As a time management coach, you probably have been perplexed about what kind of advice you should aim to provide a client who doesn’t know that they have a time management problem. Sometimes a client comes to us for specific advice in this area, but most happen to think that they just need more time (or less work) rather than greater skills.
Before we even start working with a client, it’s a good idea to have the right orientation as a coach, and to have the right approach in place to begin with. Here are the three most popular.
Lotsa Tips (Time Management < 1.0)
Most coaches who dabble in time management focus on giving out tips: lists of short, snappy things that a client should do differently.
They are often disjoint and disparate, with little or no connection to each other; the end result is that the client is quickly overwhelmed with bits and pieces of ideas that are impossible to implement in any coordinated fashion. As cool as they might be, (“Just buy an iPad!”) they are not essential to the client’s progress.
Most websites and time management books that you may find as a coach boil down to this kind of content.
Fixed Systems (Time Management 1.0)
There are a handful of books and programs that go a step further and advocate a single, fixed set of habits, practices and rituals. They represent a vast improvement over the “Lotsa Tips” approach.
However, they fail spectacularly when the client is not already using a method that’s close to the one you’re advocating. The problem with this approach is that it ignores the client’s current patterns, and further assumes that one-size-fits-all. Many clients struggle to give up what they have been doing for several years, and fail to adopt new habits readily. It’s not because they are stupid — most human beings find it very challenging to let go of old habits while learning new ones.
Also, clients have very different needs that depend on a number of factors and when you only have a single pattern or fixed system to offer them, the chances of success are low.
Flexible Systems (Time Management 2.0)
The vast majority of clients need to learn the skill of developing their own system. As their skilled coach, you can start by giving them an understanding of where they are today, help them see the gaps, and teach them how to gradually take action to close the gap with new habits.
To do this effectively, you do need a sound system of continuous improvement to teach them, and you can take a look at the approach we use here at 2Time Labs and MyTimeDesign by taking these steps:
1. Download the e-book from ChangeThis.com entitled “The New Time Management: Focus on the Fundamentals and Toss Away the Tips.”
2. For much more information on the ideas included in this book, visit the 2Time Labs website and search our archives.