Coaching Blog

26 06 2011

As you may have spotted by the lack of updates this particular blog is no-longer actively posted upon.I am happy to leave this site active for now as an archive.

If you are a coach or interested in coaching visit Coaching Confidence, the coaching blog at


Take a holiday

31 08 2010

“When the boss is away, work becomes a holiday.”

(Portuguese Proverb)

Yesterday was a public holiday in the UK. Looking up the origins of the word holiday you will find that it is a combination of two Old English words, one meaning holy and the other meaning day. So, the word holiday literally had a meaning of both “religious festival” and “day of recreation.”

The things that people associate with these days have no doubt varied over time. It is said that the dates selected in 1871 to be official “bank holidays was chosen because the man in charge of this legislation was a big fan of cricket. He believed that all bank employees should be able to watch a game of cricket and the dates selected all coincided with the dates when cricket matches were traditionally played were he was raised!

Now a days, we perhaps associate the dates with busy traffic, special scheduling on the TV and hoping that the weather will be nice. :)

What would happen if you treated today as a holy day? If you took the day off from struggling and striving for success. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mean don’t go into work if you are suppose to or not feed your children etc.

Perhaps for you it would mean creating space and time for physically taking a break.

Research has actually shown that taking time off can actually increase productivity. A 4-year study published in the Harvard Business Review forced participants to “take time off.” It’s findings were, that in comparisons to others not taking part in the study within the same company, participants were:

· Happier with their work-life balance

· More likely to stay with the company

· More satisfied with their jobs

Equally customers reported that they were receiving higher quality of service than prior to the start of the study.

Perhaps for you treating today as a holy day, is about taking a day off from worrying. That doesn’t mean that you don’t take action on things that need to have action taken just you take the day off from worrying about them. Generally when someone worries they are dwelling on a particular fear(s) and don’t take any action – often because they think there is nothing that can be done.

If you were to take the day off from worrying, what would you do? Maybe it would involve doing some exercise; perhaps it would involve some relaxation techniques, possibly even taking some action or something else.

Maybe for you treating today as a holy day is about seeing how much more fun you can add into your day and still do your regular routine.

This week I invite you to treat today as a holy day and notice the difference that makes for you.

Have a week fun of holiness :)




Who are your friends?

25 08 2010

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

(Tennessee Williams)

This week I met up with a couple of friends from when I was a student. Time has passed since we were all together, and our lives have taken different directions but within moments it felt like it had only been moments since we had all been together, with that relaxed ease that I find comes with being with true friends.

Several years ago I was at a training when in a break one of the other trainers was showing me an exercise with a metaphor playing with the idea of what friends mean to you. I’m going to paraphrase the exercise here but the basic idea was as follows:

1)      Using a selection of coins arrange the coins on your hand to represent you and your friends.

2)      Now remove a selection of those coins and notice your reaction.

I was very happy doing the first step but really disliked removing any coin from the arrangement. Imagining the coin removing itself was a different experience again.

What was interesting was that those of us playing at the time had different experiences with exactly the same instructions.

Personally, I have selected friends because I want them in my life – sure I may have met some through work, hobbies, or just being in the right place at the right time but I class them as a friend by choice. Which means that I didn’t want to remove any but could respect any removing themselves.

Others found it easy to remove some coins with very little thought.

What became apparent to me is that the word friend can mean different things to different people. As I sat down to write this piece I referred to the dictionary to find what it’s definition is:

Friend: noun

  1. A person with whom one is on terms of muteral affection independent of sexuality or family love.
  2. A helpful thing or quality; darkness was our friend
  3. A helper, sympathizer, or a patron; Friends of the cathedral

The origins of the word friend comes from Old English meaning “to love or to favour,”

Personally one of my favourite definitions is the following quote:

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

(Author unknown)

You may want to explore your own definitions of what friends mean to you but this week I invite you to answer the following question:

If you were your own best friend, someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are, what would you do differently?

Have a week full of friendship




Everything you need to be happy

17 08 2010

“It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an’ wealth have both failed.”

(Kin Hubbard)

I received a lovely email the other morning from one of my clients who had suddenly realised that they already had everything they needed to be happy.

Now I don’t know what you have just made up in your head when you read that. Did you read it and think everyone has what they need to be happy? Maybe you read it with disbelief or with a wishful, slightly envious, feeling. Perhaps you imagined a particular outcome that this client must have reached, for example become a highly successful business person or is in the “perfect” relationship.

I’m not going to tell you the details of this specific individual but just note what you imagined as I will be coming back to that in a moment.

It wasn’t particularly surprising to receive that email as I had heard this client start to have the beginnings of that realisation during our session the previous day. I also wasn’t surprised because I already believed they had everything they needed to be happy.

The thing that I have noticed with clients when they come to the realisation that they have everything they need to be happy now is it’s not that they find that they are living a more enjoyable life. They normally are, but that’s not the trigger for them realising they have everything they need to be happy now.

They’ve just dropped the reason, or story, they were telling themselves that they would be happy when they have achieved x, y or z. They’ve realised that it’s not the external achievement that brings them happiness. Previously, if asked then they would be able to give me an apparent logical and well thought out reason why it was important that they couldn’t be really happy before they reached that level of success. Often they had some fear about what will happen if they allowed themselves to be happy before – normally using it as some form of protection or a motivating factor.

What they realise is that happiness is a feeling; a feeling that comes from within you, not from outside. They can still achieve the success that they want without trying to motivate themselves with unhappy feelings.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the impact a thought can have . Sometimes we turn a series of thoughts into an elaborate story and sometimes we convince ourselves that the story is true.

This week I invite you to play with whatever story you currently have about being happy.

What would have to happen for you to have everything you need to be happy?

At the start of this week’s message I asked you to make a note of what you thought when you read about my client who emailed. If you imagined a particular scenario and success that this client must have achieved then this may be a good place to start.

Each person will have imagined a slightly different version. So for ease of clarity I’ll refer to that image and series of thoughts as your story.

Who would you be without that story?

When you answer that question you may find that there is another layer to the story.

For example, perhaps your initial thought was that you would have everything you need to be happy when you have a set amount in your bank account. You may then answer the question, “who would you be without that story?” as I’d be unmotivated to do any work.

Just for the purposes of playing with this exercise today, treat that as an extra layer to your story and ask yourself again, who would you be without that story?

Keep going until you find that you get the same answer.

If your story wasn’t true, what would you do differently?

Have a happy week




New Coaching Blog

16 08 2010

For those of you who are coaches or are interesting in coaching then you may want to have a read of my new blog at

While there is bound to be exceptions the following is a guide to what will be posted when on Coaching Confidence.

Monday – A post from the back catalogue of my general life improvement messages (including posts about confidence). If you are a long time reader of this blog many will seem familiar but it’s often useful to revisit ideas.

Wednesday – A post specifically about coaching in all it’s many forms and the topics that may involve.

Friday – A post by a guest author or offering a recommendation for coaches and those interested in.

I want the site to provide informative and valuable information with a real mix of opinions, approaches and methods.

Visit today to have a read of what is already there and if you are interested in being one of the Friday guest posters for Coaching Confidence email me so we can schedule your post :)


Hard Work

10 08 2010

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” (Thomas Edison)

I overheard a quote recently where someone pointed out that if you wanted £100,000 in 9 months, you could spend the 9 months doing ten thousand £10 sales, or making a hundred £1000 sales or spend the 9 months working out how to get one £100,000 sale – the outcome is the same.

I work with individuals who want more success, so a conversation about what success means to that person is not at all unusual. It may seem that it’s an obvious answer but everyone knows what success means to them. Maybe it’s more money; maybe it’s more fun and passion; maybe it’s more peace and security; maybe it’s just happiness.

Quite often there is an unspoken belief or assumption that an individual is making about what they would have to do or be in order to be successful.

Perhaps they believe that they need to become distant from their loved ones, perhaps work 7 days a week or use unhappiness as a motivating tool to become successful.

While the specifics may be unique to each person, it’s fairly common that there is a belief that success requires hard work and must be difficult. This is a formula that is used by many as a way they seek success and some people will thrive on the extra challenge and pressure that they put themselves under working this way. However, it’s not something that works for everyone, at least over any length of time.

In case you are jumping ahead, I’m not about to suggest that positive thinking alone will manifest what you want and that no work is needed. I am about to suggest that if you are always looking at the difficult route you may be missing easier options. Using the example at the beginning of this piece – maybe you are so focused on trying to make ten thousand £10 sales that you are missing an opportunity that would generate one £10,000 sale. Or perhaps you have been focusing on the one £10,000 sale and missed the ten thousand people wanting to make a £10 purchase.

So often I see the assumptions that people have made about what they will need to do to be successful actually get in their way and often stop then for taking any action. There’s a Chinese proverb, “Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

If you want to write a book you don’t have to sit down and write chapters and chapters in one go, you could just write a couple of pages every day and see how fast it grows.

It will still require you to take action, or do some work but you don’t have to ignore the easy stuff because only “hard work” leads to success.

This week I invite you to answer the following questions:

Pick a situation, goal or area where you would like more success and are willing to explore and play with in more detail:

1. Set a period of time aside each day this week to do the following:

2.What would be one easy step to take that would move you closer to what you want?

3. If you are happy to take that step, go and take it.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the duration of the time that you have set aside.

5. Notice the difference this makes to your energy levels and to the progress you make.

Have an easy week




Happy Happiness Happens Month!

3 08 2010

“Happiness is a Swedish sunset – it is there for all, but most look the other way and loose it.”
(Mark Twain)

August is the 11th annual “Happiness Happens Month.”  The Society of Happy People, who began the celebration, say that there are 3 purposes of the month:

· To recognise and express happiness
· To listen to others talk about their happiness
· And “Don’t rain on other people’s parades.”

Given that this is the first week in August I thought that it was appropriate that today’s message should be about happiness.

As I sat down to write this I glanced at my bookshelves to see several books devoted just to the topic experiencing more happiness in your life. It’s a topic where much can be written about so I will just cover a part that I find often comes up when I am talking with clients and potential clients.

I work with individuals who want more success so very early on we have a conversation about what that means for them and how they’ll know they’ve got it. While I get a variety of answers ranging from financial amounts, where they are living (and who with), it often boils down to the fact that they think that they will be happy when they have that success.

At some stage they have started to follow a belief that when they are successful then they will be truly happy. While I have no objection what-so-ever for someone to have the bank balance, business, relationship and living conditions that they’d love and being happy I think it’s a great shame to postpone feeling happy until that time!

This week I invite you to consider the possibility that

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”
(Albert Schweitzer)

If that was true, what would you do different?

Have a week full of recognising happiness




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