There are many areas that influence coaching styles, the development of talent, reflective practices and behavioural change. I have explored a few here but please do get in touch to discuss how specific approaches may help to achieve your own goals and ambitions.
A coaching relationship allows you to write your own story, to decide what success looks like for you, both individually and as part of an organisation, and to enjoy full support and encouragement in achieving it.
Working with a coach who believes in you
I work with clients who want to bring their best to and get the most from their life both at work and at play and the first step in coaching is to design a clear and tangible picture of what that looks like for you. Having emerged from the field of sports, been adopted, transformed and developed first in business and then in the area of self-development, the basis of coaching lies in the principle of empowering people by facilitating independent learning, personal growth and improved performance. So whether you're at a turning point in your life or have a specific area you would like to perform better in, working with a coach who believes in you, your aims and your ambitions can give you the focus, clarity, and motivation succeed.
Focus on areas specific to your needs
Coaching can lead in many different directions – from improving self confidence, making stronger decisions, improving relationships and communication skills to exploring overall drive and motivation. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and making the most of your time are also areas which can have a considerable impact on how you turn up, how successful you are and how much enjoyment you get from what you are doing.
Empower and Support
My role as your coach is to empower and support you to move from where you are now to where you want to be. In order to do this I am interested in understanding what is truly important to you – what makes you tick and what you really want from life. I am 100% committed to the success of each and every client and seek to facilitate in you heightened awareness and responsibility, the ability to set and achieve strong goals, to see failure as an opportunity to learn, to recognise choice in every situation and to generate options to move forward.
A Safe Environment
Coaching is non-judgmental and provides you with a safe environment in which to express and explore your dreams and ambitions; doubts and fears; strengths and weaknesses. The process is completely confidential and adheres to a strict Code of Conduct.
A bumpy ride worth the effort
Coaching is rarely a smooth ride; it holds up a mirror to how things really are and compares it to how you would like them to be. It challenges you to constantly expand your comfort zone, to find the courage to change or take the action that will move you forward. It is however also supportive and inspiring and takes great delight in witnessing success far beyond what you dared believe possible.
Modelling excellence to make change simple
Neuro Linguistic Processing [NLP] is based on modelling excellence in people who have achieved something remarkable in a specific context, working out the essential strategies they use and refining them to their most basic state – in NLP terms identifying ‘the difference that makes the difference’. These essential elements can then be shared with others to help improve performance in similar or associated areas.
This may feel like a common concept in these days of computers and coding, yet NLP requires a working knowledge of the brain, intuitive and anecdotal in the pioneering days, and now bourn out by recent Neuro-science research.
How we take in information from the world around us is influenced heavily by our previous experiences which in turn impacts our thoughts – how we 're-present' the information to our brain - and in turn our feelings and resulting behaviour.
In coaching, many people seek to change certain behaviours. Using NLP tools and techniques to explore their associated or habitual thought patterns and feelings makes designing this change far simpler and certainly gives it the opportunity to be longer lasting.
I am particularly aligned with incorporating NLP strategies and approaches into my coaching as it is in essence like tapping into the remarkable achievements of our fellow human beings – some of them geniuses in their field, some with unconscious habits that happen to work well, and occasionally simply acknowledging the best version of ourselves in a different context.
Human beings are amazing creatures and taking the time to study how we function at our very best provides us with much of the information we need to excel, to be happy and to shape our world for a prosperous future.
EQ, The Foundation For Inspiring Leadership and Outstanding Performance?
“Research shows convincingly that EQ is more important than IQ in almost every role …..” Stephen Covey
As a musician I have often found myself alongside people who have outstanding musical and technical skills but struggle to deal or interact well with other human beings. In the past this may have been forgiven ‘in the name of great artistry’ but now proves no more acceptable in the Arts than in the corporate or business world. Those who have been promoted to positions of leadership because of considerable technical skills are not allowed to become the ‘brilliant if somewhat challenging’ boss any more than the modern workforce will tolerate a command-and-control style of leadership.
Instead, a more transformational style of leadership is preferred to the increasingly out-dated transactional style. These modern leaders display qualities of optimism, adaptability and self-confidence to create vision and drive alongside being excellent communicators and being able to build strong relationships both inside and outside the business. They are aware of the impact their own behaviour and presence has on those around them and seek always to inspire and empower rather than tell and do.
Why it matters
Since the publication in 1995 of Dan Goleman’s book 'Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ’ the concept of developing emotional intelligence has quickly become mainstream. It can provide a framework for developing inspirational and visionary leadership as well as providing a platform for leveraging high levels of technical and business expertise throughout an organisation.
A useful coaching model
All models of EQ are built on a basic foundation of inner focus – knowing ourselves, our emotions and how to manage them; outer focus – how we interact with the world around us; and other focus – the ability to grasp the emotional basis of others’ experience. I particularly enjoy the ease with which the Emotional Capital Report provides within its framework 10 competencies or building blocks that are easily understood, related to and able to be applied in individual contexts. It can fast track a coaching conversation towards recognising and leveraging strengths whilst developing areas of weakness and facing blind spots.
A springboard to success
As a coach I certainly recognise the benefits of a well developed emotional intelligence and am greatly encouraged at how the simple addition of key EQ skills to technical and business knowledge can be the springboard from which these flourish.
Recommended Reading & Resources
Emotional Capitalists, The New Leaders  – Martyn Newman PhD
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Then IQ  – Daniel Goleman
The Emotional Capital Reports: well researched and substantiated EQ measurement and development tool
“Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally” ….Jon Kabat Zinn
“A particular way of being, doing, and non-doing; of paying attention in and to the present moment, with non-judgement, curiosity and compassion” …… Hall 2013
Being in the present moment
How often have we driven somewhere and realised once we arrived that we have been driving on autopilot? Our minds full of distracting thoughts that take us away from the present moment and what we are actually doing? Research has found that our minds tend to wander regardless of the activity* and also notes that we are actually less happy when this happens. It concludes that the human ability to think about that, which is not actually happening in the present moment, comes at an emotional cost.
Mindfulness on the other hand is about being fully engaged with the present moment. It involves reconnecting with our immediate experience – the sensations in our body, as well as the sounds, smells, sights, tastes and feel of the world around us. It can be as simple as noticing the ground beneath our feet, how our body connects with the chair we are sitting on or the sensation of our breath as it enters and leaves our body.
Mindfulness in today’s world
Originating from the practices of Buddhist monks, mindfulness is now very much in the mainstream, whether you see it as a secular or spiritual practice. In the modern world it provides us with an opportunity to press the pause button and return an overwhelmed mind to a calm neutral setting from which we can choose our point of focus and proceed more deliberately.
A simple practice
A simple mindfulness exercise is just to stop for a moment, wherever you are, and pay attention to your breath, noticing whatever you notice without attaching meaning to it. As your mind wanders – which of course it will – gently bring it back once again to your breath, perhaps noticing the sensation on your upper lip and nostrils as you breath in and out, the temperature, the frequency and anything else you may notice. And when your mind wanders again, notice where it has gone and gently bring it back to the breath once more.
At first you may be able to do this for only a few seconds and, after some practice, extend it to a few minutes. It is not necessary to sit on the floor cross-legged for hours on end practising mindful meditation in order to notice the benefits – although, of course, you can if you want to! Instead try ‘seasoning your day’ with mindful moments and notice the calmness and clarity that comes from choosing what to focus on together with an increasing ease in dealing with stressful situations.
Mindfulness in coaching
In a coaching context the benefits of mindful practice are surely evident: beginning from a clam mindful state allows creative thinking and the opportunity to recognise opportunity; it opens the lines of free communication; it helps to dispel fears that undermine confidence and self-esteem; and provides a strong basis for self control, organisation and focusing on what’s important to us.
The benefits of mindfulness in different contexts
People use mindfulness in a variety of different contexts and enjoy many different benefits from it. From a first-class stress buster to part of a personal development plan that leads to greater stability and focus; improving communication and relationships; and, since NICE approved the use of mindfulness to treat a wide range of medical health issues, as a solution to cases of insomnia and chronic anxiety to addictive behaviours and muscle tension.
Some employ mindfulness practices to give them an extra edge in a particular discipline – members of the US Olympic team used it to gain a winning advantage in the 2016 Games and marines have been given mindfulness training to help them think more clearly in complex, stressful situations.
Returning our attention to what’s important
In a hectic world this simple yet amazingly effective technique provides us with the opportunity to reach for our unique pause button and in turn to notice, enjoy and give our full attention to the things that are truly important to us.
*Killingsworth and Gilbert 2010
Further Reading & Resources
Jon Kabat Zinn / Alan B Wallace, pioneers of bringing mindfulness to the modern world. Many texts to choose from.
Mindfulness @ Work, Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat Zinn
The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe
A Mindfulness Guide for The Frazzled, by Ruby Wax; an informative, witty and accessible account of mindfulness and it’s uses in modern life complete with Ruby’s unique form of delivery!
Mindfulness Apps: many to choose from to suit your own personal style, including; The Mindfulness App; Calm; Insight Timer; Headspace and many more…..
Contact Gillian to discuss how a coaching programme might raise performance levels for you or your organisation.