Monday, 24 December 2012

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

This blog highlights the importance of emotional intelligence [EI] within your leadership styles.

If effective relationships are key to business success then emotional intelligence is key to effective relationships.

Strong leaders are assertive, with self-awareness, self-empathy and self-control as well as others aware able to detect and respond to the emotions of others. This is the essence of what emotional intelligence is about.

EI is developed through coaching to become a better leader, a more versatile leader and to develop a high performing team.

EI gives you awareness of your leadership style and helps you to develop new leadership styles.

EI helps you to get the best from your people and helps you to be more successful, achieving better outcomes.

EI helps you to motivate and inspire your people through the toughest changes and challenges.

In business as in sport strong performance and results is largely down to leadership.

If you are serious about becoming a better leader then getting to grips with your emotional intelligence is key.

If this blog has given you a useful steer then please leave a comment.

For help and support in developing your emotional intelligence please get in touch via

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Public Speaking - Fear to Confidence

If you are about to take on a role that will involve more public speaking or you have ongoing issues in this area, you are not alone.

Public speaking is growing and yet it is the work area that we fear the most.

This blog aims to help you to improve how you feel when preparing for and in delivery of your presentation.

The imagination is the rehearsal room for reality.

With this in mind, start by familiarising yourself with where you will be speaking.

See yourself in this environment standing in front of the audience and looking confident. For you this might be standing tall whilst tightening your solar plexus and with a slight smile. Experiment with different looks and how they make you feel in rehearsal.

Next picture yourself gaining eye contact with some of your audience as you deliver your introduction. Look one person in the eye and move on to the next. The awkward feeling of being watched stops when you are watching back.

Now picture individuals in the audience smiling and nodding in an encouraging way remembering all the time that they want you to be interesting, engaging and stimulating.

See yourself being yourself being authentic which will help you to gain your audience's trust quickly.

Whilst you are rehearsing and visualising you may notice that your heart beats faster, you may sweat or shake which means that adrenalin is being produced.

A way of fighting high adrenalin is movement so taking a brisk walk, clenching and unclenching your fists and stretching your facial muscles will help.

I think that some nerves are good - for your energy and the fact that you care which will come across.

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment.

For all of your business and life coaching support needs please contact us via

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Happiness For Pessimists

If you regard yourself as more pessimistic than optimistic and have felt that trying to be more cheerful rarely works then read on.

This short blog includes three key tips that will help you to move forward feeling acknowledged despite not being the naturally cheerful one.

Some studies have shown that self help affirmations involving the repetition of short phrases such as 'I am loveable' actually made the participants with low self-esteem feel worse.

The challenge for the more pessimistic person is to avoid negatively introspecting about the past and negatively forecasting the future.

Tip 1: Aim to focus more on today and enjoy what you are doing now whatever that is.

Tip 2: The other key behaviour is to put things in perspective. Will what is upsetting you now matter in a year's time?

Tip 3: Perhaps you could also tell yourself that when things don't always turn out well [which we can guarantee will happen sometimes] that you will have the resources to cope.

Perhaps you will start to work on your self-esteem or confidence so that you feel armed for difficulties.

No one experiences happiness all of the time as there are always downs as well as ups in life.

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

For all of your personal development coaching and counselling needs please get in touch via

Friday, 7 December 2012

Making Your New Start

If there is something acting as a wall stopping you from moving to a new phase in your life, please read on.

If you feel like you have failed in the past for any reason and are finding yourself stuck in a negative cycle then try a small step like saying yes to something you would normally say no to  such as a social event or project.

You can also try out other new things such as wearing or making something out of your usual way of being.

Perhaps travel somewhere new or have a new experience that will help you to gain a new reference point.

If you are stuck in the past and lamenting a lost past such as fulfilment at work or in a personal relationship, then you feel quite sad.

Symptoms may be over consuming such as shopping or drinking, dwelling on the past in conversation with yourself and others.

You may feel stalled with no new projects or no sense of growing in your significant relatonships.

You will benefit from focusing on today and being mindful could be your new habit something to investigate and become good at. Not only will this help free you from the past it will help you to feel what you want right now.

If you feel that life has dealt you a bad set of cards you may experience rage, mistrust and turning over events in your mind over and over again. This may be causing you to negatively forecast your future.

The next time you feel this way try distancing yourself somewhat from the past by imagining it were someone else's life, what they could learn from the past and what advice you might give them as a friend.

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

If you would like help and support in making a change in your life whether personal or professional or both [yes this can happen simultaneously!] then please get in touch via

Saturday, 1 December 2012

You'll Love Being Coached

I was reminded of the fantastic space that coaching affords us yesterday by one of my clients.

She was recalling her story before she started her coaching journey.

She said that she had felt so busy so and overwhelmed that she just wanted someone to offload onto.

She also said that she had been using her husband and friend and recognised that this was not ideal due to judgements being made, their inclination to advise/or the matters being too personal and private.

When I asked her what was the best benefit of being coached she surprised me.

She said that it was being exclusively listened to without agenda, judgement, own views, advise and in confidence.

I pressed for 'what else?'

She said that having someone who believes in me, that I can do what I want and be totally herself with all of the real emotions that a human being has.

Where else is that kind of resource available, she asked me?

Not often stuck for words, I was.

My own mother who I love dearly frequently interrupts me; my partner wants to help to problem solve and my friend will often make suggestions based on her own experience and preferences.

What about you?

Do you have someone who listens to you without agenda, judgement, without advising you that you trust not to disclose? Do they also ask you really good questions that help you to think differently? Do they seek to understand you by asking clarifying questions?

We want you to be coached so that you can live your best life.

Please leave a comment if you have found this blog to be useful.

For a business or personal coach please get in touch via

Monday, 26 November 2012

Leadership Coaching For You

If you are an executive either working for a small or large organisation or working for yourself then you will want to be continuously developing yourself professionally including how you lead yourself and others.

I am writing this blog to share with you my top five tips that can help you on your development journey in a way that leads you to better results.

1. Start by defining your DNA - who are you and what do you value? Precisely articulating what is important to you including what you want to achieve, when and how, will help you to build your trust in yourself and you will feel motivated.

2. Start to define challenging objectives that will stretch you out of your comfort zone into your learning zone and help you to grow - you will rise to the challenge and perhaps surprise yourself and be proud of yourself.

3. If you lack direction or want support on your journey recognise when coaching with a professional coach would be your best step forward to help you to achieve results that may not be possible alone, not least because we are never completely objective about ourselves.

4. As you learn along the way share what you acquire with your team and this will help you to achieve better team results. As leaders emerge use your best people to train and develop others which will also help with succession planning.

5. Know when you are winning and celebrate your successes - monitor achievements and measure against your objectives/business plan to ensure you are achieving your intended outcomes. Be transparent with yourself and your team and focus on delivering results.

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

We are passionate about getting you coached and living your best life.

We can help you if you get in touch by sharing the benefits to you of executive and leadership coaching at

Monday, 19 November 2012

Giving your staff Coaching is Powerful

If you have been thinking about developing your staff with performance coaching this blog is for you.

You know that recognition and reward in the workplace is important for staff performance improvement and retention.

In fact performance coaching for your staff has a positive impact for both your business and the individual in terms of business and individual performance and development.

Giving your key staff performance coaching has a positive impact on their motivation level because they feel valued and when they feel valued they are motivated to continue achieving results for you and them.

Having your key staff performance coached has a positive impact on their engagement which leads to improved performance levels and a better customer experience.

All of this will drive the profitability of your business.

How to achieve this in practice?

Step 1: Select a coach with proven successful results.

Step 2: Plan carefully - which of your staff will give the best gearing if coached in that their improved performance will positively impact the results of many others?

Step 3: Create a positive buzz by sharing the benefits of performance coaching with the staff that you have selected.

If this blog has helped you to make a decision about performance coaching please let us know.

To find out more about what coaching can do for your team do get in touch and experience a better work results today session yourself or discuss your required results with us so that we can help you to achieve them.

We can be contacted at

Friday, 16 November 2012

Are you as successful as you could be?

If you are looking to improve your results at work or home then do read on.

The truth is that we are all learning until the day we die.

What do you know about yourself or from feedback that you could do to improve your results at home and/or in your personal life?

You can start by making a short list through brainstorming.

Then prioritise your list.

What is the one area that your working on would have the largest impact on your results?

Once you have the priority key area you are ready to get to work.

What would be your ideal outcome in this area?

Aim to write this as a goal for example 'I am able to re-prioritise my work each week to spend time on activities that help me to reach my goals by 31.12.12'.

What can you do in the next month, week and day to take small steps to achieve your goal?

Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment.

For support and guidance please get in touch at

Friday, 9 November 2012

Looking for a Career that fulfils you?

If you want to find fulfilment in your work then this blog may help to channel your thinking.

Start by thinking about what your strengths are and what makes you feel good about life.

If you do not know the answer to this, what makes you feel alive, happy, positive and good about you it may be helpful to you to keep a diary fo ra few weeks.

At the end of each day, before bed, write down what the best things were that happened to you that day. Also record what you did not enjoy or were not so keen on.

After a few weeks reflect on what you have written. You may have been doing things that create negative emotions for you.

What can you do do you think to shift the balance in favour of those things that occupy your time that really work for you, that you are good at and enjoy.

Is there anything in your diary or otherwise that you were particularly moved by?

This might lead you towards your passion.

Perhaps changing your job right now might be difficult.

Try to focus on smaller things to start with that you can change such as spending more time with family or friends.

Also watch spontaneous reactions as thinking that the grass is greener can be as bad as staying in an unhappy work role and can result in continued frustration long after the initial feel good factor of leaving an unhappy job has lapsed.

What to do?

Research carefully and fully before you make the change.

Even better get some professional help with diagnosis, CV tailoring and cover letter scribing to increase your chances of fulfilment and success.

For all of your personal and professional coaching needs please get in touch at

Friday, 2 November 2012

How do you handle relationship conflict?

If you are interested in flexing your conflict handling muscle to improve your work and personal relationships then this blog is for you.

I seem to be working a lot with clients on this area of personal development in recent months.

An excellent tool for understanding your own conflict mode preferences is the Thomas-Kilmann instrument.

My thinking is that you will want to use each of the five modes highlighted in the instrument dependent on the situation.

For example, competing (forcing) your opinion and where you focus only on your concerns is best used where there is risk to health and safety; where your integrity/ethics may be compromised or where you are leading a group of assertive individuals and need to make a stand. The skills you require here are assertiveness and not being intimidated by others.

The second way of handling conflict is accommodating.This is where you concede your concerns and allow the other person to have it their way. This is best used where the matter in hand is far more useful to the other person than it is to you. It helps to build good faith for when you need your way.

Compromising is a useful conflict handling mode when you have little time to spare and the issue is important though not imperative to you. Each of you concede elements of what you want to arrive at a middle ground or compromise solution. The key skill required here is negotiation.

My personal favourite style is collaboration. This is best used for a challenging situation that requires thought and thoroughness to arrive at a decision. Both parties work to arrive at a higher solution that may bear no resemblance to the starting points of each other. The key skills required here are questioning and listening to get all concerns and issues on the table to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.

Sometimes avoiding is a conflict handling style that is more useful than the other four where you need to postpone a decision to acquire more information or where you consider someone else best placed to decide and own.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave me a message.

For all of your business and personal goals support please get in touch

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Career Change after disease

If you have recently recovered from a disease and are wanting a different life then this blog is for you.

It's often assumed by people that we will 'return to normal' when in fact that is rarely possible and yet your life can get better.

Having to make changes such as slowing down or acknowledging your true feelings will leave you wanting to do something new. Like Rebecca Loncraine who took up gliding after surviving breast cancer and now writes about her passion as well as giving talks about flying to organisations supporting people with cancer. Her ambition is to enjoy every day.

Experiencing and then recovering from serious disease is a wake-up call.

You may think about what caused or triggered your disease such as diet and other lifestyle factors such as your stress levels on a daily basis.

These considerations may well cause you to want to change your career and/or your relationships.

Survival from disease in particular makes you think about enjoying living in the moment more and so your values change. Old, unexamined values that anchor our identity in our daily lives and work, doing things out of habit that do not really matter to us, are thrown up in the air.

What values are important to you now? Do you want a role in the world that helps others more? Do you want more time with friends and family?

Some of my clients decided to leave a stressful job because they only realise how exhausted they had become when they crashed and burned out. Realising this helped them to reflect and see that life is too short to move around and around the mouse wheel.

You may want to make baby steps initially if you are cautious such as working less hours rather than a complete career change.

Disease makes you re-evaluate. Having contracted type 1 diabetes and hyperthyroidism in my late thirties I have personal experience of this. I understood that I was not immortal suddenly and thought what do I want to do now that has meaning for me?

A good question to help you to think about what you may want to do next is to explore when you are really happy. What are you passionate about? From your answers to this ideas about what you may want to do will come to you.

When is the right time?


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

If you would like help with your career transition please get in touch via

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Does your Work reflect your Values?

If your work does not reflect your values then you will highly likely feel demotivated and you will be performing at less than your potential.

For example, if your top value is health and your work allows you little time to eat right and take exercise then you will likely feel stressed and anxious.

What is important to you?

Brainstorm all of the things in your life that are important to you such as spending time with family and friends, money, recognition, learning and results.

Then prioritise your top five most important values.

Now take some time to consider which of your values are met by your work and which are not.

Where a value is not met by your current work think about what you could in your current role to meet the value.

For example, if a key value is learning and growth and is not currently being met, you might discuss taking on a particular project with your line manager which would provide you with new learning.

If your important values cannot be met in your current role, is there a role within your current organisation that could meet your most important values?

For example, if you want a role that involves less travel is there an internal role that you could move to which would satisfy this value?

If the answer to this question is no and the value is important to you, you may well want to explore other roles outside of your existing organisation that would meet your values.

Your values will highly likely change over time so this is an exercise worth repeating every time a significant change happens in your life such as growing a year older, having a child, experiencing a loss, moving house etc.

For all of your career coaching needs including managing work relationships better and managing projects and people better please get in touch via

Thursday, 11 October 2012

More on managing your career transition

If you are looking to change your career then this blog may provide you with some food for thought and action.

I have been coaching one client recently and this blog is dedicated to his experience.

We started with a diagnostic primarily using Myers Briggs Type Indicator with his best fir type being I, S, F, J.

The I preference refers to introversion and my client prefers to be driven by his internal world for example uses his past experiences to help him to tackle current challenges.

The S preference refers to him paying attention to the details in information.

The F preference refers to him making decisions based on his values and others values.

The J preference refers to him being structured and organised in the way he lives his life.

We used the diagnostic to help to arrive at a list of possible careers that would best match his personality and ensure that he was working towards being a 'round peg in a round hole'.

My client recognised that he had changed and what he valued had changed for example wanting to have more of a work life balance in particular not working weekends.

We narrowed the career options befitting his personality and values down to three.

We then focused on a cover letter and CV for each career option keeping the cover letters and CV very specific and tailored to the role.

My client is now in the process of proactively applying for positions and preparing for potential interviews.

He is feeling very positive that the application and interview process will give him further insight into which option is right at this time.

He is even thinking that one of the career options, property management, may become a side-line for him, something that he does as well as his substantive job.

If this blog has helped you then please leave a comment.

For all of your career coaching needs please contact us through

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Getting ready for a career change?

If you are wanting to make a change in your career then you will want to get your head in the right place.

There are a number of steps that you will want to focus upon in order to make the transition well.

1. Commit. Make a commitment and then share that commitment with somebody else. This will make you more accountable to your career goals.
2. Make a plan. Write a plan that is going to be best for you, which helps you to achieve what you want in the way that you want it. The more specific you are in your plan along with realistic time scales the better.
3. Do not wait for the 'right time.' I think it is important to recognise that there is never a perfect time to change your career rather like starting a family. Life is short...

4. Get in the right mindset.  Think about everything that you have to gain from making the career change such as the benefits to your life as a whole.

5. Be realistic. Think about how your life is right now, and what you can realistically achieve in terms of your career plan. That means considering all aspects of your life, including work and family responsibilities.

6. Know what motivates you and what you value. Ask yourself questions to determine what will help you meet your career goals. For example, "Do you need a reward at certain goals? These answers will help you formulate a plan that you can stick with.

7. Create a network for your career change. Who do you know who has changed their career and what advice do they have for you?

8. Use outside resources. If you are unsure of what to do in terms of where to start or relish the prospect of working with a supportive individual who has experience in the field then it is a good idea to use a coach.

Let us know how you get on and leave us a comment.

For all of your business and personal coaching and counselling needs please visit us at

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Are you Time Poor?

If you never seem to have enough hours in the day and feel stressed most days this blog is for you.

Take a step back.

What is your outcome?

What are you wanting to be, have, do?

Can you create a picture or a story board for what your 'best life' would look like?

What results are you getting then, in your professional and personal life?

There are three key areas to time planning

1. Setting goals and objectives - deciding what has to be done to achieve your 'best life' vision

2. Prioritising - deciding what order the activities should be done

3. Delegation - deciding who should complete the goals and objectives

Goals are broad statements of your desired results.

An objective helps you to achieve your goal, is specific, measurable and time bound.

To achieve an objective you have to complete an action plan of activities. The more valuable the activity to you achieving your objective the higher the priority.

If you are doing tasks that do not help you to achieve your objective, goal and vision then you have to question why you are doing it.

Taking tasks out of your day that do not help you to achieve your vision will help to give you more time.

Clearly there may be a transition period because you have some daily routines that you have to do for now. Is there some of your daily routine that you can delegate, even small things like emptying the bins, delegated to a child, may help.

However you need to be disciplined in moving away from low enjoyment tasks and towards higher enjoyment activities that help you to be, do and have what you want in your life.

If you find your time constantly interrupted - if it not urgent - do not allow the interruption. Tell them when you will see them and make a note of what it concerns. Be tough but also sensitive.

Some of my clients set times during the day when they can be interrupted; others hide when they have a set piece of work to do.

Do let me know if this blog has been useful to you and how.

For all of your business and life coaching needs please get in touch via

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Want to be more successful at work?

Do you want to feel more successful at work and get out of bed really looking forward to work?

When we lack the precise capabilities required to do our job well it can feel like pushing treacle uphill especially where there are people to be managed and tasks to get done on time and to the standards required by our customers, clients and other stakeholders.

Whether you are a new line manager or an established senior manager you will have gaps in your people management skills.

For example, you might be moving from a more administrative role to a management and influencing role.

Perhaps you need to establish an effective working relationship with a new direct report with whom there has been tension in the past or with a new line manager.

Perhaps you need to build your confidence and assertiveness in order to deliver results through others.

Your working environment has doubtless become more pressured and so prioritisation, delivery and your ability to influence have become crucial to your success and your feeling in control.

I think that it is only through your identifying your precise objectives and outputs that you can establish your precise input requirements ie what you need to be able to do to achieve them.

This is a good starting point for your self-coaching.

The likelihood is that this will indicate a number of interventions so that you can put the necessary inputs in place.

For example, to deliver results through others there may be a need for you to ensure that your diverse team runs harmoniously. Conflict resolution skills including different modes for handling conflict would be an example of an intervention to help you to achieve this objective.

Working with a good business coach can help you to pinpoint your precise requirements so that you can work on these specifics.

We tend to 'let ourselves off the hook' if we coach ourselves whereas having a supportive and challenging coach that will follow up your actions set often means that you will be stimulated to move forwards.

If you want to move forwards quicker and easier than you have experienced to date you could decide to attend an initial consultation with us which will get you started on your new brighter path.

For all of your business and career coaching needs please drop us an e mail or give us a call via

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Career Change?

If you are thinking about changing your career then this blog will provide you with some pointers.

Perhaps the first thing to ask yourself is what is driving your wanting a career change?

Ideally this will be something positive such as wanting to pursue a career area that has interested you for some time.

If the drivers are negative you may want to explore these issues further to see if they might be resolved such as a high workload. These drivers will likely exist in any role these days. In the case of a high workload, for example,  developing your skills in prioritisation, assertiveness and delegation may help.

Of course there may be other negative drivers that are significant enough and have occupied your mind for some time to lead you to the decision that you really do want to change your career.

Quite often you will be driven by a combination of positive and negative drivers such as wanting to use your best skills and talents whilst at the same time fulfilling a role say closer to home, where you have more autonomy about what you focus on, want to experience being your own boss and so on.

If you have decided to change careers and before attending careers coaching I would suggest that you think about and document the following:

1. What is driving me towards a career change? Note both positive drivers moving you towards other options/a specific career and negative drivers moving you away from your current career.

2. Consider transferable skills that you have in relation to your new path. For example, if you want to move from a role in teaching to a project management role, consider specific communication, organisation and time management skills critical to this role. This will need to be reflected in your personal statement.

3. Consider aspects of your current role that you enjoy and would want to maintain such as working with others/mainly alone, giving advice, helping others to develop. Again, these are positive experiences to take into a new role.

4. Consider your values. What specifically is important to you? For example, is work/life balance important to you and what would that look like? For example, length of commute, working day and level of pressures. Would you trade some salary for working less hours? Would you be prepared/able to return to college to study even on a part-time basis?

5. Consider areas of work that really interest you, that you have thought about or looked into. What type of organisation suits your personality? For example, you may prefer to work in a small team in a role that is highly structured, target driven and paid by results.

6. Is your CV updated, approximately two pages long and can it be tailored to specific job roles?

By answering these questions you can enter a careers meeting with a good chance of progressing more quickly into a new career.

For all of your career coaching support please get in touch via

Friday, 7 September 2012

Career Coach - How do I answer awkward interview questions?

If you have upcoming interview and want to answer those awkward interview questions well, this blog is for you.

The toughest questions often have us caught on the spot and often saying something that we later regret.

So what are those tough questions that make us feel awkward and how do we best answer them?

I think that one of the tough questions is what are your weaknesses?

Psychological research shows that interviewers are more likely to recall negative information, so this makes this question tough.

The best answers are weaknesses or 'development needs' that can be re framed into strengths in certain contexts such as attention to detail or frustration with others who do not share your motivation.

An alternative answer to this question could be referring to something that has a low impact on the role applied for such as no interests in accounts in a non-financial role.

Another tough question to answer is about gaps in your CV.

The best move here is to not leave gaps on your CV. They only draw attention to things that you might rather leave out. Aim to give a short honest answer that includes the learning and skills that you acquired during that time.

Another difficult question is why do you want to leave your current job and the best answer is again positive such as wanting a fresh challenge.

What are your salary expectations is a question that often alludes people at interview. For this research carefully what the top say 20% of people doing this role earn and how you can justify that. A good answer is 'I am being interviewed for posts paying £X.

It also pays to elicit your strengths in the eyes of people who know you well such as your friends and perhaps a trusted colleague or two. Align these to the key capabilities required in the role.

Please let me know how you get on.

If you would like help with your career move please get in touch via

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Networking for the Small Business Owner

If networking is not your thing and/or not working for you then this post is for you.

Are you daunted by the prospect of meeting new contacts for the first time?

I think most of us are at least initially somewhat nervous about the prospect of talking about ourselves and what we do to complete strangers.

So how do you know if someone is worth talking to and what tips are there for better networking?

From experience dressing for the occasion is quite important. For example smart is one thing but a suit may be too much for some events. It is possible to overdress and make you less approachable at an informal meeting for new businesses, for instance.

You may also want to have a drink to loosen up before speaking to people so that you can be relaxed and friendly which, like relaxed smart dress, can make you more approachable to others.

Aim to talk to as many people as you can in the time available having a structure to your conversation with a few helpful questions such as what is your business? how does it operate? what services do you buy in? who do you tend to network with?

Then think: can you help them in a way to showcase what you do? If you can help them out, even in a small way such as giving them some information, do it, as we tend to reap what we sow.

Even if you cannot see how someone can help grow your business now, they might in future and they might be able to refer you on.

If you have an interesting and relevant conversation with an individual you can suggest exchanging business cards.

Perhaps if there looks like a good mutual business opportunity such as one of you potentially serving the other or if there could be, then I think suggesting a coffee to talk about it further in a few days time, is a good idea to make progress.

Do let me know how you go and if you would like to undertake coaching to improve your networking and business development skills and psychology then please get in touch via

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ten Steps to Business Planning for Success

If you want a simple tried and tested method to business plan for success then this blog is for you.

At least once a year you will want to update your business plan to keep it relevant to your customer and market as things change.

By working through the following steps you will achieve maximum success for minimum investment.

Step 1: Define your mission, goals and positioning.  This is what you want to achieve and how you will go about achieving it.

Step 2: Define your values. This step sets the standards that your customers will come to judge you by.

Step 3: Define your ideal customer as precisely as possible. Know your ideal customer so well that they are immediately recognisable to you. This step is at the heart of your business plan.

Step 4: Develop your appropriate offer to present to your ideal customer. What is so important to your ideal customer? What do they need now and in future? What do they want now and in future?

Step 5: Define your pricing policy, fee structure and payment terms including any promotional policy such as a complimentary initial consultation to establish needs and build rapport. Ensure that your pricing and promotional activity is congruent to your positioning in the market and attractive to your ideal customer.

It is particularly imprtant to ensure that your pricing structure gives you sufficient margin to cover the overheads of your business and to trade profitably.

Step 6: Where will you present your offer to your customers? What are your channels to market? Make sure that you are where your customers are.

Step 7: Engage your customer through attraction, conversion, retention and referrals. What are you doing to attract customers? Where are you marketing? How are you marketing? What is your conversion strategy? What do you do to retain customers? What is your referral strategy?

Step 8: Keep your promises by giving your clients the best service and products/collateral available. What are you doing to ensure a consistently great value quality service?

Step 9: Planning and Controlling. What key metrics are you using to make good balanced decisions in line with your business needs and values?

Step 10: What infrastructure do you have in place to support your business? For example effective HR, legal, finance and IT to protect you from legal and compliance issues and to prepare you for future growth.

Let me know how you get on. For all of your business and personal goals support do get in touch via

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Do You Need More Time?

If you are juggling work and personal commitments and feel somewhat out of control then this blog may help you to feel like you have more time available and back in control again or more in control than ever.

This three point plan may help you to prioritise your diary tasks as well as give you some you time.

1. Step back to consider what you would like to be doing more of  - make a list of things that make you feel calm, happy, sane. For example, proper sleeping, going for a swim, reading or volunteering for a cause that you care about. Pick three to focus on.

Write down how you really spend your time, for a week. At the end of the week ask yourself - what am I glad that I spent time on? what could I avoid spending precious time on in future?

When I did this exercise it made me think that life is short and I ditched some timewasters for example, soap operas. I also reighned in a few time grabbers such as regularly checking e mail to disciplining myself to twice a day for responding to and e mailing out.

What distractions can you limit? Can you manage your boundaries better. One idea is to shut your door at home and work making it clear to others that you need to be left alone.

2. What can you stop doing? What can you take out?

For example, can you delegate jobs at home to your partner/children? What about at work? What can you outsource? House cleaning is obvious. If you think that this is a luxury what about cutting back on eating out/takeaways/other spending such as clothing. If you need more convincing calculate your hourly rate and compare that with the cost of a cleaner/ironer.

What about aiming for 'good enough', whether regarding friendships or work projects rather than trying to be perfect. For example, showing up at a friend's without the perfect gift or aiming for a good enough report which will probably be edited even if you feel frazzled making it perfect in your eyes before submitting it to your boss?

3. Now you are ready to reschedule your diary and include how you actually want to spend your energy.

What are your one or two non negotiables? You can scedule around these [rather than being a martyr and becoming resentful].

For example, eight hours sleep a night, three hours of exercise a week and a fun night out on a Friday.

Decide how to manage your time. I find that a rolling and updated monthly 'to do' list works well from which I pick weekly and daily tasks with onerous tasks interspersed by easier items. On a Friday I review what I have done and then pencil in the following week, taking account of existing commitments.

To keep on track there are some additional tips my clients have found to be useful:

- do some of what you are avoiding to feel less anxious

- break projects down into manageable chunks, say an hour and then take a break

- rest if you are tired to improve your productivity whilst awake

Research shows that the more time you make for you and the things and people that you care about most, the happier you will be.

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

For support with a work and/or personal goal please contact me through

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Stressful to calmer?

If you recognise that your stress levels are becoming a problem for you then please read on.

You know that stress is your adverse reaction to excessive pressures from you and/or others or other demands on you by you and/or others.

Do you need to be less of a perfectionist and work on being OK with being good enough?

Other areas to explore I think that may help you in developing a different reaction to thoughts and other people's demands of you are:

1. Can you label your thoughts as just thoughts and maybe think something else? Could this help you to lighten up a bit about the small stuff that you stress about?

2.Can you notice when you are stressed what the triggers are and either change where you are or how you react? How do you want to react? Can you practice doing just that. For example if your boss gives you too much work can you suggest that you prioritise the tasks set and agree timescales together?

3. Can you work on your communication skills so that you are assertive in expressing what you need with yourself and with others? Listen to what someone asks of you and say what you really can do and when by.

4. Can you admit to yourself that you may need to re balance your life so that you take responsibility in each area. For example, spend less time working so that you can take your share of the school run, rather than feeling stressed every time your partner asks you to?

5. Do you need to work on your decision making strategy so that you feel less stressed about making the wrong important decision? A good starting point for this is 'Edward de Bono's six thinking hats'.

6. Are you doing too much rather than delegating some tasks at home and at work? What could you delegate to feel less stressed? For example the cleaning and ironing which you do not enjoy and would rather spend the time doing something for you.

If you have found this to be useful to you then please leave a comment.

What works for you?

If you would like to work on this or any other area of your behaviour please contact me through

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Want to improve your results in work, in life?

If you have been struggling with moving forwards in work due to organisational change or in your life due to changes in personal circumstances such as a relationship break-up, then the following eight tips may help you.

1. Enjoy the now. Mindfulness is often cited as a help aid for you if you are feeling low. By focusing on what you see right now, what you hear right now, what you taste and smell right now you feel truly alive. Perhaps best of all focusing on what you are feeling right now and just accepting this, even if you feel stressed, helps you to calm down - it will pass.

2. Stop and become aware of your breathing for a few minutes - follow the gentle rise and fall of your breath without trying to control it.

3. Think about what you are grateful for each day - small things like the character of your pet or big things like your health.

4. When you are experiencing change in your life self-care is particularly important. Subconsciously we often do unkind things to our body and mind such as eating junk food and taking too much on. What have you done to care for yourself today? A walk, a healthy meal perhaps?

5. Look positively towards the future. Focus on 'am I doing my best for me and my family right now?' If not, decide to do it differently and take an action step each day towards this.

6. Trust yourself. Unexpected changes bring challenges that can leave you feeling anxious about your future. Life is all about change and nothing is permanent. Trust that you can handle and cope with anything that faces you and comes along expected or otherwise.

7. Rather than juggling lots of things, move flexibly - picture a tree with a strong trunk and roots that go deep into the ground, with branches and leaves that move. That means accepting change and keeping moving. This is a lot easier than juggling.

8. Aim for standards that are good enough, rather than perfect. Perfect employees, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, neighbours etc. do not exist. Focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be. Yes, you are human and you are flawed so sometimes you will make mistakes that you can learn from to guide your future actions.

If you find this blog useful please leave a comment.

For all of your personal development needs including career management please visit

Pam Madden is owner and director of West of England Coaching and Counselling

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Do you want to gain Insight?

If you are interested in improving your well-being and achieving inner peace then this blog is for you.

The key to your experiencing true joy I think is to step out of your brain's mental chatter and thinking.

Your circuitry is still there even if you feel that you have lost the ability to experience joy.

The following three tips can help you to develop your insight and your joy again.

1. Use your senses whenever you think of this blog to bring yourself into the present moment - what can I see? what can I hear? what do I feel? how do I feel to be here doing this? Notice smells and tastes to ground yourself in the now. How do you feel now? You can heighten this experience by noticing and paying attention to the gentle rise and fall of your breaths.

2. Drop your ego by focusing out on what is going on around you rather than introspecting and a shift in your perspective will occur. When we feel low we are often negatively introspecting about the past or negatively forecasting the future.

3. Know that your brain is elastic and malleable so when you do positive activities such as helping someone out you can expand the positive part of your mind.

Once you have practised these three tips for a fortnight let me know how you get on.

If you would like help and support in your life, your work, please get in touch with me through

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Do you have a big decision to make?

 If you have a big decision to make and would like some guidance or validation then this blog is for you.

I am finding in my practice that this is a key area of need for my clients on personal and professional levels.

Do you have a big decision to make that you have been putting off leaving you feeling that you are not being honest with yourself/others about what you want, who you are now.

Perhaps this is a career decision or a relationship decision.

Applying multiple perspectives to a decision will help you to make better decisions.

In my experience we tend to apply one or two perspectives and often neglect other angles and ways of looking at an issue.

Take the issue that you need to decide on, I think, and pay attention to each of the following perspectives:

1. Your experience of how you have handled similar issues previously - what can you learn from this?
2. The experience of others whom you trust in handling similar issues - what did they learn that they can share with you for you to consider and take into account?
3. Considering all of the options - brainstorm openly - what could you do? What are the pros and cons of each option?
4. Consider the wider implications of each option? Play each option through - what would be the likely result in each case? What would you gain? What would you lose?
5. What are the realities of your resources available to you? For example, financial considerations?
6. What are the facts? What do you actually know?
7. What is the logical solution and consequences of this hard though necessary decision?
8. What is the likely impact on individual people that will be impacted by the decision that you take?
9. Assess the issue in terms of your values [what is important to you?] and others values that you care about and are impacted?
10. What does your gut feel tell you to do?

Please let me know how you get on.

If you would like support to make your potentially life changing decision please do get in touch via

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Happiness Makeover?

Are you in need of a happiness makeover?

I am compelled to write this blog because whether your current priority is a business or personal imperative or both , how you feel inside will determine your results.

Of course, happiness is a nominalisation in that what makes one person happy is different to the next.

This blog is a short set of suggestions of how you can lift your happiness up a notch.

Start by thinking about your best day - what would you be doing?

When I did this exercise for myself recently I came up with - coaching clients, giving hypnotherapy, walking my dogs, spending time with my partner and friends, doing yoga, reading, meditating and sleeping.

What's yours?

Then you can scale where you are now 1-10 where 1 is low and 10 is your best hopes day.

Say you scored a 4 - what are you already doing that makes you happy and that you will want to keep doing?

What is one small thing that you can do today to move up to a 5 based on your best day list?

Perhaps set yourself an action step each week or month that will move you one point up the scale each time.

Happiness comes from how we react to events out of our control as well as how we spend our time.

Notice what you do when you behave in an angry, fearful, sad or guilty way.

Can you forgive, led go of grudges, smile, act calmly and keep the spring in your step?

Can you learn to accept yourself exactly as you are? Starting at this point will help you to move forward from solid foundations.

If you have found this blog to be useful to where you are in your life right now please leave a comment.

If you require support then please get in touch via

Can you lead your business like the British Army?

What can you learn from the ways of working in the British Army that will help you to improve the way you lead your business?

Why take advice on leadership from the British Army? Because for the British Army leadership is about success or failure - life or death.

Operational day to day leadership success is predicated, according to Major General Gerry Berragan CB [Director General for Personnel] speaking at HRD 2012 on 'How to develop great leaders', on well trained and highly motivated individuals operating as empowered teams, along with a lot of other teams to achieve a common purpose.

The British Army must grow their own leaders - they cannot go to the marketplace to buy in junior commanders - so developing leaders is core business.

The Director General went on to say that teams are their most cohesive where values are shared and trust is implicit. Leadership will thrive under these conditions.

The army's six core values are courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.

How do these values apply in your own business?

For example, do you have the courage to believe in yourself, develop new ideas and go out and get work?

Do you have the discipline to motivate yourself and structure each day so that you are spending your time doing what matters most?

Do you show respect for your customers and staff, communicating professionally and courteously at all times?

Do you have integrity to do what you say you will do?

Are you loyal to your customers?

Do you focus on the greater good through your business?

I hope that answering these questions helps you to think differently about what to do to move forwards with your business.

Please leave a response to this blog if helpful to you.

For all of your leadership and business coaching needs please visit us at

Friday, 6 July 2012

Do you want to improve your Leadership?

If you want to embark on a journey to develop your leadership style and skills or it has been suggested that you work on areas of your leadership approach then this blog is for you.

I think that the starting point is for you to do a good assessment of what specifically it is that you need to develop in terms of your leadership.

Leadership comprises many skills, several styles and approaches and you will want to hone in on and prioritise what it is that, realised, will have the biggest single positive impact on your performance.

For example, leadership skills include communicating an inspiring vision, influencing key stakeholders and building a high performing team.

Leadership styles are broadly either directive or participative ie you make the decisions or you allow others to make decisions with varying degrees of input from you. For example, if an individual has proven ability ie knowledge and successful completion of the task previously you can adopt a participative style to motivate the individual.

Four leadership approaches are directing, coaching, consulting and empowering.

Directing is clear instructions, specific what when and how with close follow up and you make the decisions.

Coaching is supportive, two-way, confidence building and you still make the decisions.

Consulting is discussing, with the individual making the decision and taking action.

Empowering is minimal follow up, the individual deciding and taking action.

Where are you already strong?

What are your leadership gaps?

Let me know how you get on.

If you would like support and or direction in addressing your leadership challenges please get in touch via

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Do you want to improve your business?

If you want to improve your business results then this blog is for you.

How your customers perceive you impacts your reputation, whether your customers continue to use you and whether they refer you also.

What are you doing to enhance your professional reputation?

For example do you have customer driven values that you and your staff live to each day, such as having a twenty four hour turnaround time for all service enquiries?

Your reputation is part of your unique selling point, what differentiates you from your competitors.

If you have a good reputation and this is something that you continue to build with your customers and other stakeholders such as your staff then your business will improve.

If you are not sure what to do to improve your reputation you may be at risk of damaging your business in the short and longer term.

To start with you can get some advice from an experienced consultant or business coach who can help you to develop in writing your business goals and objectives and help you to get a good return on your investment in business coaching.

This blog is an invitation to you to review your professional reputation by asking your customers and staff for their views.

Some of the feedback will be positive in response to 'what so we do well?' and if you have worded the feedback request well you will also invite views on 'what could we do better?'

Providing a response to the feedback providers is essential - what action are you taking as a result of their feedback?

For many of the issues you will be able to make the required actions happen.

There may be some areas where you would like the support and/or direction of an experienced business coach.

Please do let me know how you go and for all of your business coaching needs please visit

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Reviewing Your Life Goals

If it's a while since you took stock of your life and are ready to progress then this blog is for you.

If you think that there may be reasons for holding back on moving forwards in your life then you may want to start there.

Is what is holding you back something big that you need and want to tackle or something small that you need and want to let go of then talking this through with a counsellor is a first step.

Once you feel ready to move forwards here is a helpful framework for charting what you want.

Research and experience shows that when we write down our goals we are more likely to achieve them.

In your journal dedicate 5 pages to your LIFE REVIEW LIST.

At the top of page 1 write 'I will BE' - for example, kind, free, helpful. Underneath this write down some first steps to make this happen for you.

At the top of page 2 write 'I will DO' - for example, exercise, let go. laugh. Underneath this write down some first steps to make this happen for you.

At the top of page 3 write 'I will GIVE' - for example, advice, time, understanding. Underneath this write down some steps to make this happen for you.

At the top of page 4 write 'I will HAVE' - for example, fun, interests, supportive friendships. Underneath this write down some steps to make this happen for you.

At the top of page 5 write 'I NEED' - for example, excitement, variety, risk, to focus on right now. Underneath this write down some steps to make this happen for you.

Drawing up your life list is motivating because it allows us to see what we really want as a unique  individual and to take some initial steps that will make a difference and encourage us to keep moving forwards.

Please let me know how you get on with this exercise.

For all of your coaching and/or counselling needs and to achieve the results that you are looking for, please do get in touch through

Monday, 25 June 2012

Do you need to make a great speech?

If you need to make a great speech or give a great presentation  and are feeling shy or rather low in confidence then this blog is for you.

In business you will be called on regularly to speak in public for example to pitch to a new client, at a networking event or at the very least to present to your team.

In life you will be called upon to give a toast, a best man/woman's speech or to a group/team in your extra-curricular activities.

One of the most feared experiences is speaking in front of others and you may avoid these opportunities at all costs.

You may have had bad experiences in the past and always see yourself in the future shaking/going red/forgetting your words etc.

I personally used to hate it and at work would colour up in giving presentations to would-be clients as well as forget my words.

I had some coaching for this and was given a number of tips which I still use to this day and will share with you here.

Firstly, nerves are normal and good to get you to go, act and deliver.

You need to replace the negative forecasting such as forgetting what you are going to say, that you are not good enough and that everyone out there is smarter and better than you.

Think about what value you can give to your audience, what fun and what fun you can have doing it.

In essence focus on your audience rather than introspecting about you.

Tell yourself that you are there to give your audience the gift of your experience, knowledge and expertise.

Your audience want you to succeed.

Like anything the key to success is repetition. The more experience you get the easier it gets.

I always take some deep breaths as well prior to a big presentation which is calming.

There are some practical things too such as smiling, starting on time, dressing smartly, being yourself and finishing on time.

Preparing and practising are a must, as are silences to allow yourself and your audience time to think. Have a beginning, middle and end with a clear flow and a small number of key messages/stories to aid memory recall.

Making eye contact and using stories to make a point brings the subject to life, engages and builds rapport.

Keep your energy up and vary your tone.

Above all avoid tech talk which is boring and add humour without being a joke.

Let me know how you get on and if you want to invest some time honing your skills in this area it will pay dividends. Get in touch via

Friday, 22 June 2012

Do You Worry?

If you are a worrier then this very short blog is for you.

If something is troubling you do you ruminate on your worries about things past and in the future?

A really good technique for managing your worries is to allocate time in the day to worry say half an hour and if something plays on your mind outside that time, write it down and tell yourself that you will come back to it later.

This technique puts a boundary around something that is not helpful to you.

When it gets to your worry time get out your notebook.

On the left hand side of the page write down a list of your worries. In of itself this action moves your worries from your emotional mind into your intellectual mind helping to take some of the emotions from your worries leaving you feeling more in control.

On the right hand side write down possible solutions. This is a way of being proactive and doing something about your worries.

Aim to be realistic about possible solutions for example deadlines for doing the solution. You will often over estimate what you can do in a day and a week and often underestimate what you can do in a month or a year.

I hope that you do the exercise in this blog. Please let me know how you get on.

For all of your life challenges support needs please get in touch via

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Do you want greater wellbeing?

This blog shares with you some great tips for how to immediately increase your sense of well being.

The best goal for improving your sense of well being is mindfulness where you are aware of and responsive to the here and now.

You can cultivate this sense of well being through meditation.

You can cultivate this in other ways such as going for a walk and being aware of your breath, the smells on your walk, the sounds, through touching things en route, the sights and even the taste of the air.

Whilst on your walk you can think of five things that you are grateful for in that moment. For example, that you are able to walk at all, could be something that you are grateful for.

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, said that 'we walk ourselves into a state of wellbeing'.

Walking helps your breathing, boosts your circulation, tones your muscles and builds your bones. Your coordination and balance improve and a quick turn can burn as many calories as something that you would regards as a higher performing activity such as cycling.

Walking can work for you on many levels not just meeting your need or want to exercise.

You can choose a route that puts you in touch with the world. Is there a scenic route that you enjoy? Travelling by foot leads to awareness and you see much more this way than say jogging and cycling.

You can watch other people - the fast, the slow, people at ease and others looking down.

On your own you can daydream happily or plan or reflect on your day and often walking gives you creative ideas about what to do.

You can walk with someone and talk through goals, problems...

Even if you do not have much time you can incorporate walking into your working day by walking to work or during a break.

If you walk with the aim of increasing your well being and it helps you please let me know and do get in touch about your other wants and needs through

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Do You Put Things Off?

Do you put things off that you know would raise your self-esteem and happiness?

If so this blog will help you to get on with those things and feel better about yourself.

Firstly stop beating yourself up. It is common to put things off, changes that require some effort, at least initially. Why?

Usually due to negative forecasting such as 'I won't be any good at it'.

To get yourself into the right mindset where you want to do something you need to strengthen your intent.

We know intent. We may have said a thousand times 'I am going to lose weight'. Intent is when you say what you want and this time you mean it.

And here is the key. You can strengthen your intent any time you want to just by seeing your success as a real possibility.

Sit down, close your eyes and imagine a picture of yourself as you want to be. All the unwanted patterns of behaviour have stopped and everything in this picture is as you want....see it, feel it, experience it. Make the picture bigger, bolder, brighter and when you are feeling really good about yourself leave this picture in the mirror of your mind to serve as an attracting force...believe that you will get there with all your heart.

Your subconscious mind now knows what you want and it will come up with options and ideas to help you to get there.

Remember that if something is worth having it may take time so you may need to be more realistic about your expectations.

Wanting something now can leave you disillusioned that 'it hasn't worked' and stop bothering.

Find different things to appreciate about your journey e.g. enjoying walking in the fresh air  to lose weight or having made more time to focus on you.

Avoid over thinking - just do it as the Nike saying goes. You will feel better about yourself.

The key to your success is repetition. The more you do the exercsie in this blog the more successful you are likely to be.

Let me know how you get on and for all of your support needs either professional or personal please visit to work with a trusted authority in people development.

Paying Attention to You

Is your life journey feeding your soul?

By this I mean are you able to linger in something that makes you feel good about yourself that is not to do with the relentless routine business of life including making money?

You may be lucky enough to love your work - it is still work with demands and deadlines.

Do you pay attention to the most important element of your life - you?

Are you living your life according to your values, what is important to you, such as helping others?

When was the last time that you reflected on what makes my heart light and me feel happy?

What is your meaning?

Who are you and are you being that person?

You are by virtue of being human a creative person whether in a practical way or in a more intellectual way.

Whatever your talents I would encourage you to express them, absorbing and losing yourself in something that gives you meaning.

For me I find real meaning in helping people to change their thinking, their behaviour to give them better results in life - the worrisome and under-confident executive, the warring couple, the individual at a cross-roads in their career - I face these individuals and others like them through my interior life to provide the right words at the right time in the right way so that they can move forward with their fresh insights and perspectives.

What is your passion?

You may be working at it or it might be a hobby?

To have a passion is to have a creative force that guides and steers your life and keep you at a vantage point from which the best opportunities in life are seen and available to you.

Having this internal guide sets you apart from those just going through the habitual routines of daily living.

Perhaps you will take some time this week to ask yourself who are you that is not a machine going through your routines?

What feeds your soul? Is it cooking, acting, writing, making clothes?

Whatever your passion that is perfect for you.

If you have found this blog to be useful please share your thoughts/feelings.

For all of your goals, objectives, results support needs, please get in touch with us via

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Perspective and You

This blog is all about gaining perspective so if you feel that your life seems a constant emergency then this is for you.

Richard Carlson's self-help book tells us to 'not sweat the small stuff' and you know that a lot of what you sweat about is small stuff.

Spending too much time and energy on problems can inflate their importance.

Psychologically spending too much time on problems often feeds those problems and keeps them alive as problems.

If you make a firm choice about the direction in which you want to go your own subconscious mind will do its homework and feed you with possible options for your problems and worries.

Quite often you do not need a solution, rather a sense of perspective.

A good question to ask yourself to determine whether it is small stuff or something worthy of your time and energy is 'how much will this really matter a year from now?'

My philosophy is that we will always have problems with the skill being to focus on the big stuff and keep the small stuff in perspective.

Are you creating your own emergencies sometimes?

Clearly you are right and human to be blindsided by bereavement or some other sudden shock which take time to move on from.

Carlson writes 'true happiness comes not when we get rid of all our problems but when we change our relationship to them'.

What 3 key lessons can you learn from to get more perspective?

1. Practice being patient - by resolving not to get wound up by what happens you will strengthen your perspective muscle.

2. The world is full of people who think that they are right but does it really matter? By resisting the urge to correct people egos won't need so much defending and fewer conflicts will occur.

3. Practice ditching your own ego - this one is really helpful because when we don't take things personally we are freer and can enjoy the day.

Please let me know how you get on and if you want help and support on this or any other aspect of your work or personal life please do get in touch via

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Can You Switch Off?

Switching off from your technology and allowing daydreaming is essential for your well being and inducing a sense of calm.

Daydreaming, just being, listening to a relaxation CD allow you time for subconscious reflection and contemplation.

Technology is not bad for you.

Technology is not great when it comes to your thinking.

For example, you may find that writing your ideas in a notebook makes your ideas yours and in your handwriting.

This also allows you time to work at your own real pace rather than through accessing multiple information sources.

What technology cannot provide you with is pen and paper creative thinking, a walk in the countryside, contemplation...

Our brains need to switch off sometimes, to 'clear out the clutter' to make room for the current imperatives in your life.

If you find it difficult to switch off and are experiencing some stress in your life think about committing to one of the ideas in this blog to help you, or something else...

If you would like help and support with your needs please do get in touch via

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Do you want to achieve your Goals?

Do you know that effective coaching massively increases your ability to achieve your goals?

An effective coach will help you to reach a specific goal or improve certain skills that you need/want in your professional and/or personal life.

Effective Coaches provide structure, collateral, inspiration, motivation, and guidance for turning your ideas and options into reality.

Really effective Coaches assist clients in working through any mental and emotional blocks and barriers to achieving their goals.

Effective Coaches are usually trained themselves in specific skills, models, techniques, tools and best practices for helping others improve performance and get results.

We are by our natures all goal driven and the journey as well as the achievement of our goals is a key determinant in raising our self-esteem and confidence.

If you are serious about achieving your goals and realise that life is so short that you want to get going, please get in touch with us at to start working with a coach today. We think you'll be impressed with your results.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Your Presence and Your Dress

Do you notice that when you dress in the morning that the mood you are in can influence what you pick from your wardrobe?

You might choose something loose fitting if you feel bloated or something grey if you want to disappear into the background.

On the other hand you may choose a bright tie or shirt if you are feeling good.

You may already know that what you wear can change how you feel which influences how you behave.

Literally wearing something bright can make you behave in a more positive way than wearing something dull.

Now, due to a process called Enclothed Cognition, we know that what you wear can also change how you think.

Researchers from Northwestern University in America found that people who wore white lab coats which are synonymous with scientists and imply attention to detail performed better on tests than those not wearing white lab coats and were instead donning their own clothes.

In fact they did better than those who were wearing similar white coats that they had been told belonged to painters.

Have you found that when you are wearing something smart you feel more confident?

Wearing a business suit when you have an important meeting might not only make you feel and look business- like but think in a business-like manner also.

Let me know your thoughts.

For all of your self-esteem, confidence and personal branding coaching and counselling needs please visit

Friday, 25 May 2012

Addressing Your Negative Emotions

Are you emotional in certain situations when you would prefer to be calm?

Do you sometimes suppress your feelings and move on to the next problem and perhaps feel bitter and annoyed with people when you really want to be more tolerant?

Do you experience anger, fear or low confidence and self-esteem?

Have you not had much permission in life to express your feelings?

Discussing your answers to these questions and others that you can think of now with an experienced professional coach and counsellor is a great way to express and process toxic or uncomfortable emotions in a safe, compassionate environment.

Gong on this journey can also help you to reframe your experiences by exploring times in the past where you have felt vulnerable or unlucky. You can literally learn to see things differently and hear more positive thoughts inside your mind.

A good experienced professional coach and counsellor will provide you with tools and techniques suited to your way of thinking which you can use and apply to help you in difficult situations.

As long as you are flexible and open to change behaviours that are not working for you, you can take this step forward and positively influence your future.

Being emotional sometimes is a good idea. Working on your self-development will help you to have a more authentic emotional repertoire.

One very practical action that you can take is to increase your exercise - make it something that you enjoy - to boost your body's feel good endorphins and reduce tension. What can you see yourself enoying?

To learn more about how your mind works including the latest findings from neuroscience, why not book a complimentary initial consultation with me?

You will also learn how to 'reprogramme' your thinking for better results at work and in your personal life.

We can be contacted through;on 01761 237400 and me directly -

Saturday, 19 May 2012

What have you done for you lately?

Are you Kind to yourself?

Do you spend time and money on your development?

Research shows that the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you are in your relationships.

People who lack self-compassion are likely more controlling in relationships.

If you accept yourself as imperfect the more inclined you are to accept limitations in others.

When you do not rely on others to meet all of your emotional needs and can meet many of your own, you are also likely to have more emotional resources to offer to others.

So what can you do for yourself.

You can start by forgiving yourself of your limitations whilst at the same time being grateful for your strengths.

Keep a journal to record what comes up and ask others who know you well for their feedback such as a work colleague and family.

You can also develop some beliefs that you rehearse regularly such as 'I am a kind person who helps others when they need it so I reward myself with a regular massage'.

You can also challenge negative beliefs that you ruminate on such as 'I am not good enough' and replace them with beliefs that are kinder and specific such as 'people tell me that I am a really good listener'.

You can go one step further and ensure that your job makes you feel good about yourself by drawing on your strengths.'

Self-development takes many forms. Ask yourself 'how would I like to develop myself over the next 12 months?'

Would you like to learn to speak a foreign language, for example?

Learning something new is great for your self-esteem as well as a way of being kind to you.

When was the last time if ever that you asked your boss if you could develop your skills by working with a coach?

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

For all of your personal development support needs, please get in touch via www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling' where you may also choose to sign up for a complimentary coaching session.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Your Personal Brand?

Do you have a well developed targeted Personal Brand?

Having developed your key goals and objectives, have you developed your personal brand to help you to influence your stakeholders ie those that can impact and influence whether you achieve your key goals and objectives?

I was speaking about Personal Brand this morning to members of the CIPR, the UK's biggest and most respected PR network.

So what is a Personal Brand?

Put simply this is your story communicated in a way that is positive and helps your listener/audience/stakeholder remember you in a postitive way.

How do you go about creating your Personal Brand?

3 key steps

1. Start with self-analysis - brainstorm what it is that is unique about you, in relation to the person/group you area aiming to influence. E.g. your sales force, your finding a partner, your prospective customers or clients

Tip: Be honest. Inauthenticity is difficult to sustain and people can detect it a mile off

2. Get feedback from people who know you well - what are your signature strengths?

Tip: It is useful to get multiple perspectives so that you can spot patterns in what differentiates you/where you add most value

Tip: It helps to elicit development areas too so that you can work on these

3. Your image is part of your personal brand - what kind of image is associated with the personal brand that you are aiming to develop

How can you apply your Personal Brand?

Having a positive personal brand has true commercial impact so it helps you to get work and retain clients.

Meeting new people at seminars, conferences and other network events gives you the opportunity to share your personal brand and raise your confidence in yourself and who you are, what you are about.

Do remember that how you relate to others is a key part of your personal brand. This is a key area for the coaching that I do with managers and leaders in organisations.

Let me know how you get on with this and do get in touch if you would like help with this or another area of your work and/or personal life by contacting me at

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Coach Yourself Approach

Do you want to explore coaching yourself before deciding whether to use an accredited Coach?

A starting point is to think about your attitude towards your past, present and future.

Answering questions such as 'what have I achieved in the past?' 'what do I want to achieve in the future?' and also 'what do I want to achieve today?' all help to strike a balance in time and they all impact each other.

Exploring your beliefs, talents and values plus your key relationships will also help you to frame where you have been and where you want to go.

What are your core beliefs about yourself?

For example, I believe in myself and my capability to help others to resolve their issues.

What are your core beliefs about others?

What are your core beliefs about the world?

What are your values? IE what is important to you that you want to do, be and have in your world?

From this self-analysis you can identify possibilities, your choices and what you want to achieve in your life next.

You will need to draw on practicalities such as your resources available.

If you have found this short exercise to be useful to you please let me know.

If you would like some support in moving forwards in your life, please get in touch via

Monday, 7 May 2012

What leads to your success in life?

Are you interested in leading your successful life?

Who is not interested in leading a successful life I hear you ask?

Well if you are then please read this short blog.

As Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings expressed "I do not like adventures because they make me late for dinner" what do you think he was communicating about his way of life?

When we express our own generalised comments like Bilbo we unconsciously reveal our own philosophies on life which dictate how we think, how we feel and the results we achieve.

If our philosophy is negative such as 'I won't/don't/can't/should/shouldn't, mustn't' then we can be sure that our philosophy will limit our outcomes in life.

You can spend some time now exploring your personal philosophy - is is helpful or is it unhelpful?

If it is unhelpful it won't help you through the tough challenges that life brings and you may be preventing yourself from accessing the gifts in life.

What is a good philosophy in life for you?

What philosophy will help you to connect to the right people and resources so that you can really enjoy your life?

If you have a go at this exercise please let me know how you get on.

If you want help with this or for any other issue you may have, please visit us at

Saturday, 5 May 2012

How to progress as a Business Leader

Are you clear about what you are trying to achieve in your role as a business leader?

I recently asked a client of mine where their revenue target had come from. No one in the executive team knew where the figure had come from or why it should be at that level.

I became curious about whether they could be confident about meeting their target and if it really mattered and if they would be better focusing on the intractable problems which were limiting staff motivation and productivity and ultimately working against any financial target set.

Employees do not go to work motivated to meet a financial target and certainly not one that has no rationale.

Employees are motivated and inspired by a compelling ambition within which they have a clear role.

Few leadership teams talk together about what they want to achieve for the organisation and why. Without a clear purpose the job of leadership is just hard work.

All organisations need business plans and targets but these do not move the organisation forward.

Also much time has been wasted by many leaders developing missions and visions that provoke cynicism amongst those they are intended to inspire.

Research shows that leadership teams that discuss what they are aiming for are the ones that generate truly exceptional results. They discuss what they want to leave as a legacy - what will it be like to work here when we have achieved our ambition? What will people actually be doing that's different from now?

These conversations start with each member of the leadership team articulating the legacy that they want to leave behind.

In doing so, they bring forward and harness the deepest motivations of each leader.

During these discussions leaders develop a set of criteria to apply to decision making so that the day to day focus is complemented by an awareness of what it will take to transform the organisation and it’s results.

Such rigour results in clear and inspiring messages to take to the rest of the organisation, providing more understanding, commitment, trust and stronger alignment to the organisation.

What about your legacy?

What would make your time in your current role worth the vast commitment of your energy, resources and time?

Do you know the answers to these questions for each of the other members of your team?

Imagine how much energy and creativity would be unleashed if you did. What sort of impact might this might have on your results?

Please leave a comment or if you would like help in moving your business/team forward, please get in touch via

Friday, 27 April 2012

Business Coaching - Sales Growth anyone?

If you are reading this then you are probably a business owner and therefore interested in sales growth.

Are you interested in doing one easy thing to increase your sales quite quickly?

This blog is really aimed at business owners with a workforce.

In working with a number of business owners recently one intervention keeps yielding increased staff productivity and sales.

That intervention is engaging with your people.

How do you do that?

All employees want to know what the organisation goals are and to have those goals clearly aligned with theirs.

For example if your business vision and goal is to be the restaurant of choice in your area and increase your sales by 50% in the next 12 months then you might agree with your head chef that his/her goal is to devise an updated menu to meet the needs of the residents in the area.

From this goal your head chef may then get to thinking 'I will do my research and find out what people's preferences are and what would cause them to visit us twice as often'.

High performing businesses comprise individuals whose goals and objectives and actions are aligned with the business goals, know what is expected of them and what to do to achieve those expectations.

High performing business leaders know that by engaging staff in what they are doing they increase their productivity and increase the business sales.

Are your staff clear on your goals and objectives, are they clear on their specific role in helping to achieve that? Have they been involved in writing their job descriptions?

Whatever path this blog leads you down please let us know by leaving a comment.

For all of your business development support needs please get in touch via

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Your Life with Goals

Do you want to increase your level of happiness and enjoy your life more?

By doing things you enjoy and helping others you are likely to achieve an optimum level of happiness.

No-one is happy all of the time though optimum happiness is a great place to be.

We are by our very nature goal driven which helps with our motivation, energy, drive and purpose in life.

What I am advocating is that you set yourself two or three goals that focus on what you enjoy and helping others.

According to the athlete Roger Black the joy of goals is not the moment you get there but the struggle through the good and bad times.

Black also said that if you have passion you will always get through the bad times.

If increasing your happiness is at least partly down to doing what you enjoy and helping others then it makes sense to set goals in these areas. As Black purports "people must have an idea of the destination they want to reach or they will not go anywhere" so goal setting is as crucial in life, as in business, as in sport.

Here's your exercise for this blog.

Q1. What do you enjoying doing at work? E.g. selling my services to people

Q2. What do you enjoy doing personally and in your social life? E.g. sailing club and holidays

Q3. What do you want to help others with? E.g a charity that you are passionate about

Now your task is to set three goals for the next twelve months, one for each of your responses to the three questions.

Remember that the more SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound] you are in your goal setting the more likely you are to have the clarity and motivation to actually achieve your goals.

Please let me know how you get on with this exercise and if you would like help in 'going for gold' to achieve a happier life for yourself please get in touch via www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or call 01761 237400 today.