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louise@lifematterscoaching.co.uk

MUSINGS

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!

The importance of meaning in our life to find personal happiness

This week I happily took part in a ‘press photo call’ celebrating the installation of a community based defibrillator  on Mapperley Plains.

Originally the idea of Alan Dawson of the community group ‘Mapperley People’ – the purchase & installation of this potentially life-saving machine was a group effort via individual donations. I wanted to be a part of this initiative as it seemed ‘the right thing to do’, so Life Matters Coaching Ltd donated to boost the coffers.

I didn’t have to think twice about donating: it seemed natural, a great use of technology, and a worthwhile cause for the wider community. In life there are often these ‘no-brainer’ decisions or actions we take, each particular to ourselves, our values and our view on our world. It just seems ‘to fit’.

When we take these actions, be it volunteering at a church group or local Brownies group, or picking up litter on an organised litter drive, or collecting donations for the local Food Bank, we are supporting and playing a part in the society around us – it feels good.

This feel good factor comes from us supporting others and influencing the world around us, even in tiny every-day ways and it’s important, not just to our local community but it benefits our own mental health and satisfaction with our life.

 

 

Volunteering or supporting local groups gives us meaning and a connection to our world, which in turn increases our happiness and satisfaction with how we are living out our lives.

If you are looking for ways to increase your own happiness do something to support someone else – it’s a win-win!

1:1 coaching can help you live a more meaningful life and facilitate your own unique ‘happiness recipe’ – get in touch for an friendly chat today

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

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!

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.

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

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!

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

How to Build Better Business Relationships

Many business, enterprise & self-improvement websites contain ‘Top Ten Tips’ type articles about establishing and maintaining great working relationships, all containing relevant sensible advice which we need from time to time. After all, we typically spend more time at work (awake) than we do at home.

We know that workplace interactions are often intense because the stakes are high, especially if you are a business owner working with very few staff, or reliant on mutual collaborative relationships.

So what can we do?

A business relationship is just like any other relationship. It requires some effort to maintain & it must be mutually beneficial. In a relationship with friends or family, we are told we must be willing to give, share & support, not just take or receive. It’s the same for working relationships, and employer/employee relationships too.

www.Inc.com quotes 6 key steps to building better business relationships:

  1. Encourage honest feedback
  2. Listen more than you talk
  3. Make a routine to connect & maintain contact
  4. Give more than you receive & be proactive in the relationship
  5. Be authentic
  6. Be ‘present’ & have face to face time where possible

Here’s a very simple exercise we can all do in just 5 minutes that takes a look at our relationships in an honest way – click here.

With awareness comes the opportunity to make a change- we have options to help us repair and improve a relationship:

To do this take some time for self-reflection and consider the following:

  • Self-appreciation
  • Understanding of the other person’s agenda / their issues / their life
  • Perspective
  • Leave the ego at the door

Finally, try using one of these 4 options to fully resolve the issue:

  1. Negotiate using your new found appreciation of the other person’s character; limits; their agenda etc
  2. Resist their impact on you as you develop your increased self-appreciation
  3. Accept the situation with a detached perspective
  4. Get Out if it cannot be turned around

Working with a neutral person such as a coach can help you to repair personal and work based relationships, and open up communication channels for smoother, more positive and productive collaborations. Make contact today for an informal chat about how coaching can benefit you or your organisation.

 

How to Achieve Balance with Wellbeing Coaching

This week (Tues 23rd to be precise) saw in the Autumn Equinox – this means the day is more or less equal in terms of daylight versus night-time hours as is possible.  This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”.

When I think about being equal in our day to day life, I think of creating balance. During coaching sessions with clients, we often refer to balance – either in our work life; with our social life; or inner balance. Often clients seem to seek a ‘balance’ in their life and want to work with me to achieve this. Of course, everyone’s idea of a balanced life will be different. This is the beauty of 1:1 coaching. I don’t have a set formula that I use with every client regardless of their needs and circumstances. True 1:1 coaching centres around what the client expresses they need, what level or type of balance (perfection) they wish to achieve, and what they are prepared to do; able to give up; or stop doing and so on in order to achieve this.

Coaching enables you to pause, think and reflect on what’s going well, what could be better for you with a coach there to support a client’s processing, and thought-mapping. Ultimately the client comes up with options or strategies to enable desired change. These changes are often around work/life balance issues, diet & lifestyles themes, or maintaining harmonious relationships.

When thinking about balance for you – think about what works; what makes you feel you; what is achievable; and how you can help yourself sustain it. Try answering these questions:

1)      What does balance (at work or personally) mean to you?

2)      What are you like when you are at your balanced best?

3)      Write a list of all the things you love doing. How often do you do them? How can you do them more often?

For an informal chat about how Wellbeing Coaching can benefit you or members of your team, please get in touch.

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!

Effective Job Hunting

There are many resources, tools, networks, pieces of advice and experts that you can call upon to help your search for & securing a new career role. All have their merits, uses and place within the process, but ultimately a person’s mind-set and attitude will also contribute to the success of any career campaign. This is where working with a good coach can really springboard you onto success.

Working with a coach can support the ‘marketing of you’ – as a person seeking a new role you need to adopt a ‘marketing specialist’ role and imitate the same process as a successful marketing campaign.

Being the Marketing Specialist of You:

  1. Know the Product – YOU
    • What are your work values, goals, interests & skills…?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses..?
    • What is the ideal future scenario…?
  1. Develop good ‘sales tools’: CV – Covering Letter – LinkedIn Profile
    • Use the internet to research good templates to help guide you
    • Read profiles of people already working in your chosen industry, what key words do they use, what’s their past experience, what skills do they promote? What’s their USP?
  1. Identify your market
    • Explore career options
    • What are the current trends in the market-place
    • Check out potential company cultures & future directions (that are suited to you)
  1. Perfect Successful Job Search Strategies
    • What can your referral network provide..? Ask for help – a surprising amount of people will gladly offer their time/insight etc
    • Make direct contact with the company – make yourself known
    • Use the internet for extensive & relevant research
    • Get your CV out there – on platforms for it to be found
    • Use 3rd party agencies to search on your behalf
    • Commit dedicated time & effort to it – getting a job is a full-time job, develop a new routine, think differently & reward yourself to maintain momentum
    • Be creative!!!

Use a coach to identify your key skills, experience & expertise

A coach can also help you in other ways, such as:

  • Developing & maintaining a high-level of (legitimate) self-confidence
  • Practising your script – practise interview techniques; answering tricky questions; tailoring your CV & covering letter each time; get it wrong & then get it RIGHT
  • Help you to focus on the end prize

Reflect to Move Forward

As the end of 2013 draws ever closer, our thoughts turn to past resolutions, possibly unfulfilled aspirations, a new challenge for the new year or perhaps the on-going quest for the perfect gift or perfect party outfit.

Often in the rush to get to Christmas and then onto welcoming in the New Year we forget to look back on what we’ve achieved over the past few months. Consolidating on what we’ve done, new experiences we’ve had, new memories created and challenges overcome gives us the chance to spring forward with renewed vigour, commitment and enthusiasm for the coming months. When working with clients, reflection in many forms is a great way of getting the brain stimulated with positive energy and offers great learning points, too. Reflection can be used in career coaching when looking at your career journey, its highs and the skills you have gained along the way. It can also be used by individuals who are looking to bolster their self-esteem and find their ‘happy point’. It’s also a great team building exercise as it requires effort from each member and offers an insight into how each team member values the team and their own role in it.

The linked document is a simple start for a team reflection exercise – it can be modified to suit of course – try it with your team, big or small before the end of the year is out and see what inspiration and celebration you gain from it!

Team Reflection Exercise

Add Value to Stand Out From the Crowd

Everyone talks about adding value to everything you do, be it in your business or your personal life….but what exactly does this mean? Does it mean you give away ‘free’ stuff? Does it mean doing more for less payment in return? Or could it mean giving away something of you in all your transactions – a bit of your passion, your creativity, your aspirations?

Now, I don’t want to make that sound scary…like you are giving bits of you away and you are disappearing before your very eyes. More like, everything you do you add your personal values & passions to it – producing a wonderful combination of your talents, your energy and your know-how into each transaction you make with people around you. Now does that sound appealing or just plain hard-work?!?! To be honest, that could just depend on what kind of a day you’re having today! But I wonder if you could challenge yourself to give a little more ‘oomph’, a little more energy, and a little more creativity to your connections for a day and see what value you bring to the party.

How? In practical terms, this relies on us as business owners and professionals to add value by believing in what we are doing, having faith that what we are undertaking is worth doing, and that it matters both to us and to our potential clients. Without this belief, this commitment, this extra something – added value – then we are liable to simply replicate the general everyday products and services that are already out there.

Some successful people see adding value as adding their signature onto their creations – seeking to give people not just what they need but what they clamour for, what they get excited about, and ultimately what they’ll pay for. This was typically personified by Steve Jobs at Apple who made tablets the buzz item of the last few years…but Apple weren’t the first to produce tablets, yet their product is the by-word for cool tablets currently. So what does Apple do differently? They produce what they want to see, what they get excited about, they add in Apple company ‘values’ – creativity, design-led, aspirational themes and quality high-end products…values I quite like to be associated with…what about you?

Contact Life Matters Coaching if you want to gain clarity on your values and purpose in your work or personal life. Coaching is an effective way of identifying your vision and aspirations and it can support you on your route to add value every day to your own life.

Using a Business Coach as a Mirror to Develop Your Business

Using a coach & a mirror in your business

One way of viewing coaching is that as a coach I hold up a mirror against the client & their world is reflected back for them to see it in a fresh new way….& this often allows them to tackle issues, they see development areas themselves, or they see a goal or aspiration from a new perspective. It allows the client to pause, & see all the good stuff that’s going on in their life or business, too – coaching celebrates, too.

If we continue using coaching as a mirror analogy, we all need to use a mirror in our lives every day

  • Mirrors reflect our current ‘look or state’ & help us make adjustments if necessary, ie: apply some make-up, or wipe the latte mustache away
  • We use mirrors for safety when driving – it gives us a heads up, information on which to base our next move or action
  • We use mirrors in astronomy – magnifying & focusing in our search for the stars – the next new discovery

So, what’s so great about coaching for business?

The CIPD Learning & Talent Management Report 2013 states that the next 2 years will bring: ‘….greater integration between coaching, organisational development & performance management’

It’s a simple fact that coaching as part of an organisation’s overall strategy for success is key & will continue to be. In fact, 39% of organisations surveyed for the report ‘..believe that coaching is their most effective talent management activity.’

And yet, 48% of these companies also reported a skills gap in their organisation for coaching/mentoring & development of staff. A role for the external coach perhaps…?

Why should you invest in coaching…?

Interestingly, when talking about talent management, ‘88% of small organisations (fewer than 50 employees) were most likely to report their talent management activities as effective compared with large organisations ’ – showing that big budgets and complex leadership development programmes aren’t necessary to have a positive impact on your business. It’s the simple human interaction from coaching & mentoring that is powerful.

Coaching your employees demonstrates that:

@ You value your staff
@ You are committed to a successful future
@ It also offers you another change and transformation tool

Finally, Coaching can help your organisation to develop more rapidly and produce more satisfying results.

 

So what’s so great about Life Matters Coaching?

You get an effective, bespoke, quality coaching solution that benefits your organisation.  But don’t just take my word for it, here’s some defined statistics from satisfied customers:

Satisfaction with life increased an average: 23%
Satisfaction in career increased an average: 20%
Feelings of being overwhelmed/stress decreased an average: 53%

 

I hope you agree these are some great improvements from a simple yet effective intervention – who wouldn’t want to see this in their own business or personal life..?

How to Use the Power of Visualisation to Achieve Your Goals

“If you want to reach a goal you must “see the reaching” in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar

Professional athletes and other highly successful people use the power of visualisation technique to achieve their goals on a regular basis. This is because studies show that the brain processes in terms of images, and ‘seeing’ your goal achieved increases your chance of it actually happening.

Seeing your goal achieved and in particular the actions you took to get there creates the illusion in your brain that it’s already happened – it’s a ‘done deal’. The brain is tricked into believing it already and this gives you the edge in making it happen for real.

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” – Bo Bennett

You can use formal ‘guided’ visualisation techniques on a regular basis if that suits, but equally as effective is simply closing your eyes, relaxing your brain and working through each step in the active current state of your mind and achieving your successful outcome. At the very end don’t forget to remember what your success outcome feels like, what it looks like, and what it means to you.

You can use this method for anything you want to see happen – of course you still have to go through the practical actions you need to take, but it seems easier and you face less (internal) barriers. Try it for a week & see what results you gain.

“Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own.” – Robert Collier

Remember, a qualified supportive coach can help guide you through the process of making your aspirations a reality – get in contact today to find your inner image of success!

Say YES and Change Your Life for the Better

The weeks & months are ticking by, & I can’t quite believe that it’s now two years since I left my previous role within the NHS with my redundancy, a new qualification, aspirations of being ‘my own woman’ and a genuine excitement & spring in my step!

Well…..how things change…!? The qualification still stands and has been added to – I’m now a Govt Mentor too; the redundancy money is long gone – living life, expensive children and several holidays including a month in Australia at Christmas has seen to that. So what about aspirations of being ‘my own woman’….& having a spring in my step…? I like to think that most days it’s all still there. How do I know that…?

One thing I have realised (just this morning in fact), is that during the last two years I think I’ve really lived my life.  I’ve said ‘Yes’ to lots of new work opportunities (contributing to a book); done pro-bono work to gain more understanding and give back; and more importantly, had some amazing experiences with my family: watched our home-grown Olympic Games ; sampled strawberries at Wimbledon; travelled to Australia and so on. Now, before, you start wondering if I’ve won the lottery…..I also want to add in that it’s the other experiences that I’m more proud of…..entering the Milk Race as a family this year; running the National Lottery Anniversary run in the Olympic Stadium in a few weeks’ time; saying ‘Yes’ to a ridiculous amount of play-dates & sleep-overs for the children; going on long walks in freezing temperatures getting cold & muddy.

Saying ‘Yes’ isn’t always easy or the right thing to do, but for the moment I’m doing it & I’m seeing the benefits of being more open to new experiences and people. Try saying ‘Yes’ to someone or something today.

Let me know what happens for you.