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Burnout in business is a big issue. The World Health Organisation recently listed it as an official medical condition, and last year in the UK, 15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety.

Overwhelm, stress, exhaustion and burnout exist on a continuum, and burnout is at the far end of it. A little bit of stress is not necessarily a bad thing; it can stimulate us if experienced in small amounts. We are not supposed to live permanently in the parasympathetic ‘rest-digest-heal’ state.

Similarly, people can recover from exhaustion fairly easily, but real burnout – a state beyond exhaustion, in which you deplete yourself to the point where you cannot adequately recover, and in which you paradoxically often keep going – poses an incredible threat to a person’s long-term health and well-being. As Anne Helen Peterson writes in her viral piece on Millennial burnout, it “isn’t an affliction experienced by relatively few… it is the contemporary condition.”

The Symptoms of Burnout

When an individual is in the throes of burnout, breaks are not refreshing, daily tasks feel overwhelmingly impossible, fun activities are rarely experienced as fun, and challenges begin to feel insurmountable. Your nervous system goes into overdrive and you may experience a chronic ‘buzzing’ feeling in your body or feel tired all the time. Here are some signs to watch out for in yourself, your colleagues or your loved ones:

Running on empty – or being precariously close to it.

Reaching for yet another caffeinated drink to get you through the next hour.

Being permanently tired.

Fighting the feeling that you’re on the verge of being out of control.

Regularly feeling overwhelmed.

Needing time off from work.

Fighting the thought that you’re barely coping.

Running on adrenaline, with stress a near-constant companion.

Being unable to switch off in the evenings or at weekends.

Not sleeping well.

Shallow breathing.

Poor digestion.

Feeling tense.

Regularly hitting the roof.

Numbing your emotions using alcohol, food, shopping or binge watching shows.

Working to a lower standard than you know you’re capable of.

An inability to focus.

Chronic health issues.

Anxiety.

Making your colleagues feel like they’re walking on eggshells around you.

In isolation, these symptoms might not point to burnout. Taken together, they indicate a person whose mind, body and emotions are very out of balance.

The Difficulty and Dilemma of Burnout in Business

When we are under a bit of stress or pressure, many of us perform at our peak. A bit of adrenaline and cortisol (the hormones that kick in and create the fight/flight response) can spur us on – athletes and performers of all kinds know this well.

The issue in business is that where an athlete or performer will have the chance to rest and recover in between these high-stress moments, most executives in the corporate world are expected to be on top of their game 24/7, with little chance to wind down, unplug and recover – and this has only worsened as our working weeks have grown steadily longer, or for those in high-pressure professions.

Ultimately, of course, the long-term effects of burnout, which include being signed off work, sometimes for prolonged periods of time, or performing at a level far below what you are capable of, are hugely detrimental to business.

One of the reasons burnout is so widespread in part because of the increasingly fast-paced world in which the boundaries between work and the rest of our lives have become blurrier and blurrier.

Look out for my next article in which I will look at a number of practical ways that you can prevent and recover from burnout.

Elizabeth Reilly is an executive and leadership coach and co-founder of the Work Psychologists. Elizabeth’s commercial background allows her to quickly grasp the complexities of today’s organisations and bring clarity to the issues involved. Working in fast-paced and highly fluid environments – from entrepreneurial start-ups to FTSE 100 – she particularly relates to the challenges faced by senior executives and has supported business leaders and teams across a wide range of sectors, including advertising, banking and tech. 

The post The Difficulty and Dilemma of Burnout in Business appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines experimentation as ‘the action or process of trying out new ideas, methods, or activities.’ Testing assumptions is fundamental if we want to gain fresh insights and acquire new knowledge. Conducting experiments allows us to explore different options without fully committing all our time, energy and resources. Then we can put the learning to good use by making better-informed decisions as to which option to pursue. Many organisations use pilots or trials where they can limit the downsides and learn from results.

One famous example of experimentation is X, The Moonshot Factory. Established by Google in 2010, X enables people to invent and test out incredible new technologies with an end purpose in mind. The failure rate is high, but that’s the point as failure is encouraged so that learning from the experience can be used to advance other innovations. Of course, Google has vast resources, but this doesn’t mean that smaller entities with more modest resources should ignore experimentation – quite the opposite. Properly scoped out and sensibly managed testing can save time and money by providing valuable proof of concept.

According to Vijay Govindaran, Professor, Tuck School of Business, “The key is to fail quickly and cheaply, spend a little to learn a lot.” Running several small-scale experiments can help you to do just that. By trying things out on a limited basis, and as early as possible, you can learn fast what works, what doesn’t, and why. Great for business, but what about as an individual?

Thinking about experimentation from a career point of view can be daunting as it can be hard to know where to start. You can design an experiment to test drive your potential new career or a business opportunity. Here’s how:

Gain clarity about the purpose of your research. What do you hope for by conducting the test? Without knowing this, it is unlikely that you will gain valuable insight from the results. What assumptions do you intend to evaluate? Be clear about what you know and what you assume. List the facts then list your assumptions. What questions do you want to answer?

Give each experiment an adequate level of resource and emotional commitment. Running several tests at a time is possible and may be desirable; however, beware of firing off in too many directions as this is likely to be less rewarding and potentially exhausting. You might find it helpful to ask the following questions:

  • How much is emotional commitment required from me to conduct a meaningful experiment? Can I sustain more than one test at a time?
  • How much of my practical resources will it realistically take to do simultaneous tests? Am I prepared for this?

Weed out the bad fits before you begin. Do this by reviewing your strengths (the things you love doing and are good at).  If you are not sure about your strengths, try taking the free VIA Personality Test. Created by a team of scientists led by Dr Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, the survey has been used in hundreds of research studies and taken by over 5 million people in over 190 countries.

Then audit your resources (time, energy, money and people who might help and support you). Think through your potential options for experiment with this in mind. Where would you like to spend your time? Visualise the practical steps you would take on each of the shortlisted options starting with your favourite and working down to your least favourite. Whittle the list down further by asking yourself:

  • Do I buy into this option? If successful, will it play to my strengths
  • Will this option stretch me?
  • If successful, so I think it would make me happy, proud and feel personally fulfilled?

Design and run your experiment. Now you have a shortlist of potential tests it is time to act. Trying something out is the only way to know if it is for you. There are a countless number of approaches to trying out different ways of working and exploring new horizons. Remember the idea is to collect as much as information with as little effort as possible, so keep it simple. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Talk to people who already earn their living doing what you would like to do. Be open about your motives and polite with your request as it will impact on their time. Ask how they became expert in their field, what they enjoy about it and what tips they can offer you. Be prepared to share something in return.
  • Create a small pool of trusted advisors by identifying people willing to support and help you. Explain what you are attempting to do. Be specific about what you would like. Perhaps you could offer to run a test pilot of your new business idea for someone you trust who can review and provide you with critical feedback?
  • Try volunteering as a way to try out new possibilities in a field that you are testing. You’ll gain experience, and it will allow you to network with the kind of people who work in your target sector, doing the type of work you hope to do. One connection can lead to another, which might result in exciting opportunities you didn’t know existed.
  • How about signing up for a short course in the subject matter of your career experiment? You can blend quality digital learning, such as edX with in-person workshops run by adult education centres. Doing so will maximise the benefits of exposure to fresh ideas and enable you to test given assumptions while enjoying a shared experience.
  • Go Zen and foster a “beginner’s mind” by being open to possibilities. Embark on each experiment with curiosity and eagerness to learn. Work hard at it. If it succeeds, then you can take the test to the next level and begin to plan for the longer-term. If it doesn’t, you will still have discovered something useful. Experiment, learn, then decide which options you will carry forward.

Beverly Landais, PCC (Professional Certified) Coach. Beverly works with individuals and teams to help them hone their performance which leads to better professional satisfaction and helps them deliver more value to the businesses in which they operate.

The post Tips for testing out career options appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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“Where in your life and work are you experiencing something that is dying”

“Where do you see something beginning or wanting to be born?”

Otto Scharmer posed these questions in his book Leading from the Emerging Future, they are similar to the questions that William Bridges asks in his book Transitions.

The answers to these questions can lead us to “freeze and revert to our deeply ingrained habits of the past, or we can lean into the space of the unknown, lean into that which wants to emerge.” [Scharmer].

By consciously asking yourself the questions though, and listening to the voices you hear, you’ll be much more likely to recognise the changes that need to be made for you to be happy and healthy and for the world to benefit from your contributions.

It’s all too easy to deny the change. We keep ourselves so busy that we don’t give ourselves the space to think about what we want and how we would like to be in the world. And it’s not just that…it turns out that our brain is “reserving itself for the novel situations. The brain holds onto the known preferentially over the unknown”. [Leadership Embodiment, Palmer and Crawford]. They continue, there is a “0.2-second delay preceding the acting out of the initial impulse. This minuscule window is all you have to use your volitional neural capacity to decide to do something different.”

That’s why it’s so hard to change habits, even small ones.

So let’s return to the questions I posed at the start of this piece.

“Where in your life and work are you experiencing something that is dying? Where do you see something beginning or wanting to be born?”

Give yourself some time to ponder.

Executive Coach and Coach Supervisor Clare Norman is based in Southampton and also works in London and Bournemouth. Clare works with clients who want to make high impact transitions from one company to another, from one role to another, and when stepping up to more senior leadership levels.

The post Ready for a change? appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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As a leader, you set the behavioural tone for your team and for your organisation or business as a whole. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you shape your culture through how you interact with the people around you, how you communicate and how you treat colleagues.

A key part of this is how you talk and listen to others. Unknowingly, you may be shutting down potentially creative conversations, stifling others’ contributions and failing to build trust and connections. Through greater understanding of what can be going on at different levels in a conversation, you can develop better ‘conversational intelligence’, creating a more connected and, in the long term, more creative and trusting environment – bringing people together to open up business potential and success.

What’s going on in a conversation?

Conversations are very rarely just an exchange of information. There can be power issues unconsciously being played out, judgement of others, lack of interest in the individual and point scoring, or there can be connection, a curiosity about another, an affirmation of someone’s worth and relationship building. Such treatment of others in a conversation can, as Judith E. Glaser explained in her book Conversational Intelligence – How great leaders build trust and get extraordinary results, create chemical shifts in the brain, with strong reactions and potentially positive or negative impact.

By understanding the potential impact of team and one-to-one conversations, you can work on improving your conversational intelligence for the benefit of all involved.

How can you improve your conversational intelligence?

Don’t dominate: A conversation where one person is talking over others, not giving other people the chance to speak is not really a conversation at all. It implies you don’t really value the other’s opinion and, by extension, them. And such dominance can cause frustration and agitation in the listeners, producing the stress hormone cortisol, which means not only are they not receptive to what you’re telling them, they are also unlikely to engage with the project or put forward ideas in future.

Listen to connect: In a conversation, often people aren’t really listening to each other; instead they are waiting for the moment they can make their point, prove they are ‘right’ or thinking about what they are expected to say. They are in a mindset to judge what the other person is saying compared to their own thoughts. However, by properly listening and looking to connect with the other person, it builds trust and better communication, boosting bonding.

Be curious: The danger for many of us is that we’re ‘addicted to being right’ and it can feel good to feel we have got all the answers in a business project conversation and push our view through to get things sorted quickly. But, by focusing on just one view – our own – we lose the opportunity to discover other options and develop the team collaboration and co-creation potential. So be curious and ask questions where you don’t know the answer; find out how someone else sees a possible solution and other ways of thinking about a problem. It will open up dialogue and ideas – which long term has to be better for all involved.

Conversation is a fundamental leadership tool and better conversational intelligence can bring better communication and connection, helping you and your business.

Find out more about conversational intelligence:

Judith Glaser – Develop Your Conversational Intelligence; conversational intelligence article; video of talk

Forbes article – Is Your Leadership Brave Enough To Have The Conversation You Don’t Want To Have?

Build Your Conversation Agility: Align Your Intention with Your Impact

One Thing You Have to Master to Succeed in Business and in Life

Sue Winton is a ‘Developmental’ Leadership coach. An approach characterised by enabling deep self-reflection and discussions, centred around previously unexplored thoughts feelings and experiences. ‘Sue is a highly inspirational leadership coach who has the ability to drive positive personal transformation’ ST, UK & I Strategic & Innovation Managing Director, Experian.

The post How to Increase Your Conversational Intelligence as a Leader appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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Inspiration for blogs comes in the strangest of ways sometimes. I was at the cinema on Saturday, gripped by Marvel Avengers Endgame. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that Thor has something of a tough time in this movie, suffering from depression and grief. He quits the team, starts drinking, and tries to lose himself. He becomes fat, drunk Thor.

At some point, he ends up on his home world in a different time, and is able to have a conversation with his mother. She turns to him and says: “The measure of a person, a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” The line struck me with such force that it had me scrabbling for my phone in the middle of the cinema to email myself the quote so I could write about it.

Work-Me or Home-Me?

The most common question I’m asked by clients in the context of Leadership is “I’m not sure who to be.” We try and box off Work-Me and Home-Me, keep them separate. And the problems start when Work-Me is a step too far from Authentic-Me, as your team members and colleagues will already have a sense of who your Authentic-Me is and will then detect the dissonance when you aren’t being authentic.

So a simple leadership conversation can become a deeper examination and discovery of Authentic-Me. If you are going to shine as a leader, then being aware of and comfortable with every aspect of your personality is vital. Having an expectation that leaders are perfect is a thwarted expectation. So being able to acknowledge the good, bad and the ugly to yourself and your colleagues is an important behaviour.

Hero’s Journey

Let’s get back to Thor. He’s a leader and a hero. And this check-in from his mother (perhaps a mentor in a leadership context) enables him to get back into the game. But as the Thor he is now rather than who he was before. He’s been on his own hero’s journey which ended with the death of some colleagues, and at the end of this journey he needs to embrace that he is different. And his reality has changed. I can share more about the hero’s journey with you if you aren’t familiar with it (it’s also a very useful little coaching tool too…).

Sometimes it’s easier to use a role model that you believe shares your values and approach if you are struggling to articulate your own. I’ve had clients tell me they are Yoda, or Olivia Pope for example. They print off pictures of their characters and keep them visible at work. This enables them to access and step into the desired behaviours of their role model. And if you step into the new behaviours again and again, you are modelling and forming new habits. Evolving.

I downloaded the picture of the smiling lady as she looks so happy, so at ease, comfortable with herself. It seems to me she’s being successful at who she is.

Executive Coach Meriel Swain is particularly interested in helping people who are at some sort of crossroads in their life. Meriel works using a lot of intuition and at quite a deep emotional level.

The post Succeed at being YOU appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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In my previous article, we explored the difference between what Stanford professor of psychology Carol Dweck has termed the ‘growth mindset’ and the ‘fixed mindset’ – two contrasting frames of mind that dramatically impact how an individual perceives and makes sense of failure, their potential and intelligence, the learning process, obstacles they encounter, creativity and risk taking. The potential these mindsets have to impact performance in the business world is massive, hence the importance of getting a clear sense of what each one means.

However, understanding the growth and fixed mindsets is one thing; knowing how to actually develop and embed a growth mindset is another. There are a number of ways to do this, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula. It is down to each individual to experiment and see what works for them. The following six strategies may offer a helpful starting point for doing just that.

  1. Pay attention to both mindsets and decide which one you want to be in: You can develop the motivation to deepen and develop a growth mindset by paying attention to your experience of each one. In the fixed mindset, we tend to become more defensive and insecure, which shuts down our willingness or capacity to take risks, be creative, make mistakes or risk looking silly. This is an unpleasant experience for most of us. The ‘payoff’ is that we perhaps feel more in control. In the growth mindset, we usually feel more energised, focused, expansive, creative and engaged. Needless to say, this is a much more enjoyable experience, but it feels riskier, too, as you dance at the edge of your comfort zone. Pay attention, decide which experience you want, and let that spur you on.
  2. Notice when you’re in a fixed mindset: Paying daily attention to your thoughts and attitude, emotions, and even the sensations in your body when you’re in different states can help you get to know which mindset you’re in. Do you notice yourself falling into black and white thinking? Are you tense and stressed? Are you thinking that you “just can’t do it” or anxiously comparing yourself to others? In each of these cases you might be in a fixed mindset. Once you identify it, you can do something about it.
  3. Become aware of your triggers: Each of us has certain fixed mindset ‘triggers’ – contextual or environmental factors that will stir anxiety and put us into a fixed mindset. We may be sensitive to criticism or challenge, for example, or a defensive reaction in a competitive environment. Become aware of what triggers you so that next time it happens, you can notice it and then consciously do something different.
  4. Experiment and discover how to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset: Once you recognise that you’ve been triggered into a fixed mindset, experiment with ways to shift out of it. Simply acknowledging, “I’m in a fixed mindset right now” can help. Some people find working with their thoughts useful – catching the thoughts characteristic of the fixed mindset and turning it around. You could also get a ‘reality check’ from a trusted colleague, mentor or friend – someone who can help you shift your perspective. For other people, going outside, changing their scenery or moving their body can work wonders. There is no one size fits all. Find what works for you.
  5. Become aware of what triggers a fixed mindset (and what cultivates a growth mindset) within your team: If you’re a leader, you need to be aware of yourself and also your team and/or direct reports. Find ways to build reflective, collaborative spaces where people can express their creativity, take appropriate risks and get feedback.
  6. Develop a growth-oriented culture: Dweck and her colleagues found that organisations that play the ‘talent game’, encouraging overly competitive environments, also foster a lot of fixed mindset behaviours. Reflect on the wider culture and scrutinise the places where you may be oriented towards a fixed mindset – then play with how you can shift the focus towards a growth mindset.

A growth-oriented culture will make it safe to risk making mistakes. This will be celebrated, so that instead of people thinking that they look incompetent, ignorant or unskilled, they will see mistakes as evidence that they are learning and growing. Fostering a culture where mistakes are welcome as part of the growth process can offset people’s temptation to put on a ‘persona’ and fake their way through the day. The result will be genuine growth.

Applying Dweck’s work on the growth mindset is becoming increasingly widespread. It doesn’t magic challenges away – the world is still incredibly fast paced, change is occurring constantly at breakneck speed, and the future is uncertain.

It is for precisely those reasons that adopting a growth mindset is vital. It makes us able to respond and operate within an ever-changing world with genuine creativity, openness to learning and change, and perseverance. With practice, we can become like the children that once surprised Dweck in her research: thriving, not buckling, in the face of tremendous challenges and, yes, even in moments when we fail.

References

Carol Dweck, What Having a Growth Mindset Actually Means, HBR, 2016

https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means

Elizabeth Reilly is an executive and leadership coach and co-founder of the Work Psychologists. Elizabeth’s commercial background allows her to quickly grasp the complexities of today’s organisations and bring clarity to the issues involved. Working in fast-paced and highly fluid environments – from entrepreneurial start-ups to FTSE 100 – she particularly relates to the challenges faced by senior executives and has supported business leaders and teams across a wide range of sectors, including advertising, banking and tech. 

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The post How These Six Strategies Can Help You Adopt A Growth Mindset appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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I’ve noticed something about transition coaching (especially outplacement coaching).  Some outplacement companies support their clients through the transactional side of finding a new job.  Things like writing their CV, applying for roles, composing a cover letter,  interview skills. That’s good – as far as it goes.  But there is something missing from that equation.

Change provides an opportunity to question who we are, what is most important to us, our identity in the world. It can be a time of great learning and growth. That transformation comes through reflecting upon what is going on for us during the ending, the neutral zone and the new beginning.  It’s much more than the tactical stuff. Yes, it’s important to find a new role to support ourselves and our families financially.  But jumping into the first role that we are offered may not be the best fit for us.  We have an opportunity to define our ideal role – this is a lost opportunity for many, who don’t sit back and think about their strengths, their passions, their interests, their perfect day. We have a chance to become a great contribution to the world, to become the best we can be.

So let’s spend some time transforming ourselves, with a coach by our side to support us as we stumble and challenge us to go further, rather than going through the transactional motions of applying for jobs that don’t feel quite right.

Like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly – we can become so much more than we ever imagined possible.  Sure it’s not an easy process but think about the fulfilment that will ensue when we know something new about ourselves that we didn’t know before, and do something new that we didn’t do before.

Executive Coach and Coach Supervisor Clare Norman is based in Southampton and also works in London and Bournemouth. Clare works with clients who want to make high impact transitions from one company to another, from one role to another, and when stepping up to more senior leadership levels.

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In the 1970s, researcher Carol Dweck – now a professor of psychology at Stanford University – began researching children’s abilities to bounce back from failure. She found to her surprise that some children didn’t need to “bounce back” at all; for them, failure wasn’t something to cope with, but to learn from.

This finding sparked a few decades’ research on what Dweck later named two distinct mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

According to Heidi Grant, Mary Slaughter and Andrea Derler, a growth mindset is made up of “the dual belief that skills and abilities can be improved, and that developing your skills and abilities is the purpose of the work you do.”

The idea that we can continue to grow and develop our skills might seem obvious, but Dweck’s research revealed that a lot of people believe the opposite: that their level of talent or intelligence is somehow innate or predetermined, and that because of this, they cannot develop or grow.

The second part of the definition is also important, particularly in the business world. When the purpose of your work is to develop your skills and abilities, your focus shift: instead of constantly trying to prove how innately talented you are or always needing to look competent and polished, you can instead focus on learning and developing as an inherent part of everything you do. As a result, you’ll dare to make mistakes, try new things, adopt a beginner’s mindset and take risks – things which, in a VUCA economy, are increasingly understood to be important for facilitating ongoing commercial success.

Debunking the mindset myths

Dweck pointed out in a 2016 article for Harvard Business Review that as her ideas ballooned in popularity over the last few years, they also became somewhat misunderstood and distorted. Having a clear understanding of what the growth and fixed mindsets are is important to be able to fully utilise them the way many businesses such as Microsoft, who have integrated Dweck’s work into their culture, are doing.

Here are six myths or misconceptions about the growth and fixed mindsets, and the truth about each one.

  1. Myth: The mindsets are an either/or proposition. People mistakenly believe people either have a growth mindset or a fixed one. The truth is, we shift back and forth between the two, and all of us are susceptible to both mindsets. A person can hold a growth mindset about one area of their life or work and a fixed mindset in another area, or they may shift in and out of a growth mindset.
  2. Myth: A business can have a mindset. Organisations are made up of people. A group of people can largely hold similar mindsets, but we shouldn’t confuse this with “the business” having a fixed or growth mindset. A business in and of itself cannot think – only the people within it.
  3. Myth: You can have a “pure” growth mindset. People wrongly equate being open-minded or having a positive outset with a growth mindset. The two, Dweck says, are distinct.
  4. Myth: Having a growth mindset means always being positive. Being oriented towards growth and development is not about having a Pollyanna, ‘can-do!’ attitude one hundred per cent of the time. We need to acknowledge our limitations, challenges and obstacles. This is not about denial.
  5. Myth: A growth mindset automatically creates good outcomes. The truth is, growth and learning are often messy and not always linear. Some risks don’t work out. Pursuing innovation sometimes leads to a dead end.
  6. Myth: Anyone can do anything. While a fixed mindset assumes that talent and intelligence are fixed and immovable, one potential misconception associated with the growth mindset is that we can grow and develop limitlessly – that anyone can be anything. Think about the “1% talent, 99% hard work” adage that implies anything can be achieved if you just work hard enough. The truth is, we humans do have limits. We don’t all carry equal potential across the board. Yes, we can grow and develop, but it’s also important to acknowledge that we are also human.

It’s important that we understand the theory, so that we can accurately put it into practice in the teams and organisations in which we work.

In my next article, I’ll be sharing six strategies to help you adopt and embed a growth mindset for yourself and in your team.

References

Carol Dweck, What Having a Growth Mindset Actually Means, HBR, 2016

https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means

Heidi Grant, Mary Slaughter and Andrea Derler, 5 Mistakes Companies Make About Growth Mindsets, HBR, 2018

https://hbr.org/2018/07/5-mistakes-companies-make-about-growth-mindsets

Elizabeth Reilly is an executive and leadership coach and co-founder of the Work Psychologists. Elizabeth’s commercial background allows her to quickly grasp the complexities of today’s organisations and bring clarity to the issues involved. Working in fast-paced and highly fluid environments – from entrepreneurial start-ups to FTSE 100 – she particularly relates to the challenges faced by senior executives and has supported business leaders and teams across a wide range of sectors, including advertising, banking and tech. 

The post 6 Myths About The Growth Mindset, Debunked appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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In my last post I talked about a client who had been unaware of a serious problem perceived by his boss. Of course it’s not uncommon that a CEO has a perspective as yet unavailable to others in their organisation. A leader being informed of a deficit is often the kick-off point for some coaching.

Coaching often starts this way, with the client in what can be called the ‘Unaware Stage’.  They then progress, through feedback, to the Aware Stage. When clients come directly to a coach, they’re clearly already aware of at least some of their challenges.

One of the things a coach will do is help a client integrate this awareness and then progress from the Aware Stage into the next phase – the Trigger Aware stage. Let me give an example that many may recognise.

I was coaching a finance director.  She was a strong leader, with a good reputation in the business.  She not only got great results, but did so with really high engagement with her team. She also had good stakeholder relationships. So where was the problem? Her ‘strength’ all but disappeared when presenting.

A great question to ask is “Is this a full-time or a part-time problem?”

Usually, it’s a part-time problem and that means there is likely to be an external trigger or triggers that cause the unhelpful state to occur.

This was a part-time problem.

When did it happen? When she was presenting to the CEO and her team.

Had this always been a problem?  No it hadn’t. She didn’t have the issue with the last CEO.

There was something about this CEO in particular, that was triggering the unhelpful state.

Three things were useful to do here:

  1. Identify the trigger(s). 
What was it about this CEO in particular that triggered this lack of confidence? Was the context different from before?

We nailed what the triggers were so my client was fully Trigger Aware’.

  1. Resourcefulness.  
We worked on being more resourceful in the face of that trigger. What were the things that she could do, before and during these interactions, such that the trigger had a neutral or positive effect instead of a negative one?
  2. Progress to the next stage.  
We moved on to the next stage, and that’s ‘Internal Process-Aware’ – identifying what was going on internally within my client that was causing the lack of confidence, and developed new strategies and distinctions.

I don’t do therapy and most coaches don’t. I won’t ask a client to get on a couch and tell me about their childhood! However, what is productive is becoming aware of decisions that clients make early on in life that are playing out right now. Especially those that trigger them into less useful states. I must emphasise that we don’t explore the incidents that caused those decisions to be made in the past. That’s in the therapeutic realm and as a coach, I’m just identifying those decisions that are playing out unconsciously right now in the present.

It’s not always necessary or even desirable to move on to this next stage, but working on internal processes helps the client evolve and grow as a leader and as a human being. This model of Unaware > Aware > External Trigger Aware > Internal Process Aware needs to be attributed to the therapist Kim Barta. His model goes further if you’re doing therapy but stops here for coaching. Even though the model comes from therapy it’s great for coaches, or for managers taking an employee at least one step on from feedback.

Helping clients develop awareness around external triggers that cause less resourceful states, and developing new strategies is another example of coaching adding significant value. So ask yourself, what triggers you?

Executive Coach Gregor Findlay helps leaders and leadership teams be the best they can be so they, in turn, make the biggest positive difference for themselves, their people and society.

The post Developing awareness around external triggers appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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Carl Jung said: “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

When you look at The Cosmos, or The Milky Way, from a distance it’s possible to see that there’s a structure, an order, to all the stars and planets in the system. Our solar system.

Or, stand a long way back from a Jackson Pollock painting, and you will find your own pattern within it. What you see will not be the same as what someone else standing in front of the painting sees.

Have you considered that in our lives we are shining like stars in many systems? The families we were born into, the ones we marry into and create, teams at work, departments, organisations, communities, villages, cities. And the list goes on. And not forgetting the most important consellation which is our own. Our unique system. We are a system too.

Plato said: “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” With coaching, we have a tendency to focus only on those elements of our own system that we can change. Indeed, when I did my coaching and NLP training, it was suggested to me that the only thing that’s truly within our control (and therefore that we can change) is the response that we make to what happens to us. Many years later and I realise that unless we understand or intuit our place within the bigger system, and we and the system are mutually impacted, then changing one small part is unlikely to effect the bigger change.

If you think about the relationships you have with others, say the family you were born into, changing the way you respond or behave is going to impact the whole system over time. However, if other members of the system are unable to adapt to the change, then the system as a whole may return to it’s default settings over time. And your change is lost. If you can remember The Matrix Trilogy, you might remember the code, and how Mr Smith is driven to see that The Matrix (or system) remains constant. It’s a wonderful metaphor.

Systemic or constellation coaching helps clients to see the system which is relevant to their coaching question. I find that I spend a lot of time as a coach mapping out my client’s system so that I can ask a more helpful question to bring about a new perspective. I am learning that it is of even greater value to enable my client to map their own system and decide what needs changing to bring about their own solution.

I spent a few years of my childhood in South Africa. We had a fantastic US TV series called Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I expect some of you have seen his Blue Dot.

I rather like this quote from him: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Executive Coach Meriel Swain is particularly interested in helping people who are at some sort of crossroads in their life. Meriel works using a lot of intuition and at quite a deep emotional level.

The post In all chaos there is a cosmos appeared first on Trusted Coach Directory.

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