1:1 Career Coaching, March 2019
It is easy to worry about being a pushover in an unforgiving environment. Equally, you may fear turning into an a****** that walks all over others. Though seemingly opposites, these are both places of fear and insecurity. But, there is another way – what we might call rigorous-compassion.
Rigorous-compassion is about speaking your truth from a place of deeper acceptance of both self and other. From a place of clear intention that seeks to collaborate and empower. It is more about your internal state, rather than about the specific words or tactics you employ. It is about coming from an inner place that seeks maximum rigour and clarity along with maximum commitment to open-hearted engagement. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, together they can be very powerful.
1:1 Life Coaching, March 2019
There are two kinds of success. Success from the outside-in. And, success from the inside-out. The former is about external validation and achievement, and constantly puts success ‘out there’, as some place to be reached. The latter, true success, is about an inner state. About living and working in congruence with your values and what you believe in.
When considering change, it is then very important to really ask yourself: What am I seeking at a deeper level? How in line with my values is what I do? What values are not fulfilled or even worse, violated? If there is such incongruence, what makes me tolerate it? And, if there is no incongruence, then why change? Is it change for the sake of change?
1:1 Executive Coaching, February 2019
When a career opportunity to step-up arises and you hold back, it is really worth asking, “why”? Is it the critical voice of self-doubt that stops you? Or, are there tactical considerations that make it better to wait. It could be either, or a mixture of the two. And, disentangling them can be tricky.
That is all the more reason to dig deep and find such clarity within yourself. The more that you become aware of fears and doubts within you, the more that you empower yourself to break through these. But, that takes courage. The courage to look deeper at what might be uncomfortable.
1:1 Leadership Coaching, February 2019
Holding back your opinion as a leader may or may not be useful, depending on the situation. Sometimes, it makes sense not to influence the discussion too quickly. But, if holding back is a habitual pattern, rather than a very conscious choice, it begs the question, “why”? Especially, when you bring knowledge and experience that is very relevant.
What are the beliefs underlying your reluctance to speak-up? What is it that you fear about being more forthright? The more inner clarity that you find around what stops you, the more choice that you give yourself to do things differently. Collaborative leadership includes providing a platform for all voices within the team, and that includes your own!
Systemic Team Coaching, February 2019
The org. chart is rarely, if ever, how things actually work. Spatial system mapping can be a powerful way of uncovering deeper insights into how a team really works together. Insights into less visible dynamics that can create the basis for strengthening existing bonds and for seeing blind spots.
But, such mapping requires courageous leadership and open-hearted engagement by the whole team. It takes a willingness to really embrace whatever might emerge. And, it is such willingness that becomes the fertile ground for growth, impact and more meaningful engagement.
1:1 Life Coaching, January 2019
Having to make difficult decisions can often create feelings of confusion and anxiety. And, that can be because inner conflict is at play. Conflict between competing desires, expectations and values — creating an internal war within you.
The first step is recognising the different parts of you that might be at conflict. Really seeing and acknowledging the desires and fears that each part brings. And, from such a place of deeper understanding, a path forward can more freely emerge. A path that involves greater integration of the different competing voices within you. A path that leaves behind the false narratives and beliefs that hold you back.
1:1 Career Coaching, January 2019
Saying “yes” to everything can be a fast track to burnout and getting stuck doing less meaningful work. The more that you say, “yes”, the more your workload can pile up. But, the real question is: What causes you to say, “yes”, all the time? How aware are you of your pattern, what might be driving it, and when?
The path to breaking free is about more deeply understanding your own behaviour. About finding clarity around what keeps you stuck being a “yes (wo)man”. About really taking controlling of both the “yes” and the “no”. So, that you can empower yourself to decide either way.
1:1 Career Coaching, January 2019
Arriving at career crossroads can be a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful changes in your life. But, that requires a deeper consideration of what any new career path is going to give you.
It is easy to carelessly jump from one thing to another without really asking “why?”. We can often neglect our deepest motivations for doing things — our values. The key questions to ask are: What are my values? And, how congruent is what I am doing with my values? What is truly important to me? From there, you can then consider if any career change brings you closer to, or further away from, your values.
What’s you edge?
1:1 Leadership Coaching, January 2019
You can often spend a lot of time looking for ways to add to your skill set and to fill perceived gaps. That’s all great. But, it is as important to recognise what you are already good at. It is as important to ask: What is my edge?
No one can know everything, and effective teams are founded on collaboration amongst people with complementary skills. Of course, there is tremendous value in going beyond your core expertise and in understanding various interconnected aspects. That is a skill in itself. What you must not forget is the unique blend of skills and experiences that you already possess. The edge you bring that makes your offering uniquely valuable. And, yes, your edge can change over time too!
It’s almost never “laziness”
1:1 Life Coaching, December 2018
Laziness is rarely the real reason behind not engaging in something fully, be it at work or in a hobby. This is particularly true when you can find examples in your life where you do engage fully, with energy and enthusiasm.
It may have something to do with your degree of interest, (dis)passion or connection to the activity. It may have something to do with situational dynamics or people, but it is highly unlikely to just be a matter of “laziness”. When “laziness” appears as a diagnosis, it is always worth digging deeper. Chances are there is another reason hiding
1:1 Leadership Coaching, December 2018
Self-consciousness kills performance. This is true whether you are at the podium presenting, leading a business meeting or playing a sport. Performance is directly linked to the strength of your focus. And, that involves keeping the rational brain on the task and not constantly criticising what you are doing.
Because if it is busy criticising your performance, it is not actually focused on the task! You are no longer in the moment and this is when things start to fall apart. Knowing what to focus on is then crucial. And, that will very much depend on the specific activity in question.
More clarity, more impact
1:1 Career Coaching, December 2018
Getting the most out of professional interactions, be it meetings or calls, is fundamentally about clarity. Clarity not only about the agenda, but the various (hidden) agendas behind the agenda. About really asking, “What is the purpose of this?” and “Who is it for”?.
Meetings can often feel like dangerous places, where multiple egos are competing to assert themselves. Such behaviour can easily engender insecurity in you and in others. But, the more that you seek clarity and the more that this search for clarity is backed-up by competence, the less you will have to worry about insecurities and egos. And, the more impact you will have.
In a shark tank
1:1 Executive Coaching, November 2018
Being in a shark tank does not necessarily mean that you have to become a shark. It is more about a deep awareness of your business environment and seeing reality for what it is. In all its ugliness and beauty. With such an awareness, things are less likely to catch you off guard.
You can then make a conscious decision about if you too want to be a shark, the skilled diver that navigates through it all, or out of the tank altogether! The choice is yours. You must decide how you want to play the game. It all starts with a true understanding of what-is. Of self and other.
Different sides of you
1:1 Life Coaching, November 2018
There are different sides to you that constantly jostle for air time. Different facets of your character that make-up the whole you. Understanding what parts tend to dominate, in which situations and why, can be fundamental.
What are the implications of having a particularly dominant facet? What does that mean for you as a person and how you live? Could it be pointing to an unhealthy imbalance?
1:1 Life Coaching, November 2018
If true success is about an inner state of contentment, engagement and peace, what is it that stops you from allowing it? What is it that keeps you stuck in a different place?
Seeing the inner voices that distract you with their definition of “success” is crucial. Whom do these voices really belong to? Unconsciously, who might you be trying to please? Success is not something “out there” to be defined by others. It is something within.
Seeing what keeps you stuck
1:1 Exectuive Coaching, October 2018
Sometimes, what might on the surface seem like a tactical problem, could have deeper roots in how secure you feel about yourself, regardless of what tactical path you take. Seeing what keeps you stuck in a place of insecurity is often the first step.
The next is letting-go of what holds you back and allowing more trust in yourself to emerge. This is often a far more fertile place from which tactical decisions can be made.
1:1 Career Coaching, September 2018
When conflicts arise, it is easy to be passively sucked into adversarial exchanges. Seeing and acknowledging the pressures that others are under can help you approach the situation with more calm and compassion. Remember that compassion can be very rigorous.
It is not about ignoring bad behaviour or letting people walk all over you. It is rather about setting appropriate boundaries and taking considered action from a place of deep understanding of both self and other. And, yes, that takes courage. It is far easier to unconsciously take on the role of aggressor or victim. But, it is also far less effective in actually improving the situation.
1:1 Life Coaching, July 2018
Sometimes, you can fall into the trap of giving more value to work that is viewed as higher status by the mainstream, even when it is at odds with your own interests and passions. Such is the nature of social conditioning and status seeking.
Being a ski instructor or CFO of an airline are both equally valid. The question is, what really inspires you? What deeply resonates with you?
Two sides of the same coin
1:1 Leadership Coaching, June 2018
When doing anything, whether it is public speaking, cooking or technical diagnostics, be aware of when you lose focus in the moment. Know both the specifics of the activity that require your focus AND what distracts you from maintaining such focus. They are two sides of the same coin.
Say “yes” to the former and “no” to the latter. What we are talking about then is a mindful state of clear focus in the moment.
Fear of failure
1:1 Life Coaching, April 2018
At times, the very act of noticing and fully acknowledging fear of failure and its roots can liberate you from it. Sometimes though, you have to actively focus your mind away from fear.
Focus on the resources and strengths that might allow you to cut through it. Focus on immersing in “the doing” and finding a mental place where there is then no room for fear.
1:1 Career Coaching, February 2018
Sometimes, in order to get to the heart of a problem, you have to really open-up things. Really take your time to explore different interconnected areas.
The reasons for stuckness can at times be staring you in the face, and you just didn’t see it. But, sometimes the real nub of the issue might be concealed. And, often it is through careful and deliberate exploration that you begin to uncover what is going on. It is about taking the time to look deeper.
1:1 Executive Coaching, October 2017
Even long-standing and tightly knit teams can stumble. Paying attention to how well you are working together and communicating is as important as focusing on the job.
Nothing fuels resentment more than things unsaid and toes accidentally stepped on. Taking time out to nurture relationships could be one of the most important things you do for your team.
Find your calling
1:1 Career Coaching, September 2017
When trying to find and connect with your calling, look beyond the surface manifestation of the possibilities you consider. What are the underlying characteristics that attract you to a particular thing? What are the deeper dynamics that you are curious about?
Example: It is one thing to like the idea of being a dancer, it is quite another to love body movement and yearn to tell stories and express yourself through it.
1:1 Life Coaching, July 2017
Closure does not always need to come through dialogue with the person with whom you have had a conflict or difficult experience.
It is really about an inner movement within you that acknowledges what was. It is really about finding peace within yourself with what transpired.
In their shoes
1:1 Executive Coaching, July 2017
Standing in the shoes of your direct reports and experiencing what life might be like for them allows you to see more clearly the challenges they face.
The more that you become aware of the ‘hidden’ dynamics and pressures in your team, the more you can empower them and yourself.
Team Coaching, June 2017
Starting with the future and first embodying having successfully reached your objectives can unlock the elusive “how”.
The experiential exercise of team members looking back at “today” from the future and together tracing back their steps, can help uncover both the critical path and ways in which the team could work more closely together.
A walk in the park
1:1 Leadership Coaching, May 2017
When your thinking and ideas are blocked, getting out of the chair and moving can allow you to access your brain in different ways.
What better place to do that than in the park on a sunny day. Changing your environment and movement can help unlock new and creative ideas.
Voices from the past
1:1 Career Coaching, April 2017
Lack of confidence in one’s self can sometimes be the result of limiting beliefs that have originated in the past, and which now keep you stuck.
The stories that you tell yourself about what you can and cannot do, should and shouldn’t do, may be a recurring voice from the distant past. A voice that belongs to someone close to you whom you trust and value.
Team Coaching, April 2017
Transporting yourself into the future and brainstorming in that place, together as a team, can generate new thinking.
This can be an effective way of surfacing, clarifying and agreeing priorities.