blog: news and opinion


Compassion: a business issue

28th February 2018

Paul Gilbert, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby, defines compassion as "a sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it" – and he notes that the core of compassion is courage. Far from being a soft issue, his scientific perspective is directly relevant to how organisations can boost their effectiveness. Compassion can do much to restore trust, confidence and a sense of safety in the individual and in the system – and it’s partly about both presence and acceptance, with a close link to mindfulness. Leaders and their reports can take practical steps to boosting both their self-compassion and their compassion towards others.

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Our pale blue dot - compassion and my latest article in 'Coaching at Work'

26th February 2018

My article on 'Our pale blue dot' was published in Coaching at Work, March/April 2018 edition. Carl Sagan coined the concept of the ‘pale blue dot’, which for me summarises both our insignificance and the importance of our taking care of our world. His perspective has made me think about my role as coach: I can’t separate my coaching delivery from the impact on my world view of our political leaders and their behaviour, especially when they behave badly.

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Building resilience in a tougher world

31st January 2018

We all - and particularly leaders - seem to be experiencing more and more pressure in our modern world. The need to build and maintain resilience seems more pressing than ever. By ‘resilience’ I mean not so much the ability to simply cope, but more the capacity to consistently adapt to changing circumstances, to learn from adversity, and to manage intense emotions and uncomfortable thinking in oneself and others. We need to learn to flex in our responses to adversity.

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'Just being': my article in Coaching at Work

5th January 2018

Transactional coaching objectives are irrelevant to some of my clients. 'Doing’ keeps them out of trouble but offers no fulfilment or satisfaction, whereas - ironically - 'being' and objective-free coaching offers them the time and space that are essential for them to profoundly engage with their coaching objectives

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Honesty, wellbeing and mental health

28th December 2017

Mental ill-health in organisations may be a taboo subject and may carry a stigma. Sufferers may suffer in silence until their condition worsens to the point of crisis. When crisis does strike, in addition to individuals’ difficulties, the organisational upheaval and cost can be significant, as can the damage to working relationships. However, in an open culture people are more likely to feel engaged and to give of their best, and evidence shows that business results are much better than in cultures where the issue is not faced. It is the coach's responsibility to work with whatever shows up - but not to aim to heal or cure.

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Under the Influence: my latest article in Coaching at Work

30th November 2017

My article 'Under the Influence' has been published in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of 'Coaching at Work'. When line managers attempt to use coaching as a tool for performance management this is an inappropriate use of both power and responsibility: Tops, Middles, Bottoms and Customers can feel ‘done to’ and impotent in the face of others’ power. I too, as executive coach, need to use my power and responsibility with care.

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A sense of belonging

31st October 2017

The deepest human need is to belong. A strong sense of belonging and connectedness is positively associated with wellbeing, happiness and mental health. Feelings of belonging are understood to influence an individual’s identity and the extent to which they feel accepted, respected, valued for who they are - and these feelings in turn, by strengthening relationships, impact on engagement, effectiveness and productivity

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Dancing with fear: my latest article in Coaching at Work

30th September 2017

Several of the senior leaders I work with are frightened. Not only is the fear corrosive at a personal level in terms of wellbeing, stress, confidence and shame, but it also inhibits performance and can have serious effects for organisations when individuals are afraid to innovate despite a business need to do things differently, or when they don't dare to say what's true. Coaching systemically and mindfully resources both the client and me - and the more I engage at a deep level with my own courage, resilience, capability, connectedness and resources, the less frightening life may be for the client.

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Confidence, effectiveness and systems

30th August 2017

Confidence that is depleted – which often results from an individual interpreting an external event or behaviour, and believing (albeit unconsciously) the message that they construct from it – leads very easily to effectiveness that is depleted. Looking outwards from the individual into their environment and the systems of relationships they are part of is often a more elegant and rapid process, offering more sustained and richer outcomes for rebuilding and re-resourcing, than cognitive approaches.

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In the swim of things: my latest article in Coaching at Work

12th July 2017

Some of my coaching clients have difficulty staying upright in the stream of their organisational cultures, especially when they aren't aligned with the values or behaviours in those cultures: their difficulty lies in being different, even though that may be exactly why they were recruited in the first place. This can cause significant stress.

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