Finishing Strong


When ending a coaching engagement with a leader, I consciously bring our attention to “finishing strong.”

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey. That is because it is important to reflect on who you were and you showed up before the coaching experience, as well as who you are now that the coaching window is closing. The transformation leaders experience is truly remarkable. 

A few questions I recommend leaders ask themselves include:

  • What is the impact of these changes on your leadership capacity, the individuals you lead, your productivity, and your organization? 
  • Are you more or less engaged in the work you do, the people you work with, or the job you perform? 
  • What else in your life has changed as a byproduct of the leadership work you have done?
  • What is the impact on your physical and emotional health, your personal relationships, or your work-life balance?
  • What skills or traits did you leverage to drive the change? 
  • Did you learn something new or reinvigorate something previously mastered? 
  • Did you recognize a superpower that was previously underutilized? 
  • Have you come to see yourself differently through the process of introspection? 
  • How do you imagine these new tools will inform your leadership plan moving forward? 
  • What is your leadership plan to keep the momentum going? 
  • What tools will you continue to evolve, what books might you want to read, what classes might you want to take? 
  • What do you see as the next growth edge to tackle?

Understanding the answers to these questions emphasizes the growth and resulting impact of our work together. Perhaps most importantly, by witnessing and highlighting the effort, fortitude, new skills, and personal attributes, we reenforce and drive ongoing iteration. 

Finishing Strong as a Business

As we come to the end of the year, this same strategy can be applied to your business. Many organizations are looking at “closing the books” on 2022 and beginning to turn their focus to goals, strategies, and action steps for 2023. We at Conscient Strategies argue the most important part of a success plan for 2023 is a thorough 2022 review and a conscious “finishing strong” focus. 

Dan Sullivan, in his book The Gap and The Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence and Success, explores the concept of measuring “the GAP” versus “the GAIN.” The GAP is the distance from where we are to where our ideal lies; the target just beyond our reach. On the other hand, “the GAIN” measures our current self against our previous self. When we take the time to measure what we have accomplished — the GAIN — we are often stunned by the results. The change of focus is stimulating and sparks motivation which can be leveraged for more success. 

Beginning the process of review for your business requires a broad understanding of what areas of growth matter to you, your team, or your organization. How will you measure success? This is a critical question that only you can answer.

Your success criteria evolves from who you are, what you value and, as a result, what goals you have put in place. The criteria you use to define success becomes an internal reference system that informs focus and action. 

Think about these criteria as buckets that you have been filling throughout the year. These buckets will coordinate with the goals you had set for yourself and your organization, or perhaps areas of priority you identified and pivoted towards as the year progressed. 

The diagram below identifies four aspects for review: 

  • Financial
  • Employee Retention/Satisfaction
  • Personal Growth
  • Customer Satisfaction 

As your awareness expands to consider the GAIN and how full your bucket is now as opposed to at the beginning of 2022, a more balanced picture of success unfolds. 

Understanding Your Reflections

Now that you have a clear picture of what you have achieved this year, what surprises you? What stands out as noteworthy? Is there a link between focus and outcome? Were there areas where you felt like you were pushing a train uphill or places where a little focus resulted in unexpected results? What did you learn and how did you grow? What new tools did you add to your arsenal and what did you let go of? How did you adapt?

By examining your answers to these questions, you have exhaustively considered all the nooks and crannies and pulled forth your valuable nuggets from 2022. You have thoroughly unpacked 2022, ending strong, and are ready to explore what’s next for 2023 with momentum and focus. Let your success, the surprises, and the lessons be the driving force propelling you towards the next iteration of yourself and your organization.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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