Episode 67: How to Conduct a Mid-Year Review

As we approach the halfway mark of the year, I’m sharing the step-by-step process I use in my business and with my clients and students for conducting a mid-year review. There’s no right or wrong way to do it so I hope this serves as inspiration for you in planning and preparing for success in your coaching business.

67: How to Conduct a Mid-Year Review

As we quickly approach the middle of the year, I have to take a moment to wrap my head around the fact that we've already completed five months in the year. It feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating the new year and I was getting all of my ducks in a row for 2021.

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Show Notes

As we quickly approach the middle of the year, I have to take a moment to wrap my head around the fact that we’ve already completed five months in the year. It feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating the new year and I was getting all of my ducks in a row for 2021.

Even though it’s gone by so quickly, it’s extraordinary what we’ve accomplished in our businesses with everything that's going on in our world. That’s why I wanted to take this episode to talk about a topic I love – planning and preparing for your business success – and specifically conducting a mid-year review.

I'm going to walk you through the process I use that’s been very helpful for me and my clients and I want you to make it your own. Feel free to use this information as inspiration, to follow it to the letter, or anything between, and spend a little time reflecting on the last six months, and what you want the next six months to look like.

Topics covered

  • Why you should customize the mid-year review process
  • The importance of reflecting on your progress
  • Separating your worth from your work
  • Making room for your goals to evolve
  • The step-by-step review process I use in my business and with my clients and students
  • How to start your mid-year review
  • Connecting your plan for the year with your accomplishments
  • What to do if you haven’t achieved your goals
  • Getting the deeper story from quantitative and qualitative data
  • Reevaluating and redefining your goals for the rest of the year

Resources mentioned

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Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough, I am so happy to be here with you this week. And today we are going to talk about a topic that I love, because it has to do with planning and preparing for your business success. So if you are listening to this episode when it goes live, it is June 7 2021, which means we are quickly approaching the halfway mark of the year. Which I need to just pause for a second because I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we've already completed five months, and we are well on our way into the sixth month of the year. It really seems like yesterday that I was celebrating the new year and I was getting all of my ducks in a row for 2021. And here we are, we are almost at the halfway point. And even though this time has gone by so quickly, for me, when I think about the last five to six months, it's really extraordinary everything that we have accomplished in our businesses, everything that's going on in our world. And so this is a lovely time for us to pause and take stock of all we've accomplished so far. That's why I thought June would be the perfect month to drop a podcast episode all about conducting a mid-year review.

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So you can do this right now, you can do it today, you can wait until we're a little further into June, or even wait until June 30 if you want to do a full six month review for 2021. There's no right or wrong way to do this. And in fact, let me just kind of state that from the beginning. There is no one right way to conduct a mid-year review. I'm going to walk you through a process I use and that I guide my clients through that has been very helpful for me. And it's been helpful for my clients as well. And I want you to feel free to make this process your own. If there's something that you want to add to it, go for it. If there's a component of the process that doesn't resonate with you, go ahead and take it out. What matters most to me is that you create a system to review your business and your process that serves you. So feel free to take this podcast episode as inspiration, you are welcome to follow it to the letter, you are welcome to modify it for your own use. But I would encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on the last six months, and what you want the next six months to look like. And that's what we're going to talk about today. I really believe that the halfway point of the year, so the June-July timeframe, is such a great time to reflect on the progress we've made in our coaching practices, and maybe to reevaluate some of those goals that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. So if you are anything like me, you probably spent a fair amount of time, say at the end of December 2020, envisioning what you wanted to create for 2021. Perhaps you had a planner or a guide you used. Maybe you even listened to Episode 44 of the podcast, which was all about planning your ideal year. By the way, it's never too late to plan your ideal year. So, definitely head back and take a listen to Episode 44 if you'd like some ideas on how to do so. But assuming that you did some sort of year end planning, I have a question for you. How often do you go back and actually check in on those plans? How often do you review the goals that you set for yourself? The vision that you created for yourself? All of that deep reflection and hard work that you did at the end of the year, how often do you go back and check on those plans? Now I'm asking that question again, not to suggest that there's a right or wrong way to do that, or how often you should do it. I will share that it's something I don't do as often as I probably should, though I do try to do it on a quarterly basis. So at the end of every quarter, I'm checking in on my business, I'm evaluating my progress, and I'm comparing it to the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. This is something that I integrate into my quarterly CEO day. And back in Episode 22, I broke down what a CEO day looks like and how you might want to structure yours. So you can check out that episode as well for some practical suggestions on how to structure your CEO day and how reviewing your progress can be a part of that. So while I love to do it every quarter, ideally I would be doing it monthly. But for some of us, maybe the bare minimum is to do a mid-year check in. And that's what we're going to dive into in this episode, how to do a mid-year check in. I think there are a few reasons why this is so important. And number one, I want to suggest to you that you deserve to celebrate all that you have accomplished so far this year. I mean, you deserve to celebrate everything that you've accomplished. But it can be such a powerful experience to pause and reflect on everything you've been able to do for the last six months. I don't know about you, but I'm often not the best at slowing down, honoring my successes, and really giving myself credit for all that I've managed to do in a very busy, very chaotic year. I mean, 2021. Many of us are going through a serious post-pandemic transition, where we're learning how to re-engage in the world, and how to balance returning to some sort of public life after being in lockdown for a good year. So we've been through a lot, this has been a huge transition year. And so to give yourself time to reflect on all that you've accomplished, and to really celebrate those wins, that matters. And you are worthy of that time and that celebration. So number one, a reason to do a mid-year review, is to really celebrate yourself. Celebrate not just what you've done, but who you are. And again, I want to make sure that we don't link productivity to worthiness. Regardless of how much you've accomplished, how much progress you've made towards your goals, your worthiness is in no way defined by your accomplishments. Your worthiness is innate, it is inherent to you, you were born with it. So, I absolutely want you to celebrate all that you've accomplished so far this year. And remember that you are still a beautiful, extraordinary person regardless, because your worth is not defined by your work. Okay, so I wanted to get that out. So we can balance both of these ideas that you are a worthy human being just by the fact that you are here on this planet. And it is acceptable, and I would say a requirement, to celebrate the wins that you've had over the last six months. So number one, let's give ourselves some time to really celebrate. Celebrate what we've done. Number two, let's also make sure that we are measuring and evaluating our progress on our goals. And we're going to talk a little bit about what that looks like and how to do it in a minute. But if we are setting goals for ourselves for the next year, for the next three years, five years, if we have these goals but we're not checking in on them and we're not measuring our progress, then what good is having those goals? We want to make sure that we are taking an honest look at what it is we want to achieve and how what we're doing is working towards that. Are there areas where we need to be doubling down because it's going so well? Are there areas where maybe we need to take a finer look at things and refine our process? Maybe there are things that we should give up completely, because we're not seeing the traction that we want. All of these are possibilities that may come out of a mid-year review. But if we don't take the time to reflect on those, then we won't know whether the work we're doing is getting us closer to the goals we want to achieve and the vision we want to create for our businesses, and honestly for our lives. And so that takes me to point number three, which is that you are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to rewrite your goals, to revise them, to throw them out, to write new ones. You are not locked in to the goals and ideas that you created in December 2020. Maybe a lot has happened in your life over the last six months, and your landscape looks very different now than it did six months ago. And so maybe some of the ideas that you had or the objectives that you wanted to accomplish are no longer relevant. That's okay. You have full permission to change your goals, and even change your big picture vision, if that is in deeper alignment with where you are today. And so a mid-year check in, a mid-year review, can be a time to give yourself permission to pivot. To give yourself permission to change. Change is healthy. Change leads to growth. So that's why I think this media review is so vitally important. Number one, it gives you an opportunity to celebrate yourself and your wins. Number two, it gives you time to measure and evaluate the progress you've made towards your goals. And number three, it gives you permission to revise or rewrite your goals and ideas as necessary. So with that in mind, I'm going to walk you through the process I use for my mid-year review and what I guide my students, members, and clients through as well. And this might sound a little funny, but one thing I do not want you to do yet is to pull out all of the information you have from your yearly planning session. So assuming that you spent some time at the beginning of the year, or at the end of last year, planning and preparing for 2021, don't pull any of that out yet. There will be time for that in a few steps, I promise. But first, before you do that, I want you to pull out a piece of paper and a pencil. Or in my case, my iPad with my Goodnotes app and my Apple pen. I want you to give yourself some time to write down all of the accomplishments that you achieved for the last six months. So if we're doing this at a mid-year point, then that would be from January to June 2021. I want you to go ahead and list out every single accomplishment you can think of. That includes all of the big wins, and it also includes all of the little daily victories. There is nothing that is too big or too small to go on this list. So as an example, I'll share a couple things that are on my list. Number one, the big accomplishment for me over the last six months was completing the first cohort of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program, and successfully getting it accredited through the International Coaching Federation, or ICF, as an approved coach specific training hours provider. This was a huge, huge goal of mine. First to run the program, second to complete it, and third to get accreditation. So when I look back over my last six months, that's definitely a big win that goes on my list. And I have some really small wins on there too. For example, one of the things on my list is that I did my first Instagram Reel. I know that might not sound like much, but I have to admit, I am still a little intimidated by Reels. It's not a medium that I'm super comfortable with, I'm still learning it. And so to do an Instagram Reel and put it out there really took me outside of my comfort zone. So I haven't done a lot with Reels yet, maybe I will in the next six months. I don't know, we'll get there. But the fact that I even did one and published it, for me, that was an accomplishment. And so that went on my list. So it really runs the gamut for me, from getting a program fully accredited by ICF, to publishing a Reel on Instagram. And then of course, there are all sorts of things in between. So I want you to take some time to think about what it is you've accomplished over the last six months. Just off the top of your head, write it all down. So that's step one. Step two, once you've kind of done your brain release and you've gotten it all on paper, keep that piece of paper, or your tablet, whatever the case may be, keep it close by. Because Part two is to review your calendar, your emails, your project management system, whether you use Asana, or Trello, or Clickup, or Airtable, whatever it is you use. Go ahead and review all of that and find the accomplishments you forgot about. Because I am willing to bet there is at least one, if not many, that you missed. Because that's what we do. Oftentimes, we forget things that we've accomplished, especially the little ones, but sometimes even the big ones. And again, I'll share some examples with you. It's a little embarrassing that I even forgot to include these on my list to begin with. But number one, I celebrated the first anniversary of this podcast in March. March marked one year of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. That is a huge accomplishment. I published an episode every week for a year, and now a year and three months. And that did not make it on my brain release list. I completely blew past it. And I suspect the reason I did is because creating this podcast is now routine for me. It's something I do every week, and so I don't think about it as being anything out of the ordinary or exceptional. And yet, showing up week after week, month after month, for over a year to create this content for you, that is a big deal. And that is worthy of acknowledgement. But I would have totally blown past it had I not gone back to Airtable and taken a look at everything I've been working on this year and realized, “Oh my gosh, yeah, the podcast, we hit one year”, and today is Episode 67. So this is a big deal. So go ahead and look through all of your documentation, whether it's your calendar, your emails, your systems, whatever it may be, and look for the things that you missed. Might be something big, like I don't know, a one year podcast anniversary. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I forgot to include that I started writing my second book. That did not make it on my list of accomplishments until I went back into my calendar and I noticed in May, all of the time I had blocked off for writing. And I thought “Lee, you have written 1000s and 1000s of words towards your next book. That counts, that is an accomplishment. Even though the book isn't done yet, you are still showing up and doing the work”. So, step two is an important step. Go back and use your documentation to add to your list so that you have a complete history of everything that you've accomplished over the last six months. Step three, is to give yourself a minute, or five, or 10, to really soak all of this in. I am willing to bet, because you are a listener of this podcast, and you are intuitive, and you are driven, and you focus on serving other people, I know that there are some really impressive things on your list. And so even though all along I've been saying celebrate yourself, this is big. I mean it. I want you to just pause for at least a minute, longer if you can, and really soak in those feelings of accomplishment, pride, motivation, and excitement. Because this is just the beginning. And you still have another six months in this year, and then as many years as you want to come, to create more. But before we do that, let's really honor all that you've accomplished so far. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into it. Because you are worthy of those accolades, and you are worthy of that recognition. So step one is the brain release. Step two is to add to it using your documentation. And step three, is to give yourself a well earned pat on the back. And now it's time for you to pull out your yearly planning material. So whatever you have from six months ago, go ahead and pull that out. Go ahead and do a cursory review to refresh your memory around what you wrote down for your vision for 2021. What the key goals you described that you wanted to achieve this year, just kind of refresh your memory of it. And then notice how what you've accomplished so far connects, or maybe doesn't connect, with the goals you outlined six months ago. All we are doing in this step is making connections between an accomplishment and a goal. So for example, one of my 2021 goals was to have the Certification Program accredited by ICF. My goal was to finish the program at the beginning of March, submit the application by the end of March to the International Coaching Federation, and I knew that it could take up to six months for them to approve it. So I was gearing up for a long wait, and hoping that maybe I would hear something by August or September. Well, I have to give the staff at the International Coaching Federation a lot of kudos because they turned around my application in less than six weeks. And I had that official accreditation in April. So I was able to achieve that goal sooner than I thought, in large part because of circumstances that were outside of my control. I'm really grateful to the people at ICF for helping me through the process and making it so smooth. But here's the thing, sometimes there are elements outside of our control that delay our timeframe. I've definitely had goals where I've had to revise or reframe the timeline, because things have happened outside of my control that slowed down the process a bit. We'll talk a little bit about that in a minute. But I just want to acknowledge that as you are connecting your accomplishments with your goals, if you have not achieved them all, if you're not where you thought you would be in your timeline, that is okay. And it is okay to feel a little disappointed or a little frustrated. I know I certainly did when it happened to me. But remember that you are right on time for your life, you cannot be late for your own life. And so now as a part of this review, we can decide where you want to go from here. So once you've had an opportunity to notice how your accomplishments connect with your goals, the next step, step five, is to really dive deep into the quantitative and qualitative data that you have around what you've accomplished. So when I'm talking about quantitative data, I'm talking about hard numbers. Maybe you're looking at revenue generation. Perhaps you're looking at the number of clients that you served, or the number of people you've added to your email list. Maybe one of your metrics is Instagram growth, and how many people are engaging with your posts and your stories. In my business, there are several metrics that I track, including the number of people joining the free Facebook group, the Coach with Clarity Community. I'm also looking at the number of new members in the Coach with Clarity Membership. I'm looking at revenue, turnover, churn rate, all of that stuff. Because those numbers can give me a good idea as to how close I am to reaching my goals. But perhaps even more importantly, that kind of data also allows me to track trends in my business. So let me use this podcast as an example. My priority with this podcast is not how many downloads I get on a given day, or week, or even a given month. My priority with the podcast is to continue to create really strong content that serves you. However, I do track those downloads because it gives me really valuable information about what's resonating with my audience, what I'm noticing month to month, season to season, and then I can make decisions based on that data. So as an example, when I was reviewing my quantitative data, I noticed that in January, February, and March, my number of monthly downloads were roughly the same. So I was pretty consistent there. Then I noticed in April, I had a pretty significant drop. There were far fewer downloads that occurred in the month of April than in the months prior. And then in May, it shot right back up. So that's just something that I'm going to notice. And perhaps next year, I'll take a special look at April to see if that's a trend that continues. Maybe April for whatever reason is just kind of a slow month in the land of podcasting. Or maybe it means that I need to step up my game in March and April to really publicize the podcast so that people know it's there, and that they choose to download it. So again, this is all about noticing trends and how those trends might inform my decisions moving forward. So as you review your quantitative data, yes, definitely take a look at the numbers, but also take a look at the trends, and maybe the deeper story that that data might be trying to tell you. In addition to evaluating the quantitative data, take a look at the qualitative data. So what do I mean when I talk about qualitative data? This is a little more nebulous, maybe this is what I like to think of as the “touchy feely” data. When I get surveys from my students, when I get feedback from my members or my clients, what they share with me is qualitative data. It tells me what they like, what we're doing, right, other things they'd like to see added to the programs or membership, maybe areas where I can improve. And so that type of qualitative feedback is so valuable, and often is where I get ideas on things that I can add, or change, or remove, in order to enhance my clients experience. So that is qualitative data that I receive from others, but I also generate my own qualitative data. I'm really interested in examining how I feel as I work towards these goals. How does it feel as I'm creating this podcast? What am I experiencing as I'm working in the Membership? What is it like for me to teach in the Certification Program? I really want to check in on a sensory level. So noticing the emotions that come up, the body sensations that come up, because that gives me a lot of information about how I feel in my business. Do I feel aligned, and centered, and grounded? Perhaps I'm feeling a little anxious or uncertain, or maybe something feels forced and hard. So when I pay attention to how I feel as I'm accomplishing certain goals, or working towards certain goals, that can give me a lot of valuable information around how I want to continue operating in my business. So, step five is to take a look at what you've accomplished, and break it down into quantitative and qualitative feedback. Then I'm going to ask you to pause for a moment as we head into step six, which is to clearly envision what you want the next six months of your coaching practice to look like. So if I were to ask you to imagine that it's six months from now, so it's December 2021, we're gearing up for the new year, we're getting ready for 2022, you are in the process of doing a year end review. What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to be? What needs to happen for you to get there? So really, in your mind's eye, get a clear picture of where you want your business to be at the end of the year, and how you want to feel about it. So that's step six. That takes us right into step seven, which is to ask what then needs to change about your existing yearly plan in order to get you close to that end of year vision. So this is a time to evaluate how well your plan is working, and whether it is still an accurate reflection of your business today. This is where we can decide whether or not a goal needs to be revised or refined. Or maybe it needs to be thrown out altogether. Maybe there are some ideas and some goals you had at the start of the year that no longer resonate with you. Maybe you're moving in a different direction. And that is 100% acceptable. So let's make sure that you have really strong goals that feel more in alignment with where you want your business to go today. So what if any timelines need to be revised or changed? And then what if any goals need to be added to your plan? Now a quick note here, as we're talking about adding on to your plan for the year, I also want you to check in with your capacity and whether you have the time, and the energy, and the resources you need in order to add on another goal. And please know that it is absolutely okay to take a goal off the table, or maybe to set it aside for a later time, in order to focus your time and attention on something that is calling you now. But I don't want you to feel like you have to do all the things right now. I want you to really honor your capacity, and what you're able to commit to for the remainder of the year. So before you add anything onto your plan, really take a look at your own personal capacity and how this sits with you in the grand scheme of things. As you're doing that, this is where I want you to think about the resources you have at your disposal to make all of this happen, and if there are any additional resources you might need. So for example, if one of your goals for the next six months and beyond is to become an ICF credentialed coach, well then a resource you might need is an accredited coach training program. Just so happens I know of one that you might be interested in, and you can learn more about the Certified Clarity Coach Program over at CoachwithClarity.com/certification. We are gearing up to launch the next cohort at the end of August, but applications are being accepted. So if you would like to learn more, definitely head over to CoachwithClarity.com/certification and submit your application today. But there's an example. If you have a goal that you want to achieve, such as getting credentialed, a resource you need is an accredited training program. So think about what steps you'll need to take and what resources can serve you as you work towards your goals. Alright, so that's it. I've just given you a peek into how I approach a mid-year review. And so with that, let's move into this week's Clarity in Action moment.

This week's Clarity in Action moment is brought to you by the brand new Course Clarity Workshop, that I am thrilled to be co hosting with my friend, Emily Walker. Now longtime listeners of the podcast will remember Emily from Episode 38, where we talked about what goes into creating a group program. Emily is a master at learning design, and crafting programs that really work for your clients and for your students. So she and I have decided to team up, and we are thrilled to be presenting what we are calling the Course Clarity Workshop. So this is a two hour workshop that takes place on Friday, June 25 1pm-Eastern, 10am-Central. It's a virtual experience, so we will be on Zoom. And during this workshop, you are going to learn everything you need to know around determining what type of program is the best fit for your clients. Emily is going to walk you through her journey mapping process, which really details what you need to know as you're creating the arc of your group program. And then I'm going to dive deep into how coaching skills can support the group process, and what you as the group leader and facilitator need to be doing in order to ensure that your students, your members, your clients, have an extraordinary experience. There is going to be plenty of time for Q&A, plus a couple special offers only available to people who attend the workshop. And Emily and I feel really strongly about making this accessible, so that's why we are keeping it under $100. We've got some goodies that you'll get access to before the workshop even starts, and of course, you will get lifetime access to the replay and all of the materials. So to sign up, just had to CoachwithClarity.com/courseclarity. There, you'll be able to sign up for the workshop, and we can't wait to see you on June 25. Again to register head to CoachwithClarity.com/courseclarity, and we will see you at the Course Clarity Workshop. 

Well, my friend, it will come as no surprise, but this week's Clarity in Action moment is all about helping you take action on a mid-year review. So your action step for this Clarity in Action moment, is to open up your calendar and carve out one hour that you will spend on your mid-year review. That's all you have to do, is carve out that one hour. And then you are free to spend that time conducting a review in whatever way will serve you and your business. And as a recap the steps that we talked about today that you may want to follow or modify as needed: 
1. Do a brain release of everything that you have accomplished and created year to date. 
2. Pull out your calendar, your emails, your project management software, and take a look to see what accomplishments you may have overlooked. 
3. Give yourself a little time to really soak in the feeling of accomplishment and pride and victory that comes with everything that you've already achieved this year. 
4. Go ahead and refer back to any of the documents you have from your yearly planning that you may have done at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021, and then connect the accomplishments you've had so far this year with the goals that you outlined in that document. 
5. Break it down into quantitative and qualitative data so that you know how you're progressing towards your goals, both from a hard numbers perspective and also from an emotional and sensory perspective as well. 
6. Is where I invite you to flash forward six months, and get really clear on what you want your business and your life to look like then, so you know where you're headed. And then the final step, 
7. Is to reevaluate your yearly plan and notice what's working, what may need to be refined or changed, what may need to be thrown out entirely, and whether or not anything needs to be added to your plan. Pay special attention to any resources that you may need internal or external to help you achieve the goals you've set for the next six months. 
I know this may seem like a lot, so that is exactly why we have a show notes page where you can find the transcript for this episode and also all the key bullet points that you need to know. So if you head to CoachwithClarity.com/67, so that's the number 67, you'll find the show notes, the transcript, and everything you need to facilitate your mid-year review. I hope you have found this process helpful and I would love to hear about your experience. 

So come find me over on Instagram @CoachwithClarity and tell me what goal you will be working on for the next six months. I can't wait to cheer you on. Alright my friends. That's it for this week. I will be back in your feed next week. So be sure to follow the Coach with Clarity Podcast if you haven't already, and that way next week's coaching call will automatically show up in your feed and we'll connect then. So until next week, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, encouraging you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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