Achieving Courageous Goals: How dare you be who you are?

How do you know when you have achieved a courageous goal? You get very scared indeed. For it is sometimes not the struggle to achieve a goal that requires courage but the coming to terms with its realisation. As Marianne Williamson wisely observed the achievement of courageous goals messes with your sense of identity. ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?’ she famously proclaimed in her book ‘A Return to Love’. The achievement of courageous goals requires you to redefine who you are and this can trigger a deep-seated panic, it can trigger our deepest fear. Continue reading →

Coaching a Perfectionist

I love working with people who set the bar high, constantly driving for excellence. In the last few weeks I have coached three people who described themselves as perfectionists, all sharing an uncompromising drive for excellence. I feel a great buzz of excitement when working with people with a powerful vision of perfection. But this vision comes with a cost. The monumental task of achieving perfection weighs so heavily that the risk of not achieving perfection can lead to stress and inaction. When working with a perfectionist, what can a coach do?

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The Power of the Group – Your Mind is a Terrible Neighbourhood to Wander into Alone

Working with the members of my Vistage CEO advisory board always reminds me of the power of the group and this month’s all day meeting was no exception. In the morning, we listened to Jo Haigh, an expert on valuing and selling companies, as she passed on invaluable tips for business leaders preparing for a successful exit. In the afternoon, we re-visited our courageous goals noting progress and re-establishing commitment. There was a round of feedback on member’s strengths as perceived by others in the group and finally we worked on a member challenge using a team coaching cycle. The day ended with a relaxing glass of wine in Ronnie Scott’s London club. All in all, a heady cocktail of learning, sharing, challenge and fun! Continue reading →

360 degree feedback, do we rely too much on artificial openness?

I’ve lost count of how many 360-degree feedback reports I have debriefed, it must be several hundred. In 2012 alone I provided feedback to 70 people from one organisation, but I’m increasingly concerned about the need to hide behind anonymity. What are the implications to organisational culture of the over reliance on 360s?

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Covey’s Circle of Influence – What is the First Step to World Peace?

‘World peace is none of your business’ – so runs the title of Morrissey’s latest solo album. It’s a title that made me smile and reminded me of Steven Covey’s concept of the circle of concern vs the circle of influence. World peace would be a good example of an issue that, for 99% of the population, is in the circle of concern i.e. an issue that we can choose to worry about yet over which we have little control. In contrast, Morrissey could have written a song called ‘Family peace is all of your business’ since, for 99% of us, family peace is a good example of an issue in Covey’s circle of influence – issues which we can influence if we choose to exert proactive behaviour. Continue reading →

“I could never do that”; how to view a threat as a challenge.

How do you turn something that appears as dangerous and threatening into a challenging and exciting experience? I’m sure we all know people who do what we would consider as dangerous and crazy activities. These audacious activities may range from sky diving, or simply agreeing to undertake a work project without the resources or know-how to deliver. These ‘adventurous’ people interest me; they must be a different species, because I could never do that. However, when I have spoken to them, they appear very normal, and surprisingly, pretty similar to me. However they freely do things that I would see as darn right dangerous. So, if they are the same species as me, there must be another explanation.

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