blog: news and opinion


Who am I? Shifting the focus

21st November 2018

My latest article has been published in Coaching at Work magazine's reflection column. In it I explore the question that leaders sometimes put to themselves (and to their coaches): ‘Who am I if I don’t have the answers?’ The question is about both identity and performance – at the very least. While a leader is judged on the results they achieve, achieving outcomes rests in turn on a broader underpinning than just getting things right - notably process, meaning and system.

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Trust and transition

29th October 2018

Trust is a fragile commodity, and is damaged when the psychological contract (even more than the formal contract) is not respected and/or there is abuse of goodwill, when people feel exploited, disrespected or manipulated, when they have a sense that there’s a hidden agenda, or when they start to question what they had taken for granted about integrity. The outcome may be reduced motivation, performance that is restrained, constrained or diminished, and commitment that is short-lived or superficial. When trust is justified, discretionary effort, engagement and motivation are sustained and built. This is all highly relevant at a time of transition. As a leader you ignore the impact of trust at your peril.

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Leading through systemic complexity

28th September 2018

The task of leadership in our time is increasingly often described as complex – and leaders are often challenged as to how to deal with it. Leaders whom I work with arrive sooner or later at the realisation that question(s) they bring to coaching are either obviously or surprisingly complex, requiring a holistic approach to address them. Those whose behavioural pattern is to rush towards quick answers can find the exploration of what’s actually happening to be confronting, frustrating, uncomfortable – and rich in learning. In complexity what matters is strengthening relationships between people, recognising and understanding influences and forces rather than exerting control, accepting emergence rather than being focused on planning for outcomes, and a readiness to work with boundaries and perspectives rather than a sense of objective truth.

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What's the difference? My article in Coaching at Work

27th September 2018

In the Coaching at Work conference session I ran in July 2018, we set out to explore differences and connections between generations. Generation Z guests wanted to be recognised as individuals and to have their diversity valued, rather than focus on their differences as a group from the rest of the population. And coaches reflected that coaching students was no different from coaching anyone else. So what's the difference?

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Resilience in a changing world

31st August 2018

Leaders are constantly required to deliver more with less. But their resilience can’t be taken for granted. Resources that are particularly valuable for building resilience include: Self-compassion and self-care; mindfulness and acceptance; awareness of habitual thinking patterns such as confusing assumptions with reality; clarification and articulation of purpose; building adaptability and the ability to flex; physical resourcing through sleep, diet and exercise.

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Leadership, culture and successful selling

26th July 2018

Leaders often start their careers by excelling technically. However, as their careers progress, they require an increasingly nuanced approach – particularly in relation to communication. Leadership means getting things done through people, not in spite of them, and leaders need to tap in to their self-awareness and to convert that into self-managed communication. In the high-stakes climate of the oil and gas industry, from Texas to Saudi, the leader has a consistent need for humility, integrity, curiosity, a willingness to think beyond the usual boundaries, trust, an awareness of one’s impact, and a finely-honed capacity to listen and to respect each individual.

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'My markers in the sand': my latest article in Coaching at Work

30th June 2018

Organisations which buy coaching can, knowingly or unknowingly, prevent the embedding of the learning it enables: organisational cultures can pull in the opposite direction from the messages from such learning. Expressing my values, my philosophy and my expectations of organisational adaptation at the beginning of every coaching programme might boost the integration of the changes that result from the coaching.

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Stretching to breaking point

30th May 2018

Some senior people I coach are being stretched to a point where their wellbeing has reached dangerously low levels. At the heart of their recovering their health and balance is the realisation that, whereas they’d previously regarded self-care as selfish, self-indulgent or disposable, not only is it ‘OK’, legitimate and necessary, but also it enables them to make a better job of their jobs and their relationships in and out of work, enhancing their efficiency, their insight, the ability to take a broader perspective, their emotional intelligence, and the quality of their judgments and decisions.

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'Drop the attitude' - my article in Coaching at Work

27th April 2018

Women talk as much as ever about not being acknowledged or included – and worse - by male colleagues. The way forward in terms of organisations is for leaders to change the culture: this takes courage, staying power and consistency. My female clients find that my being present and working systemically and somatically with them are especially resourcing, focusing on the systems of relationships that they're part of, and the patterns of those systems. Male leaders whom I've coached have also changed their approach and their strategies, enabling deeper sustained success for their organisations.

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Whose life is it anyway? Loyalties and agendas

30th March 2018

Leaders may give away their authority by prioritising other people’s agendas and interests over their own – often indiscriminately and usually unconsciously. This blind loyalty to an assumption that questioning or challenging someone’s else’s agenda isn’t possible can, in turn, be down to another loyalty. This underlying loyalty can be to the leader’s outdated or misplaced belief that they have to do everything themselves if things are to get done to the necessary standard. This thinking habit or indeed a lack of thought - and the consequences - can be damaging to their leadership, career prospects, reputation, effectiveness, relationships, judgements and decisions. Leaders need to remember to be aware of the moment when a situation is drawing them in, and to give themselves space to think and options for alternative action.

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