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