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Reimagining Coaching – Highlights of ICF Conference (2019)

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I have a confession to make.

It’s been several years since I’ve attended any big coaching conference. Client work has always taken priority and taking a day out of the business seems a luxury. In the past I’ve booked, paid up and then not shown up on the day as something ‘more;’ urgent always dives into the diary.

Only this year I was determined to attend. In the last few years I’ve increasingly felt rattled by what I’d describe as the curse of the coaching industry.

It’s the explosion of coaches bursting into the scene without any accreditation or qualification yet calling themselves coaches. Let me be clear an accreditation alone doesn’t make someone a great coach. Personality, life experiences, ability to create a safe space, genuine curiosity and high personal standards are just some of the characteristics shared by great coaches. However, someone who has invested in a quality coaching accreditation will have learnt about powerful principles, techniques and be bound by a code of ethics.

You only have to be in a room of accredited coaches to see why these qualification matters. The ICF (International Coach Federation) conference on May 7th, 2019 didn’t disappoint. The talks were informative and it was lovely to bump into old friends and meet people I’d gotten to know online in real life.

My favourite speaker at the event was Laura Watkins who has carried out extensive neuroscience research looking at how the brain performs complex decisions and manages change. She had so many value bombs in her talk. I particularly loved her explanation of different coaching tools and their role in coaching. It got me thinking of how I could shake up my coaching style once in a while and try something new.

Head tools : mindset, visualisation – life wheel or vision boards

Heart tools: understand emotions, emotional labelling

Breath : using breath to shape our state

Body: yoga, pilates, walking (ecotherapy)

Hand: journaling, expressive writing for mental and physical health

Laura had many easy tips for helping our clients to build a strong brain as they face challenges, change and uncertainty. Constantly adapting to thrive. Developing our brains for their competitive landscape. Having a fixed vs growth mindset as we have brain plasticity. Change may feel like hard work as there are already pathways there but it is possible.

Other interesting highlights from the conference:

  1. The growth areas for coaching are a) Internal coaching as large organisations are building their own pool of coaches. b) Team coaching and understanding the complexities of coaching a team
  2. Millennials expect a coaching style of management – personally I think this is an opportunity for all you millennial coaches out there
  3. Coaching apps will follow the lead of mindfulness apps
  4. 61% of organisations with coaching are high performers

A most productive day!

If you’re a coach longing to connect with a positive coaching community for accountability, support and a splash of humour then do join my FB community

Staying sane and standing out as a coach in a very noisy space

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I confess, although I totally believe and teach clients about personal branding and self-marketing, as a coach with 16 years’ experience of running my business I have days when I question if I’m visible enough or am I articulating clearly enough what I stand for.

Most of my friends, ex-colleagues, acquaintances are on Linked In and I would be lying if I said I’ve never give a single thought to who will come across my post and comments. The majority of my personal network are generation X ‘lurkers’, and it’s usually over a coffee or catch up I get the twinkle eyed comment that they’ve noticed I’m online quite a bit.

When I first jumped online properly i.e. all feet in I remember agonising for hours about their invisible presence but today I don’t give it a second thought and instead encourage my lovely lurker friends to come out of their caves and engage.

Very few of us are completely Teflon to the opinion of others, we should be but as humans we are wired to crave acceptance and wanting to fit into our communities. Therefore, not surprising deliberately sticking out and being different doesn’t feel easy.

This week when once again one of my brilliant clients who has a fantastic niche and a unique fabulous offering emailed me to say she felt she was drowning in the competitive tsunami of social media and struggling to see how she can possibly be visible in a very noisy space.

How to stand out?

I was reminded of one my favourite marketing books ‘This is Marketing’ by Seth Godin. Especially the chapter on ‘Trust and Tension Create Forward Motion’. It’s all about how you can with integrity change the conversation around your area of expertise. What will you say or do to give the market a jolt?

From my own experience the coaching landscape has changed considerably over the last decade. In the last few years I’ve become very clear that I just wanted to work with accredited coaches. A qualification doesn’t make someone an expert but it does show a level of commitment to the profession.

Coaches that have invested in a deeper learning experience with a responsibility for their own development. Some of who are now working with ‘C’ level executives and senior leadership also committed to their growth to create resilient and compassionate work places. There were many reasons behind this but primarily I know who I serve the best.

If you want to build a successful coaching business a critical starting point is understanding what’s really driving your personal story and what will help your clients to buy into you. Your personal story doesn’t just have to be one of drama and heartache. One client as a child had a passion for board games and now her executive coaching workshops have a ‘game’ element. This golden thread gives her personal brand that extra punch.

People buy into how you make them feel. If you could have lunch with Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey. Who would you choose? I’m guessing once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons your choice will be driven by a feeling. In the same way be mindful of how you make people feel consciously and unconsciously. Take my archetype quiz to discover how you make people feel at your best.

Mastering The Money Mindset

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I don’t typically write book reviews for my blog but I really wanted to share my thoughts on YOU are a BADASS at MAKING MONEY by Jen Sincero. Don’t let the title put you off, especially if the word BADASS feels too gimmicky as it did for me.

The book pitches itself as ‘master the mindset of wealth’ and ‘a life-changing guide to making the kind of money you’ve only ever dreamed of. I first heard about this book through a facebook group community who were raving about it and so decided to check out what all the fuss was about. Two clicks in Amazon and it arrived a day later.

Jen had me at the introduction with the quote, “Have you been brave enough to read this book in public, I wonder? With the title in full view”. She’s right I probably wouldn’t have. For most of us talking about money is about as comfortable as kissing our grumpy 90 years old aunt with halitosis. Even writing this blog about money feels slightly icky as its personal.

What I loved about this book is that it takes a deep dive into the psychology of our relationship with money and helps to reframe conscious and unconscious fears and beliefs that are leaving you stuck. Jen says its ok to admit that money does make you happy. It’s not money itself but what money brings you – choices, flexibility and freedom.

My own relationship with money has been an interesting journey. When I made the leap from corporate life to working for myself in 2006 I did a lot of work around my money beliefs, security etc. At that time (but no longer) I wasn’t a natural risk taker so making this leap was really tough. I was leaving behind a well-paid career and all the trimmings. Doubly hard as I’m not from a family of entrepreneurs in fact the opposite.


Then with the 2008 markets crash overnight lots of contracts came undone and at the time I  hadn’t been self-employed for too long and was working mostly with Financial Services clients. I remember at one point not even treating myself to a cappuccino or Grazia. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford them it was because I was in a grossly irrational and fearful place of money running out forever and ending up destitute.

Once I started to read You are a Badass at Making Money I ended up reading until 1am in the morning because I just didn’t want to stop. The section on Have an “Us” Talk with Money was a revelation. My deep down unconscious money blueprint from my parents was one of fearful of not having enough and losing it all. On the surface I’m pretty comfortable treating myself and sharing with others what I have but that feeling of clinginess is always eating way. And as we all know the more we cling on to a person or a relationship the less likely we are to have an abundance or for it to stay.

What I loved about this book is it’s not your typical guide to getting rich by savings and investments. Jen’s writing style is conversational and motivational which isn’t surprising as she’s a coach too. She writes about money having an energy and how we all have a personal relationship with money.  Tapping into our natural ability to get rich and unblocking the blocks to what holds us back from making more money.

If you would like to hear Jen speak you meet her over Sunday lunch at Babington House on Sunday, 21st May, 2017.   Or visit her website

Why You Should Start Blogging

By | Business, Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Does the thought of starting a blog cross you mind but it just feels too technical and complicated so you put off doing anything at all.

If you want to get noticed, be seen and get your message out there, one way is to start a blog. You don’t have to be massively technical as there’s lots of advice. Just google or search on YouTube.

Before you jump into starting a blog its worth taking a step back and asking yourself why you want to blog?. If its just about getting your voice out there, there are other means ways such as; podcasting, tweeting, instagram stories, Facebook live, vlogging.

Assuming for now its blogging;

What’s your why?

  1. Earn money from blogging. Do you want to be a full-time blogger and earn make money from affiliates and sponsored posts? There’s an army of full-time and part-time mummy bloggers, travel bloggers and fashion bloggers etc. doing really well.
  2. You don’t have an exact long term plan but just want to get your message out there and start building your profile. It’s perfectly ok to have this approach too especially as some of the best known blogs started this way.
  3. It’s a way to get more publicity for your business, attract clients and build a community.

 

3 Very Simple Technical Steps To Start a Blog

 

  1. You will needs a platform. I did my research and chose WordPress for my blogging platform as it’s more flexible than free ones. I love things to look nice but don’t have the time or skills to create a pretty blog. If that’s you find someone to help you with creating the initial look and feel HOWEVER then I strongly suggest you learn how to add posts and make changes yourself. You need to be updating content on a regular basis for google to rank you in the first one or two pages.
  2. Choose a domain name. Many coaches, therapists, solo-preneurs as I did initially hide behind the business name. The reality is clients will remember your name first and then your business name so you may as well start with your name and then a tagname to describe what you do.
  3. A host is where your site sits lives on a server so others can find your site on the internet. I did my research and chose Siteground.

 

For More Inspiration

Read The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

 

Check out Seth Godin, he has one of the most popular blogs and believes blogging is about passion and not monetisation. Love his approach and clarity on his brand values and goals.

 

Copyblogger.com has lots of hints and tricks about writing content. Especially if you are new to writing and need some ideas to get going

 

To get started download the 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge to help you figure out your blogging voice.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Know When To Leave Your Job

By | Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

After years of exams, school, college, university all going to plan most of us find ourselves in some form of career.

For some, the career route was mapped years ago maybe with lots of nudging by well-meaning parents. Others like me who entered the Tech industry when it was booming in the 90s fell into a sector on the rise and for a long time soared on the success, and had a lot of fun.

Until one day I looked around the office at my future 20 years down the line and had a sinking feeling that I definitely didn’t want to retire doing this job for the rest of my life. It took a lot longer to quit and I actually started working on my side-hustle a few years before actually taking the leap.

The five signs that it’s time to change career are as follows:

Self-sabotage

The tech sector has always had a challenge retaining and attracting female talent so it was pretty easy to switch companies. In my last two jobs although I was enthusiastic about the role initially after three months I was day dreaming of life beyond the IT sector.

Although I diligently showed up every day my heart was elsewhere and I was faking my enthusiasm. I wasn’t making an effort with my appearance, not that anyone would notice but it was how I was feeling inside apathetic and bored. In other’s I’ve seen scenarios of not caring being played out by missing targets, arriving late at meetings, calling off sick. Unconsciously its wanting out and allowing yourself to drop the ball on one too many occasions.

Toxic culture

A toxic culture can manifest itself in many ways. One such would be somewhere there is routine discrimination, backstabbing nastiness generally or against you or your team and senior management team just don’t care. There is no point reporting this to HR as the culture is one of protecting a selected high performing in group who have a lot of clout.

There are also subtle examples of toxic cultures. A client of mine a high flying completer finisher Marketing Director who landed a fabulous job with a well-known consultancy soon realised that the company had a culture where it was OK to waste time and money on half-finished ideas and projects. She would be asked to research and present a paper to the board only to discover that a day before the deadline the board was no longer interested in that initiative. Everyone else was OK with this but she started to feel isolated and not relevant. The culture was toxic to her personality and preferred working style.

Feeling at odds with your life purpose

You just don’t feel what your company is doing is meaningful or aligned to your personal values and its beginning to grate. You constantly start to question the purpose behind what you are doing. You may even be really good at what you do bit you also know that deep down you have so much more to give. Not having a feeling of connection with something you are doing day in day is painful. Eventually there is a feeling of despondency, frustration and boredom.

Your boss is a bully

My very last boss before I decided to go it alone, described himself as a philanthropist who had set up a charitable foundation and talked at length at interview about how the corporate job was a tool for helping poor underprivileged children with educational opportunities. At the time I thought this was great as I was developing a deep interest in these areas and it felt as if things were coming together. I was now going to be working for someone who also had similar interests. Everything felt aligned; our career aspirations and our deeper values.

Two weeks into the job I realised my boss had major challenges around personal boundaries. As I was packing to leave for the evening my boss called a team meeting. We all stayed late and it soon became obvious that this happened on a regular basis. With little notice, just as we were about to leave, he would call a meeting. It was about control and mind games. When approaching him with a question, his body language was dismissive and abrupt. He gave me no guidance on tasks and then criticised me and made me feel incompetent. I was out of there before my trial period ended on my terms.

Stressed, miserable and moody

Have you ever got on the train or in your car on a Monday morning and wanted to turn around and head straight back home as you just can’t face going into work. Or you are working all hours and that includes emails in the evenings after work and weekends. Feeling depressed, stressed and moody is becoming the norm then something needs to change.

Especially if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. If the more you give, the more they take and there is no appreciation or give – it’s time to quit!

How to leave and afterwards

Once you decide to leave I recommend the ‘elegant exit’. If you want to go it alone and start your own business I would start working on your side-hustle straight away. Researching what you want to do, maybe start a blog, take a course. The day you do hand in your notice you walk straight into day 1 of your new business. Psychologically it makes a big difference to walk away with a plan of action. Just make sure you have enough savings (between 6 to 12 months to fall back on)

If you decide to quit because you’ve had enough and need to take some time out in between the next job. Once you resign there may be an initial feeling of elation and relief, this is usually followed by a slump.

It is common to feel scared, angry and isolated after some time. Once you are ready start looking for your next role but be prepared for worst case scenario that it will take a lot longer.

Choose the company of positive friends and family who support you as you seek your next venture. If you want to make big career/life changes but just don’t know what you it is you want to do hiring a coach is a great investment.