blog: news and opinion


Influencing through compassion

30th September 2019

The need for the leader and the manager to influence effectively has always been important. Now, however, their contexts are becoming more uncertain and more challenging. I’m coming across more instances of lack of integrity at senior levels, and this poses a dilemma for the leader who wants to stand up for either the values which their organisation claims or for their own values. I'm finding that an approach for them which embraces compassion – for themselves and for others – can make all the difference.

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Trust and safety in coaching

28th September 2019

My article 'Trust and safety in coaching' has been published in the September edition of Coaching at Work. When a client trusts their coach they can feel safe enough to engage with their inner world - and a certain kind of magic can happen.  The richness of both dialogue and data that is enabled by deep trust can uniquely empower the client to face difficult or energising truths, and can also stretch the boundaries of what they'd previously thought was possible.

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Seeking purpose - and being part of the whole

30th August 2019

Albert Einstein wrote: "A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us…” This resonates for me as I coach talented senior people who create stellar careers. Some of them realise they feel restricted because their lives don’t integrate what really matters to them. They start asking 'What’s my purpose in getting to the top?’ rather than ‘How can I get to the top?’. This is rich and fertile territory for coaching, which enables an individual, in a risk-free environment, to explore, surface, clarify and articulate what meaning and purpose is for them and to become connected to the bigger whole.

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Trapped in the detail

31st July 2019

The remit of leaders is to develop and drive strategy, and to inspire its implementation. However, those in leadership roles can find themselves trapped in the detail of the operational. If they’re inappropriately involved in these areas, their teams will lack the bigger sense of direction, perspective and focus they need. The first important step for the leader is to realise that change needs to happen, and each will find their own way of implementing that change - perhaps through mindfully reviewing old loyalties to ideas and people, or surfacing wilful blindness, or speaking truth to power. Courage and resilience are fundamental to the change that's needed, along with self-awareness and systemic awareness.

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Confidence on the coaching agenda

30th June 2019

Confidence is the result of resolving or settling issues which may be related to identity, belonging, self-esteem, self-acceptance, resilience, the culture of the client’s organisation, or indeed countless other issues which interrelate, intersect and are interdependent. It manifests in a host of different ways, including effectiveness, efficiency, assertiveness, finding one’s voice, creativity, more balanced relationships, the resolution of conflict, respect and care for one’s own wellbeing, a reduction in stress, and a sense of personal peace. Leaders who constantly build the confidence of their people see that its relationship with the successful release of potential is direct and significant.

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Parallel or converging?

29th May 2019

My article 'Parallel or converging?', published in the May/June 2019 edition of Coaching at Work, takes a geometrical look at how I interpret my own experience, the client's wellbeing, and the importance of neither projecting onto the client, nor converging nor colluding nor getting drawn in to a parllel process.

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Burning out - and recovering health

30th April 2019

I’m coaching two individuals who are on the verge of burning out. Both are hugely committed to their jobs and their organisations, both are talented, and both are high achievers. And no-one in their workplaces has looked beyond their stellar performance or considered what it costs them on a personal basis to deliver that level of performance. No-one has guided them back towards a healthy way of working. A first useful step for them is to engage with, and accept, the tricky task of facing the truth of what is happening.  And the second step is a visit to the GP or to Occupational Health.

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Why don't you hear me?

28th March 2019

Talented people may feel a sense of isolation – lonely (nearly) at the top of their organisations - either because their perceived currency has diminished, or because it has been inconvenient to hear them, or because established hierarchies and power structures don’t allow their voices to be heard and their true value to be released. There is no simple, linear solution: the answer lies in a blend of self-awareness, mindfulness, systemic awareness, finding your voice, multiple perspectives to broaden your thinking, and listening to your intuition and your wisdom.

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The end and the beginning

27th March 2019

My article 'The end and the beginning' - Coaching at Work's reflection column in the March/April issue - takes as its context the Buddhist wisdom that what the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.  I consider my contrasting experience in working with, on the one hand, clients who have real energy for change, and, on the other, clients who resist change. Both endings and beginnings need respect for their time and their process.

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The uncertain and the unknown

28th February 2019

Uncertainty is an inevitable part of both our personal lives and our organisational lives. Self-awareness, self-understanding, and awareness of the systems we’re part of give us a foundation of ‘the known’ in a context where much may be unknown.  This, in turn, can give us a greater sense of safety and agency. In addition, the acceptance of what is – acceptance of the now – is perhaps the most powerful source of calm in the turbulence of uncertainty.  Mindfulness – awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally - encourages focus and distances us from distracting thoughts and emotions.  Not only is it relaxing, but it also nurtures a quiet confidence in the present moment. 

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