Saturday, 31 December 2011

Gearing up for Change in 2012

Do you like to set New Year's resolutions so that you have a good set of goals to motivate you for the year ahead? Even better - goals that contribute to your life aims.

Perhaps this year you did not set goals or set them only to abandon them part way through.

Perhaps you did set goals and have achieved them.

Now is the time to start taking stock of what went well for you in 2011 and what you want to achieve in the coming year.

To help you with this task I will draw on a client case study.

Start with a list of areas of your life that are important to you.

My client for this case study listed: Health, Work, Relationships, Finances, Hobbies and Community. You will make your own list which may be different.

I asked her then to think about what she had achieved in 2011 within each of these 'important' values areas.

Again she made a list. For example, against Health she wrote:
  • Started working out 3 times per week
  • Reduced drinking alcohol to 1-2 nights a week with no more than 2 standard glasses of wine
  • Adhered to a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner pattern without late-night eating
Once complete I asked her to scale each area from 0-10 with 10 representing the high strength end.

Then I asked her to think about what she would like to leave as her legacy and what she would aim to achieve in 2012 towards that end.

For example, within relationships she said her legacy would be to have been a wise counsel to her family and friends.

With this in mind her goal for Relationships for 2012 was to reach out to every family member and friend at least once a month - to ask them questions about them, provide a listening ear and support where she could help.

My client also reviews her goals every 2 months with my support, updating and amending them as required. She intends to continue with this approach in 2012.

I would like to invite you to have a go at this exercise yourself. If you find it helps you, please leave a comment.

If you would like help reviewing your last 12 months and planning 2012 please get in touch with via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Career Coaching - Checklist

So you want to get in control of your career. Where do you start?

Start with your career goals and then progress with a strategy or approach and an action plan.

Career Goals:

  • What would you like to achieve long-term, at the height of your career - your ultimate ambition?
  • What about medium-term over - say the next five years?
  • What about in the short-term - say 12-24 months?


Start with a self-assessment. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

If you are interested you might complete a working styles questionnaire such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator.

Action Plan:

Is your CV up to date, 1-2 pages long and are its content geared to the roles you are seeking in terms of your results to date and your capabilities (skills, knowledge and competencies)?

Do you have a good cover letter template?

What verbal self-presentation statement do you have off-pat to use with potential employers?

What will you do to prepare for an interview?

I hope this checklist is of use to you in managing your career. Please let us know how you get on and if you would like assistance please contact us via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Coaching to achieve your potential

Do you feel as though you could be doing much better in your professional working life and yet feel stuck and unsure of how to deal with this?

Are you frustrated working for others who seem to take all of the recognition for work that you deliver?

Do you think that you are achieving a small fraction of your potential?

A good personal coach will help you to clearly articulate what you want from your professional life over the long, medium and short term.

A good personal coach will help you to identify where you are currently in relation to your ambitions and goals and help you to address any barriers to your moving forwards, in particular limiting beliefs and confidence issues.

A good personal coach will help you to develop an action plan and interventions that will help you to achieve your long-, medium- and short-term ambitions and goals.

A good coach will provide you with tools and techniques to help you to get where you want to go at a pace that is right for you and to ease you into making the changes you will be making.

A good coach will provide you with optimum levels of support and challenge so you can achieve your potential, which will change as you progress in achieving your ambition and goals.

At West of England Coaching and Counselling, we all experience excellent coaching support as well as providing excellent coaching support to our clients.

We know that coaching helps us to achieve extraordinary results and we want the same for you. We are passionate about you achieving your potential and what you deserve.

What dreams would you like to make a reality through congruent goals, objectives and action plans?

You are likely to be somewhat successful now and with the help of an experienced coach you can look forward to taking the next steps up the ladder in your professional life or move careers or maximise your current opportunity.

Whatever your situation we will help you to move onwards and upwards.

Why not make a positive start in 2012 and get in touch with me personally via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling for an investment in your future.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Career Coaching - Starting Again

I recently worked with a client who decided to leave her current role which she was not enjoying to spend some time working out what to do next.

Are you in or want to be in a similar position or are you about to find yourself in a similar place? Where do you start?

I started exploring the options with my client by examining the following areas:

  • Projects enjoyed - Including the skills, knowledge and competencies required
  • Particular strengths - Such as key capabilities like being totally client-focused or good at managing conflicts between people and resources in big network or a particular field
  • Preferred working environment - Such as in a large team with lots of support or working alone with a high level of autonomy
  • Preferred work location - Such as Bristol, the UK or from home
  • Realistic remuneration expectations
  • Career ambitions and time-scales - Such as becoming an MD of a blue chip or working for yourself
  • Career values - Such as working for not-for-profit organisation, wanting to work in NHS, having a job with a good work-life-balance and limited travel through to wanting to work overseas in different cultures
  • Example organisations you would like to work in
  • Types of jobs you would like to do

We then started tailoring my client's CV for her target job and organisation, keeping it within the 2-page best practice guideline and focusing on her results and value-added proposition.

We then identified 5 target organisations from an initial brainstorm of 10.

My client then researched each of the target organisations so she understood more about their current business as well as their strategic goals.

From her research she was able to identify those areas where she would be able to add value and used these to tailor her CV to the precise requirements of her potential employers.

Rather than waiting for a job advert to appear, she approached the HR department direct in each case and was invited to attend an initial meeting at 3 of the 5 potential employers.

My client's current position is that she has 2 job offers and our next task is to help her to decide which position to accept. She feels in control of her own career through her most proactive approach yet.

If this blog helps you please let us know about it. For help and advice in moving forward with your own career please visit our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling, get in touch by sending us an email at or calling us on 01761 237 400.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Coaching For Solutions To Relationship Issues

Do you have what seems to you to be an intractable problem which involves other people either professionally or personally?

In certain areas of life, such as, engineering, IT and medicine a problem focus is required so that weaknesses and what went wrong can be understood before a solution can be put in place.

Increasingly in life the most interesting and potentially significant problems are about people - especially their difficulties and challenges in communicating with each other.

Change programmes at work show that the Number 1 challenge is most often communication between the workforce.

Research also shows that when it comes to people issues analysis of the problem rarely assists in finding the solution.

Rather, by focusing on the problem you become problem-focused with an excellent strategy for defining it.

Understanding why things are like they are does little to help you to decide what to do next.

Negative emotions brought about by people interaction issues, such as fear, anger, frustration, feeling overwhelmed and misunderstood do not pave the way for a clear solution.

Following the 'What you focus on is what you get', neuroscience helps us to glean that focusing on what the solution is can help enormously with problems relating to people interactions.

The solutions-focused approach is used in all of our work. We start with some initial questions to elicit the issues as you see and experience them and then move forward to articulate specifically what you do want - your goals and objectives - in positive and measurable terms.

We move forward by scaling where you are now and identifying what is already good and what is already being done right.

This helps us identify what already works for you - so you can aim to do more of it - as well as highlighting resources, strengths which can be used to move further forwards to help you gradually achieve your goals and objectives at your own pace.

We also work on the premise that problems rarely happen in all contexts. Identifying times when problems do not occur for you helps us to think about transferring this knowledge, skills and so on to other contexts where the problem does happen for you.

One example of this came to light for a client of mine last night when he realised he felt calm and in control the days after a good night's rest when he was not up until 1am emailing.

This had the knock-on effect of him being calmer with his wife and children the next day which subsequently helped his wife feel warmer towards him, more supportive and so on.

The solutions-focused approach is a positive and pragmatic way to progress with people issues and problems communicating and interacting.

Your challenge is to apply this approach in your own life and if you so wish let us know how you get on.

Our mission is to teach you an approach which you will find useful again and again in your life.

If you would like to know more about receiving solutions focused coaching or counselling please visit our website to see our full range of services West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Career Coaching - Stay Or Look For A New Role?

I am currently working with a senior executive who needs to make a decision about whether to stay in her existing role or move to another role in another organisation.

In fact, she has a job offer on the table and the organisation concerned is so eager to have her that they have given her until the end of the calendar year to make her decision prior to giving notice in her current role.

Are you in a similar position? Perhaps you have dissatisfactions in your current role which are causing you to consider your options.

From personal experience - and in working with many executives in this area - it is important to start by thinking about what is driving you to consider a change within your career.

Can the issues which are causing you to consider change be resolved within your current role? For example, workload, work type or work location?

Have you exhausted all of the possibilities for making the changes that you want within your current role?

If the issue - or issues - are not resolvable and you are sure that you want to make the change, think through your decision carefully first and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the rationale behind the decision? 
  • What are the facts? 
  • What is the logic behind your decision?
  • How do you feel? 
  • What impact will this decision have on your values?

But what are your options and what criteria will you use to assess these options and make a decision?

One technique which I suggested to my client - and we went though in our session - may provide you with some help. Simply answer the following questions and it should help you reach a decision:

  • What would/could you gain if you moved to the/a new role?
  • What would/could you lose if you moved to the/a new role?
  • What would/could you keep [which is important to you] if you stay?
  • What would/could you lose if you stay in your current role?

Sometimes we need to step back and see the wood for the trees.

Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence when we may be:

  • Jumping from the frying pan into the fire
  • Avoiding handling issues such as relationship management that we may well come across in our next role - the saying 'Wherever I go, there I am' springs to mind here
  • Experiencing the horns effect when we give a high weighting to an issue that we are unhappy about but may have not done enough to address it using all of our strengths and resources.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment and if you would like support in your career then please do get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Career Coaching.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Executive Coaching

Are you an ambitious manager, senior manager or director working within a public or private sector organisation or for yourself or in a partnership?

Have you recently had your performance review and identified with your line manager areas of strengths to build on as well as possible areas for development?

Perhaps you have had some feedback through a 360-degree feedback process which has highlighted areas of development which, addressed, will help you to further your career.

Research shows that managers, senior managers and directors often develop more quickly and better through one-to-one executive coaching than through any other performance development intervention - including traditional classroom training.

This is because individual one-to-one coaching focuses on you and is tailored to your specific and precise needs within a structure that will have you feeling more motivated and confident in achieving your development objectives.

An independent coach will provide the following:

  • A confidential listening ear and sounding board for your experiences, problems and solutions
  • A source of advice should you request this
  • In-time support, being available regularly face-to-face and also available on email and the telephone when you need them
  • Work with you to clearly articulate positive, specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound objectives
  • A structure to achieve your desired outcomes, such as, career progression or specific leadership skills development
  • A coaching model to guide and steer discussions
  • Good challenging questions that help you to think differently
  • Collateral specific to your needs, such as, communication models, tools and techniques
  • A non-judgemental presence coming from a supportive, positive and enabling place.

Managers, senior managers and directors who are serious about their continuous professional development and want learning on the fast-track develop business cases to secure funding for their coaching, which include coaching being an investment to help them to achieve their objectives and also improve the performance and engagement of their teams.

If you are unsure about whether to progress with coaching at this time please see my blog - are you ready, willing and able to be coached?

If you have found this blog useful please leave a comment or if you would like to discuss your personal coaching needs please get in touch in confidence via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Improve Productivity and Morale

Are you interested in learning about one simple, easy-to-implement tool which will boost staff productivity and morale?

How much do you estimate that poor communication costs your business? How much do you estimate not using all of your staff's potential is costing your business?

The truth is that when your people are not managed well it costs your business - That's the impact plain and simple.

What issues are most often behind this?.... These most common issues include the following:
  1. Individual X has a development need that is ignored
  2. Individual Y is only told when they get things wrong and the individual spends much time at work complaining about their manager
  3. Individual Z is a manager and avoids tackling conflict so performance issues are ignored
Using a good feedback model addresses all of these issues and builds your staff productivity as well as their morale.

Psychological research shows people respond best to feedback which is specific, timely and in the ratio of 3 positives to each development point.

So how would you go about this?
  • Step 1: Start with 3 specific positive things that you have seen/heard/read about them – their strengths
  • Step 2: Then focus on 1 specific thing that you would like them to do more/less of that would make them even more effective/develop further/able to positively influence you. 
Focus on what you want from them NOT what you DO NOT want from them.

Ask them how they think they can achieve that - i.e. let them come up with their solutions to get their commitment to change.

Feedback in your business needs to become part of your way of working - something everyone does to get the best from each other and avoid standing still or even regressing.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment or if you would like assistance implementing this way of working into your business please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Team Development.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Reducing Costs

There is an old adage - 'It's not what you earn but what you spend' - which tends to dictate your personal savings.

There are people who on the surface appear wealthy and have well paid jobs but actually carry a lot of debt -living pay cheque to pay cheque because of lifestyle factors such as a big mortgage, school fees, expensive cars, expensive and frequent holidays and the latest technology.

There are others on more modest incomes who have perhaps lower mortgages and more simple lifestyles.

These people have a budget, always compare the market when they do spend and think carefully before they spend money on non-essentials.

In running your small business - and especially in the current economic climate - your costs play a big part in your survival and if you can pare these down you will increase your bottom line.

I am working with one small business team currently identifying areas where they can reduce costs throughout their whole business model - from staff costs (often your biggest controllable cost whatever your business) through to marketing, rent and consumables.

This organisation is pleasantly surprised at the significant indicative cost-savings they are now working towards and all of the team have found the process to be fun and motivating.

It is easy to lose control on spend and not look for the best deals for your business in the same way as it is easy to lose control of your personal finances.

However, it is very satisfying to save money for your business and increase your bottom line - leaving you feeling in control - just as it is very satisfying to find a bargain during a personal purchase.

But how do you start saving money and where do you look?

First - go through all of your business expenses and make a list of your say Top 10 costs.

Then work out what is a realistic and specific goal that you want to set for your cost-savings? Perhaps start with 10% and then review this figure every 3 months when you may decide to adjust it.

Asking the following questions will help you to act.
  • Which of your costs is ripe for a cost saving because it is currently high? 
  • Have you compared the market in this area? 
  • What options are there to reduce spend in this area? 
  • What criteria will you assess these options against - for example, what will you gain / lose and what will the cost be? Then what will you do?
Once you have a focus on your costs this exercise will become a healthy habit and you are more likely to stay in control of your business and increase your likelihood of staying in business.

Of course, there is more to running a successful business than controlling costs and your focus will also need to be on generating top-line sales but I have no doubt that in any business the latter is often prioritised at the expense of the former.

Focusing on cost control as well as growing your business will help you to run an effective thriving business.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment and if you would like help in this or any other area of your business please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Dealing With Attendance Issues

Do you have a problem with staff attendance which is primarily short term?

Have you noticed patterns to attendance issues - for example, the individual who is often sick on a Monday or Friday?

I think the best tool to deal with attendance issues is the return-to-work meeting. Why?
  1. It shows the individual that they have been missed
  2. If the individual is a malingerer they will be less likely to call in sick in future
  3. It sends a clear message to other staff that attendance issues will be managed
  4. If there is an underlying problem you can find out - for example, the individual calls in sick but the issue is really a problem at work or home
So what do you say at this meeting..... Have a think about what your goal is? What are your options and what will you do?

Here's a suggested format:
  • Welcome the individual back
  • Tell them that they were missed
  • Check they are ready to return and have not come back early for whatever reason
  • Discuss any issues that may have contributed towards or caused their absence
  • Where any causes are identified discuss what help you as the employer can offer to address them
  • Discuss any further action that may be necessary
You will need to prepare for this meeting and ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are the advantages of holding the meeting in a private place?
  • What information will you need to have in front of you relating to recent absences?
  • What about sensitivity and listening skills?
You will also need to carry out certain actions after the meeting including the following:
  • What about note taking?
  • What adjustments need to be made for the individual if any?
  • Do you need to consider disciplinary action yet?
  • How will you continue to monitor the attendance issues?
  • What action does your policy say you can take if the non attendance issues persist?
If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment or if you require an small business support please visit our website West of England Coaching and Counselling - Business Coaching.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Tackling Poor Performance

Are you interested in tackling poor performance before it becomes a formal disciplinary issue?

What do you think are the benefits of 'nipping an issue in the bud' before it escalates?

Where are you now with the performance issue? What is the impact on your business?

What is the impact on other staff? What are your options....ignore the issue and hope it will go away or tackle it?

A really good tool towards tackling poor performance -is the following 6-step coaching model:
  1. Gaining Commitment: Open the discussion in a positive way. Discuss current level of performance, agree that a problem exists and the impact of this on the business, other staff and them. Discuss and agree the size of the performance gap. Do not move on until the individual recognises a performance gap exists and that it is significant enough to warrant change – Why?
  2. Closing The Gap: Discuss options to reach the required performance level. Review the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Encourage the individual to come up with ideas, prompting where you think necessary.
  3. Develop The Strategy: Agree the best approach to close the performance gap. Identify performance measures that will show clearly when the new performance level has been reached. Explore any resources that may be required.
  4. Agree The Action Plan: Who will do what and by when? Agree the time frames for when the new level of performance must be reached. Set review dates to monitor progress - including interim reviews if you think necessary. Express your confidence in the individual’s ability to deliver - keep it positive.
  5. Action: Both of you agree to commit to the action plan. You discreetly monitor and guide 1:1 when necessary. Hold interim review sessions if required.
  6. Review: Meet to review/measure progress towards targets. Recognise, communicate and record in writing achievements that have been made. If performance has not reached the required level go back to step 1 - make the targets more specific, the review periods shorter and be less tolerant of shortcomings e.g... ‘this is the third time we have spoken about this [specify performance gap].
If you have found this tool to be useful please leave a comment or if you would like assistance please contact us through our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Business Coaching.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Managing People Tools

Do you have a small business and see that managing people is important to your profitability?

This is the first of a number of blogs which - actioned by you - will help you to increase your productivity, morale and profitability.

The first tool - I want to share with you is objective setting.

Be clear on your business plan then determine what objectives to set each of your employees which will help you to achieve your business plan - few businesses do this really well.

Make sure you avoid duplication of effort when you develop individual objectives for and with your team members.

Also, any training and development should only happen if it helps the individual or your team to achieve their objectives.

Individual objectives are important to ensure that individuals are accountable.

Clear alignment of team and individual objectives with your business plan will help to motivate staff and increase their productivity because they will see how they are adding value to the business.

All these objectives must be SMART - by that I mean:

  • Specifically - What do you want them to do?
  • Measurable - What will be the evidence of success? Aim to make this clear i.e. quantitative or qualitative and both if possible.
  • Achievable - Do they have the resources - for example, skills, materials etc., to achieve it?
  • Realistic - Is it challenging yet realistic - including the timescales involves?
  • Time bound - When are they to complete it by?

Aim to review your staff objectives with individuals every 3 months and set new ones where appropriate.

Check how individuals are getting on a at least every month by asking the following questions:

  • What is going well? 
  • What is not going well? 
  • What support can you give them?

You set the 'what' they are to achieve. Allow them to set the 'how' they are to achieve it.

With inexperienced staff you may need to help them with the 'how'.

People are naturally goal and objective driven and setting them objectives that contribute to the achievement of the company business plan will motivate your people.

Future blogs will provide advice on other people management areas including:

  • How to nip poor performance in the bud early on when you spot a problem
  • How to address non-attendance
  • How to massively improve the way you communicate with your staff and develop them into the bargain

If you have found this blog to be useful please do leave me a comment or visit our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 31 October 2011

How Do I Change When I Have 'Failed' In The Past?

Making a change in your life I think is predominantly down to 2 interlinked factors.

The first is your motivation and the second your confidence in terms of whether you think you will be able make the change you are looking for which in itself is usually impacted by your previous experiences.

For example, if you want to change the way you look and feel - and possibly what people say to you - by losing weight.

You may have attempted this many times before but ultimately you have always ended back at your starting weight or perhaps even heavier.

Your confidence is therefore low in this regard because previous experience tells you that you 'have failed' and as a result your motivation to change is also at a low.

So what do you do? Ignore the thing you want to change - your weight in this case - and continue to be dissatisfied and disrespectful of yourself?

Unwittingly, this impacts other areas of your life. For example, you wear clothes that are 'frumpy' and this negatively impacts your self-esteem.

This then impacts your work - perhaps how you communicate - such as holding back at meetings, not asserting yourself and so on.

The good news is that if you are reading this then you are demonstrating some real commitment to positive change.

More good news...

You can strengthen your commitment to change by strengthening your intent.

We know intent.

Think of a time when you said you were going to do something, such as, go to the gym, and this time you meant it and you did it.

And you can strengthen your intent so that this current change you want to make happens.


By following a strategy put forward by leading life coach Anthony 'Tony' Robbins ('By standing on the shoulders of giants and success leaves clues') which has worked for others and I think includes the following 4 key criteria for success:
  1. Exploring in full what is driving this change you want to make and asking yourself questions including:

    What will happen if I do make the change? What won't happen if I don't make the change? What will be so much better when I make the change? If I don't make the change what will be the impact on my personal, work and social life?

    You know you are making progress when the prospect of not changing is so uncomfortable that you feel that you must and will change.
  2. Having a positive, specific and measurable goal that is realistic, sustainable and set over a practical time period. Aligned, if possible, with a key event that you want to achieve your goal by, such as, a key work or family event
  3. By imagining yourself having achieved your goals and seeing your success as a realistic possibility.

    For example, it is February 2nd, 2012, the day of x work event and I have reached my target weight of 12 stone.

    As I wake I feel fantastic because I am seeing people this evening that I haven't seen for some time and I know I will feel great when they say how healthy and well I look.

    As I get dressed in front of the mirror I see a person who looks after themselves and I'm absolutely delighted to be wearing a fitted suit which flatters my physique. I give myself an approving smile as I stand tall and look confident...........
  4. There is an old adage that every journey begins with the first step. This is the biggest step the step of any decision.

    My message here is to go at your own pace, taking a small step each day such as....

    Day 1: Get a pedometer and track the number of steps I take
    Day 2. Beat yesterday's steps by 300.

    Many people try to do it all at once and end up failing. Aim to make changes that you can sustain and build into your life without having to do something that you will resent, such as, taking a formal gym programme
So have a go at this strategy and let me know how you get on. Of course, if you want support in achieving your goal we are 100% committed to help you so do get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Small Business Coaching - Back-to-Basics Business Development

Does the idea of business development fill you with dread? Something you would prefer to leave well alone whilst you focus on what you do well?

If you answered "Yes" to this question - you are not alone.

And yet, business development (BD) can make a business while a lack of it - or the wrong type - is often a key reason for business failure. So...we have to do it.

With this in mind, I think our aim must be to enjoy BD and we can do this by focusing on getting the key tools and techniques right.

The aim of BD and marketing is to get maximum return - or paying customers - for minimum expenditure.

Therefore, it pays to first consider the free BD you can do before actually spending a penny.

The first thing to do is make a list of everyone you know and tell them about your business.

If appropriate, you may consider giving them a sample / complimentary service with the proviso that they tell say five other people about you.

It also helps your family, friends, work contacts if you let them know what your ideal customer / client looks like and the key problems you fix or services you offer.

Telling your network is the simplest and easiest form of marketing and it's free.

Other free sources of marketing for small businesses include a card in your Post Office, offering to do a talk about your business to local groups and developing (and then printing at low cost) your own flyers to distribute to your target market.

If you're targeting a particular market and calling prospects would be helpful then you will need a cold-calling script. For some great tips visit

If you do go down the cold-calling route expect to have to approach prospects about 8 times before getting a "Yes" to your proposition.

Someone once told me that customers need to see us in at least 3 places to buy our services - so bear that in mind when you are planning your BD and marketing strategy.

If you want to try an advert in a local paper, start with something small and see the advice on my previous post called Small Business Coaching: Back-to-Basics Marketing relating to this.

When you do start advertising in your local paper do negotiate. For example, ask for 12 months advertising with 2 free months and then get this in writing.

Why not ask for an advertorial so you get to tell readers about your business. For example, outline successful examples of your business in action or come up with a case study as both work well in this type of marketing.

Is it necessary at this stage for you to have a website?

Many successful small businesses have no brochure or website and are just as successful by simply using business cards and word of mouth.

If you do want a website make sure it fits in with the type of business you are offering and then shop around for good website designers who are competent at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as this will help to ensure you site is visible on the first page of search results.

Business Development (BD) can be enjoyable and reap rewards if you focus on getting the basics right.

If you have found this blog to be useful please let me know or get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Small Business Coaching: Back-to-Basics Marketing

Marketing your business now surrounded by all of the economic doom and gloom is a great idea because your competitors will be cutting back on their marketing budgets.

Not only will it provide you with a clear field ahead of you, the cost of print, media and advertising space will also drop and be very negotiable on price.

Making a profit from advertising is about buying advertising space cheaply. For example, if you can halve the cost of an advert and double your response you have quadrupled your profits.

Here are 5 simple ideas to help you to make the most of your marketing and advertising campaigns:

  1. Remove white space, make your logo smaller and get more of your sales message into the advert
  2. Make the font smaller and close to that of the paper that you are advertising in. If you have a strong headline and sales message people will read it
  3. Focus the advert on your compelling offer and a call-to-action
  4. Offer more response option, for example, include your telephone number and website address. The more ways you give a customer a chance to respond, the more responses you will get
  5. Go for a small advert which is just a headline to entice your audience. For example, a benefit or a hint of a solution accompanied by a website address where you can give them the rest of your story

Every advert you put out there must give people a reason to respond. Aim to offer one specific thing, something they want and need and will respond to.

Let me know how you get on with this by responding to this blog and if you want help please get in touch via

Friday, 21 October 2011

Executive Coaching: Acquiring New Skills For New Roles and Challenges

I was inspired to write this blog post after a session with an executive client today who is in a new role with fresh challenges and needs to develop their skills to make the most out of this opportunity.

My client wanted to work on acquiring these new skills one-to-one because:
  1. There was no training course that offered her the specific skills she wanted in one programme
  2. She wanted an 'expert' to focus solely on her to speed up results
We discussed how we would use our 2 hours together by first focusing on what she would leave our session with for it to have been considered a success.

We developed a goal and objectives for the session which focused on skills for developing a productive team and addressing current conflicts.

For example, I shared with my client a tool for providing feedback which builds motivation, helps to develop staff and improve their performance.

We then chose to role-play using the tool in practice. First, I acted out her role for demonstration purposes and then she followed by acting out her own role.

This reminded me how well one-on-one coaching works for executives who acquiring new skills which are not always easily labelled or neatly boxed into a traditional training course.

Perhaps you can use this blog to practice new skills with a trusted colleague. Please let me know how you get on.

If you would like support in this or any other area of personal and career development please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Executive Coaching.

Monday, 17 October 2011

How To Be Happy: Enjoy The Simple Things In Life...

So you have set some goals and you are working on them but there is something missing...what happened to enjoying today, now, this moment?

So I am writing this blog to remind you to keep a list of the things that make you happy now - just ordinary everyday things which you may have overlooked for a period like the view from one of your rooms, sunshine, a great meal...

Think about what you already have - Even better list these things in a journal and keep going until you have a full list of all of your blessings.

If you find this hard, think about what you do not have and do not want. Add these to your blessings list.

You may notice that the acquisition of things brings happiness but this is ephemeral. Numerous studies have shown there is nothing sustainable about acquisition - even for high winning Lottery individuals.

There is also something researchers call the Hedonic Treadmill which is when you say "I will be happy when...I have lost weight / got married / started a family / got my face lift etc".

The trouble with this outlook is that once you get used to the next level of status you reach a new norm which in itself becomes unsatisfying - in essence more wants more.

Happiness is not a destination... it's a state of mind. So recognise what you have, smile, enjoy what you are doing today and at the end of the day write down what has gone well in your journal - small things do count.

After all, big events and achievements happen less often.

And remember that whilst it is great to have goals and action plans, it is most important to live in the moment as this is all we have. Life is fragile and short.

If you have found this blog to be useful please let me know and/or get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Relaxation By Yourself - A 10 Point Plan For Relaxing

You can read the following 'relaxation by yourself' instructions and after a few practices you will have your own in-built relaxation habit which you can use daily to reduce stress and anxiety.

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie on your bed. Ensure you will not be disturbed by other noises. If you become aware of sounds ignore them. Make sure the whole of your body is comfortably supported - including your arms, head and feet.
  2. Close your eyes. Feel the chair/bed supporting your whole body - your legs, your arms, your head. If you can feel any tension, begin to let it go like releasing a clenched fist. Take three slow and deep breaths, and let the tension begin to flow out imagining it like sand in an egg timer.
  3. Become aware of your head - notice how your forehead feels. Let any tension go and feel your forehead become smooth and wide. Let any tension go from around your eyes, your mouth, your cheeks and your jaw. Let your teeth part slightly and feel the tension go.
  4. Now focus on your neck - let the chair take the weight of your head and feel your neck relax. Now your head is feeling heavy. Let your shoulders lower gently down. Your shoulders are wider, your neck is longer.
  5. Notice how your body feels as you begin to relax.
  6. Be aware of your arms and your hands. Let them sink down into the chair. Now they are feeling heavy perhaps limp.
  7. Think about your back - from your neck to your hips. Let the tension go and feel yourself sinking down into the chair/bed. Let your hips, your legs and your feet relax and roll outwards. Notice the feeling of relaxation taking over.
  8. Think about your breathing - your abdomen gently rising and falling as you breathe. Let your next breath be a little deeper, a little slower.
  9. Now, you are feeling completely relaxed and heavy.…. lie still and concentrate on slow, rhythmic breathing….
  10. When you want to count back from 3 to 1 and open your eyes. Wiggle your fingers and toes, breathe deeply and stretch. Pause before gently rising.
If you have found this blog helpful and relaxing please leave your comments. If you, a friend or relative would like help with reducing their stress and anxiety please get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Managing Stress Through Helpful Questions

When you find yourself on the 'tipping point' of becoming stressed with all the dreadful feelings and behaviour that usually ensue STOP and take a deep breath.

Now, ask yourself the following questions (they work for me and I truly was a big stress-head!):
  1. What am I reacting to?
  2. What is it that I think is going to happen here?
  3. Is this fact?
  4. What's the worst (and best) that could happen? What's most likely to happen?
  5. What would I like to happen - my outcome?
  6. How helpful is it for me to think this way?
  7. Am I getting things out of proportion? 
  8. Is it worth it?
  9. How important is this really? How important will it be in a month's time? 
  10. What meaning am I giving this situation?
  11. Can I see that this meaning is inflexible?
  12. Am I overestimating the threat?
  13. Am I underestimating my ability to cope?
  14. Have I got my ‘stress-head’ on?
  15. What do I look like to other people? How am I affecting them?
  16. Am I mind-reading what others might be thinking?
  17. Am I believing I can predict the future?
  18. Is there another way of looking at this?
  19. What advice would I give someone else in this situation?
  20. Am I putting more pressure on myself?
  21. Just because I feel bad, doesn't mean things really are bad.
  22. Can I do things any differently here?
  23. How much can I control in this situation? What is outside of my control?
  24. What changes (however small) can I make to those things that I am able to control?
  25. What do I want or need from this person or situation? What do they want or need from me?  Is there a compromise?
  26. What would be the consequences of responding the way I usually do?
  27. Is there another way of dealing with this? 
  28. What would be the most helpful and effective action to take? (for me, for the situation, for the other person)
  29. What could I gain/lose?
  30. What will I do?
If this blog has been helpful then please do leave a comment. If you, a friend or relative would like support in managing your stress or anxiety please get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Stress Management

Do you ever think now 'I can't cope...this is too much' about work, personal or relationship issues?

Do you feel anxious, angry or depressed or perhaps all three?

Do you notice your heart racing, tense muscles, headaches, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, restlessness, irritable bowel, sleeping disturbances, eating more or less, drinking more alcohol, upset, shouting, arguing...?

The first step is to identify what is making you stressed and then you can then either remove the triggers or change your response to them.

Say for example, it's your career and you are stressed about possible redundancy and the financial implications of this.

In this case you are not in control of removing the trigger - the redundancy threat - but you are in control of how you to choose to view it. 

You can stress and feel sorry for yourself or you can take action by updating your CV and use your network to identify job opportunities.

No one is saying that life stresses are always easy to handle, however, there is often a solution if we stay calm and in control.

What tools are useful for staying calm and in control? Here are ones that I have used, some of which I continue to use:
  • Mindful extended breathing
  • Relaxation CD with progressive muscle relaxation
  • Focus fully on an activity
  • Pampering e.g. aromatherapy massage
  • Exercise - especially yoga
  • Help others
  • Be with others - i.e. your friends and family
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Have a regular enjoyable hobby, interest
  • Prioritise
  • Say no - Not for now
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings
  • Positive self-talk/affirmations e.g this is temporary and will pass
  • Healthy eating
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
One of my clients has each of the above tools written down on slips of paper in a box and each day she picks one out (like angel cards) to focus on.

I think that I know a bit about this because I used to stress about the smallest of hitches and now I definitely 'don't sweat the small stuff' or even bigger things that I cannot do anything about, for example, the economy, job security, impact on pension...

I do take action though when things don't go as I expect and I do make a plan. After all, we must recognise that worrying is futile. 

We are better off thinking about our outcome and planning a way forward.

So, if you are currently worried about losing your job update your CV, share it with your network and make a plan to find another employment opportunity.

We are currently working with a number of clients on helping them find a way forward following redundancy or helping them to prepare for redundancy. If this is you please get in touch via West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Changing Your Role in Life

Are you fed up with your current role in life, feel that the same things keep recurring and the same behaviours keep repeating themselves? 

You may have reached a point where you feel really uncomfortable - even desperate to change things?

Perhaps you have set some goals and taken some action but you haven't actually changed your deeper beliefs, rules for life and you feel incongruent - like you are living someone else's life almost.

Perhaps you have been doing it all for someone else to make them happy - a parent or spouse - to meet their expectations or what you think their expectations are.

For years my role in the script of my life ran along the lines of doing a job that would make my father proud of me and for years I felt like a square peg in a round hole.

'That's just stupid' I eventually thought. Perhaps you can relate?

I went through a transformation from old to new role in the script where I eventually felt that I was being my authentic self.

My old beliefs were that I would never be good enough - 'I will have to work really hard because I am not clever and on my own because I cannot rely on others, to prove to my Dad that I am good enough and lovable'.

My new beliefs are different - I am and always have been good enough and I can reach out for support whenever I want to.

I prioritise and balance my life so that I am working hard enough and I do something just for me every day - for me it's usually exercise and preparing a fresh meal that make me feel good.

Above all, I remind myself that I am doing good work helping others and that I earn my oxygen, that people respect me and that I am loved just as I am.

My new beliefs have given me peace of mind. 

So, what new beliefs can you start to have that will help you to change your role in your life?

  • Know that everything is happening for a reason and everything is as it should be even when you think this could not possibly be true. Believe it and ask for the strength and courage to be able to see it as true.

  • Aim to change the things you can, accept the things you cannot change and know the difference.

  • Stop beating yourself up for anything you feel you have 'failed at' - failure is only failure if you let it keep you down.

  • If you do things in life sometimes you will fail - learn from it and move on.

  • Be flexible and prepared to let go of the battle to have things your way all of the time.

  • Be honest about the depth of your anger or depression and take action that is helpful to your health and well-being.

  • Be kind to you. Know that we are all flawed, imperfect and spend some time getting to know the real you again - maybe go for a walk on your own at least once a week and do some soul searching.

  • Enjoy the journey, what is happening around you now - the sights, the sounds and enjoy the fact that you are alive, awake and here to experience life on your path at a lovely pace that is just right for you.

  • Expect obstacles on your path and curve balls will continue to be thrown. By expecting these problems you can handle them as best you can whilst still focusing on everything that you are grateful for.

  • Offer gratitude even when you want to do the opposite - moan, complain, cry. When you can connect with a true feeling of gratitude, even when you’re in the midst of massive pain it helps.

  • Find a form of meditation that works for you and aim to just be, letting any thoughts pass without analysis.

  • Let your new role evolve in a time that is appropriate for you - transformation can take years because it is a journey.

Please let me know your thoughts and feelings by writing a comment on this blog and please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling

Friday, 30 September 2011

Goal Setting, Goal Action and Goal Achievement

Have you set yourself a goal recently or some time ago but are struggling to achieve it? If so then this blog is for you.

If you have got as far as setting a goal then good for you as most people don't set goals - professional or personal.

However, a goal without action is more of a dream that you may or may not achieve.

A good starting point is to review your goal and check it is specific (i.e. it is what you want), measurable (otherwise how will you know when you have achieved it) achievable and realistic to you (be honest and challenge yourself on this one) as well as time-framed (when do you want it by).

The next step is taking action - this puts you in control of the outcome. So what is a good process for taking action?

The following is a good exercise which suits most people:

  1. Using Post-it notes brainstorm all the things that need to happen for you to achieve your goal with each separate action outlined on a different Post-it
  2. Put the Post-it notes into order - what needs to be done first, second and so on
  3. Date when each element is to be completed by
  4. You now have your key milestones. If you need to take further actions to achieve an action, take each of the milestones and start again i.e. brainstorm all the actions you need to carry out to achieve the first milestone and repeat the above 4 steps
  5. Put all dates and actions into your diary - aim to achieve a mini-goal every week
  6. Take action each day. Ask yourself: "What action could I do today that will help in some small way towards my goal?"

Taking action is a discipline or habit that you will quickly get used to if you follow this type of exercise.

You will also notice by being proactive you achieve your goals quicker than you otherwise would and you are  more likely to achieve your goal than by not taking action.

Let me know how you get on by writing a comment on this blog and - if you want to - please get in touch via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Increase Your Personal Effectiveness

Are you serious about increasing your personal effectiveness?

If you are then you want to get the right support to increase your results.

In September 2011 People Management (the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), Rob MacLachlan gives a book review for James Scouller's The Three Levels of Leadership.

The book discusses public actions leaders take in a group setting, their private actions as leaders in relation to individuals and personal and a leader's own psychological, moral and technical actions and its effect on behaviour.

MacLachlan rightly points out that the personal leadership aspect - acting confidently and without fear as a leader - is often the hardest part to master.

Scouller says 'we all have unconscious limiting beliefs and defensive behaviours which block our full potential, authentic expression and joy in our work'.

MacLachlan questions this whilst Scouller offers techniques for facilitating self-awareness and change 'whether it is realistic for the process of deep psycho-spiritual change to be navigated solely with the help of a book, however good'.

Maclachlan adds that 'few people would have the discipline or self-awareness to undertake (personal change) without a good executive coach, ideally with a psychotherapeutic training'.

I think it is very difficult - if not impossible - to be completely objective about your own stuff.

I have a coach without whom I doubt I would have made the personal changes I have made and continue to make in order to achieve my goals - personal, professional, contributional and financial.

A good coach who is able to help you to make changes will always facilitate your changes at a subconscious level and address the beliefs, values, distorted thinking and rules for life which are driving how you feel and what you and others see; your behaviours and particularly whether you appear confident, calm and without fear.

If you have found executive and personal coaching to be useful on your journey please comment on this blog or if you are serious about increasing your personal effectiveness as a leader please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 23 September 2011

For Peace of Mind

Perhaps the greatest wisdom I have come across is how to simply and easily achieve peace of mind by focusing on the present.

Yes, there is and will always be pain in this world but if we choose to focus on the negative consequences of pain and not on taking action to achieve the best possible outcome then we will be overcome with anxiety, anger or depression.

According to experts, when we are anxious, we lose intellectual control and our 7-year-old emotional mind takes over - Not great for resolving adult problems and issues.

From my previous blogs you will know that when we create negative thought patterns through negative introspection about the past - i.e. 'I should not have done x, I should have done y, I should have said x, I should not have said y' - or negatively forecasting the future - i.e.'That will not go well, I will fail, I will not have enough time etc.' - we become anxious because our minds do not distinguish between our thoughts and reality.

It makes sense then to think about happy memories when we reflect on the past and - when planning the future - if we choose to predict outcomes to predict positive ones.

This way we avoid anxiety and stay in intellectual control, behaving in a way synonymous with our real adult age.

I tell clients that if this is too difficult then avoid thinking about the past or - if possible - thinking about it 'being as it should be' and factually.

In terms of the future, by all means plan but avoid negative forecasting outcomes - 'If I start dating again I will get hurt again' or 'If I take on that project I will fail'.

By all means take action to mitigate getting hurt - by taking things slowly for example - or to prevent project failure such as proper planning and stakeholder consultation.

It's the same with negative thoughts - we all have them but if you are smart you won't analyse them because it's by analysing negative thoughts that we create anxiety.

This all leads to a really obvious idea that by focusing more on the present, being in the now and mindful, will create greater peace of mind than trying to master good mental habits in relation to the past and the future.

Generally, we do not worry about today. We worry about past actions and future behaviours and issues.

By imagining that you have only today, there is far less scope for angst. By all means plan tomorrow and leave it at that.

We are only ever truly alive in the present and we do not have a crystal ball. Most of the things we worry about never happen anyway.

So enjoy right now and - if you are not enjoying today - take steps to enjoy it more such as incorporating things you love doing into your day and - if possible - finding work that you do enjoy.

I hope that blog creates new insights and that whatever your situation you are able to incorporate some of these ideas into your daily life.

If you would like to know more please visit our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling and get in touch.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Are You Overcome By Negative Thoughts?

The truth is that we all have negative thoughts at least some of the time.

Our ancestors have dictated that our minds and more specifically our amygdalas are 'tuned' to be alert to the negative aspects of life - us, others and the world.

The salient point is how you react to your negative thoughts.

Most people seek help when they are overcome by their negative thoughts and 'cannot get peace'.

The truth is that by this stage the individual is analysing their negative thoughts and literally letting them be run by them.

The secret - odd and simultaneously simple it may seem - is to not analyse your these kinds of thoughts.

Through not analysing negative thoughts you are effectively not handing over your power to your negative vigilant subconscious and emotional mind which controls them.

How do you bring this about and stop yourself automatically getting sucked into analysing and being overcome by your negative thoughts?

A really simple technique which I and clients of mine have used is to imagine the negative thoughts passing by - rather like metaphorical clouds in your mind - with a comment such as 'Ah that's an interesting thought' without passing judgement on or analysing them in any way.

This takes away the 'negative' labels away from the thought and with it any alarming connotations and associations.

I read extensively on this subject and over time I have become absolutely convinced we can experience greater peace by taking control in this simple way.

Let me know how you get on by responding to this blog and please do let your friends and contacts know about our website - West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Cause and Effect

If you want to change your situation the starting point is taking responsibility for your where you are now and how you feel.

What is the outcome that you want?

We teach people how to treat us - so if your issue concerns a relationship perhaps you need to change your part of the script or role in the play.

We can either be at 'Cause' or 'Effect'. If at effect we say someone else or something else is responsible for how I am/feel/do/behave/my results/my situation.

If we are at cause we say I am responsible for my results/how I feel/do/behave. Which would you rather be?

If we want to be empowered we can choose to be at cause.

We cannot directly affect others' behaviour - that is usually outside our sphere of influence - but we can change our behaviour and indirectly influence them.

When I met Joan (name changed) she was not far from serving her husband with a divorce.

I asked Joan what her outcome was and if she still loved her husband. She said that she did and wanted to take some steps to save her marriage.

It transpired that her husband was away during the week on business and on Saturday night my client was tasked with holding dinner parties for his clients/potential clients/business associates.

Saturday nights had ran the same for the past year or so. Joan's husband would complain about aspects of the food/Joan's dress.

When guests left Joan would row with her husband, cry and he would sleep on the sofa.

I played back to Joan what she had shared with me and said it's rather like being in a play where the script does not change - he has his role and you have yours.

Who was the wise person who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting to get a different result.

I said to Joan that in order to achieve her outcome she would need to change her part of the script.

The next time I saw her she looked much happier and said: 'It was so hard but I changed my role in the script and it's helped'.

The Saturday after our session Joan had not shouted, screamed and cried when the guests left even though her husband had said 'that old thing' about her dress and criticised the food that she had spent all afternoon preparing.

Joan had sat down opposite him, looked him in the eye and said 'What I love about you are that you are a great dad to our daughter and a good provider for our family'.

I asked what his reaction was. She said he looked embarrassed. Why wouldn't he?

I asked what happened next. She said that for the first time in almost a year they shared the same bed and he held her.

Over the next months Joan's situation improved so much that her husband started complimenting her in front of friends/colleagues even adding 'How she has put up with having dinner party guests every single Saturday for as long as I can remember beats me' and 'I think we will have some time out and spend some weekends just the two of us'.

If you have found this blog useful, please leave your comments and if I can help you please do get in touch via West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Designing Your Preferred Future

Do you feel motivated by the prospect of designing your preferred future and want help to achieve this?

The starting point is conceiving your preferred future in a way which drives you to achieve it but how do you achieve this first step?

The answer is to transport yourself into your preferred future and see what you notice first.

This involves envisioning specific details - often small and sensory based - such as what you will see,  what you will feel and what you will hear when you get where you want to be.

You also want to design the following specifics at a number of levels:
  • At a behavioural level - What are you doing in your preferred future? Who will be there?
  • At a competence level - What skills, knowledge and experience will you have? (Yes - this can relate to personal stuff as well)
  • At an achievement level - What will your results be? Who will be benefiting from what you are doing?

As well as designing your future from your perspective, you can also shift your perspective to that of another - What would other people notice was different about the future you?

Ask yourself questions - such as 'What else?' - until you have exhausted the details and come up with alternatives which build upon your design for your future.

When you cannot think of any other questions you will know that you have exhausted your future design.

Now you get to the fun part......

Close your eyes and imagine you in your future design which you have just created.

Use all of your senses - if you can - and turn them up. Make the colours brighter and richer, the sounds more audible, the feelings stronger.

Why? For what purpose?

Using your senses builds your motivation. Imaging your future helps your mind to focus on its target and quite literally come up with ideas and options to help you to take steps to move towards your future design.

How did you get on? Please let me know or if you would like to book your complimentary 'Better Results Today' Session or visit our West of England Coaching and Counselling website.

Friday, 9 September 2011

How To Address Your Fears

Do you have a fear which you want to address that causes you negative emotions and make you feel bad on a semi-permanent or permanent basis?

Most people have something they are fearful of: whether physical - for example, spiders, confined spaces or flying - or emotional - for example, change or failing or not being good enough.

How can you best address these sorts of fears?

I think the starting point is to imagine what your life would be like if you did not have these fears.

What will you be doing then? How would others know that you no longer had the fear?

This is your outcome or goal - your 100% - although you may want to aim for 80% or 90%.

Also, what would be the pay-off - or pay-offs - of resolving your fear? With a strong driver for the change you want to make you increase your intent to take action.

Next, identify times when you do not have the fear and what you are doing then. You will be wanting to do more of this because it works well for you.

Now scale everything from 0% to 100% where you are now. If you are currently at 30% - what are you already doing to overcome your fear? This is something that you can build on.

What resources have you used to get to 30% and can any of these help you to move gradually from say 30% to 80%?

Typically, small steps work to help you to help yourself gradually overcome your fear and it's unrealistic to expect to move from 30% to 80% in a week.

Although some people achieve this, they often slip back into old ways having not had time to consolidate and get used to their new patterns of behaviour and turn them into new habits.

Techniques which work well as small steps include the following:
  • Extended breaths - Challenge yourself, how many of these can you take each day whenever you think of of your fear?
  • Exercise in the morning - A short walk helps to put a fear into perspective because being outside literally expands your perspective on things.
  • Be kind to yourself - The next time you are in a situation which you find uncomfortable talk to yourself in a kind tone and give yourself what you need.
  • Be responsible for how you feel - If you start to feel stressed, fearful or worried, see how quickly you can turn your feelings around by turning your attention to something else or by aiming to think about the fear differently. For example, if you are afraid of failing ask yourself what you can do to deliver your best piece of work.
  • Aim to just focus on today - Most fears come from negatively forecasting the future. We do want to plan ahead and we want to see things going well but if you find this difficult being more present in the now will help.
If you have found this useful please let us have your comments or if you would like help to address a fear please get in touch via our West of England Coaching and Counselling website.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Lose Weight And Keep It Off With Hypnotherapy

The most common personal goal I have come across professionally and personally is weight loss.

Losing weight is cognitively very hard with powerful 'feel good' food memories residing in your hippocampus.

Does your weight yo-yo, do you have 'good' weeks and 'bad' weeks and find you are either treating yourself or on a strict regime?

I use hypnotherapy to help clients travel an easier and more balanced journey towards their weight goals.

Contrary to popular belief hypnosis (trance) is not a sleep state and hypnotherapy is used to help you to make changes at a sub-conscious level - including how you see food and what it means to you.

We go into trance many times a day. For example, when we are focusing on a task and whilst relaxing.
Trance is a state of focused attention and is actually very pleasant.

For weight loss hypnotherapy I retrain your mind to create permanent maintainable healthy eating patterns.

We help you put an end to your battling in the war zone between 'good' and 'bad' food and make new associations to emotional triggers.

For example, one client now 'rewards' herself with non-food related treats which she enjoys and gets a serotonin (happy, coping chemical) high from without weight issues.

Typically it takes just 3-4 sessions to reprogramme eating habits - although some people need more than this if there are deeper issues.

In trance I help you to visualise your success - a technique which works very well for goal achievement including weight loss.

On top of this, I provide healthy directives which your subconscious has somehow lost the will to act upon for some time.

Ultimately your success will depend on practising the techniques which I share with you.

Experience also shows that a well-kept food diary works well for most people as do daily meditations and focusing on what you do want - to be healthy and well.

Please let me have your views on this blog and if you would like our help please get in touch via West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sleeping Problems?

A client visited me for the first time today and during discussions he revealed that he had not been sleeping properly for some time.

Why is not sleeping properly such an issue?

Whilst we may suffer little negative consequence from the odd sleepless night, over a period of time the negative consequences of sleeplessness will become apparent.

We all know people who are able to function well on less than the generally recommended average of 8 hours per night.

I think you'll agree that the gold test is whether you are able to function well during waking life after a lack of sleep. If not, you may need to take action.

Why is sleeping so important and what can I do to improve it?

In summation good sleep involves two types of sleep that alternate throughout the sleep period:
  • Regenerative Sleep
  • REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

During Regenerative Sleep we rest and restore so that we awake with energy to expend during our waking life.

During the REM Sleep we deal with problems through mataphors i.e. dreaming and resolve them so that 'we have the answers in the morning'. Hence the old addage 'sleep on it' i.e. the issue, problem or decision.

You do dream even if you do not remember them. However, some drugs will restrict or stop REM completely.

If we do not get enough sleep - your sleep needs are unique so apply the gold test above - both types of sleep will be impacted. If this goes on for some time you can run into difficulties.

What stops us from getting good sleep?

You may already know that caffeine in the afternoon / evening, eating a heavy meal or using technology before bed, being too hot or cold may impact your sleeping in a negative way.

Therefore, having a routine such as, going to bed at the same time and avoiding some or all of the above can help.

Other than the above key reasons, you may not be sleeping enough due to worries, problems, unresolved issues, fears, anxiety, stress, anger or depression.

If you are suffering from any one or more of the above your sleep may be negatively impacted to a greater or lesser degree.

If you are suffering from one or more of the above your 'stress bucket' is not being emptied and - left unaddressed - your performance during the day (e.g your productivity at work, relationships with others and your level of self-care) will all be impacted.

One of the best things you can do to restore your sleep is to relax immediately before bed (don't use the TV or work as this actually raises your stress levels) with a hot bath or listening to a relaxation CD.

If you have found this blog useful please leave a comment.

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