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Checking-in Or Checking-up…?

There are many ways of communicating with our peers, team, friends & family…each question we pose we hope to get the ‘right’ response. But what if we aren’t getting the full picture, an honest answer or reaching the heart of an issue…..could we do more by changing the words and phrases we use…?

Most of us acknowledge the usual ‘rules’ of constructive verbal communication –

  • Pose open questions to gain more insight…a fuller picture
  • Adopt positive, friendly & open body language to build rapport
  • Make time to really listen to the other person
  • Allow a fluid conversation with minimal interruption and no pre-judged questions or inputs
  • Practise active listening to allow the other person to feel heard, understood and valued

By going that little bit deeper, making more time and building a relationship with someone, we can elicit so much more. Being conscious about our language also helps us to have a meaningful two-way conversation. Recent academic research by EY in the US (The Belonging Barometer 2018 https://www.ey.com/en_us/diversity-inclusiveness/ey-belonging-barometer-workplace-study) found that from a study of 1,000 American working adults, the action that gave all respondents the greatest sense of belonging (at work/to the organisation) was regular check-ins.

Note the phrase: check-in and not check-up. The check-in can offer:

  • A way of establishing an equal two-way conversation avoiding the more formal hierarchy of a check-up
  • It can often start with a simple query about your colleagues life away from work to let them know they are valued as a person not just as a ‘worker’. This is opposite to the KPI or performance type questions in a check-up
  • A chance to focus on the positive and reflect in a non-judgmental learning way as opposed to being ‘held to account’ during a PDR
  • A facilitated more coaching conversation where your colleague or team member has space and time to problem solve for themselves and be creative & innovative

Some examples of more open check-in questions could be:

  • What was your favourite part of today/the recent project we did/yesterday’s team meeting..?
  • What’s working well for you/the team at the moment..?
  • What could we do differently in our team/across the organisation/in this project..(to gain a different or more positive outcome)
  • When do you feel most challenged at work..?
  • When do you feel most passionate at work..?
  • What resources/networks/skills do you need to be successful in X project or task..?
  • How can I support you..?

Perhaps you have your own ideas on check-in questions you use with your colleagues and team members – ask yourself: Are they working for me, my team and the wider organisation…? Have a think about refining and evolving your practice if required.

If you don’t use a check-in process currently, start small and simply use 2 or 3 questions similar to the above, then move onto more familiar ground with your usual PDR/performance questions. You may gain new insights which help the rest of your meeting.

If you would like support in helping you and your teams have more constructive, positive and beneficial conversations at work, get in touch for a chat to see how coaching can help.


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!

News – September 2014

As the new term starts, I’ll soon be working with a new cohort of staff from the NHS. Coaching will be on a 1:1 basis supporting staff to continue to be highly effective team members in a pressurised and changing environment. This new cohort takes my work within the NHS to over 30 members of staff now

The graduate mentoring programme with DMU continues and Ben has already registered his company, so exciting times ahead!

I’m also preparing for my ‘slot’ at a Nottingham network event in Oct, & will be attending some social events with other like-minded small business owners too.

News – July 2014

I’ve now started working with Ben & Rosie – 2 graduate enterprenuers from De Montford University who are starting on the first steps towards building their own business within a robust support programme which includes coaching & mentoring from Life Matters Coaching Ltd #nextgen!

I’m very proud to have an article published this month, too! Click here for more details on The Art of Listening (once you’re on the page, scroll down to Featured Articles).

Dragon’s Den(style) – a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be the Nottingham Group Leader on the Govt National Citizen Scheme (NCS) leading 44 young people through a transformational summer programme during July & Aug 2012. This summer’s programme in Nottingham is being led by New College Nottingham (NCN) – & I’ve been asked to be a judge in the final presentation of the young people’s social action project – v excited to be part of this great initiative again

More updates soon – keep in touch!