Category: Creating Space

Do you struggle with how long things seem to take?

By , April 24, 2013 6:59 pm

iStock_000009447353Small“Infinite patience brings immediate results.”

- A Course in Miracles

Every summer holiday when I was a kid my Mum and Dad would take us to the seaside. We LOVED it! It was the highlight of the school holidays.

Being on the beach was so much fun. Driving to the beach, though, was a different story! My Brother and I dreaded the journey because it was tedious and boring. We sat in the back winding each other up and usually after only five minutes of travelling we’d grow impatient and repeatedly ask: ‘Are we there yet?!’ This trip always seemed to take forever. It was so frustratingly slow in our anticipation of being able to play on the beach!

Some of my coaching clients struggle because they want it all – NOW. During our first session they want the answer to EVERYTHING so they can just run a successful business or just get promoted into that leadership position.

“Give me the information, the tactics and I’ll rush in and get on with it!”

We live in a fast-paced world where everything is needed NOW! So there’s a lot of pressure on getting instant results – quick fixes – making money fast!

I saw this recently when coaching people in a modular business program. Two clients wanted all the content at the beginning instead of working through the program a module at a time in order to build a firm foundation. There is a difference between racing and pacing your way to success. Yet our impatience gets in the way.

As my mentor taught me: “It’s not just about information, it’s about implementation.”

Building a successful, sustainable business or becoming an effective leader takes time. You have to build the knowledge, skills and gain experience. Sometimes you need to start by creating a firm foundation and then experiencing things. It’s about creating consistent action and understanding the depth and breadth of what you are learning.

In our haste to be successful we create urgency and pressure to get it all done as quickly as possible. Racing to tick all the boxes doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome – you are missing the depth and breadth of understanding and connection along the way. This urgency gets in the way and blocks your progress.

Here’s the thing…

There is no destination… you’ll never be done! Your work isn’t about trying to get somewhere – it’s about being somewhere right now in every moment. I’ve noticed that sometimes the faster a person wants to zip through things the slower they actually move. They miss out on the experience and other messy stuff! Which is a huge part of being a leader or running a business.

They get bogged down in frustration, overwhelm and beat themselves up for not being successful. Instead of focusing on their current experience right now. It’s those little steps – one after the other – that creates momentum and ultimately completion. This can’t be taught – it has to be experienced.

If you just want to get the work over with in order to achieve your goal, then I guarantee it’ll be hard work, tedious and dull (like sitting in the back of the car with my Brother on the way to the beach!).

1. Take a deep breath – Breathe! This helps you to create a circuit breaker from your current thinking. Focus on your breathing and take your attention away from your frustration and urgency. Create some breathing space.

2.  Recognise and then let go of any anger or frustration or judgments – notice them but decide that they don’t drive you. You get to choose your thinking. Look out for any resistance and let go of old stories and doubts that no longer serve you – they are not the truth. Rushing ahead isn’t always a good strategy; it’s not about ticking boxes and getting stuff done.

3. Be fully present in the moment – This moment! Focus on the scenery along the journey, not just the end goal or the length of the journey you have to take. Savor the moment. Take time to enjoy what you’re doing. This will dissolve any anxiety and boredom and neutralize tedium. When YOU show up so does everything else (trust me on this one!).

4. Keep it simple – Focus on one thing and do it well. Break things down into small doable tasks and do them one step at a time. Where you place your attention is EVERYTHING! Attention creates your experience and connection with the one thing you’re doing right now in this moment. Have fun with it. Protect your attention from any BSO’s (Bright Shiny Objects).

5. Slow down to speed up – Create the right pace for yourself. Stay grounded and re-align yourself to where you are now and check in on where you want to be. Focus on reality and know that completing the ordinary stuff makes a difference because you’re creating momentum and completion through implementation. Things are more joyful when you slow down and stop trying to kill yourself!

For me, success is all about your thinking. You are what you focus on. Choose to move away from frustration and impatience instead of rolling your eyes at how long things will take to get done!

 

Recognizing and Understanding How Other People Feel – An Empathic Approach to Success

By , November 7, 2012 4:17 pm

“Empathic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers and subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and they respond on the mark.”

 ~ Daniel Goleman, Author

Thinking that you can do everything yourself is a myth. Our own power actually comes from the self-awareness that we can’t be in control of everything. We must depend on and interact with others if we want to succeed.

Relationships are an essential part of our daily life and work. The quality and effectiveness of our connection with others makes a huge difference to our success as a people manager, coach or business owner.

Do you genuinely care about the people that you work with?

Your clients? Your team? Your colleagues? Your customers?

The relationship is important, but it’s often ignored, not considered or neglected. Many of us have heavy workloads and pressure, which limits the time available to focus on building relationships. Instead we focus on WHAT needs to be DONE. Empathy and rapport are seen as luxuries. It’s quicker to make assumptions and fill in the gaps, especially if you feel you are the expert in the conversation.

This can leave the other person feeling manipulated and not listened to, even attacked.

I’ve known leaders who use a telling style and jump straight in with a solution, once they get a glimmer of an idea about what the other person is talking about (even if its not wanted!).

You may start a conversation about a topic and the other person railroads it, taking over to share their example or experience, with little interest for what you have to say. The conversation ALWAYS ends up about them… (Does this sound familiar?!).

This is what I call the ‘me’ Factor: Minus Empathy!

‘I’m going to talk about me…then I’d like you to talk about me!’

Talking all about me creates a lack of trust, openness and honesty. It’s usually when our ego kicks in to help build us up and make us feel more superior.

No one wants to listen to someone who is ONLY interested in themselves, their issues or their achievements.  It drains the other person, who gets tired of listening and walks away.

One of the essential elements of Self-Leadership is empathy.

Empathy is created from self-awareness:

1. Stepping back and knowing what it’s like being on the receiving end of you… Being attuned to your inner signals.

2. Developing the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and view things from their map of the world.

Here are some tips on using a coaching style to create empathy if you want to build better relationships and empowering experiences for your clients, team or customers:

  1. Listen first before reacting or jumping in with feedback or solutions, allowing the conversation to flow. Listen with an intent to understand, not respond. This is the greatest gift you can give to someone.
  2. Focus on their intention, not yours. What is important to them? A good question to ask yourself is: ‘Am I making this about me or about them?’
  3. Be Authentic. Any advice given is genuinely in the interest of the other person and you’re not trying to manipulate them to your agenda, or fit them into your model of thinking.
  4. See their potential to work it out for themselves with your support. Hold that space encouraging and motivating them to think for themselves and own their solutions.
  5. Show you care by communicating that you believe in them. Demonstrate that you prepared to invest time in what they have to say. Be fully present and they will sense that you care. They’ll open up more and relax, the conversation will flow easily and they’ll feel motivated and accountable for their results.

Self-awareness and empathy together help you to become an authentic leader. You create a genuine sense that you truly want to hear the other person’s thoughts and concerns and that you understand them.

 

How to create the best climate for your coaching clients

By , April 11, 2012 4:50 pm

“I care about you. I care about your future. I care about your growth. I’m here to create a climate in which you will blossom and flourish.”

~ Marshall Goldsmith and Laurence Lyons, Authors.

 

James, one of my clients, is a manager in corporate. One of his many roles is to coach his staff.

Two weeks ago he asked me how to create a coaching environment over the phone. He has recently acquired a virtual team that presented him with communication and time zone challenges. He was worried that he’d not be able to coach his staff effectively.

Here’s what we discussed…

Helping others is a natural human motive and is stronger in some people than others and it’s especially important if you are a coach.

The quality of the conversation is EVERYTHING…

I believe that all coaches are motivated by their ‘desire’ to help others. The above quote summarises this perfectly for me (it’s also an awesome intention to set before any coaching session!). A great coach will authentically communicate this all the time.

(By the way, if you don’t buy into the quotation – You shouldn’t be coaching!)

It’s important to create the right climate and hold coaching space for every person you coach.

What do I mean by this?

Have you ever tried to impose your wisdom onto someone else?!

No matter how hard you try, you can’t change someone else – The other person has got to be open to the conversation and WANT to change.

Sometimes the mention of the word coaching is enough to make someone resist a conversation, especially in the corporate world, where coaching is imposed because it’s part of the manager’s job. This could be for many reasons:

  • It feels like it’s something that is imposed and done to you
  • There’s a low level of respect for the coach
  • The person is resistance to change
  • They have a low motivation to learn
  • There’s a lack of understanding
  • The timing is wrong

Some coaches fail because they jump straight into the coaching and try to drive through their own agenda. This creates lip service and resistance to coaching.

Here’s how to create and hold a safe coaching space:

Before any coaching session:

1. Consider your motives – What is the purpose of the session? What are you intending as an outcome? What do you want your client to do, be or have as a result of your time together? Get clear before you begin.

2. Who’s leading? – Who is driving the conversation? Is the session coach led or client led? Or a combination of the two? If you are the client’s manager, this might influence your approach.

 3. Set the scene – It’s good to have a framework for the conversation. Signposting the way helps put your client at ease because they understand what is going to happen to them during your time together. If the conversation is client led, let them set the scene. What do they want to do, be or have as a result of the conversation?

4. The Environment - Choose a neutral environment, private and away from any distractions – other people, phones and computers.

 

During the session…

1. Build rapport – Be yourself! Create a natural conversation where the other person can feel comfortable and safe to speak. Set a relaxed and focused tone. Lead the way here. This will naturally guide you to the purpose of the session rather than jumping right in, “so what do you want?”

2. Lose your ego – Strive for authenticity instead popularity! You might be their boss, but you are both human beings and have the same level of value, worth and dignity. The client needs to feel comfortable and that they can speak freely. If you exert your authority as a manager, (or as the coach) then you’ll create an environment of compliance rather than engagement. Create a sense of leadership in the way that you navigate through the session without being controlling.

3. Be 100% Present – Make your client feel like they are the most important person in the room. Let go of your To Do List, emails and your outstanding challenges. This session is 100% about them. So be 110% present for them.

4. Be ‘genuinely interested’ in the growth and success of the person you are coaching. If you’re a manager and you’re coaching one of your team, you also have vested interest in their success – After all, they help you to achieve your goals!

5. Know the balance of when to help and how much to help is also important in the relationship. If the coach doesn’t act in a way that reflects a genuine interest in being helpful then coaching will be unsuccessful.

 

Why Interrupting Someone Could Be Ruining the Quality of Their Thinking

By , February 2, 2012 12:18 pm

“The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.”

Nancy Kline – Author.

Many years ago I used to have a boss who liked the sound of her own voice so much that she wouldn’t let you speak. If you did get a chance to talk, she would talk over you and finish your sentences.

She used to equate talking with being the manager. She was a poor listener jumping in too soon with her own ideas. It was suffocating to be on the receiving end because she’d never give you any time to think. She was too eager to give advice.

My attention was splattered every time I was interrupted. I’d avoid speaking with her unless it was really necessary because I always felt drained by the experience.

We are all guilty of tailgating someone else’s conversation. In some way interrupting seems irresistible. For a few of us, interrupting has become a habit – it’s hard not to do it.

This was true for one of my coaching clients who realized that when he finished people’s sentences he was making these assumptions:

  • I’m the boss so I’m more important
  • I knew what they were going to say
  • The other person was over-talking so it was the only way to get my idea across
  • I was saving time
  • My solution was better than theirs
  • If I didn’t say my idea in the moment I would forget it

When you finish someone’s sentence for them, you’re usually making one or more of these assumptions:

  1. That they can’t finish it for themselves
  2. That you know the exact words they are about to use.
  3. That your choice of words will be better!

You may recognize some of these…

How often have you finished someone’s sentence and got it wrong? You may have chosen the wrong word or totally changed the ending of the sentence and said the opposite to what they were about to say!

We’re often too focused on our own self-importance to notice how our interruption affects the other person.

Their internal experience changes the moment you started thinking for them rather than allowing them to think for themselves. Their attention is lost because your interruption cuts them off from their own understanding of what they were saying.

The important thing is that they were saying it.

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen with respectful attention and without assumption.

As a coach and people manager, I have come to realize that listening with attention is hugely important because the quality of my attention impacts the effectiveness of the other person’s thinking.

Allowing someone space to search for their words adds quality to their thinking. You’re allowing people to think for themselves rather than imposing your own thinking upon them.

Most people have ideas that matter whatever their status or position. Don’t judge them with your assumptions. By ‘getting out of their way’ you are creating a space for their thoughts to be fully developed. This opens up new possibilities that could make a difference.

Next time you feel the urge to interrupt or finish someone’s sentence:

  1. Notice that you’re about to interrupt them.
  2. Shut up!
  3. Step back and allow them some space to search for the words themselves.
  4. Stop trying to think for them.
  5. Allow them to play in their own dog park! I LOVE this metaphor: It’s safe environment where they know you won’t keep interrupting them. Where their mind can be allowed to roam around freely to imagine, create and explore things without being on a leash! In other words: without being manipulated by your assumptions!

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat 11-13 November 2011

By , September 28, 2011 1:46 pm

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat – Coming Soon!

By , August 14, 2011 6:22 pm

Your Life -For a Limited Period Only!

By , April 27, 2011 10:10 pm

“Only your right life feels like freedom, and only freedom feels like your right life. Where you feel trapped, change.”

—Martha Beck, Author and Coach.

It’s so easy to spend much of our lives living from the Outside-In. Denying ourselves joy and happiness because we feel trapped and scared to change. We get lost in distraction and busy-ness and our intuitive voice becomes muted and lost Inside.

Life is ALL about transition because nothing stays the same.

Think about it… We are in constant motion yet we often fight change and cling onto what used to be. People and things come in and out of our life. As we grow our roles change as we are in constant flow.

We can’t always control it but we can learn to embrace it. If you master transition you can really cope with anything!

Here’s the choice as I see it:

  1. You can become a friend of change and continue to grow.
  2. You can resist it, become trapped and eventually get run over by it.

I’m making some really big transitions this year that are shifting me way out of my comfort zone and into the Unknown.

I’ve decided to buy a house. My furniture has been in storage behind these huge metal doors (on the left of this picture) since December 2009. I’ve only visited  three times to de-clutter boxes. The rest of my stuff sleeps in suspended animation locked behind these doors, waiting for me to return and haul them to the next destination that I choose to call my home.

I purposely didn’t visit here because it reminded me about all the decisions that I still had to make. Instead, I kept away and continued to pay my storage fee. Unconsciously this allowed me to avoid having to make any decisions about what to keep and where I wanted to live.

These doors are a great metaphor for me. It’s amazing how we can ‘steel door’ things:

  • How we can pack away our own freedom and happiness into a box and lock it away for later.
  • How we can hold onto things that we no longer like or that no longer serve us.
  • How we can stay stuck.
  • How we can feel trapped even though we hold the key to the lock.

What are you clinging onto?

May be it’s Great Aunt Maud’s old bookcase (That you’ve never liked but inherited)?

Perhaps it’s your job that just isn’t exciting anymore but you continue to turn up and go through the motions?

Whether what you’re holding onto is physical or psychological the drain of life force is the same.

I realised how physical or mental clutter can rob us of energy, hold us back, fog our clarity and suffocate our intuition. Clinging on is like a disease, it becomes more chronic the longer you hold on.

I’ve chosen to open those doors and Spring-clean my life from the Inside-Out. My increased self-awareness has made me realise that it’s time to let go of a few things and embrace change.

After all – Life is for a limited period only – So my friends, make the most of it.

Choose your right life and embrace change.

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