Category: Space

How to travel for business and still be productive!

By , May 16, 2012 5:12 pm

“There’s nothing that can ruin a schedule, suck up more time, sap more energy, and otherwise cause more chaos and problems than travel, so you must take many proactive steps to protect yourself – and your time – as best you can.”

Dan Kennedy, Businessman, Author and Speaker

 

Travelling can be exhausting!

I’ve travelled extensively for business for the last 10 years. At my peak I averaged more than 250 days a year on the road. I decided to enjoy the experience, as it was such a huge part of my life.

For me, enjoying the journey is as important as enjoying the work when I get there. Once I’ve checked in at the airport or packed the car I’m excited to be embarking on the journey. Travelling is tiring and sometimes frustrating and it’s easy to get out of balance.

My approach to any business travel always focuses on two aspects:

  1. Travelling from A to B as effectively as possible
  2. To be as productive as possible while I’m there

Today I have created a business that has allowed me to reduce my travel schedule – It’s a lifestyle choice. I travel less but still use the following tips that helped me to survive during those intense travel years!

Here are some of them:

Get organised – Planning is key. My business trips are busy, but organised so I can be as productive as possible without burning out. (I learned this the hard way!) You have to be disciplined in your approach if you want to be effective.

Book in advance Book hotels, flights, car rental and accommodation in advance –Doing it last minute is stressful!

Know WHY you’re going Get clear on your intention for the trip. What are the outcomes you’d like to achieve? WHY are YOU going?

Maximise the time while you’re there I look for opportunities to be as productive as possible enroute and while I’m in town. I try to plug in meetings with clients or contacts. Joining the dots of a trip makes you feel more in control.

Pack two days before – So you’re not running around like an idiot and realising you forgot to buy stuff. Last minute packing is stressful. I’ve still been packing at 2 am before leaving home for a 5am start Duh!

Plan any work you intend to do If I’m flying or on a train I decide what work I’ll do as I travel and for how long. It’s amazing what you can get done if you think about it in advance!

Catch up – Planes and trains (especially on a long trip) are great places to catch up on reading and learning. I always download audios for flights.

Relax and snooze – Travel is tiring. Step away from working and allow yourself time to relax, watch a movie or snooze. It’s okay to do this! Plan time to rest on an evening and times in between the working day. It’s easy for boundaries to bleed away when you’re staying in a hotel… You just end up working ALL the time!

Thinking time – I love flying because you get alone time where you’re free from interruptions and distractions. Allow your mind to relax and wonder… I’ve had ideas for blog posts, workshops and even solved a pressing problem or two!

Get to the airport in good time – If you’re flying, that is! So you have time to check in and relax before the flight. I usually use the business lounge to relax.

Avoid travelling in the rush hour – Avoid arriving or leaving in the rush hour. This is a time sucker and I’ve sometimes missed my connections.

You don’t have to be first on board – Some people like pushing, elbowing and fighting their way to be the first on board a flight. Fly business class if possible  it’s less stressful.

Book a driver instead of a taxi – Pre-booking a pick up sedan service is only about £10 extra and you miss the queues at the taxi rank! The drivers are courteous and helpful. The cars are well looked after and clean too (it also stops you being ripped-off!)

Self-care all the way – I used to be the queen of timezone surfing, with little or no effect on me. As I’m getting older I’m finding that I need time to rest and recover, especially when it’s a long haul trip. Allow time for this, especially when you’re surfing timezones! Exercise and stretch during travelling. Use the hotel gym. I usually go there as soon as I arrive – just for 30 minutes to shake off the effects of travelling (unless it’s midnight!).

Drink plenty of water – Your metabolism changes at altitude so the effects of drinking alcohol is heightened when you’re flying. Avoid this if possible because it makes you feel sluggish and kills your productivity. I drink loads of water to keep hydrated as I travel.

Eat healthy – It’s easy to snack and eat junk food when travelling. Again, this can effect your well-being. Look for salads and healthier options. Make time for breakfast. I increase my intake of natural herbs and remedies to keep my immune system smiley and any travel bugs at bay.

Get some sleep – Set some boundaries so you get a chance to catch up on your sleep and go to bed early. It’s tempting to stay out late every night because you’re frightened of missing something this is exhausting! It’s okay to say ‘no’ and get some rest. You’ll be more effective… Trust me!

Power down smart devices – I frequently watch business people using their phones constantly as they travel. Endless phone meetings are exhausting especially as you’re trying to board a plane! Sometimes our ego takes over to make the call look important! Power down the phone, check it occasionally don’t let it control you.

Happy travels! :-)

 

 

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!

Your Questions Answered – LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat

By , October 4, 2011 11:57 am

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

Confidently Creating a New Normal…

By , March 12, 2011 7:18 pm

“My learning curve is so steep! I’m being stretched beyond where I’ve ever been before. This is exciting and exhausting at the same time. I’m frightened to stop and take a break because I may be run over by the very thing I’m creating!”

Sally, Manager and Coaching Client.


Getting started and creating forward motion are important elements of growth and success.  You also need to be able to constantly step out of your comfort zone and create a new one as you continually work towards your goals and dreams.

This can be exhausting work!

Once in motion, it can be scary to take your foot off the gas because you’re frightened that if you take time to experience your new normal before moving on you’ll lose momentum towards your goal.

The reality is that if you don’t experience your new comfort zone (new normal) before moving on to the next your confidence can stop growing. So the next stretch beyond where you are comfortable is harder to achieve.

Sally was trying creating her new normal before she’d got used to the previous one! This reduced her confidence levels and she began to feel exhausted and burnt out because of the extra effort she was having to put in. She was over-stretching and this could not be sustained. Her rapid fire growth on growth was relentless!

It’s like going to the gym. When you work out using weights it’s important to take a break for a day between sessions to allow the muscles to repair and grow. Otherwise you risk injury and you can lose any progress gained.

To sustain confidence and momentum through continual growth you need to take a short break to experience your new normal. Only by doing this can you increase your confidence to match this new level. Otherwise confidence can begin to  drain away and it’s hard to keep going because you start searching for comfort instead.

Create a short Confidence Catch-Up Break while you consolidate in your new normal. This requires you to take some time out to recognise your achievements and restore your energy levels before stretching yourself to the next challenge.

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