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?


Are you experiencing ‘Immunity to Change’?

To help my coaching and consultancy clients I’ve been re-reading this great book by Lisa Laskow Lahey and Robert Kegan – ‘Immunity to Change‘.  Some fascinating insights into why it can be so difficult for us to change – we are often protecting ourselves from something that some part of our brain or history thinks could be dangerous.  The step-by-step process in Immunity to Change helps us to track down this hidden and competing goal and to find new ways of unravelling it.  After many years of helping people and organisations change this makes a lot of sense to me!  To hear more read the book or get in touch for coaching or consultancy!


Looking for new inspiration?

When people come to coaching they are often looking for new inspiration to help them find their new way forward. We might re-connect them to an old joy such as dancing, drawing or singing, bringing them back to a place where they had good old fashioned fun.  As part of this, they often report that they have more energy for their work, more ways of handling the challenges of work and family.

One of my recent coaching clients revealed a long forgotten joy for poetry and added 20 minutes of writing to her lunchtimes a couple of times a week and she found those few minutes gave her more headspace for her job.  I came across this great resource on @onbeing if you’d like to find a shortcut into the world of poetry.

What creative passtime might you reconnect to?

Are you being ‘authentic’ or stretching your boundaries?

I’ve had a few interesting conversations recently with coaching and consultancy clients about being ‘authentic’ to themselves.  I learnt a lot from these conversations – in many of these instances it was more about needing to try out new skills such as presenting or to use a more engaging or coaching style with their teams – helping their individuals to find their own solutions.  Each time it was less about ‘authenticity’ and more about having to move out of their comfort zone to try new skills.  In their minds, feeling uncomfortable meant that they were being ‘inauthentic’ – which was a possible explanation, but I invited them to consider whether it could be that they were learning a new skill and that is often uncomfortable and takes time.   Sharing the “learning stairway” helped to explain this a little more…  Next time you are feeling ‘inauthentic’ why not stop to consider the possibility that you could be moving out of your comfort zone and learning?


Start before you’re ready


I saw this in Do the Work by Steven Pressfield.   I know a few people who think they procrastinate too much or wait for the perfect solution.  How about this for inspiration?

 Don’t prepare, begin.  Remember, lack of preparation is not the enemy; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the market or the emptiness of our bank account.  

The enemy is resistance.

The enemy is our chattering brain, which if we give it so much as a nanosecond, it will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we need to do.  Start before you are ready.

What lies beneath your procrastination?  Extremely high standards, perfectionism, a fear of getting it wrong?  All these can be really helpful – but not when it is our only strategy to move on.  Get help to think it through and try out different approaches  #coaching #procrastination