By Joni Lindquist

As we head into the New Year, it’s always a great time to reflect and set new goals.  I’m not a big fan of resolutions, but I do believe having goals helps people get motivated and stay focused.  It gives them a challenge or purpose.

In the interest of focus, select ONE skill you would like to improve in 2017.  As an executive coach, some of the common skills that I hear from business executives and attorneys that they work to develop are:

  • Influence
  • Public speaking or giving presentations
  • Conflict resolution
  • Time management
  • Balancing empowerment with follow-up
  • Emotional intelligence – resiliency, managing emotions productively

Once you’ve identified the ONE skill you want to improve upon, here is a 4-step planning process you can use:

  • Identify and tap into resources – there are numerous resources that can help, including executive coaching, books, journals, and training sessions. Of course I’m partial to executive coaching. A coach who creates a customized plan and is focused solely on you and your situation can be an unbiased guide to identify approaches and hold you accountable.
  • Identify ACTIONS – what behavior will you be implementing? Be specific here as to what you will actually DO, not just thoughts. Determine and commit to the new behavior, and identify situations where you will use it.  Find “safe” places to practice developing the skill.   If you are working on public speaking, take a speaking engagement with a small group.  If you are trying to influence more effectively, try the tactics within your team or perhaps at home or with friends.  Then begin to tackle the skill in more important situations.
  • Measure progress – How will you measure your success? Create an accountability buddy – either your executive coach or another trusted colleague and discuss with them how it’s going.
  • Monitor – after taking action and measuring progress, identify how you will adjust to be more effective. As you build confidence with the developing skill, use “cues” to create new habits.  A cue can be an image or word that will serve as a constant reminder.  Cues are very important in creating repetition in using the new behavior.  Repetition helps to create a new habit – the improved skill!

Don’t get overwhelmed with a laundry list of resolutions.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Focus on one thing, improve that and move on to another.  Good luck!  For help with your career plan, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: frankieleon via / CC BY