Joseph Campbell, the Hero of a Thousand Faces and the System.

Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known as author of ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, talked about the power of the system. In a video interview I watched while on vacation in Las Vegas, Joseph Campbell said that we all operate in relation to a system that could either eat us up, or help us become more human.

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Bridging the Gap: The power of psychological distance

Check out Rebecca Hamilton’s excellent article in this month’s Harvard Business Review on the topic of ‘psychological distance’. Based on 12 years of academic research, she argues that effective leaders achieve their goals more frequently because they understand how to shift from ‘big picture’ thinking to concrete thinking in areas such as negotiation, time management, sales and talent development. When leaders go ‘big picture’ they increase the psychological distance in their thinking and when they engage ‘concrete’ thinking they shrink it. Continue reading →

The Yerkes-Dodson Curve: Performance under pressure

What does it take to perform under pressure? This week I witnessed a great example of this skill whilst attending an Olympic trials event in the UK. My client is the Team GB performance director for the sport who is focussed on delivering Olympic medal success at Rio 2016. I sat down to watch the finals event fully expecting that the Team GB athlete, a current world champion, would coast through to win the gold medal. But things did not go to plan.  Continue reading →

The Player Coach – Forbes article

Mark Murphy published an article in Forbes called “The Player-Coach Philosophy That Has Nasdaq’s Leaders Invested”. This reminded me of chapter 9 of Challenging Coaching and the section on the player-coach challenge when applying the FACTS.

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The Joy of Peer Group Coaching

Recently, I spoke to a group of academy school CEOs on the topic of peer group coaching. As I was preparing for the session, I decided I was going to go for it. I don’t mean just turn up and speak, I mean really go for it! I decided that I was going to get right out of my comfort zone, take a risk and put myself on the line. Why did I decide to go for it? Well, I believe so much in the power of peer group coaching that I didn’t want the CEOs present simply to understand what I was saying I wanted them to experience what I was saying. I wanted to go beyond the head and reach for the heart and the soul in that room. Continue reading →

The Authenticity Paradox – can we be too authentic?

I frequently talk to coachees about finding an authentic way of acting and being. In a recent Harvard Business Review article “The Authenticity Paradox”, Herminia Ibarra raises the issue that people can be too authentic. That is, sticking to a rigid picture of self that can negatively impact leadership effectiveness, but, on the other hand, being too flexible can appear disingenuous.

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