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Tuesday
Dec062011

New light on new challenges  

 

I have just joined forces with The Hamilton Group (THG) on a specific project. THG is a not-for-profit meshwork of individuals, communities, organisations and businesses who have come together to contribute to the changes needed to meet the enormous challenges faced by the Earth and the diverse communities that inhabit it.

The plan is to radically shift prevailing thoughts and views that drive our current mind-sets   through engaging the new or next generation. These are the 18 to 25 year olds, and we are inviting them to engage with senior players to bring about significant change to those in power. It is a challenge to senior people not to be encased by conditioned mindsets that struggle to embrace the future due to their anxieties about the present.  We want to bring about the planetary changes within an economic framework that is currently struggling and is desperate for profit. The vision is to open the spirit and the heart of those in power through discussion, coaching and training and connect that august powerful body with the brightness, energy and boldness of youth which we are calling “The Antenna’s”. We intend to o introduce young graduates into key organizations and explore new, different and profitable futures for organisations, people, and the planet . Our role with The Antenna’s is one of coaching, mentoring, directing and empowering. The future is theirs! We must allow them passage into the present and help them make the necessary impact and difference for the planet and our future generations. This is a seminal approach and as such is the forming stage, however, we are engaged in outline discussions with some major organisations.  

 

THG was launched in November 2010 following discussions on the need to bring the issues of the Earth to the forefront of decision making within communities, organisations and businesses. At the core of these discussions was the importance of Natural Capital, the natural resources and ecosystem services that sustain us. Out of this came the THG Ethos, which is the bedrock of our beliefs and values.

 Our Mission
 To enable businesses, organisations and communities to evolve and embed
 the culture and structures needed to contribute to and thrive in a
 sustainable and integrated world.

Friday
Nov252011

The irresistible spark…

 

that drives, defines and ignites human spirit and performance

-       Do we all have it?

-       If so how do we get access to it?

-       What did Steve Jobs and Caroline Carey have in common?

 

During this summer I felt inspired to interview people that did extraordinary things. However there were a couple of qualifiers. I was not interested in doing a celeb glory hunt.

So, my target audience had to meet three criterion:

 

  1. They had to have done something out of the ordinary
  2. I had to know them personally
  3. There was a story to tell

 

The task I set myself was to see if I could distil the spark that ignited and informed their actions, and make that information available for others.

 

The death of Steve Jobs in October 2011 affected many of us – not because of any direct association but a connection through his legacy. A friend of mine kindly sent me his biography written by Walter Isaacson. The first thing I read was Apple’s “Think Different” commercial.

The people who are crazy enough

to think they can change the world

are the ones who do.

 

After reading just twenty pages I knew that the core of Steve Job’s story provided such evidence of not just how the human spark works but in fact what it is and some of his story needed to be included in this work. 

 

Monday
Nov142011

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Steve Jobs biography - really worth getting

 

SJ said “ religion was its best when it emphasized spiritual experiences rather than received dogma. The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it. I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don't. It's a great mystery."

 

 I think this is a great example of what Peter Senge call metal models one of the key features in developing a learning organisaton. One we get attached to our house or opinion or belief we lose the capacity to hold ambiguity and complexity. Has the world ever been more ambiguous than now?   Our leaders and Exec's need to be open with their models of reality and mind-sets, include the mind-sets of others and build new ones that work for today with the knowledge that they may need to be re-newed or replaced tomorrow.

Friday
Oct282011

Work Life Balance And other Myths…

 

Working as a coach in a kaleidoscope of different settings I often come upon the topic of work life balance as an issue of real concern. In a recent coaching session I was presented with such a situation. The “coachee” (and quite a few don’t come for coaching they come to be fixed!) – Let’s call him Graham. He laid out his case. It was full of stress, worry, anxiety guilt and unhappiness.

 

His malaise was fully supported by his line manager who appeared to have the same problems and indeed the whole company, which seemed to acknowledge that “time poverty” deadlines, quarter- end pressures and commuting issues were all terrible things, whilst continually loading up his list of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and paternally reminding him of his Level Three Leadership accountabilities.

 

Graham did not look awful. He explained that to me that “I can’t afford to look bad, that’s why I go down the gym, lie on the sun bed and sleep all week-end, which of course drives my wife mad and disappoints the kids. But if I admit I feel stressed – I’ve had it!”  

 

I wasn’t sure if this was the whole story – the trapped one, the victim, so I probed a little to discover that although there was substance in Graham’s story. He also enjoyed being an over- achiever and having success status amongst his colleagues.

 

So, as part of the cause of the problem himself I asked Graham “What do you want?”

He thought for a moment and then said something so bland it quite surprised me –

“To be happy” he said and looked quite embarrassed.

 

Therefore, working on the basis that happiness is conditioned by what is happening right now. I took Graham on a journey through his emotional landscape. We set about identifying the core distinctions and found out that he was quite often in the stressed and anxious zone, infrequently in joy and happiness and rarely in calm and collected.

 

The time when he did experience happiness and contentment was on the golf course. But, as this took him away from home it also caused him guilt.

 

Graham also identified that a lot of the conditions that were unbalancing his happy state were perennial – the company, his boss, the job itself, the demands of his wife, the kids, the mortgage, his brother- in- law who is wealthier and more handsome etc – none of it was going to go away!

 

At that point in our session we just looked blankly at each other, until I said “welcome to your life.”  At that point Graham sat back in his chair and relaxed for the first time and said “is there anything I can do – any hope at all?”

 

“Yes” I replied – and the work began.

 

It wasn’t a quick fix- it was more important than that.

Through a process of self- observation and detachment Graham began to see the emotional traps he was setting for himself and others. As he began to accept his part in his problem he became accountable and more resourceful.

 

Did all the issues go away? No! But what Graham did over time and with practice was to master his inner balance. That meant that he was able to diffuse pressure mounting within himself before it became stress and at the same time adopt a practice where he could wash down the inevitable adrenalin and cortisol build up that his life triggered and maintain his equilibrium.

 

A major insight for Graham was that work- life balance was a myth. Life is just too dynamic for that. The issue is one of continual work- life balancing and as with any tightrope you need good balance, sure footwork and a steady heart.

 

Graham and I still have 1-1 coaching sessions but now they are rather different. He now approaches conflict and ambiguity from the inside out. That is to say he makes sure he is in the right place to engage the challenge rather than just re-act to it.

 

Moreover, Graham has discovered that with his new capability he is able to tap into his own intuitive wisdom and reach clarity of mind he had not accessed before, leading him to think more creatively, reach new conclusions and deliver higher productivity.

 

Currently he is planning with his wife and children to take a six week break in 2013 to embark on a volunteer project in Cambodia.

 

His company are not happy at the prospect of him taking off so much time, so there is work to do if all parties are to feel happy in balancing commercial and business requirements.   

 

That’s life  

 

 

Friday
Jul222011

Inner Leadership Coaching

Whilst coaching has been around a while, Inner leadership Coaching is more specific to the Inner life of the coachee. This focuses on a  rich realm where hopes fears values and phobia's nest. The key to IL Coaching is to provide you with containment of your experience plus provide some breakthrough techniques to move you on the next step of your journey.

How does that journey go?

Well it might be setting a personal mission or goals, breaking a habit or increasing commitment right up to engaging meaning and purpose or searching for your personal grail. Every step is valid, every step has purpose.