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Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence. If you’ve not heard of emotional intelligence before, here’s a quick definition:

“The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Having a good level of emotional intelligence is incredibly valuable in the workplace, especially if you’re working as a manager or within a team of people. Self-awareness is all about knowing your personality, your strengths and (crucially) your weaknesses. Being self-aware helps in all areas of life, but sometimes we forget just how important it is at work.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you get from being more self-aware at work.

You’re better able to deal with stress

Part of self-awareness is knowing what triggers you to feel stressed, angry or defensive. Knowing your triggers means you can respond to them more calmly when they come up.

Perhaps taking yourself out for a walk or, if that’s not possible, taking a few moments to breathe and collect your thoughts.

This can prevent you from making a knee-jerk reaction that may only add to your stress levels (and those of your colleagues). Knowing what helps to reduce your stress is key here too.

Having self-awareness means taking care of yourself and resting so you don’t burn out.   

You can manage your time better

Knowing yourself well means you should know when and how you work best. If you know you have a lot of energy in the morning for example, then flag in the afternoons, plan to do your more taxing tasks when you get in.

If you know you need limited distractions when you work, try working from quieter places if possible or invest in some noise cancelling headphones so you can get in the zone.

You understand the impact your emotions have on others

Self-awareness doesn’t only benefit you, it benefits those around you. Knowing your moods and emotions well should help you see how they impact others. If you’re feeling particularly stressed, for example, you can be aware of the way this may radiate and do what you can to minimise this.

As much as we would like to compartmentalise sometimes, it’s very difficult – we’re only human. There’s nothing wrong with bringing negative emotions to work, but if you see it’s affecting your work or other people’s moods, try talking about it with your manager and get some support.  

You’re better able to take on feedback

Receiving feedback can be tricky. One of the benefits of being self-aware is that, chances are – you already know what feedback is coming. You’re likely to be more open to constructive criticism and to learn from it. Take it as an opportunity to improve your self-awareness.   

You feel more confident in your ability

Getting to know yourself better includes getting to know your strengths and talents. This can help feel more confident at work. If your role isn’t currently geared towards your skillset, consider talking to your manager about ways you can incorporate more tasks that play to your strengths.

Tips to improve self-awareness

Now you understand how much understanding and knowing yourself can support you at work, it’s time to improve your self-awareness. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Take a personality test: We love 16 personalities for this. Try getting all members of your team to take the test, understanding the different characters and dynamics in a team can be super helpful.
  • Practice mindfulness: Finding quiet time where you’re not distracted by tasks, social media or anything else can be a great way to get to know yourself better. Try meditation or going for a mindful walk now and then.
  • Start journaling: This can be a game-changer when it comes to self-awareness. Make notes on how you feel, any stress triggers or behaviour patterns you spot day-to-day.
  • Encourage feedback from colleagues: Sometimes we need to see ourselves through the eyes of other people to get a clear view. Ask your manager and/or colleagues for feedback and learn from it.
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It can be easy to fall into a career slump. Maybe you’re feeling lost, unsure what to do next with your career (or life), or perhaps you know what you want to do but you’re struggling to maintain the motivation to get things done. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, there are many options you can try to restart your inspiration and discover new motivations to help propel you forward.

Our inspirations can come from all around us. You may feel particularly inspired after reading a good book, catching up on a good series or podcast, through appreciating art, or any number of other ways. It can be easy to overlook the significant benefits physical activities can have on not only our physical health but our mental health and well-being, helping us to combat feelings of stress and burnout, spark inspiration, boost motivation, and help reinvigorate us towards making more positive changes across all areas of our lives.

How can physical activity spark my imagination and boost motivation?

Improve your overall health and happiness – when it comes to improving our overall health and well-being, we’d all love to find a quick-fix. It can be tough to realise there isn’t a magical cure-all – what we really need is to get back to basics. Through increasing our levels of activity, we can not only improve our physical health, but majorly boost our sense of well-being as well.

Exercise can reduce our risk of many major illnesses including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% (according to the NHS), all whilst lowering our risk of early death by up to 30%. Beneficial at any age, a recommended minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity can help lead to a healthier, happier life.

Boost your mood – research has shown that physical activity can boost your sense of self-esteem, improve mood, help you to sleep better, as well as reducing symptoms of stress and depression. Building your confidence and self-esteem can be tough when you’re feeling low or demotivated. It can feel like you are falling into a vicious cycle where stress takes over, disrupting sleep and upending your work/life balance.

Introducing regular physical activity can help you to reset, breaking negative patterns and helping you to start new, healthy, sustainable routines. Undertaking the recommended 150 minutes of weekly (split across multiple days), moderate activity can improve your sleep quality by up to 65%, helping you feel more rested and ready to face the day’s challenges.

Increase your energy levels – studies have found that regular exercise can help boost your overall energy levels. In healthy people, research has shown a reduction in feelings of fatigue, as well as a significant increase in energy levels for those with chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) thanks to regular exercise.

Strengthen and protect your memory – exercise isn’t just good for our bodies, it’s good for our minds too. Research has shown regular exercise can help improve brain function, protect memory, and increase thinking skills. Studies have also shown it can stimulate the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells, as well as causing the hippocampus (the part of our brain vital for memory and learning) to grow in size.

Three ways to increase your activity to inspire motivation

1. Dive into forest bathing – if you’re looking for a gentle way to up your activity levels whilst relaxing and destressing, forest bathing could be for you. Known for having both physical and mental health benefits, forest bathing can help you feel more grounded and connected with nature.

Research suggests forest air is not only fresher and better for us, but can also help improve our immune systems too. Studies have suggested it can significantly lower our cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

If you’re thinking of trying forest bathing, try to remember: it’s not all about hardcore hiking and pushing yourself to go off the beaten trail. It’s about restoring a sense of peace and calm, allowing your mind to be clear as you wander, focusing on the present and taking in the moment as you have a break from the worries and hubbub of the modern world.

2. Shake up your routine – according to recommended guidelines, we should try to be active every day. Instead of trying to make time to head to the gym daily, one of the easiest ways to achieve this can be making physical activities part of your everyday life.

Instead of driving to and from work, try switching to walking or cycling as part of your commute. If you work too far away for this to be viable, getting off a stop or two earlier on your bus or train can help, or parking further away from the office and taking the stairs can all add up. Using half of your lunch break for a vigorous walk can also help slip activity into your day, giving you a much-needed break from work and colleagues to help you reset and recharge, ready for the afternoon ahead.

If you’re looking for something a bit more engaging, trying a class can be a better option or finding a friend to go to the gym with. If you aren’t sure where to start, the NHS has some great suggestions for fitting activity into your daily routine at any age.

3. Take meetings outside of the boardroom – inspiration doesn’t just have to come from expensive away days or conversations with overpriced lattes. If you work within a creative industry, it can feel stifling to be entirely office-based. Meeting rooms and rows of identical desks can feel more draining than motivational.

Breaking away from your routine and getting out of the office can be a good way to not only gain inspiration, but to be a little active at the same time. Try having a meeting on the move. Discuss project ideas and inspirations with colleagues whilst walking around the office or nearby park. Getting outside of your usual working environment can feel like a breath of fresh air, all whilst providing the change for a new perspective.

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We all struggle with our confidence from time to time. It can be easy to forget how much our confidence affects how we present ourselves – and how much of an impact it can have on how our kids and teens start to develop their own self-confidence and self-belief. How we demonstrate our confidence can help teach our kids how they can begin discovering their own voices and feeling more confident in speaking up and being heard.

We share seven simple ways you can begin modelling more confident behaviour and start setting an even better example for your kids.

1. Be a good role model

Whether we realise it or not, our children can be influenced by our behaviour. When what we say and what we do don’t match up, they can be pretty quick on the uptake. Take a moment to consider your own confidence and how you handle sharing your opinions and how you talk about standing up and speaking at home.

Maybe you’ve expressed nerves about giving a presentation at work, or you avoid answering your phone when an unrecognised number pops up; you may have nervous tells you aren’t even aware of. Identifying what these are and what is making you nervous can be the first step towards setting a positive example for your kids.

2. Show your appreciation

Giving positive feedback (whether something has been successful or not) can be a huge help in building a strong foundation for more confidence. It’s not just about giving praise when things go right; by showing kids it’s OK to do things imperfectly, you can help instil the idea that it’s the act of doing something that matters. As long as we’re trying, we’re recognising our progress, and we’re doing our best to keep improving, that’s all we can really ask. This can help kids feel more confident in trying new things, whilst showing them positive ways they can give constructive feedback and take on criticism without feeling overwhelmed.

3. Be curious

Encourage curiosity. Show it’s OK to not only ask questions but to look into things in more detail yourself. Trying new things shouldn’t be about getting them perfect first time. Through showing kids it’s OK to do an activity together that is both fun and new to them, it can be a good way to encourage them to explore new things and build their confidence in trying new experiences (and speaking up if they need help and support with what they’re doing).

Give them the space to ask questions and explore, rather than giving them all the answers up-front. Trying an activity that’s new to you both, like cooking a new recipe or taking up a new class together can be a good way to show your own curiosity and learning process.

4. Model self-love and positive talk

When was the last time you acknowledged something you did well? Rewarding and praising our own behaviour or actions doesn’t come naturally to many of us; we’re taught it’s boasting or showing-off.

But, celebrating and talking about our own successes can be a good way to recognise our accomplishments and hard work. It can also be a positive way to talk with kids about any skills you had to develop to accomplish things. This can help encourage kids not only to recognise and develop their own skills but start learning how some things (like public speaking) may seem scary but can have a much bigger impact on other areas we do enjoy or need to work on.

5. Set realistic goals

Having manageable milestones and realistic goals can not only help us but can show kids that even big tasks don’t have to be too daunting. Breaking big tasks into smaller milestones can help us feel a bigger sense of accomplishment, motivating us to keep going and helping avoid that feeling of being bogged down.

6. Show resilience

Nobody succeeds first time, all of the time. We all experience setback and failures; it’s part of life. It’s how we learn from these experiences, rather than dwelling on what has happened or seeing these as failures, that can impact our overall sense of wellbeing and teach kids healthy ways to cope with setbacks.

Through building resilience, we can show our kids how they can keep trying. It’s not about just ‘pulling ourselves together’, rather, it’s about showing them healthy ways to express their disappointment without dwelling on the negativity – and learning what steps they can take to do better next time.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Showing that it’s OK to ask for help and support is key. Working with others whose skills or area of expertise may exceed your own can be a great way of showing them it’s OK to not have all the answers, whilst highlighting the benefits collaboration and skill sharing can have. By working together, we can improve ourselves far more efficiently than trying to do it all alone.

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Public and corporate awareness of the importance of mental health is increasing in the UK, with media outlets rightfully bringing greater attention to the topic. According to Mind, approximately one in four adults will experience a mental health issue each year and, staggeringly, one in six of us report experiencing a common mental health problem each week.

With anxiety and depression the most prevalent issues, this can have a huge effect on our working lives. In total, approximately 70 million work days – 12.7% of all sick days – are lost on a yearly basis because of mental health problems, equating to a cost for companies in the region of £2.4 billion.

We take a closer look at the relationship between mental health and work, as well as the steps we can all take to support good mental health in the workplace, both as employees and employers.

The invisible illness

It might not always be clear that a colleague is struggling with a mental health problem. Speaking up about problematic feelings can be difficult enough already without having to confront social stigma, shame and fear of compromising their employment. It’s important to remember that whether we have been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness or not, we are all prone to experiencing feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger and unhappiness at different stages in our lives.

While entirely normal, these are things that can have an impact on our work. Mental health problems can lead to effects on our performance like emotional exhaustion, absenteeism and decreased productivity. But, with the proper mental health training and awareness for employees, companies will be better equipped to help their staff safely disclose their problems, receive support and lead full and satisfying lives both in and out of work.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is one example of a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. It won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially stop a crisis from happening.

If you’re interested in taking a MHFA course, visit Happiful to find the next course available near you. Enter the code HAPPYL1FE10 at the checkout to save 10% on course fees.

Encourage openness and utilise resources

Employees should be given the assurance that they can comfortably disclose any mental health problems they are dealing with and that their colleagues are sensitive to what they are going through. In the event of an anxiety attack or bout of depression, for example, they should be allowed to take the time needed to recover, just as they would a physical illness.

Most importantly, they need to be assured that they will not be judged and that they are not defined by their illness. The best way to achieve the level of trust required is to encourage a company culture of openness. A great way to implement this is to provide mental health awareness training for all staff as part of an employee induction programme or learning at work week.

Dealing with emergencies effectively

An outburst of anger in the workplace may be the result of mental illness where something, or nothing, triggers a seemingly irrational reaction. It is important to acknowledge the incident for what it is and to diffuse the situation sensitively while avoiding the risk of escalation. 

In the event of a panic or anxiety attack, for example, the incident is often accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating and an overwhelming feeling of dread and anguish. The body reacts as if it’s in mortal danger and triggers the fight or flight responses. As a result, actions taken during these episodes may appear unreasonable or even extreme to onlookers in the workplace. As a bystander, knowing what to do is important.

Sometimes, staying calm and granting the person the space to deal with the attack on their own terms is the best approach. In other situations, calming the individual down and offering verbal support and understanding is all that is required. Mental health awareness training can grant employees the tools for recognising and managing these situations effectively.

The relationship between workplace and head-space

Companies must create environments that are conducive to employee comfort whilst also encouraging them to work to their maximum potential. Unfortunately, there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution. Some employees may enjoy loud music and a lot of activity in the office while others might feel their performance is hindered by the slightest disturbance. It’s important for companies to try as much as possible to cater for all needs.

People that experience ADHD may prefer to be positioned away from areas of high activity. Those who suffer from depression or anxiety may benefit from flexible hours and the chance to work remotely, to work from home on days when they are feeling ill. Going green and positioning plants around the workplace has been found to be a stress reducer and booster of productivity.

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When we’re stressed, we tend to know about it. There may be a particular event making you feel stressed, such as a big presentation at work or knowing you have to have a difficult discussion with a friend. Sometimes, however, stress is caused by a build-up of lots of little things.

When this happens, you may not realise how stressed you are. Stress might manifest in physical symptoms, or you may notice you behave differently. If this continues unnoticed and you don’t make changes to reduce your stress, over time you could develop anxiety, depression or physical illnesses.

Being aware of your stress symptoms and knowing how stress shows up for you, is important. Once you know what your ‘red flags’ are, you can be more mindful of them and work on reducing your stress before it builds up and becomes unmanageable.

Stress symptoms

We all experience stress differently (and people’s stress responses are triggered by different things) so it’s important for you to get to know your personal stress symptoms. Here are some ways stress can affect you:

  • headaches
  • digestive issues
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • tense muscles
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling angry
  • tearfulness
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • difficulty making decisions
  • increase or decrease in appetite
  • forgetfulness

If you’re worried about your symptoms, visit your doctor for a check-up. It’s always worth checking there are no underlying medical conditions causing your symptoms. Once you have a good idea of how stress affects you, you’ll be better able to manage your stress.

How to be more mindful of your stress levels

As stress can build up without us realising, being mindful of your stress levels can go a long way in helping you stay on top of things. Increasing your overall self-awareness with mindfulness activities like meditation, journaling and yoga can help you start to get in tune with yourself, physically and emotionally.

Below we’ve outlined a few ideas to help you be more mindful of your stress levels:

Check in with yourself daily

Aim to check in with yourself once a day to see how you’re feeling. You may want to do this by journaling or simply setting aside five minutes at the end of every day to ask yourself how you’re feeling and how your day was. Noting it down in a journal can be useful as you’ll be able to look through it and spot patterns.

Keep a mood diary

Taking this idea one step further, you may want to start a mood diary. This is where you note down every time you notice your mood shifting (whether it’s getting better or worse) and try to understand what triggered it.

For example, if you’re feeling low in the afternoon, think about how your day’s been, how much sleep you’ve had, and whether or not anything has happened to make you feel low. After a few months, you should be able to spot patterns and see what triggers your stress.

Note your triggers

Keeping a note of your triggers can help you be more aware of them when they next come up. For example, if you know that having a high workload triggers your stress, you can look at setting boundaries around work. By delegating more or speaking up to say you can’t take on more work you’ll prevent yourself from feeling overstretched and hopefully avoid excess stress.

Create an action plan

Having an action plan means you’ll know what to do if a stress trigger comes up. Start by making a list of all the different things that help you feel relaxed. This could include spending time with friends, reading a book, enjoying a long bath, watching your favourite film, knitting – anything that leaves you feeling calm and refreshed.

Once you have this list, turn it into an action plan. So write down what you’ll do if you start to feel stressed. For example, if you notice you’re struggling to sleep, your action plan may involve changing your evening routine, avoiding screens before bed and meditating more.

Getting support

Sometimes when it comes to stress, we can struggle to see the wood for the trees. Getting support from friends and family can really help – often sharing what we’re stressed about can help us feel better just by talking about it. When we feel especially overwhelmed however, it can help to get support from a professional.

Coaches who help with stress can help you identify stress triggers and come up with strategies to manage stress. Offering their insight, support and a sense of accountability, a coach’s job is to help you achieve your goals. 

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Whether you knew it may be coming or the news was a complete shock, being made redundant can feel like you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you. You’re probably going through a barrage of emotions: shock, denial, anger, worry, anxiety, uncertainty. Losing your job can impact your sense of well-being, negatively affect your mental health, relationships and confidence. It’s important to remember: you will get through this.

What is redundancy, and why are people made redundant?

Redundancy can happen due to a number of reasons. Your employer may be looking to cut costs, new technology may mean your role isn’t needed anymore, your workplace may be relocating to a new, uncommutable location, or they may be closing altogether. Whatever the reasons, you have legal rights.

Your employer has a set of requirements they are legally required to follow before they can even begin the process. It’s your employers responsability clearly lay out their grounds to make you redundant. During the process, they will have to give you certain information about why the redundancy is occurring, how many people will be affected, which areas of the business it will impact, when redundancies will happen, and how your redundancy payment will be calculated.

10 steps to help you deal with redundancy

We share 10 simple steps to help you cope with the redundancy process and start the next step in your career.

1. Make sure you understand your legal rights

Understanding your legal rights and knowing what to expect can have a calming effect and help you feel  in control. It’s important to know how much redundancy pay you will get, how long your notice period is, and if you’re able to leave sooner to start a new position. Once you have the basic details, you can start thinking more clearly, regain your balance, and face the next steps.

The Money Advice Service has some great advice on understanding your legal rights when facing redundancy. The official Gov.uk website also has everything you need to know about redundancy, along with a simple tool to help you calculate your statutory redundancy pay. Based on your age, weekly pay, and how long you’ve been working in your current job, as long as you have been with your current employer for at least two years, you’re entitled to statutory redundancy.

As well as looking at external sources for information and guidance, remember to check your contract, speak with someone at HR, and chat with your union representative to discuss your specific entitlements.

2. Manage your money

Once you know what you’re entitled to (and when you’ll be paid), it’s worth working out a budget. Are there any areas you can cut back on? Could you save money by switching bill providers, changing tariffs on your mobile or broadband,  or switching to cashback sites when shopping online? By addressing these areas early on, you can minimise how far your redundancy pay may need to stretch.

Remember to check if there are any benefits or grants you may be entitled to whilst looking for a new job. Depending on which part of the country you live in, the main benefit you may qualify for is typically Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit. You may also be entitled to other benefits such as tax credit or help with housing costs.

Worried about credit card debt, loan payments or bills? Citizens Advice can be one of the best places to turn for guidance. It can also be worth contacting your provider directly to explain your situation, as they may be able to work with you to create a reduced payment plan. If you are worried about keeping up with mortgage or loan repayments, check to see if you are covered by any existing insurance policies.

Try to carefully budget any lump sum redundancy payment you may receive. It’s not something we like to think about, but there’s no guarantee as to how quickly you’ll be able to find a new position. Your location, industry, job market, and qualifications can all play a big factor; finding the right job can be as much about luck and timing as skill and experience. Thoughtfully managing your finances can be key to reducing feelings of stress and worry.

3. Try not to take it personally

A big part of the redundancy process can be understanding what’s happening and why. It can help to acknowledge that the decision isn’t personal – there’s a logical, commercially driven decision behind what is happening. Knowing what has lead to redundancies can help you to see that the decision wasn’t a personal one.

Losing your job can be extremely stressful, but you aren’t alone. According to the Office for National Statistics, three in every 1,000 employees were made redundant between November and January 2018-2019. You may not have control over losing your job, but you are able to control how you deal with that loss and move forward.

4. Be open and honest

Speaking with your loved ones can be a crucial part of the redundancy process. It’s important to be as open and honest with your partner as early on as you can. Together, you can tackle any financial or emotional worries; you don’t have to face these alone.

Opening up to close friends and family can help. You have nothing to be ashamed of; redundancy can happen to anyone, at any time – it isn’t a reflection of your work ethic, the quality of your work, or you as a person. By opening up, loved ones can offer support and guidance through this tough time. If you don’t feel ready or able to talk things through yet, that’s ok too; it’s more important to focus on what makes you feel comfortable and works best for you.

5. Protect your energy

Once you’ve got your finances sorted, it’s time to figure out what comes next. Having the right mindset can be key in starting the next phase in your career. Approaching your options with a positive mindset can help increase your productivity, allow for more effective communication, boost your confidence in what you say (and how you say it), as well as allowing you to present the best possible version of yourself.

Practising regular mindfulness and meditation can be a simple way to help re-centre and re-focus your energy, as well as to examine and understand your motivations. Protecting your energy can also include examining how you frame what is happening in your life and how you can move forward towards new opportunities. By examining how you frame your redundancy, it can help you more positively view what has happened, and how you can learn from it.

We aren’t saying you have to be happy about what’s happening, but showing you are capable of moving on and letting go of any resentment  can highlight a more positive attitude potential employers may be looking for.

6. Reassess your career (and life) goals

While we hesitate to say redundancy is a ‘good thing’, it can present the opportunity to help you take stock of your skills, talent, and experiences. Is there anything you want to change in your career? Have your goals remained the same, or is now the chance to start on a new journey? Changing jobs or career paths can provide the chance to readdress your work/life balance if your old role left you feeling exhausted, stressed, or on the path to burnout.

While discussing your option with friends and family can be helpful, talking things through with an impartial, outside person can be a big help in creating clearer goals and identifying what you want from your career (and life) as a whole.

If you aren’t sure where your passions lay, what you want to do next, or what your long-term goals are, working with a personal development coach can help. A coach may be able to help you set goals, track your achievements, and start recognising your progression. A career coach can help you in a number of different ways, from teaching you how to identify obstacles to improving your CV.

7. Set realistic parameters

Entering the job market can feel both liberating and terrifying. Although it can be tempting to open up your search to a wider range of opportunities, make sure to consider factors that affect your day-to-day satisfaction.

Keeping geographical location, economic factors, and creativity in mind can create a solid basis for your search. For example, it’s great to go back and retrain for a new career – but can you afford to do this without working at the same time? Maybe you’ve found the perfect career move, but have you considered the additional stress a longer commute may cause? Or perhaps you’ve found a well-paying role in the right area, but is going to challenge and engage you? It’s good to dream big and keep your options open, but make sure you factor in areas that may affect your well-being.

8. Start networking

It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. If you are looking for a new position, making the most of your existing network and expanding on your contacts can be beneficial.

Using social media can be a simple way to network at any age. Have a clear social media presence, be proactive on groups, and have an active, engaged account on sites link LinkedIn, professional Facebook groups, even Twitter. Share your expertise and industry knowledge; the more you put yourself out there, the more you can start raising your profile and (hopefully) start getting noticed by the right people

9. Let the search begin

Searching for a new job can be daunting. To set yourself up for success, it’s important to make sure your CV is up to date. Take the time to consider all of the skills, tasks and achievements from your last role, and how you can take these forward into a new position. It’s not just about stuffing keywords into your CV in hopes you’ll be picked by online algorithms; your CV gives you the space to showcase your accomplishments, experience, and personality. It’s not just an overview of how your career has progressed and developed – it’s the opportunity to show how well rounded you are as a candidate.

While you’re at it, tailoring each cover letter to suit each role is key. Having templates can be handy, but it’s important to personalise each cover letter with details about the specific role you are applying for, what they are looking for, how you fit the criteria and why you’re interested in the role. Simple details like making sure you get the hiring manager’s name right can help create a good first impression. If you aren’t sure how to get started, Reed offers some great redundancy CV and cover letter templates, or check out these six tips to create a stand-out CV.

10. Look after your mental health and well-being

It can be tempting to spend every waking hour searching for new jobs, but putting that extra strain on yourself won’t help. By putting 110% into looking for a new role, you can neglect your well-being, become disheartened, and start making small but silly mistakes (like sending the wrong cover letter to the wrong company) that can damage your prospects. It’s important to take time to look after yourself, practice regular self-care, and spend quality time with your loved ones.

Alternative therapies can be a simple way to help you manage stress, mitigate some of the symptoms of ill mental health, and act as an outlet. If you are experiencing mild signs of depression, Mind recommends several alternative therapies that may be able to help.

Staying active can be another simple way to boost your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being. Try to eat regular, healthy meals, cut your caffeine and alcohol intake, and decrease how much junk food you eat; food can have a surprising effect on our mental health and wellness.

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In some cases, managing these expectations can lead to stressed-out children and teens, confused family dynamics and aggravated behaviour.  But, with the help of a youth coach, young people can gain confidence, learn healthy self-expression skills and effective emotional coping mechanisms.

Youth coaching often comes across as quite an ambiguous term, due to lack of clarity of what it actually entails. Far from being limited to sports activities, youth coaching can encompass many personal development opportunities for young people.

Life Coach Directory writer Katie chatted to Julian Brunt, Life, Youth And Educational Coach, whose expertise lies within coaching for young people and educators. Not only does youth coaching provide valuable benefits for the individual receiving the coaching, but it can also hugely impact family life, in a positive way. As Julian notes, “Youth coaching has a strong collaboration focus. Family roles and dynamics might need to change and coaching can mediate and support more appropriate relationships.”

Rewarding relationships

At times, parents can unknowingly blur the lines between parent and child relationship towards friendship and this, in turn, can cause responsibility stress and role confusion for the young person. Understanding your relationships and relationship boundaries is key to developing healthy connections with people later in life.

Julian reflects on a past client coaching situation when he worked with a boy of 13. “I was able to support him in developing his own independent learning strategies whilst supporting his mother to let go of some of her previous roles. This accepting or handing over of responsibilities can be experienced as a team building and trust exercise for families.”

Not only did the young person benefit from clarification on the relationship between mother and son, but he was also able to develop strategies that supported his own individual method of learning and shaped the way he will grow into an adult.

Effective communication

Specialising in mentoring young people towards success and personal development, Julian uses a cognitive approach to youth coaching. A teen, whose behaviour could be construed as destructive in a family dynamic, can benefit from coaching as a form of expression and internal reflection.

Julian says, “Reactionary aspects of teenage behaviour can bring confusion and emotional suffering on all sides. In a household with a strong patriarchal dynamic, the oldest daughter of 15 was struggling, the whole family at a loss. Being able to understand how her father’s expectations were being misunderstood brought them closer which allowed her to enjoy some of her roles with her siblings.”

“Effective communication is the key to maintaining a happy family dynamic – the coaching process models the listening skills and respectful approach to others and situations that may be out of habit in the home.”

Whilst every young person may respond to certain life situations differently, youth coaching can tailor key personal growth journeys for each individual, enabling them to gain essential life skills to tackle the stressors that come their way and move forward.

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In today’s interconnected world, your career often relies on the people you know and the professional relationships you’ve made. Your ability to connect and communicate effectively can make the difference in your job search by opening doors that were previously closed. In the modern job market, there are several benefits of networking that can lead to personal and professional success, including:

  • receiving career advice
  • learning about new opportunities
  • building a professional network
  • boosting business
  • discussing industry developments

Networking can be overwhelming, however. Meeting and speaking with strangers for your own personal gain is often awkward and exhausting, and can fill your personal calendar. So, it’s important to take the time to perfect your preparation, execution and follow-up to make you feel more confident. Here are some ways to avoid discomfort and ensure that you leave a positive impression at any event.

Before the event

Update your CV

While you don’t want to be pushing your CV into everyone’s hands at the event itself, it could be helpful to have a few copies on you in case you make a valuable connection. Sometimes recruiters attend networking events solely for the purpose of meeting potential hires and gauging interest in new roles; they will likely ask for a copy of your CV. Be sure you’ve updated yours to best reflect your talents and print a few copies. Consider hiring a business coach to help ensure the changes you make are effective for your industry.

Determine your networking style

Whether you’re introverted or a social butterfly, you should be catering your networking experiences to your strengths. For introverted people, intimate networking situations with fewer people might help you make more meaningful connections. If you’re more outgoing, however, larger events would be beneficial because they allow you to interact with more people. If you have difficulty finding an event that meets your socialising style, consider planning your own. This should help you narrow down event choices and feel confident enough to set yourself up for successful networking.

Do your research

No matter the nature of the event, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing at least a little research beforehand to ensure you can participate in a variety of conversation. Spend an hour or two reading up on the latest industry trends, as well as the companies that will be attending the event to get a brief understanding of how to prepare. Not only will it help you come across as well-informed and passionate, but it will also prove your interest in the companies themselves. You can find the most pertinent information on company websites, as well as business or trade journals.

During the event

Listen

It’s important to be engaged while networking, not thinking of your next question or scheming about how to work your resume into the conversation. Thinking too much instead of listening and participating will not only make things more awkward, but it will also likely make you come across as uninteresting and unfriendly. Make sure you actively listen while you let the other person speak by maintaining eye contact, nodding and asking follow-up questions.

Don’t ask to be hired

Along the same lines, make sure you’re not steering the conversation in the direction of your hireability. Asking for a job outright can seem rude and unprofessional. Instead, ask for advice or contacts that could offer future opportunities and help you along your career path. This should still build up your network base while possibly leading to jobs down the line.

Exchange contact information

Expanding your network relies on establishing connections and relationships with people. While it may seem awkward to ask for a phone number or email, recruiters and others at networking events are also looking to expand their contacts and will likely be happy to exchange information. Try to carry a professional notebook throughout the event to organise contact information as well as your thoughts. This should make things easier the following day when you reach back out.

After the event

Find a topic on which to follow up

It’s important to continue developing the connections you made at the networking event. Narrow down a list of those you met that you’d like to keep in contact with and craft a personalised follow-up email about the event. Did you discuss a topic that you recently read an article about? Did you make a connection over shared interests? The more you can share, the easier it will be to foster that connection and build your network. This will segue into a natural ask to connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch.

Say thank you

Sending a thank you note may seem old-fashioned, but it can make a world of difference in a potential employer’s opinion of your professionalism and thoughtfulness. Try to send a note or email within 24 hours of the event thanking your new contact for their time and advice at the event. Try to include a specific piece of advice or conversation topic to keep it personal. Then, be sure to continue maintaining your LinkedIn profile in case they want more information about you.

Use these suggestions as the building blocks of a strategy at your next networking event. While no networker is alike, approaching each event with a rough plan of attack should help eliminate any awkwardness and set you up for an expanded network and ultimate career success.

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Whatever stage you’re at with your life, choosing to see a life coach is a big decision. It can feel like a big investment to make – not only a monetary investment but one that requires your time and effort.

But, once you’ve decided to undertake coaching, how do you choose which professional to go with? There are so many factors that can affect our choice and, in unknown territory, it can feel a little overwhelming.

To help make the process easier, we’ll walk you through how to use our search tool to find the right coach for you.

Before you start Ask around for recommendations

While we shouldn’t solely rely on someone else’s experience (as everyone will have their own preferences when it comes to qualities of a professional), it can be a good method to help you find a coach.

Particularly if you know someone who has already tried coaching, ask them about their experience. What did they think of their coach and do they have any advice for you?

If they had a positive experience and would recommend their coach to you, you can use our Site Search (which you can find in our top toolbar) to find their name.

Decide on the important factors

Much like when looking for a new job or a new home, you need to decide on the factors that are essential, and which ones you can afford to compromise on.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you have a budget?
  • Are you looking for someone that is close to home?
  • Or someone based near to where you work?
  • Would you prefer to work with a coach of a particular gender?
  • Is face to face coaching comfortable and/or convenient for you?
  • Would you prefer to receive coaching online or via the telephone?

These factors can affect your search criteria, so it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re looking for before you commence your search.

Searching for a coach Search by location

To search for professionals in your area, enter your full postcode. You can then use the distance filter to increase the search area, depending on how far you are able to travel.

But, if you can’t find a coach in your local area that seems right for you, don’t despair. Lots of coaches offer online and telephone coaching, taking distance out of the equation. To search for a coach offering these services, use our online and telephone searches.

Search by topic

Most people that start coaching have something, in particular, they are seeking help with, whether it’s confidence, career, personal development, or something else. If something specific is bothering you, or getting in the way of you achieving your goals, you can use our search to find a coach that can specifically help with that area.

Browse some profiles

We have hundreds of life coaches, business coaches and NLP practitioners listed, all with different approaches and expertise. If you click on a coach’s name you can find out more about them, along with their contact details and fees. You’ll notice some organisations are listed below the individual coaches too, some of which may also be able to offer you support.

Just as every coach is different, so is every profile on our website. Some coaches show their thought leadership through writing articles or hosting events, others may have video content. Get a feel for who they are and what they’re passionate about – this can help you to decide if they’re the right professional for you.

Key things to look out for

Our coaches list a lot of information on their profiles and it can be helpful to notice some of the extra features that can help you find what you’re looking for.

Pay particular attention to the following whilst browsing coach profiles:

  • Types of session available (face to face, online and telephone)
  • Details of other languages spoken, including British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Accessibility
  • Availability

Within a coach’s profile, you can find out more specific information about their qualifications and experience, as well as what they can help you with. They may provide more guidance about their areas of speciality and how long they have been helping clients within these areas.

Remember, if they have been working in the area that you are looking for help with for some time, they are likely to have built up a solid knowledge base of what is most likely to help you.

Do bear in mind, however, although you may gravitate toward professionals who specialise in a particular area, it can be helpful to have a different perspective. For instance, rather than looking for a coach who has walked the same path in life as you, what’s perhaps more important is their ability to get you in the right mindset for success. So, it could be helpful to seek a coach who can help you see things from a different point of view. This can help to completely transform your life.

Start reaching out

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few professionals who fit your criteria and who you get a good ‘feel’ for, the next step is to approach them. Simply click on the ‘Email me’ button at the top of their profile and fill in the form to tell the coach a little bit about you and what you’re looking to achieve from coaching.

Or, feel free to give them a call. A good coach will make five or 10 minutes to chat with you about what you might need and to answer any questions you might have.

We hope you’ll feel excited to start coaching as soon as you’ve found the right person. But, don’t feel you have to make a decision right away; take your time to think things over if you need to.

Once you’ve chosen a coach Make sure you have a connection with your coach before committing to more sessions

When searching for a coach, one element that is just as important as the above factors (if not more so), is trusting your gut instinct. Listen to your intuition and choose who you feel drawn to.

Your connection with this person is vital. It’s important that you feel that your coach understands you personally and cares about your goals, so good rapport is key. Try to establish this on the phone or via email before your first appointment, if you can.

Part of ensuring you make a good connection is working out if their style of coaching will suit you. Each life coach will coach differently, based on their personality and training. Some coaches’ sessions are very organised and structured while others are more open and free-flowing. Some coaches are warm and supportive while others can be more confronting and challenging. Ask your prospective coach how they would describe their style and then think about if that is the type of support you need at this point in your life to achieve your goals.

Do your own checks

Whichever coach you opt to see, remember that you can ask about their training and experience before your first session. This includes confirmation of their up-to-date professional body membership and professional insurance – as well as evidence of any relevant qualifications.

It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for clarification if there’s something you don’t understand. This can give you peace of mind before you commence the coaching relationship.

Don’t be disheartened if it’s not right first time around

If the first professional you reach out to isn’t quite right for you, please don’t give up. There are many different branches of coaching, and each practitioner has their own life experiences and will often have different techniques and approaches. So, if you don’t have success with one at first, it is always worth trying someone else.

Whilst going for coaching can be a big step into the unknown, it can bring you many benefits; feeling better about yourself, reduction in your stress levels, improved connection with your family and friends, improvement in your physical health, and a better understanding of your own thoughts and feelings – the benefits are endless.

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Between social media ‘time spent’ popups, articles flooding the news, and the introduction of screentime monitoring applications as standard across many phones, it’s hard to go a day without encountering something or someone that has an opinion on how long we’re spending on our phones.

It’s easy to feel judged for how we use our phones – sometimes, with good reason. One study unveiled millennials check their phones up to 150 times each day. Other generations aren’t close to those numbers, but are still pretty high at an estimated 85 times each day.

If you’re worried about your phone usage, it could be time to consider taking a break. Whether that’s a day away from your phone, or setting aside an hour or two each day that can be phone-free; it’s worth discovering what works best for you.

We share some simple ways you can set yourself up for success and claim back the hours lost to scrolling.

Six simple ways to take a break from your phone

1. Consider why – before getting started, take the chance to stop and think about what has stopped you from taking a break from your phone in the past. Does it make you feel worried or anxious to be away from your phone? Or do you check it more out of habit? Jot down everything that comes to mind (a simple spider diagram can be a big help). If going cold-turkey for a whole day without your phone seems too daunting, start by going phone-free for a morning, or a couple of hours in the evening.

2. Pick your time carefully – consider when you want to try going phone-free. If you’re feeling a little apprehensive, try a non-working day. This can stop you from using the excuse that work may need you (if you’re working from home or are frequently away from your desk for meetings). Letting people know ahead of time if you are planning to be offline for the day can be a simple way to put your mind at rest, encouraging you not to check in with social media and apps frequently ‘just in case’.

3. Make it a group activity – encourage friends, family, or colleagues to do the same. If you are taking a break from your phone at the same time as a loved one, you can both benefit from a full day of quality time to spend together, connecting without the distractions your phone can provide. Phone-free time can be a great opportunity during work hours to spend time on idea generation (as well as making sure everyone is 100% focused on any meetings at hand).

4. Slow and steady – jumping in head-first can be tempting, but it can also be daunting. If going fully phone-free for a day feels like too much, try setting yourself smaller goals to help ease you into things and build a healthy balance. For example, try setting aside a day where you’ll only use your phone for messages, not social media; or allow yourself to check your phone at set points across the say, instead of having it face-up and in your line of sight at all times.

5. Make a phone-free zone – if using your phone before bed is one of your weaknesses, try moving your phone charger away from your bedroom (or if browsing whilst relaxing on the soft is getting to be a distraction, try leaving your phone charging in the kitchen) so you aren’t tempted. Sure, a lot of us like to use our phones as alarm clocks, but if there’s a benefit to moving your phone away from the bedroom, it’s totally worth the investment in a traditional alarm clock.

6. Track how it goes – if you’re trying out different ways to cut down on your screentime, remember to note down how you are feeling as the set time goes. Jot things down (the old fashioned way – no taking notes on your phone!) to see how the break made you feel. Did anything surprise you? Were you more or less anxious than you expected? Did you feel any more present or connected than you thought you would? 

Is taking a break from your phone always the answer?

For some of us, taking a step back, putting down our phones and taking a break can be a positive, empowering experience. With the introduction of screentime features that let us know just how long we spend scrolling through Instagram, browsing Facebook, and losing ourselves on YouTube, it’s hard to deny that we can spend a lot of time online. 

However, it’s good to remember: it’s OK to not take a break from your phone. While cutting down on screen time can be good for a lot of us, but it isn’t for everyone (and that’s OK). Although we are pretty good at demonising social media and tech as a whole, it’s worth remembering that they can provide vital connections and significant benefits for different people.

We aren’t all the same; where some of us may be addicted to our phones, others may use them as a lifeline to connect with others, escape, or interact in ways that may otherwise be impossible due to ill mental or physical health. 

Using our phones, tablets and other devices can have some great benefits, including helping us to:

1. Create connections – smart devices can provide an easier way for people who experience social anxiety, are shy, or may have communication difficulties to find and connect with other people. Phones, social media and online forums can take away the pressure away that can come from face-to-face interactions, whilst providing the opportunity to speak with others who have similar life experiences that we otherwise may not have met.

2. Foster a sense of community – for those experiencing ill mental health, many report feeling more able to connect with and open up to others online, gaining a sense of comfort and guidance from digital mental health communities.

Online communications can also help many people to reconnect with old friends or colleagues who they may not otherwise interact with, whilst helping them to stay up-to-date with friends and family who live further away or having conflicting schedules.

3. Be empowered – online communities can act as a tool and space for greater feelings of personal empowerment. Getting actively involved in online communities can not only help develop a network of friends, but can help individuals to feel more engaged and involved within the hobbies they love.

From discussing ideas that excite them to cultivating interests, shaping their identity, and discovering who they really are, social media and digital communities can help people to build a network of people outside of their immediate geographical community, exposing them to different perspectives, ideas, and views they may not otherwise encounter.

4. Feel inspired – social media can not only help us to feel more engaged, but can allow us to discover new causes we can become passionate about. From volunteer opportunities and the work different charities are doing, to world news and the latest events; not all creativity and compassion stem from the other side of a screen, but the spark of inspiration and interest can still come from there.

We’re not saying it’s a good idea to stay plugged in 24/7, but the next time you feel like you’re being judged for the time you spend online (or the next time you feel like judging someone else on the tube for not glancing up from their phone), try to remember: each of us has different needs. Who are we to judge what works for us, or for others?

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