Category Archives: Coaching info & advice

Sliding into Success

Slide, Don’t Jump, Into A New Role

Congratulations, you got that promotion, you landed that new job! Your focus and commitment to ‘moving on’ has paid off and you can relax now, right?

Unfortunately, no.

Sliding into Success

When I coach people through their career transitions, I can sometimes see the expectation that the work ends once the new role has been found and ‘won’.

For many people there is a tendency to believe we can immediately move out of one thing into another, with very little consideration about how we need to ‘be’ in the new role. We can cross our fingers and hope for the best, or we can equip ourselves to be far more effective by considering the following.

In managing personal change it pays to think on the real shifts that are going on as we move into the new. We don’t simply ‘jump’ into what is required of us. We transition through a phase of experimenting and adapting, gradually sliding from the old state into the new. ‘Joan Bloggs’ who gets the a promotion into a new leadership position may, or may not, be working in the same sector or department than before, bringing with it a certain amount of technical challenges. However, chances are it will be the degree of self-insight and self-awareness, and how best to apply that, which will offer the biggest hurdles (or opportunities) to being successful.

Jenny Bird and Sarah Gornall in ‘The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of Tips & Tools’*, describe this as the ‘Transition Slice‘. Simply put, this is a rectangle with the ‘old’ operating system on the left and the ‘new’ operating system on the right. Overlay that with a diagonal line with the old gradually decreasing and the right slowly increasing. Where you are at any point in your transition period can been seen as a vertical line cutting through both – a ‘transition slice‘. At that point you have a certain amount of the ‘old’ you are reducing and a certain degree of ‘new’ increasing, until eventually you emerge fully on the right hand side, in the ‘new’.

Looking at this model, you can start to appreciate that shifting into a new role is not a sudden jump into ‘being’ everything you need to be, know and act. It’s a gradual process of ‘letting go’ of old habitual ways of doing things as you develop and increase your focus and capacity for new understanding and appropriate behaviours.

For example, what used to work very well for you in your old job may not necessarily be what you need in your new role. Seeing yourself sliding into position in this way gives you an opportunity to reflect on ‘what do you need to give up?’ as well as ‘what needs to happen now?’ We can offer ourselves far greater chances of success if we embrace this process of transition and not pile the pressure on ourselves (and others) to be fully able to function in the ‘new’ right from the start.

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Rhian Sherrington is a Career Coach, Choose2Flourish Ltd, who supports people seeking to shift from a place of stressed out making do, to thriving in careers that make them happy and fulfilled. Her book ‘Choose to Flourish: How to change career and thrive in life‘ was a best seller on Amazon and can be found here.

* Bird, J & Gornall, S (2016) The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of Tips and Tools, Routledge.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do We All Need Our ‘Happy Face’?

Where's Your Happy Face?

Where’s Your Happy Face?

Those among you of a certain age may recall the Australian romantic comedy ‘Strictly Ballroom’, directed and produced by Baz Luhrmann. In it Scott, the top ballroom dancer, ends up being paired with a clumsy novice Fran. Together they go on to win the National Ballroom Championships with his maverick style that upsets the more conventional among them.

There is so much inspiration to be found in this upbeat film but I want to just focus on Scott’s mum who, when everything is going up in smoke around her, manages to see the positive, saying “I’ve got my Happy Face on!”

Whilst you’re unconvinced she’s attaining a real sense of peace and tranquillity (in fact her denial of Scott’s and his Dad’s albeit alternative but passionate talent, is the cause of a lot of drama in the film), her refusal to ‘give up and give in’ is admirable.

Whilst I’m not condoning an ostrich approach to facing challenges (far from it), recognising we have a choice to ‘put on our happy face’ is helpful – to a point.

It is important to count our blessings, practice gratitude and to seek the positive as it all helps to counter our natural hard wiring to just remember the negative. Smile when you don’t feel like it stimulates our bodies to release our feel good hormones, which then does make us feel better.

But we don’t want to deny ourselves our emotional distress either!

Brushing things under the carpet works as a temporary fix but sooner or later, we’re going to face that dis-stress we’re storing up in our bodies. One of the ways I help myself process and let go is booking myself into a day where I’m being taken through the healing process developed by Donald Epstein*. His three fundamental steps echo what I share with my clients when supporting them work through the emotional blocks in their career or life transitions.

  1. Awareness – Allow yourself to really feel what is going on. Where is it in your body? Name the emotion, pain or ‘sense of’ that is sitting there.
  2. Acknowledgement – In naming the emotion, the feeling, allow yourself to acknowledge it. You’ve probably been dismissing it or passing it off as ‘just nothing’ so for once, acknowledge what is there. Tell yourself ‘Thank you for coming to my attention. I am now listening”.
  3. Acceptance – In bringing your attention to what is underneath, surrender to that. Accept what is really going on and allow yourself to open up to new possibilities. ‘I am open to learning more of what I need to know”.

Whilst our ‘Happy Face’ has it’s time and place, doing the deeper work, following these steps, helps develop a sense of peace that our “Happy Face’ has a better chance of authentically emerging from.

*With thanks to Dr Tomasina Craster, for another beautiful Clear Day.

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Giving Up The Old For The New

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We all experience change whether we want to or not.  Regardless of our age or life experience, change is difficult.  It’s not that we don’t like change or want it, it’s that we would prefer for it to happen more easily and on our terms. Unfortunately, change often requires us to give up what’s old and familiar in order for something new and better to take its place.  Just like it is hard to throw away that favourite shirt or those comfy old shoes, we somehow manage to find new shirts and shoes to take their place.

It’s a strange paradigm.  On the one hand, we have this desire to build our lives around something secure, familiar and lasting.  And on the other hand, we are forever being forced to make life changes that keep us from becoming stagnant.

Giving up what previously defined our lives can be painful, but there is a new anticipation and maybe even excitement about building a new life or new identity.

So what is there, on the wings of your life, waiting to make an entrance, if you could just make the space to welcome in the new?

 

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It’s Okay, I’m Not Listening

Given that communicating well is so important for our happiness and well being, how much time and effort do you put into ensuring you are highly proficient in this with all your relationships?

Some of us have behavioural preferences that make it easy for us to talk about the task in hand without any warm up with social niceties (something that is an enigma to others who want to hear the personal stories). Others need space to ‘think as they talk’ or a slower pace that allows for them to be quiet and think, and then share their thoughts.

Do you recognise the importance of adapting your natural style to suit the needs of the person you are communicating with or do you plough on regardless?

We all know we should take it turns to listen, to ask questions, to speak – but how many of us fall foul of the following communication ‘no no’s’ in our relationships, at work or at home – without meaning to?

1.     We ask a question but instead of following up with more in depth questions that show we are interested and have been listening, we switch the conversation back to what we want to talk about.

2.     We listen to someone expressing their feelings about a situation but promptly offer solutions to the situation rather than acknowledge and validate their feelings.

3.     We interrupt; assuming we know what else that person is going to say, ready to show our quality of thinking rather than listening to help that person understand their own thinking.

Now I’m sure you’ve all done the above at one time or another, and experienced those conversations where you’re left feeling unsatisfied, that somehow you’ve failed the mark, not been heard properly or unknowingly, made things worse. So perhaps knowing whether we, and who we are in conversation with, are in terms of an ‘I, We, or It’ state can help bring more awareness  – and ultimately more satisfaction – into our conversations.

I, We, It ,Conversations

In the ‘Bodywork for Coaches’ training course I am currently doing with Mark Walsh, he highlights the importance of knowing what kind of state we are in.

When we are in an ‘I’ state, we want to go into ourselves and reflect on what is going on.  We’re more likely to bring things back round to us and our needs because that is where we are.

At other times we may be in a ‘we’ state, when we are ready, willing and able to be with another, to listen with an aim to understand the other person.

And then there are the ‘It’ states, when it’s all about the task and getting things done.  There is little space here for feelings, to recognise subtle undercurrents or meaning. In an ‘It’ state, we are best able to focus on the job in hand.

Problems in communication arise when people are in different states (or cross states) and are unaware of what state they are in. You will just not be able to give someone the quality of listening and engagement required if they are in an ‘I’ state but you are in an “It’ state for example.

So, moving forwards;

Firstly, spend time and effort to realise what your behavioural preferences are.

Secondly, consider how you can recognise when you are in your ‘I, We’ It’ states. How can you best then respond or instigate conversations that will ensure you aren’t in a cross-state with that other person?

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Delegating – The Curse of Letting Go

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Many of us struggle with delegating. We appreciate that we need to ‘let go’ of certain things so that we can focus on what we should really be doing. Whether we are growing our business, moving into a bigger management and/ or leadership role, we feel this even more acutely.

If you love something dearly, you want to hold it close, right? Whether it’s your baby, your child, a project, business or an idea, if you feel passionate about it being done well or the impact it should have, are you going to find just ‘dropping it’ or ‘letting go’ easy? Of course not.

Those very words ‘let go’ are likely to trigger your sub-conscious brain, specifically your amygdala, to register threat, triggering cortisol to flood into your system. This causes your pulse to rise and your breathing rate to increase. Your ability to relate and connect with others decreases. Your ‘reptile brain’ takes over and basically says ‘No, shan’t, I’ve got to hang on to that!’ No wonder you struggle then to delegate effectively….

So what to do? Can we go about this in a different way?

Make no mistake, it is of course essential that we delegate to others. As we progress in our careers, we have to evolve into being what is required at that level. To grow as individuals, we also need to learn to let go. To manage day to day stresses, releasing and letting go of tension is essential.

May I invite you experiment with something? Instead of seeing whatever it is you need to delegate as something you have to ‘let go’ of, try visualising it as actually a process of ‘letting in’.

You’re letting in others so that they can show their value to you.
You are letting in others to that you can show how much you value them.

Just as we experience a warm glow of satisfaction from being needed, wanted and valued in our personal lives, the same is true of our professional. Letting in others to do some of the work you feel is yours to ‘control’ allows you the opportunity to let others feel this glow (and hopefully someone is also doing that for you!).

Do you know how to say no?

Do You Know How to Say No?

Stop, Look, Listen – And Say No!

Is time slipping away for you? Hardly believe we’re 5 weeks away from Christmas and the holiday season? Yes I know – where did 2015 go?

If that sounds like you, perhaps the following can help.

Traffic lights

Project management systems will often apply a ‘traffic light’ approach to seeing whether things are on track or not. I think it offers a useful tool to help us prevent overwhelm and consciously choose how we spend our time and energy, helping us to say ‘no’!

RED – STOP! 

How is what you are about to do (or thinking of doing) really going to serve you? Be aware if you are committing yourself to actions that are linked to feelings of guilt or inadequacy. We don’t need to keep up with ‘The Jones Family’. The children honestly don’t care about homemade cakes!

AMBER – Pause, Reflect

What do I really need to do right now? (remembering that doing nothing is always an option). Listen to your heart. Give yourself time to reflect. We can’t make good decisions when we’re frazzled. Go for a walk, run, have a bath, switch off the phone. Just ‘be’. Breathe.

GREEN – Go, Consciously

Being aware of your focus, of the reality behind your decisions, move forwards with action that is in tune with the ‘real’ you.

We seriously don’t have to do everything we think we have to. 80% of our results come from 20% of our action – the key is to understand what are those productive 20%. Applying a traffic light system to your reactions just might help.

 

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Don’t Numb Out Over Bad News – Get Focused Instead

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We humans need connection.

We thrive when we are relating to others and feel part of a group. Even the most introvert personality type needs some human contact. Without it, we suffer and run the risk of damaging our health and mental well-being.

One downside however, is the effect of seeing the suffering of others. Our natural tendency towards empathy makes the pain of others become our pain and sometimes that can get too much. When bad news threatens to overwhelm, it might seem the best thing to do is to tune out, to put up a thick skin and simply not allow yourself to get affected.

That strategy may prevent you from crying on the tube as you read the news or from filling up as you catch a latest update over the radio. But what if you never allow yourself to acknowledge someone else’s disaster or suffering?

In de-sentising ourselves to others’ pain, we’re distancing our self from a core part of our humanity. Regularly tuning out reduces our capacity to feel, to think of others. It feeds our shadow side of selfishness and self-interest. A healthy balance of allowing yourself to care, whilst not letting it overwhelm you, seems a logical and helpful solution.

Each one of us will have our own strategies for doing that but one way I think is very useful is to use the bad news to get focused.

After you’ve acknowledged the calamity, the suffering, first do a mental gratitude check.

What are you grateful for that you’ve been taking for granted?

Then consider where you’ve been putting your attention.

Have you been putting off something important you know you need to do?

Have you allowed some form of fear to stop you? If you removed the procrastination that has got in the way, what would you now progress?

Identify the one thing you know you need to do and get focused on accomplishing that.

Getting focused allows us to get clear on what is truly important to us and that accomplishment helps builds a happy and satisfied life. Converting suffering into a positive force that can revive and re-energize your life might perhaps be one small way of ensuring something good comes from a bad thing.

 

 

 

Choose2Flourish Coaching & Training Services

We humans need connection. We thrive when we are relating to others and feel part of a group. Even the most introvert personality type needs some human contact. Without it, we suffer and run the risk of damaging our health and mental well-being. One downside however, is the effect of seeing the suffering of others. [...]

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Powerful career and confidence coaching to enable professionals to thrive in careers that feed their soul as well as their bank balance.

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Passion Trumps Making Do

Do you love what you do? shutterstock_330111

Is there enough of that passion left to get you through the long and difficult days?

Do you still feel that excited energy of motivation and purpose pulsing through your veins as you approach your day’s work?

No? Let’s take a time out.

Passion flows when you’ve identified what you’re good at and get results from, with what you are energized by (we can be good at lots of things that drain us – that isn’t where the magic lies). Yes, sometimes we have to do stuff that doesn’t suit so well because it allows us to tap into the things we do love. If you can’t find that in your work for some reason, people will often seek out other opportunities that gets their heart’s racing and the blood flowing. We all need passion in our lives – it tells us we are alive and vital!

So if a quickening pulse of excitement and flow is no longer happening for you, ask yourself these questions.

Did I ever feel passionate about what I do and if I did, what specifically did I love?

How can I bring more of that back into my life?

If you’ve never felt that passion, what would really light your fire? (Hint: it’s the things you can’t stop talking about, the stuff you seek out, the things you do where time stands still).

How can you bring more of that into your life?

Passion trumps making do.  Don’t let this one and beautiful life slip through your fingers because you settled at making do. You don’t need to launch yourself into drastic change to re-ignite passion – remember the tortoise won the race not the hare. You just need to get started.

Choose2Flourish

Do you love what you do?  Is there enough of that passion left to get you through the long and difficult days? Do you still feel that excited energy of motivation and purpose pulsing through your veins as you approach your day’s work? No? Let’s take a time out. Passion flows when you’ve identified what [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

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Career and confidence coaching for purpose led professionals looking to thrive in a career that feeds their soul as well as their bank balance.

Career strategy, cv, preparing for interview, stepping into a new role, leadership transition and career crossroads navigation

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Work Life Balance or Merge – Are You Getting It Right?

shutterstock_131588138Work-Life Balance – it sure sounds good, but what exactly is it and how do you get it?

Work – life balance is the dynamic interaction between ‘work’ and ‘life’.

‘Work’ is those tasks you must do to keep your life functioning – paid or unpaid, inside or outside of the home. And ‘life’ is those things you do for your own personal fulfillment – the things you really enjoy and want to do. ‘Balance’ is the ideal blend of those two areas.

To move toward life balance, become aware of how you are spending your time. Notice where you are satisfied, where you may be imbalanced and what you would like to change.

Next create your own vision of a balanced day. How do your desire your ideal day to look while enjoying the perfect combination of ‘work’ and ‘life’?

Identify the obstacles that interfere with your quest for balance such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Also look at other obstacles such as other people’s opinions, schedules and actions.

And finally, put it all into ‘action’.   Awareness, desire and identifying your obstacles are important, but to move toward balance, you need to take action.

Work-life balance is not a destination. It is a dynamic state of awareness and choices. Try these simple tips to help move you toward the life you desire.

Choose2Flourish

Work-Life Balance – it sure sounds good, but what exactly is it and how do you get it? Work – life balance is the dynamic interaction between ‘work’ and ‘life’. ‘Work’ is those tasks you must do to keep your life functioning – paid or unpaid, inside or outside of the home. And ‘life’ is [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

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Executive career and confidence coaching for purpose led professionals.

Enabling you to thrive in a career that feeds your soul as well as your bank balance.

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Written Down or Visualise – Which Way to Goal Success?

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We all know that having and achieving goals is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It gives us confidence and motivation. It allows us to recognise accomplishments in our lives, something many of us can find hard to do. For many people, just giving ourselves permission to have goals can be a barrier. For others, trying to realise their dreams and ambitions brings them face to face to enemy number one, fear – of failure, of being judged, of being too successful – the list is endless.

Successful goal achievement is the one of the fundamental benefits of working with a coach. We help you identify not just any old goal but powerful, inspiring goals that are congruent to who you really are and what’s truly important to you. We enable you to work out where it is you want to go by getting your vision crystal clear and using that to work for you as a powerful motivator for action.

Once we’re proficient with setting congruent goals, the next important step is understanding how we should be using them to greatest effect.

For many, it’s writing them down that is the essential part. Whilst the popularly quoted study about Harvard students is a myth, a study undertaken at Dominican University does support the belief that those who write them down and create some accountability towards achieving them (either by sharing with a friend or coach), will be much more successful in accomplishing them.

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Many others put tremendous store in visualising goals, seeing the mental preparation in our minds eye as being a key part of attracting that into our field (think Law of Attraction). It’s also seen as a vital means of training our subconscious to align our decisions and actions with what it is we want to do. Visualisation, without doubt, is a very powerful tool that many highly successful Olympic athletes, speakers and business people use. But can you rely on visualisation alone?

One research study reported by Amy Brann in her acclaimed book ‘Make Your Brain Work‘, examined the improvements in finger muscle tone in groups of people who actually did the finger exercising compared to those who just visualised it happening. Amazingly enough, the later group of ‘visualizers’ saw a 22% increase in muscle tone over the study period compared to a 20% increase in muscle tone of those who actually did the exercising…

From seeing the success in the clients I work with, and from personal experience, I’d say if you were to combine the two techniques, you’re going to be flying – and getting real results.

Choose2Flourish Ltd

We all know that having and achieving goals is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It gives us confidence and motivation. It allows us to recognise accomplishments in our lives, something many of us can find hard to do. For many people, just giving ourselves permission to have goals can be a barrier. For [...]

22 West Mall
BS8 4BQ Bristol

Email address

Website

Description

Powerful executive, career and confidence coaching services for purpose-led professionals

» get directions on Google Maps