you grown as a person? What qualities have you developed? For example, are you more patient, focused, financially responsible?

John: "I like to be right, to share my thoughts and ideas and win. This year, in my new role in a different department of my company, I've had to build relationships with a lot of new people. I've realized that rather than competing with everyone, I can collaborate and go further."

  1. How has your environment changed? Have you cleaned up your home or office, challenged yourself to throw things out, or added some beauty to your life?

Carol: "I've been complaining about the clutter in my house for years. I read books and get energized, and then it fizzles. Last month I read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh and something finally clicked. Rather than just removing stuff, he recommends creating a vision for each room. Each person who uses the room creates a vision, and then the visions are combined. I've been using visualizing in my coaching for years, but I never thought of using it to de-clutter. I have an agreement from my husband to work on our bedroom next weekend. I'm thrilled to have a willing partner in this process!"

  1. What have you done to help others improve the quality of their lives?

Jonathan: "I'm training to be a coach. One of the most important skills I'm learning is how to ask questions, as opposed to giving advice. I use this not only in my work, but with my friends. Questions help people gain clarity about what they really want. Then they can create a plan to get there."

I hope these questions have gotten you thinking about what you've already accomplished this year – and maybe have even re-energized you during these hot summer days. Pat yourself on the back! Now, where can you take a step forward for the remainder of the year?

Andrea Novakowski, MBA, is an executive coach who has been helping clients align their professional goals with their personal values since 1997. Learn more at

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