My entire career has been centred around growth – growth of embryos into live foals, live foals into yearlings for sale, young stud workers into managers, undergraduates into graduates with a purpose, small business owners growing their business, growth of authenticity, growth of confidence, growth of skills, growth of qualities, behaviours, knowledge and so on and so on.
So, what have I learnt from all this growth? Well I believe it’s ALL about the conditions we provide for ourselves and others that will enable growth; and that includes both the external and internal environment. As all good blogs seem to do I have whittled this environment down to a number of key points – they are not the only key points – I do not attest to have THE SECRET or THE FORMULA but they are my take on things at this moment in time so take what works, ignore what doesn’t and add your own thoughts to it!
People and Connections
1. The people we surround ourselves with.
We all need different things from our connections in order to grow – working this out is the first step! Some people need gentle challenge or, put another way, a ‘loving boot’ up their backside! Others respond positively to harder challenge. Some need reassurance, some need recognition, some need guidance, some need freedom. We all need a good dose of positivity!
Once you have worked out what you need you can then start to look at who can provide that support. You will more than likely have heard the quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” most commonly attributed to Jim Rohn the motivational speaker. Whilst this is not an evidence-based quote the fact that we are influenced by our friends does have legitimacy. In a 2017 study by Christakis & Fowler it was found that people are 45% more likely to gain weight over the next 2-4 years if their friend has gained weight. If a friend smokes you are 61% more likely to smoke.
There is also a wealth of evidence regarding the impact of our mood on others and vice versa – in effect, as a species, humans are innately programmed to “catch” other people’s emotions. So, it is vital to be aware of this and potentially think about how to combat negative impacts if we cannot avoid the source!!! Working in teams is a great example – what can you do to lessen the impact of the ‘mood hoover’ in the team? What can you do to positively affect that person?
A quick and easy audit of your connections could be as simple as asking yourself:
2. What we feed our mind.
Our thoughts create our reality. Do they really? It all sounds a bit fluffy doesn’t it! However, a deeper understanding of the brain through advances in neuroscience is now backing the fluffy up! Put simply we have a filter in our brains which has several functions, one of which is to scan our environment for the evidence that will back up our beliefs and assumptions. The brain likes certainty! An example would be if you tell yourself you are no good at maths then every time you are unable to do a sum or you get something wrong you focus on that – almost saying to yourself and others “see, I told you so”. If you get a sum right, you probably won’t even acknowledge it at the time so not even giving yourself an opportunity to question your self-talk.
So, regarding our growth we can start to be aware of how we talk to ourselves and what impact that has on our lives. We can then start looking at the evidence that backs up our limiting beliefs, potentially rejecting or reframing those beliefs into more positive ones & therefore starting to create a different rhetoric in our heads. This may sound simple, but it does take consistency & repetition to change beliefs and therefore behaviours – it is well worth the effort though!
We also need to be mindful what external information we feed our minds. What material do we consume? We are surrounded by negative stories in the media, catastrophes, or at least what the media would like us to think are catastrophes! Social media can be a positive influence, or it can be full of salacious gossip and fake news. Again, it’s about raising our awareness as to how these channels of information affect us and our ability to grow. What information and channels of information supports your growth and which hinders it?
3. How you look after your body.
This is the nuts and bolts and often the forgotten factor when looking at personal & professional growth. I am not a PT or a nutritionist or a sleep expert BUT I do know the importance of physical activity, nutrition and sleep to both our mental and physical health and therefore ability to grow. There are a number of fabulous books/websites out there if you are wanting more information –
one of my favourite books of recent years is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
or watch his Ted talk
Keeping an energy diary is an effective way to find out exactly what suits you and what doesn’t. By tracking sleep, food & fluid intake, activity and putting them against energy levels, mood & productivity over a week you can start to see patterns.
4. Your physical environment.
What physical environment do you do your best thinking in? Like the above everyone has different needs; some of my clients need peace and quiet. Others work best listening to music. Some need to be outside, some in a small room, some need to bounce ideas off team members, some need solitude. It really is up to the individual but do not underestimate the impact it can have on growth.
Think of it like this: you’ve been given a new plant for your garden – what steps would you take to ensure it thrived? Firstly you would find out what conditions it needs to grow – sunny/shady spot, lots of water/not much water, acid/alkaline based soil, close proximity to other plants/plenty of space around it etc and then you would provide the plant with those conditions. Same theory applies for you as an individual. If you are a manager, a parent or a business owner – what conditions provide the best environment for growth for those that you are responsible for?
I invite you to take some time to reflect on the following: What are your needs and how can you provide yourself with them to create the best environment for you to not just grow but THRIVE?
Get in contact if you would like to chat through how coaching could help you, your team or your business THRIVE!
What do you think of when you hear that someone is a Coach?
Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, Career Coaching, Confidence Coaching.....????
Well I’m not surprised there is some confusion out there. I have just come back from a networking event where, out of around 20 people, 5 of us were coaches. There was a Midlife Coach, a Leadership Coach, 2 health and wellness Coaches and me. What sort of coach did I introduce myself as? Well I didn’t define it I’m afraid…. I work with people, all sorts of people. Some have executive roles in either public or private sector, some are long term unemployed, some are graduates, some are being made redundant, some are small business owners, some are stay at home parents, some are students, some want to make a career move but don’t know which direction to go in etc etc. I work face to face, via skype, over the phone and I work 1:1, with groups and with teams. So you see it’s quite difficult to define what I do succinctly.
So instead of describing what I do I described WHY I do it!
I am passionate about supporting, enabling and motivating people to make positive changes and THRIVE in order to confidently achieve their potential.
This is known as a “Why statement” and is based on Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why exercise that can be found in his book of the same name.
You can also find out more at his website:
The Power of a Why Statement
If you are a business owner, leader or embarking on a change in your career this can be a really useful exercise to do.
The basics are that we all have something that drives us, a purpose, the reason we get out of bed but few of us take time to find out what it is. I’m not sure I totally concur with Mr Sinek when he says that our Why is fixed at an early age – but I will leave that for another time! However, from a business point of view it does a good job!! If you lead with your WHY you are connecting with your audience (e.g. customers/potential employers) via the primitive limbic part of the brain; the emotional part and the part where decision making is controlled.
So, if you are trying to pitch your business or pitch yourself in an interview or at a speed dating event start with WHY you do what you do!! People don’t buy what you do they buy WHY you do it.
If you are interested in knowing more but don’t want to buy the book watch the Ted talk here:
My Coaching Approach
So back to the confusing world of coaching… the type of coaching I do is based on the premise that the mind that holds the problem holds the answer and my role is to enable my client to find the answer not give them the answer. This means that change is authentic and therefore sustainable. Ever been given some fantastic advice only to end up not following it at all? It’s more than likely this is due to the fact that it was the other person's way of dealing with the problem not yours. They are not working with your values, your strengths, your experience therefore how can they know what you should do?
The majority of my clients are seeking 2 things – confidence and clarity. The two very often go hand in hand. I feel incredibly lucky to work with people who trust me enough to help them move forward no matter what their goals are.
What to look for in a coach
If you are thinking of exploring coaching to help you make changes to your business/life, then I would encourage you to check out their credentials! There are a lot of very poor-quality coaching courses out there hence very poor-quality coaches. The industry is unregulated and therefore the client needs to do some research to be sure of the quality of service they are going to receive. Being accredited with either the International Coaching Federation or European Mentoring & Coaching Council is a good start. Look for qualifications that are validated by respected educational establishments.
Most reputable coaches will offer a free consultation or chemistry call/meetup. This is to check that you are the right fit, from both sides and that you are ready for coaching. The effectiveness of the coaching is influenced heavily by the coach/client relationship, so it is vital to check this out before committing to any sessions. Also be aware that you are going to be challenged! Change does not usually come easily and there will more than likely be an element of discomfort throughout your progress. Relish it as it’s then you know it’s working!!!
If you are interested in a FREE consultation (see what I did there?!) please do get in contact.