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.