10 self-coaching questions MSL should ask and answer to keep growing professionally

questions or decision making conceptAccording to Pareto rule, it’s possible to get 80% of result with 20% of the effort. Often 20% means having right habits. In order to establish successful habits and consistently achieve professional and personal goals, it’s helpful to adopt some self-coaching behaviours. Self-coaching is a powerful skill set of tools and techniques that any MSL can apply to create instant and sustainable work (and life) changes. Developing a strong habit by asking yourself these questions at least once a month will make a difference. When thinking of questions to ask yourself, keep in mind that they have to move you towards a solution rather than in the direction of another problem.

1. What do I want to achieve on MSL position?
Obvious, but in fact not always asked within the teams. It’s essential to have this question raised at any time, as it clarifies the expectations from the role, facilitates and stregthens the links between personal aspirations and eventual MSL impact. Write down the answer to this question.

2. How will I know when I’ve achieved success?
Make your goals as specific or measurable as you can. What will be the customer and stakeholder perception of your input? What do you want it to be? Set the realistic milestones and treat them as steps of the ladder leading to the top of your ambitions. Put the answer to this question in writing because that will force you to clarify what you want as a result, and keep it visible daily. Any of your goals should be supported by this question, as it bridges your plans with reality.

3. What is my first step towards this success?
The most difficult step of a mountain climb isn’t the last one – it’s the first. Making a first step is important as it initiates the direction you have chosen. After the difficult first step, every your movement becomes easier and the progress becomes faster. Try not to postpone your first step and do it as soon as you can even if it is be small: make an project outline, a customer call or just a meeting invitation.

4. What stops me from moving forward?
Normally these are our fears and inertia appearing at the border-cross of our comfort area. Obviously our path to development lies through those fears, anxiety and low confidence. This might be a lack of knowledge as well. The answer to this question might become a check-list for your personal and professional growth. Think to yourself, how wisely involving your colleages or your manager you can overcome those barriers.

5. What are three things I am doing regularly that don’t serve or support my goals?
We need to have a filter for work or opportunities we receive. The more things we are doing, the more quickly we become distracted and pulled away from our course. The only way to keep on path is evaluation of our work in terms of support for our goals. This might be our useless and distractive habits that bog us down and prevent us from achieving goals. Answering this question in writing as well will help you to filter out things for down-prioritization or quitting.

6. What resources have I never used?
A question that releases our entrepreneurship spirit and triggers out-of-the-box thinking. Working solely inside MSL job description doesn’t not make us outstanding. A job done beyond our responsibilities will help to make MSL team great. Use the insights of this question to become more creative in finding opportunities to achieve your goals.

7. What would be the biggest impact from achieving my working goals?
MSL actions should ultimately lead to the achievement of Medical Affairs goals and mission. Comparing your impact against your organization goals may reveal some insightful thoughts on how to strengthen the link between the work you do and stakeholder expectations.

8. What would I try now if I knew I could not fail?
My favourite question and one more trigger to release our inner genius. The stream of fresh ideas is right behind this door, you need just to open it.

9. If I did know, what would the answer be?
Simple and brilliant. “Not knowing” may appear to be our latent intent to avoid risks of change. Asking this question gives us unconscious permission to dream and be creative because in fact we do know. If not MSLs, who then?

10. What can I learn from this?
If you can learn from a negative situation you reduce the likelihood that it will ever happen again. Besides, reflecting on this question, you may find ways to turn your trouble today into basement for your best success tomorrow.

Written by Dr. Alexander Tolmachev

Originally published on MSL Society blog.

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