Openness and honesty that works

One of the things I struggled with as a leader (and in my early days as a coach) was being able to ‘say it as it is’.

I hear my mother’s voice (God rest her soul) in my head telling me not to ‘make personal remarks’ and ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’.

I get it – but these messages we pick up in our early years are not always helpful to us or others as we navigate the adult world of work and life.

Now of course I’m NOT saying that we should make intentionally hurtful remarks or start behaving like mad internet trolls and being vicious, spiteful and mean.

But something gets lost in translation along the way.

I had to do a lot – and I mean A LOT - of personal work to understand that there is another way – a way to be refreshingly honest AND show empathy at the same time. My desire to please people and to be liked had a positive side. But they also stopped me from helping...

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Is lack of confidence holding you back?

If confidence is holding you back (or you think it is…..) you are so not alone.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Firstly - Confidence is made not born.

Secondly - we can ALL grow our confidence without undergoing a personality transplant or becoming a clone or an arrogant, entitled idiot.

Thirdly - We’re making a BIG mistake when we say ‘I’ll do that (whatever ‘that’ is) when I’ve got more confidence’.

The way we become MORE confident is by taking on those new challenges one small step at a time.

Action leads to confidence, not the other way round.

In my 1-1 and group coaching programmes I’ll help you take the right action in the right order.

No more trying to figure it all out on your own.

The result? You’ll fly – just like Naomi did.

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How to effect change - Part 2

change effect change Apr 30, 2021

In the last blog I shared an experiment with you. We looked at ways to read the room and tune your antennae – with a view to making positive changes starting with your meetings or interactions with others.

I shared an experiment to help you do just that.

Here are the kind of things you might notice now that you hadn’t really noticed before (or if you had – you’d not done anything about it).

People committing to things and then not doing them. As one person said ‘When I did the Reading the Room experiment it became obvious to me that commitment was lacklustre at best. I realised we need to understand why we’d got into this pattern and what we need to do with it. It’s almost become accepted that people won’t deliver on time’.

‘It made me realise how much people talk for the sake of it and don’t add anything new to the conversation. This is seriously adding to overwhelm and time wasting for everyone. It also...

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The ‘fly on the wall’ – (an experiment to help you influence change) Part 1

effect change meetings Apr 28, 2021

You don’t influence change by starting with furious activity.

You start by observing what is.

Here’s something to get you started.

This experiment is best done in a small meeting that you are not chairing. (It can be virtual or face to face). Ideally it would be a meeting that you attend regularly.
Your role in this meeting is to watch and observe AND as we coaches like to say a lot… ‘to be curious without judgement’. The purpose is simply to tune your antennae and to practise reading the room – so that you start to notice things that would normally pass you by.

The 80/20 rule applies here.

You need to listen for 80% of the time and speak only for 20%. Here are ten things to pay attention to:

  • Imagine you are looking down at the meeting in your helicopter. What do you notice? Is everyone there on time? Are people prepared? Who is quietly texting or sending emails (they think we don’t notice – but we do!)
  • Look at each person in turn....
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What’s your work-nickname? (and why it might be holding you back)

Some time ago, I worked with a wonderful lady who was the team comedian. She was known as ‘the joker’.

Which is all very well, but she wanted a promotion and nobody could imagine her in a more senior position – because nobody could take her seriously.

She eventually had to leave the organisation and re-invent herself in a new role - (not losing her humour and sense of fun of course – just dialling it down a little).

Then there’s ‘the troublemaker’ – Passionate, highly intelligent, strong values about doing the right thing – but impatience and a complete inability to see the world from someone else’s shoes. (And guess what? That’s not helping him get promoted either).

You probably know the whinger, the drama King or Queen, the pacesetter, the perfectionist, the procrastinator, the victim.

Years ago, when I first set up my business, I was so desperate to be liked by my clients (never a good thing in a coach!) that I charged...

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‘Oh God, she’s off on one, again’ (and other reasons you are being ignored)

It saddens me that so many people with valuable and useful things to say don’t get heard. And yet their colleagues speak up and speak out with no problem at all – sometimes eloquently and succinctly, at other times…. well, you know the rest!

Here are 5 possible reasons your voice is not being heard – and what to do about it:

1. Problem: You’re not speaking in meetings! So many talented people tell me they don’t want to speak up ‘for fear of looking stupid’ or something similar. Solution: Find a way to say something – just one thing to start with. How about: ‘This is new ground for me, so I’d like to understand this a bit more’; or ‘I’ll be able to give a more well-thought-out response when I’ve done xyz’ or ‘I’d love to know a bit more about that’ and so on. Once you’ve opened your mouth once, it’s easier to do it another time.

2. ...

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Kill ‘it’ with kindness

Any of these happening to you on a regular basis?

  • Being talked over in a meeting?
  • Your ideas being dismissed, ridiculed or put to the bottom of the agenda?
  • Your manager cancelling your 1-1s – and re-scheduling – and cancelling……(please tell me you don’t do that… do you?)
  • Requests for information being ignored again and again?

If things like this are making you frustrated, anxious or annoyed then you have two simple choices.

Choice one - Do something about it.

Choice two – Do nothing about it.

For most of us there are ways we can own and retrieve our own power.

And find that power with the other person – not power over them.

That’s the basis of a good working relationship.

Most of us struggle with starting the conversation that helps us to a DO this, though. We’re more likely to get mad, get even or seethe in a corner.

So, here’s what I have found really works.

  1. Decide to Be Kind....
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Why am I even here?

This is not an existential question about the meaning of life.

Not today anyway.

It’s much more about that thing you say to yourself every time you sit in a mind-numbing, tedious, pointless talking shop a.k.a. a meeting.

Wasting. Time.

I recorded this short video in 2019 when a lot of us were meeting face to face as well as virtually.

But every single tip I share with you works whatever format your meeting takes.

‘Meeting Madness’

Feel free to share it with anyone else who might find it useful.

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To people pleasers everywhere

Are you a people pleaser?

Always putting everyone else before yourself?

How’s that working for you?

Resentment, anger, annoyance, teeth-gritting and much more all simmering under the surface?

I have had to work really hard to overcome my people-pleasing tendencies over the years.

Because it was one of the biggest contributors to overwhelm and overwork for way too long.

Once I learned to say ‘no’ to things - and to people - I felt much more powerful and empowered.

Lighter and more energised.

If you’re a people pleaser too, this five minute video will help you.

Feel free to share it with anyone else who might find it useful.

Watch here: Saying ‘no’ is a superpower

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