Tel: 07413 549915
Email: louise@lifematterscoaching.co.uk

  • twitter
  • linkedin

FROM THE BLOG

Winter: the perfect time for coaching

As winter approaches, the dark nights find many of us doing our best to hibernate. Whilst we may have to settle for a few extra hours under the duvet, we naturally seek solace indoors at this time of year. Yet without realising, many of us will probably be enjoying some aspects of life-coaching.

Informal coaching

Whether it’s settling down with a good book or spending time with friends and family, we have a tendency to find comfort at home during the colder months. Candles and fires are lit and we begin to embrace the simple pleasures in life. As the year draws to a close, we often reminisce with loved ones, friends or colleagues. That’s because talking over events of the past year helps to put it into perspective. We might feel grateful for what we have, or some of us may be adjusting to unexpected challenges.

These long, relaxed conversations can really help us to consider where we are and where we’d like to be. Chatting over a meal or drink is almost like an informal coaching session. Talking through ideas and aspirations can motivate us to make changes and plan for the year ahead. 

Winter traditions

Experts in enduring long winters, the Danes even have a word for the most enjoyable aspects of the season – Hygge.

Being ‘hyggeligt’ doesn’t involve buying things – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s more of a feeling – the kind we might experience over a meal with family, or a drink with friends. Or even just alone, curled up watching your favourite movie. There’s an almost meditative element to hygge. Most of all it’s about being present in the moment and savouring the experience.

Our Scandinavian friends also gave us the word ‘Yule’, which is still in use today. Many of our favourite festive traditions come from the midwinter festivals of hundreds of years ago. The Christmas tree, wreaths on the door and of course the Yule log.

New beginnings

In the northern hemisphere, winter solstice historically celebrated new beginnings, as the sun of the previous year ebbed away. Nowadays we celebrate the new year in much the same way. We reflect on the year that has passed and imagine what the new year might bring. It seems like the perfect time to nurture ourselves and our relationships. The slower pace of life gives us time to contemplate where we are and, as our ancestors did, think about new beginnings.

Of course, there is also Christmas to think about. With so much pressure to have a magical time, it can often make it difficult to find a peaceful moment to gather your thoughts. If this sounds familiar, why not treat yourself to some one-to-one coaching? We provide the space for you to think, breathe, reflect and think about where you want to be in the year ahead.

A helping hand

As Christmas approaches, we often think about loved ones we may have lost or those less fortunate than ourselves. International Volunteer Day is held in December. It’s a celebration of the hard work and kindness of people who give their time to help others. For the thousands of volunteers in the UK, winter can be an especially busy period.

Many members of our community need extra help and support at this time of year, yet this is often provided by volunteers. Whether it’s doing a shift at the local library to help keep it open or providing companionship to those who are lonely, volunteers are all around us. Their time and effort help to make the world a better place to live in.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back and connect with people. At LifeMatters, we can help you explore your passions and think about how you can use them to support those around you. Whether that’s at work, at home or in your local community. Get in touch to find out how we can help you make positive changes in your life.

Finally, however you’re planning to spend the winter months, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and hyggeligt winter. We look forward to seeing you in 2018.

 

 

Read More

Thanks! Grazie – Merci – Danke – Dzieki – Cheers Guys!

 

 

Thursday 24th November marks the national holiday of Thanksgiving for our USA cousins over the pond for 2017. It’s now a holiday known the world-over as we become more and more of a ‘global village’.

 

The traditional origin of Thanksgiving dates back to the 16th century when it started to ‘Give Thanks’ for the fruits of the harvest. It became a national holiday with a consistent format in 1789 by order of George Washington. It’s now celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November with a generous meal based around turkey & pumpkin pie.

National public holidays can be an opportunity to shake off the usual work routine, gather together with friends and family spending quality time socialising and catching up, and of course indulging in some foodie treats. It’s an opportunity to press pause on ‘normality’ and get together to swap stories, reminisce and to create new memories in our personal lives.

But, how many opportunities do we have to pause and celebrate in our work lives…? Could coming together out of our normal routine help us to reflect, learn and create a new way forward for our ourselves and our team if we had the chance of a ‘Thanksgiving’ day at work…?

Just think:

  • How much creativity could we tap into?
  • What learning could be enjoyed?
  • What new connections could be made?
  • How would we review our achievements so far?

 

Could you create a few moments of ‘Thanksgiving’ for you & your team this week…? Working with an independent coach or facilitator can improve the quality of these conversations and successfully set you up for the year ahead.

Read More

Embracing Autumn

Have you got that back-to-school feeling?

It’s not just children dusting off their pencil cases, ready to take on new challenges. It can feel a bit like that for adults too. As holidays come to an end, we naturally start to take stock. Maybe you’ve had time to think about what you’ve achieved and where you might like to be? At this time of year, we often feel inspired to re-focus on our goals or to make changes in our lives.

September also heralds the first day of autumn. It’s a great time for some quiet contemplation, as the nights draw in and we begin to hibernate for the winter. This article perfectly captures the essence of the season.

Reflecting on our lives, loves and the way of the world is good at any point in the year, but it can be especially helpful now. We all get a little distracted in summer, so it feels like the natural time to get back on track with our hopes and aspirations, plan for the future and think about what inspires us.

What gets you out of bed?

To help you with this, it might be worth knowing about the simple Japanese principle of Ikigai. It quite simply means iki (to live) and gai (reason). In other words, your reason to live. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?

Is it a higher calling or spirituality? Are you driven to achieve great things? Or do you enjoy the simple pleasures in life? Holding your child’s hand on the school run, sipping your favourite coffee in the park, or going for a run at the end of a long day? For some people it can be a connection with the senses, such as music or art. Or something as simple as a beautiful sunrise on the morning commute.

Setting goals and planning ahead is great. It gives us something to aim for or dream about. But it’s important that we don’t miss out on the present. We’re all guilty of moving our own goalposts or forgetting to celebrate our successes when they happen. But when we discover what makes us tick, it can lead us to enjoy all things connected to this no matter how small or humble they might seem.

To find out how LifeMatters Coaching can help you find your Ikigai, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

 

Read More

5 Top Tips To Get You Summer Ready

Hello summer!

Has the recent warm spell put you in the holiday mood? Is your mind on distant shores or lazy afternoons in the garden? Are you summer ready?

Magazines are bursting with advice on getting in tip-top shape for summer, but what about the bits of you no one can see? Here at LifeMatters, we believe in taking care of what’s on the inside, strengthening your inner resources and giving your mind a workout. That’s why we’ve come up with our alternative summer survival guide.

Vacation or staycation?

Even if you’re not planning to get away, summer can provide an opportunity to slow down and take time to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. A staycation can be just as rewarding as a far-flung trip, especially if you can find time to get outdoors and re-connect with the world. Boost your well-being by trying some of these activities – they can be great stress-relievers too.

If you are heading off on holiday, a little bit of distance from your day-to-day life can be a great way to get new perspectives and fresh ideas. (Although, family holidays can add a whole new set of distractions into the mix!)

Let’s go!

Whatever your plans, at home or away, here are our top tips to inspire you to get summer-ready:

1.Be prepared: Build some resilience into your summer. Develop your emotional inner-core to support you during set-backs and slow times. Be open to new experiences and learn from them, taking them on your journey and beyond.

 

2.Get packing: What do you need for the journey or task in hand? Gather those essential resources together, building your network and making sure you have all the necessary tools.

 

3.Sun protection: We all know the importance of slapping on the SPF, but how about protecting ourselves when life isn’t necessarily plain-sailing? Smother on just enough self-belief to prepare you for possible knocks and negativity on your journey.

 

4.Be your own tour guide: Develop your personal road-map to guide and signpost you along the way, helping you get the most out of your adventure.

 

5.Relax: Imagine sundowners on the beach…. A moment to pause, reflect and celebrate the amazing things you’ve seen, done or experienced so far. Toast your successes and embrace what’s still to come.

To find out how LifeMatters Coaching can help guide you on your journey, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Have a great summer!

Read More

How to…. step into spring

As I write this, the sun is shining and it feels like spring might (finally) be in the air. We’ve been having a bit of a spring clean here at LifeMatters, reflecting on our achievements and thinking of the exciting possibilities ahead. We’ve refreshed our website, as we look to the future and build on our successes.

Spring is traditionally associated with new life and new beginnings. As the landscape turns from brown to green, and buds burst into colour, we’re reminded of the cycle of life and growth. Wonderful things can emerge if given time and a little nurturing.

Just as we spring clean our homes, it can be a good time for a mental spring clean too. Winter is a wonderful time to hibernate but, as with nature, at some point we must shake off our winter woolies and face the daylight.

Why not try this simple exercise?

Set a goal, no matter how big or small. Is there something you want to achieve in your career? Or do you just want to manage your time better? Whatever it is, visualise that goal. Write it down. Say it out loud.

Now, write a list of all the things that are stopping you from achieving that goal.

From that list, is there anything you can stop doing? What’s holding you back?

Now think about the things you could start doing. What do you need to do to reach your goal?

Here at LifeMatters, we can to guide you through the obstacles and support you in reaching your potential. We take a creative approach to coaching, building a safe space for our clients to test out ideas and work on their challenges.

We’re delighted that May is National Walking Month, as going for a walk is one of our favourite ways of working. Especially in this beautiful weather! So if you are ready to face the sunlight and spring into action, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you.

Read More

Happy Holidays – Summer Newsletter

Holiday are nearly upon us & it’s the perfect time to relax, re-charge and possibly re-think the year so far. It’s great to look back & celebrate our achievements so far and often leads us to aspire and then plan the next few months ahead. Please have a quick read and let me know how you check-in with yourself on any personal and work goals you may have. Don’t forget, a coach might be able to help you pause and celebrate your achievements so far this year and offer a boost to keep you going

http://eepurl.com/btSppj

Read More

Half-Way There…

In addition to being a Bon Jovi lyric for ‘Livin On A Prayer’ – we are indeed ‘half-way there’ in terms of the calendar year right now. This milestone in the year has reminded me of those conversations about resolutions we seem to have at the New Year. Personal resolutions such as: getting fitter; joining a gym; spending more quality time with our family and so on. Lots of us also make work-based goals: secure a promotion; find a new job in a new company; build better work relationships; make an impact at work etc.

Yet despite our best efforts, research shows that just 8% of us fully achieve our New Year’s resolution with 25% of people who make goals giving up within the first week! http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/

With that in mind, and to support myself in achieving one of my goals this year, I joined an online community and made a public commitment which was tracked via an app. Crucially, I was ‘rewarded’ with feedback and ‘thumbs up’ icons and I felt my achievements were celebrated. I lasted a full 6 weeks doing it this way – definitely longer than I would have done normally and it encouraged me to add new elements into my exercise routine, which, continue to this day.

If you made a resolution or a commitment to a goal earlier this year – how is it going? Have you achieved what you set out to do? Have you changed behavior and habits you previously struggled with?

Even if you haven’t yet fully reached your aim, it’s still worth thinking about how far you have come and celebrating the small changes that often add up and create a more positive life. Perhaps, that original goal is no longer relevant – that’s fine, things change. But what new goal is now more relevant and excites you…? Have you drifted and now want to ensure you realise at least one new goal this year…?

To help you achieve a goal in 2015, you could try this simple exercise:

  • Write down the goal you want to achieve & set a timeframe
  • Think about the behaviours and actions you now need to initiate:
    1. What could you STOP doing – ie: what are you currently doing that makes it hard for that goal to be realised..?
    2. What behaviours or attitudes could you MINIMISE/REDUCE to help support your goal
    3. What new actions could you START doing
    4. What’s going well that you should CONTINUE that supports your goal
  • Think about your environment including your support network that will help you achieve your aim and any ‘tools’ you might need

Remember, identify a goal that you are motivated and committed to achieve. Be bold and be public in your commitment. Write it down or use a vision board. Track your progress – one small step at a time. Find an advocate to support you & don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve it!

A good coach can be the ideal advocate when tackling big life-changing goals. A coach is a cheerleader supporting you and offers important constructive feedback to keep you on track, and when you have achieved – they can help you review and celebrate your efforts!

 

Read More

Your Personal Census

March Blog – Your Personal Census

On this day (March 10th) in 1801, Britain undertook it’s first ever national census. This event has taken place in Britain every ten years since – with the exception of 1941 due to WW11. By the time of the next one in 2021, I’ll be looking forward to celebrating my half-century, one child may be about to leave home for University or travels and my coaching practice will officially be 10years old! There’s got to be at least one thing in that list to celebrate..?!

The OED definition of ‘census’ is: An official count or survey, especially of a population: & the word originates from Latin ‘censere ‘ to assess.

In daily life we are constantly assessing: which route to take to work; is there time for a second coffee; whether to accept an invitation to an event; even what’s in the fridge for lunch! Things are the transactional assessments we have to go through to navigate our way through daily routines at work and at home. There is also the need to assess issues that may affect us longer-term: a job-offer; school choices for our children; save for something or use credit; give up smoking or not.

Then there are assessments on a deeper level, which require us, like a census, to take stock, identify common themes, celebrate diversity, and celebrate our achievements to date. In the rush to ‘do’ in our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that some assessment or re-assessment of our status quo, is healthy and needed on a regular basis, certainly more frequently than once every 10 years!

Here are some questions that you could ask yourself in your personal census:

  • Am I living the life I dreamed of 10years ago…? If not, which bits could I change to work better for me (and/or those around me)
  • What am I most proud of at this moment in time?
  • Which 5 values do I hold dear and symbolise the way I live my life?
  • What’s the 1 thing I couldn’t live without?
  • Do I surround myself with people who lift me up; inspire & energise me?

To fully benefit from this personal census, you may need to take action to change something or share your thoughts with your nearest and dearest. It may be that for now, simply acknowledging this personal assessment is enough.

If you would like guidance on undertaking your own personal census, or support in making some desired changes, you could try coaching.

Personal coaching is a great way of identifying areas for change and working with an independent support resource to make it happen. Get in touch today – louise@lifematterscoaching.co.uk   www.lifematterscoaching.co.uk

 

 

Read More

It’s Your Life Story..Make It A Good One

January 2015 Blog                It’s Your Story….

 

Saturday 31st January marks the start of National Story-Telling Week in the UK. The objective of which is the ‘promotion of the oral tradition of storytelling, the very first way of communicating life experiences and the creative imagination.’ www.sfs.org.uk

 

When I stopped to think about this theme, I realized I use story-telling more than I first thought in every-day life. I use it when discussing ‘learning points’ with my children, perhaps to steer the conversation onto positive things that come out of tricky & new situations they’ve encountered that day at school.

I use it when I’m re-counting something that’s happened at work to my husband. I use it when I’m justifying a decision I’ve made, as it helps to create a picture & set the scene.

I’ll definitely be ‘story-telling’ this Saturday when I’m out for a birthday meal with friends and family – certainly embellishing and adding effects for comedy or dramatic value in the same way the old oral traditions of folk-lore, fairy stories, and local legends started many many years ago.

 

In a digital age, we are still surprisingly reliant on the old fashioned principle of story-telling. In an organizational setting, leaders tell stories to engage and ignite passionate staff into action to follow a strategy or adopt new ways of thinking. As teams, we tell stories to our staff as a way of making personal relationships, finding a connection, a common goal and as a way of explaining why we do certain things in certain ways.

As individuals, we often have a ‘background story’ that limits us – we label ourselves as ‘a bad parent’; ‘a results driven manager’; ‘uncreative’; ‘lacking networking or person skills’ – we then act out our lives to match the story we’ve been given or we’ve given ourselves.

 

Sometimes in a coaching session with a client, their story is like a script. The same words are used in conversations or arguments, the same actions and behaviours are followed. I hear that it’s ‘what they’ve always done’, yet often those old stories and behaviours don’t feel right anymore, and clients want to change the ending. Coaching a client in this situation means challenging the benefits of sticking to their usual script and asking the questions that help them see an alternative narrative, one that offers a different or more positive end to their story. Some good questions to use are:

 

‘What benefits are there to changing your behavior…?’

‘If you could go back in time, what would you do differently..?’

‘What do you want to stop doing?’

‘How can you forgive yourself (others) & move on..?’

 

Try telling a new story about yourself during National Story Telling Week 31st Jan-4th Feb.

 

 

Read More