Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Wellbeing, Being Positive ...

During these challenging times, we all need to dig deep. If you are struggling like a lot of people, please read on for some simple suggestions from me for staying sane when things feel out of control.

I like feeling in control as much as the next person. I do become anxious and a bit sad when control seems impossible. Here I share my own strategy which, I am pleased to say, worked well in week one of lockdown...

Firstly I would like to share/remind you of the Serenity Prayer from the wise Reinhold Niebuhr:
"...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Secondly, the importance of creating your new routine. Routine is good, our brains like it because it involves making less decisions! And don't just take my word for it. Listening to Davina McCall talking about home schooling her three children, she made the point that big brother contestants best able to moderate their mood well into being in a confined space with others, were those with a routine.

We know from research that one of the most positive ways to address depression, anxiety and anger reactions to negative thinking, is exercise. Building some of this into your routine at home, is good for your mental and emotional as well as physical wellbeing. Experts in the field suggest that the best time to move is first thing as it sets you up positively for the day. Find exercises that you enjoy to help you to stay with this.

I have two more daily routine habits that I suggest you build into your day, one for the beginning of the day and one for towards the end.

Start your day with a gratitude list. Yes actually write down things that you are grateful for, ideally in a journal that you can refer back to say at a low ebb. They can be small things such as the sunshine or bigger things such as you being well enough to complete this exercise. Being grateful, like exercise, correlates highly with emotional and mental wellbeing.

Before your head hits the pillow tonight think of at least one thing that you feel positive about from the day such as helping someone that needs it and reflecting on what you enjoyed about it and learnt from it.

I wish you safety and wellness and a positive perspective during these challenging times.

If you would like help and support with your career or life challenges, please get in touch via pam@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling.co.uk, to book your Zoom or standard telephone call.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Stress Mangement Coaching

If your life is impacted by excessive stress, please read on.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, work related pressure, anxiety or depression accounts for over half of all working days lost to ill health in Britain. Most of this was attributed to workload.

I read somewhere recently that stress is unavoidable unless you live under a rock and avoid contact with other people!

Coping mechanisms often include excessive drinking and eating. These are passive activities that actually increase stress after a temporary and short release of dopamine, a pleasure chemical.

The best antidote to stress, the healthy way, is to take action. Your brain is probably exhausted so taking a holiday, even a staycation where you have a proper break from work technology including a mobile phone, is a good start.

Another good move is to get some support from a qualified professional.

Here at West of England Coaching and Counselling we use tools from psychology including solutions focused coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help you to manage your stress well. The process starts by asking you more meaningful questions about what you do want and progresses by enabling you to make choices and changes that you feel able to do in achievable baby steps.

A key part of the process is to equip you with tools to help you to achieve the state you want such as calm, very quickly, when you are feeling stressed.

In the meantime try this which works for one of my clients. Set your phone to play something amusing every hour to get up and stretch your legs. You can of course silence it when you are at a long meeting!

If you would like help with stress management please get in touch via enquiries@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or by calling 01761 237400.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Coaching in Commercial Awareness

If you are in the job market or considering changing your job/career you need to be aware that commercial awareness is a sought after skillset.

Commercial awareness is up there with Leadership on the list of sought after skills within businesses and organisations.

This means that businesses hire individuals with a track record of sales beating targets, budgetary control and acting positively on customer feedback. Demonstrating specific examples of where you have done that and presenting this well is key.

This also means that organisations need to ensure that their performance management process includes organisation specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets.

Commercial awareness also means developing leaders to retain good people through engagement and development activities, since lower turnover organisations are almost always the most profitable and productive.

If you are thinking that this is only relevant to the private, commercial sector then think again. The need for commercial/business acumen or an eye on the money and profitability, transcends sectors now with every organisation required to achieve and meet financial metrics and KPIs.

Managing talent properly, to this end, is key. as is workforce planning to ensure the right numbers of people with the right skills, right placement and of course role clarity. All of these elements are relevant to the bottom line.

The CIPD [The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development] defines business acumen as "understanding your organisation, the commercial context and the wider world of work....using  commercial mindset and enabling change to create value", a core behaviour on its Profession Map.

So what does business/commercial acumen look like so we can develop it? Contributing to financial success whilst delivering well for customers, through an increasingly digitalised territory, is a good place to start.

This does not mean that you need to talk numbers with the same degree of fluency as the average Chief Financial Officer/Director of Finance but it does mean that all of management need to have commercial awareness. For most organisations the people cost is the largest controllable cost so managing that properly will have a profound effect.

Also from a customer perspective people skills and the effort that you put into customer relationships make the most profound difference to the quality of goods and services people receive.

Think about what levers you can pull to achieve your business/organisation's ambitions. To do this you need to understand the business strategy and model of the organisation. What relevant data is available to you?

Coaching leaders in these areas is a no brainer in that it will improve results in all areas including cost reduction, productivity and profitability.

Think about the areas where value is created in your business. For example the cost benefits of certain technology, best practice people management and financial control. Aim to focus on these areas. Business today is about three key areas - money, people and technology.

If you are interested in using professional coaching to make changes please get in touch at enquiries@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling.co.uk or telephoning 01761 237400.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Best Self Better Results

If you want to work towards being your best self and achieve your best results yet, then this blog is for you.

I am an experienced professional executive coach who specialises in individual improvement using an eclectic range of tools from psychology including Neuro Linguistic Programming, Solutions Focused Coaching and Mindfulness. The people that I coach achieve the results that they want.

We all need to coach ourselves if we are to achieve our best self best results yet. This is because you know yourself better than anyone and this foundation approach is a must even if you decide to recruit a professional coach to help you. This will help you to achieve results on a consistent and ongoing basis.

So how do I coach myself? In this blog I share with you some of the daily habits that I do, aside from having regular professional coaching myself.

Each year, in January, I ask myself what my best self would look, sound and feel like twelve months from now. Using the senses is a powerful way to bring my vision to life. The answers serve as qualitative data and information about what will be happening a year from now when my vision is achieved. A year is a good timescale to work with as research shows that this is an optimal time for our brains to handle.

For me, as a kinaesthetic person, I write this out as a story. If you are more of a visual thinker you might draw a picture or assemble a collage of you and your life a year from now.

Again research shows that once we are clear about the 'end in mind' (begin with the end in mind is one of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Effective People) the mind looks for all of the options and ways that we might achieve that end in mind.

My advice would be to start making notes on what comes up for you once you have your vision. You can turn these options into an action plan over say a month. I would advise that you take baby steps so that you feel that the actions are achievable and are therefore more likely to do them.

If you would like some help to get crystal clear on your direction and outcome as well as help in getting there, please get in touch via enquiries@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling.co.uk. All coaching starts with a complimentary consultation. Following this meeting sessions can take place face to face or remotely.