blog: news and opinion


'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 This underlying loyalty can be to the leader’s outdated or misplaced belief that they have to do everything themselves if things are to get done to the necessary standard.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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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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