Thoughts from the park


Today the depths of the dead January bracken

Gave shelter, safety, warmth

to hundreds of tiny birds.

What part of you

is giving nurturance

to a small, fresh fluttering internal song?

This too will grow and flourish soon.

What is holding you back from changing?

Have you got back into work after the Christmas break and feeling you wanted a change?  During the break did you you rediscover yourself under the layers of stress and exhaustion?  Did you dream of the new job, change in responsibility, improved work relationships?  But if only it was as easy as day dreaming – rather than feeling like an insurmountable mountain…  I know some clients feel like they just can’t make the change and that something is holding them back – but what?

falling off a bikeI guess this is the million dollar question and I’ve definitely not got all the answers – but I do find it is a really interesting subject and one we don’t think about very much.

Rather than pause and think about what is holding us back we often default to getting annoyed with ourselves when we don’t successfully break bad habits and start afresh.

This is particularly tough at this time of year when many of us have taken up new years resolutions and hope for new habits to arise.

So, one of the places I suggest people start is focussed journalling.  Getting really curious about a particular behaviour and writing about it.

For example, if you are feeling unconfident:

  • Can you get super curious about when you are feeling unconfident Can you journal about the specifics of when you feel your confidence slipping away?
  • What situations? For example, times of day, who you are with?
  • What are you telling yourself? What emotions are you feeling?

If you do this every day for a couple of weeks you will have much more information to look at and consider what you could do to build your confidence.

If you are avoiding conflict, feeling wiped out, feeling powerless – the focussed journalling helps you to get clearer on what is really going on for you.  Then you can develop a targeted plan to change and journal your experience of trying a new way of responding.

Get in touch if you’d like coaching help to build towards the change you want.


Because it’s our narrative that determines who we will become

Great read from Seth Godinmud today about our stories.  As you might have noticed I’m really interested in what helps us make the changes we want to and what holds us back in the patterns that no longer help us.  Many of us want to do things differently – speak up in meetings, respond differently to the bully, learn to say no, manage our time differently – this list is almost endless.  The answers often seems straightforward – just start saying no; ‘just’ start using a diary to plan your time – you get the picture.  And yet, somehow it just isn’t that easy to change.  In my work as an Executive Coach I tend to see people who want to make changes, but so far they haven’t been able to make the progress they are looking for.  One of the areas we look at is the story we tell ourselves and how that often keeps us stuck, but safe in what we have already mastered.  After all, we sort of know how to cope with life as we currently manage it, but if we start to make changes, will we still know how to cope?  Will we still be safe or will we look silly?  In our coaching I often help my clients develop new stories for themselves, with more opportunity to make the changes they want to see.  Its not the whole answer – but it definitely seems to be part.

Get in touch if you want to know more.


Procrasinating vs Mastering the Art of ‘Just Start’

Are you aware of procrastinating? What is your favourite method?

  • Social media?
  • TV?
  • Tidying?
  • Eating?

One of my clients has noticed that he would sometimes rather file his emails than get to the challenging task he is meant to be doing. I view this as good news! He has something to can watch out for – next time he finds himself filing emails he can ask himself “what am I avoiding?” and “what or who could help me take a small step forward with whatever I’m avoiding?”  I’ve designed a tailor made exercise for this client to use whenever he starts to procrastinate to help him take action instead.  This article from @janeporter also gives some great suggestions to get to know your procrastination.


Working with a Cross-Cultural Team

I’ve been delivering a leadership programme with a global company for the last 18 months and loving it!  One area that continue to fascinate me is how the leaders work so hard to build global teams – and how much complexity that entails.

Whilst I’ve been focussing on helping them to develop skills as Leaders who Coach, even this pans out differently when you look at the culture of the Leader who is coaching and their coachee.

  • What is the attitude of each person to hierarchy?
  •  speaking out?
  • giving feedback?
  • scheduling time?

There are so many dimensions to consider and act on that it is often best done one coachee at a time so you can reflect on each individual coachee’s needs and preferences and then tailor your approach.  In the meantime, I enjoyed this practical HRB article on cross-cultural brainstorming.

Ruled by your phone?

Image result for it must be an adult binky

I’m increasingly aware of the all pervading presence of my smart phone.  Thankfully, when I’m with others I’m able to leave it alone, to ignore the siren call of Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia….  But when I’m alone, or working on a tricky programme design I’m alarmed at how often I interrupt myself by picking up the phone and checking out some random possibility.


I can almost feel the dopamine hit triggered when I see a new email or Whatsapp message.  But none of this is healthy – besides the impact on my body of the ceaseless, self-induced dopamine what about the impact on my productivity?

Whilst I used to love the notion of multi-tasking I’m now aware of the breadth of research that says it takes almost 20 minutes to get back into the flow of what you were doing before.  That is a significant productivity cost to me and my business.

Now I’m aware of it I can be more curious about why I’m doing it – Am I avoiding something?  Am I worried about something?  and then I can consider what I’d rather do instead.

This article by @justinadamwise provides some great ideas, what do you think?