The Core 4: A Roadmap to Professional Well-Being

When a client calls in for their very first coaching session, they are often coming to coaching from a place of pain. They may be feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and under pressure to perform.

Whatever it is that’s causing them pain, many new clients want to dive right into a remedy.

If you went to the doctor with a sore arm, you’d be surprised if the doctor immediately put your arm in a cast. You would expect the doctor to diagnose the problem: they might ask you to describe the pain, question you about your recent activities, review your medical history, examine the place where it hurts, and order x-rays or lab work.

Your pain is an urgent symptom to you, but a good doctor is also looking for the underlying cause so the pain can be properly treated.

In the same way, a coach will spend some time getting at the underlying cause of your professional pain. They don’t just want to put a band-aid on the problem; they are passionate about guiding you to a place of complete professional and personal health.

In over 20 years of coaching thousands of clients, we’ve developed a proven framework to help a variety of leaders with diverse needs achieve well-being in life and at work. Every coaching client begins by working through what we call the Core 4.

The Core 4 includes your Life Plan, Business Vision, Business Plan, and Priority Management. Within these four documents, you’ll build the foundational elements you need to expand your influence, develop your team, grow your business, and pursue personal significance.

The Core 4 goes far beyond diagnosing the problem; each of these tools helps you to articulate what a healthy, optimal life and business looks like to you, and to identify the goals, behaviors, and disciplines it will take to achieve your desired outcome.

Life Plan

Your professional life may be what brought you to coaching, but it’s only a piece of who you are. Self leadership precedes team leadership. People who are dialed in to their purpose both in and out of the office make better leaders.

If it’s not good at home, it won’t be good at work.

The Life Plan Guide addresses the problem of “The Drift.”  We don’t set out to live average lives, but when we fail to intentionally plan the direction of our lives, we can drift off-course into places we didn’t intend to go.

Great lives don’t happen by accident — they happen by design. As you articulate your life’s most important priorities, and the future you desire in each of those areas, you’ll be ready to identify the specific actions you should be taking to create the life you’ve always wanted.

Strong leader walking by the office

Business Vision

People want to follow a leader who can show them where they’re going. Your team may be willing to work for you if you’re competent (and you keep their paychecks coming), but they’ll bring their best to follow an authentic, visionary leader.

The Business Vision is a tool that helps you create a simple but powerful document. You’ll gain clarity not only on where you want to take your business, but how you can articulate what you see so that your people will want follow you there. Your vision becomes the filter for every major decision, and is invaluable in recruiting.

When you have clarity on your vision, you’ll see more engagement, stronger performance, improved clarity in decision-making, and a unifying sense of purpose within the people you lead.

Business Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Once you are clear on where you want to lead your people, you need a plan to get them there.

Your plan doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. In fact, a simple and concise plan has a much greater chance of success. If your business plan is so complicated and unwieldy that it takes hours just to read through it, you probably won’t take the time to review it very often.

We coach most of our clients through our 1-page Simple Business Planning tool. This tool helps you identify the key goals, disciplines, and projects that you need to be focused on right now. The result is a simple but powerful document that can be reviewed often enough to be effective.

Strong leader working from home

Priority Management

A great leader is not measured by how busy they are, but how effective they are with their time.

If you consistently yield to the crisis of the moment, you’ll find your time being hijacked again and again by tasks that seem urgent, but aren’t driving you toward your larger goals. Your days feel busy, but ultimately you’ll be frustrated by your lack of progress.

Once you are clear on your priorities — and the critical actions that will move your plans forward — you can begin to schedule those actions into the context of real time. These become the cornerstones of your days and weeks — the immovable rocks that other activities must be built around.

The time-block is a plan for your ideal week. By scheduling your most important priorities first, you give yourself the best chance of accomplishing the actions and disciplines that will move you toward your the future you envisioned when you completed your Life Plan, Business Vision, and Business Plan.

The order in which a client completes these four tools is vitally important.

You can’t manage your priorities before you understand what they truly are. If you create a business plan before you get clear on your vision, then you may wind up in a place you didn’t intend to go. And if you’re don’t make room your life’s priorities above all, then your business goals will always be at odds.

The Core 4 isn’t a quick-fix-magic-pill-bandaid solution to today’s problems. It’s a roadmap to take you to a place of greater professional health. New problems arise all the time, but when they do, you’ll be equipped to create better solutions with much less pain.

The four documents that make up the Core 4 are not meant to be put in a drawer. They are living, breathing documents that stay top-of-desk and top-of-mind as you confidently move toward the life you want.


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