I must be on a bit of a roll at the moment. Its Monday, its the first day back after a week's holiday in the Lakes and I have a pressing deadline that not only has to be met but has just been brought forward. I shrug my shoulders and tackle the some 80+ emails in my inbox.
There was of course the usual rubbish that I deleted without reading, an array of work tasks to do and a handful of replies to my plea for volunteer coachees.
In amongst all that was an email from one of the senior managers in my Function. He'd responded to the email I sent out on Personnel lady's suggestion. He suggested we chatted, it had been sent last week, however he just happened to wander into the office today - we've not met before.
So I straightened my hair (well that's what us girls do) and my shoulders and introduced myself. He was very interested in what I was doing and had given my proposal serious consideration. SO much so that he's considered each and every member of his team before settling on one person.
He is the same level as my Boss' Boss' Boss and equally supportive. He is going away to chat with the person's line manager and we'll take it from there.
I get increasingly more excited as the week goes on. My training course is now only 5 days away.
I went to meet CR (volunteer coachee) today to have a get to know you chat and make sure that we are mutually right together to have a coaching relationship.
She was concerned that she has too many issues and I want to dice right in and start working on them with her, so yes, I believe it will work. I feel as excited about the prospect of coaching her as I did about coaching Special Friend.
I went to the meeting prepared and had considered what I might need to say to her but she came along and asked all the right questions.
Today was the day we ran home from my beloved Lake District and over to Skipton to meet The Experienced Coach. I actually wasn't nervous. Her whole persona in emails and over the telephone put me at ease.
I was stressed though. Tension between Hubby and I getting into the centre of Skipton caused that, so I was shaking slightly when I reached the cafe - Bean Loved. I was a couple of minutes ahead of The Experienced Coach, so had managed to calm down before she arrived.
Two whole hours flew by as we chatted and got to know each other. She has extended a hand of almost infinite help and has only applied one condition. That I extend help and support in a similar way to someone else who needs it at some time in the future - pass it on! She is in fact helping me as payback for a kindness she was shown when she was starting out.
I will fulfil my debt. I'm not going to deliberately look for that opportunity. I know it doesn't work like that. When the time is right the situation will present itself.
What a fabulous and varied holiday! We have been held back a little from what we wanted to do by very strong winds and extremely heavy showers. The most memorable moments involved battling back from the Pooley Bridge Inn, in rain like I've never seen for many years, to sitting in the Mardale Inn at Bampton, tucking into great food and reliving the previous 9 1/2 hours and 12 1/2 miles. We'd taken the Riggendale route from Haweswater to High Street and 7 other tops along the way.
Tired but happy. My knee is troubling me - its not been this painful since I damaged the ligament 4-5 years ago - but it was still the highlight of the week.
Tomorrow we go home. As usual I am sad to leave but happy that we're coming back to His Royal Doggyness.
This time I'm even excited. We take a detour to Skipton to see The Experienced Coach. I'm nervous though too.
And on Sunday I'm meeting CR. She's a potential volunteer coachee. And on Friday my course starts.
When I look back over how I got here my coach used a number of techniques on me. Firstly there was the stuff about NLP preferences.
What’s the expression? Procrastination is the thief of time. I’d come to realise that I spend an awful lot of time worry about how to start a task and if I couldn’t work out the answer to that I’d check my emails or read the internet or fill out my time sheet.
If I didn’t know how to start the task and it was urgent then I’d just go into headless chicken mode. I’m surprised, looking back, that I didn’t start to grow feathers and lay eggs.
I’d start the task one way, panic I was doing it wrong, tackle it a different way, get different results, panic again, panic because I was panicking. In fact panic, panic, PANIC……
The calm of Coach won through. It was amazing. In a few simple steps she’d got me to realise that I wasn’t achieving anything in panicking and that I needed to adopt a few simple steps (largely list writing which I’m very good at) and approach tasks in a calmer and more logical manner.
It still happens to me, even now, but at least I recognise it as its happening and can take action.
I don't tend to get involved with email chain letters, but this is one with a very positive message. It was sent to me by my good friend Polergirl so I thought I'd share it with you.
Hope it makes you smile.
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'
He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!' 'You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'
He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or...you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.'
Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.
'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'
'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.
He continued, '...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action...'
'What did you do?' I asked.
'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied..' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity''
Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude...I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
Attitude, after all, is everything. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere
with what you can do."
- John Wooden
Its half way through my holiday. Last Friday seems so long ago (it won’t be for you I only posted the day before yesterday). Yet I still keep pinching myself. Nothing like this ever happens to me, or should I rephrase that:
“This is the first time that something like this has happened to me”.
I can’t help wondering if I will wake up to find it all a dream.
So far the holiday has been fab, despite the high winds and driving rain we have managed a balance of getting out into the fells, a little retail therapy (I’m now the owner of some nice snazzy New Balance trainers for the gym – although that gorgeous furry brown bargain fleece is still hanging on the rail) and some chillin’ time with Hubby. The bungalow is fantastic See Beckside Bungalow and brilliant for chillin’. Perhaps the lack of WIFI is a blessing.
I think I woke up panicking this morning. However things have started to come together. I’ve had an email from my B&B confirming that the change in dates to coincide with my new course dates are fine.
I then spend the whole morning pacing up and down. I HAVE to clear the dates with Boss. I’ve already sent him an email selling him the benefits. Its only really the Mondays that I am asking for. I have every other Friday off work and Boss respects that and my course falls on those weekends. So I’m only asking for three Mondays. He’s very good over my holidays and I am very demanding – they’re important to me. And in ten years he’s only refused me once (I think). So why is there a little voice in my head telling me to worry. (probably because this is so important as someone is offering me one hell of a deal on my training).
I know Boss isn’t coming into the office until 9.30 and then going straight into interviews. I’m off out at 12.00.
The waiting is killing me.
Finally at the eleventh hour – literally 11:59, I’ve got my shoes on and am stood by the front door, the phone rings. Boss does his normal umming and arring and then agrees. I like my Boss. I wouldn’t tell him, but right now I could hug him. He’s not really the hugging type.
So its all systems go. I’m soooo excited I want to tell the world about my good fortune. (I forgot sometimes that when I’m blogging – I AM telling the world – or at least those bits that want to listen.
We’re off up to the Lakes tomorrow for a week. I have to ring Mum to sort out arrangements for His Royal Doggyness as our last minute accommodation isn’t doggy friendly. Besides these days he struggles on our step into the garden let alone 3000ft hills. Mum and Dad seemed uninterested in my Coaching when I initially told them. They were too worried and focussed on the thought that I might give up my nice safe job at the bank. I mention that my course dates have changed. Largely because she worries about me and likes to know that I’m where I’m supposed to be. It’s a Mum thing. She goes onto to tell me that Dad suggested they give me £500 towards my course. WOW! I can’t go wrong at the moment.
So, Universe, I’m writing to thank you. I asked for £2,000 to pay for my course. You haven’t given it to me, however you have given me what I truly wanted. An opportunity to train on the course I wanted to do. I think I can manage the rest!
I had an email from Barefoot Coaching tonight. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they've had to cancel my training course.
OMG! All that planning, all that saving.
Then I stop and read the email properly. Its beautifully written - typical of Kim Morgan. She's offering me choices - and has emailed rather than called to give me thinking time. When I read the options its a no-brainer.
My money back?
Wait for new unscheduled course dates?
Upgrade for free to the Post Graduate course. This is the course that I really wanted to do and ruled out because its double the price of the under graduate.
I'm not in work for a week, the course starts the week after and I have to rearrange all my holiday dates off work, my accommodation and it clashes with a concert that I'm going to.
Talk about the change curve, I definitely went into shock, in fact i travelled through the whole spectrum and once I'd managed to free myself from the ceiling on which I'd landed, I was able to email my B&B, email my Boss and figured that I'd be able to work something out around the concert.
Getting the upgrade is fantastic, I can't believe the opportunity - WOW!
Personnel Lady called me today with some feedback on my proposed email to my Manager's area at work.
I'd largely only sent it to her because I didn't want her to see me as a quitter. She suggested that I prepositioned it directly at the high level managers to get some strong recommendations - rather than be inundated with anyone/everyone. So I thought why not? It would also be a good way of raising my profile at work too.
It was quite scary pressing 'send', but I'm going to have to get used to dealing with some higher level management types besides, they are only people aren't they?
It told me I am Kinaesthetic. – Touchy Feely. To communicate I need to be much more hands on than some people.
The following are typical of a Kinaesthetic Preference
• speak slowly
• respond to physical rewards • touch people to get their attention
• stand close when talking to someone
• are physically oriented and move a lot
• have early large-muscle development
• learn by manipulating and doing
• memorise by walking and seeing
• use a finger as a pointer when reading
• gesture a lot
• can't sit still for long periods of time
• can't remember geography unless they've actually been there
• use action words
• like plot-oriented books, reflect action with body movement as they read
• may have messy handwriting
• want to act things out
• like involved games
It appears that Boss is more Visual. I can recall him using the phrase “can’t you see why………”
This appears to be why we have little understanding for each other.
If you try the test, I’d love to know what you are.
As if the personnel woman wasn’t bad enough, Mentee emailed me again. She hadn’t managed to call me because she’d had to go into town with her Mum and return some Avon products.
The excuse seemed quite lame and doesn't take into account me having to continually rearrange my work calendar around her. She seems unaware that I might have a life, expecting me to be available on Saturdays too.
So I did what I always do and analysed the situation. When I'd finished I'd concluded that her Mum could be wheelchair bound, she supplements her benefits to help finances at home by selling Avon and I possibly haven't laid out the terms of the mentoring relationship very well.
I guess two of the three are probably spot on. I've sent a couple of mails/texts asking her to call me and explaining that I won't be in the office next week.
It’s a Monday and again Monday things have happened.
Firstly, the women from personnel replied to my email reminding her that I was looking for volunteer coaches.
She apologised for sitting on the email for a week and a half as she’d been busy. Training department had advised that I can’t do any ‘official’ coaching as I’m not accredited – of course I can’t get accredited without coaches.
If people want to volunteer, and they understand that I’m not accredited – that’s fine but effectively I’m on my own. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place until THEY decided they could do it better. And its only taken 4 weeks to leave me right where I started from. Bureaucracy at its best.
So I did what I was going to do originally, stick an ad for free life coaching on the ‘sales’ board at work. Within 2 hours I had been contacted by a girl who’s sister was considering life coaching. She wants to change her job and her life. Perfect! It’ll be a challenge but a good challenge. We’re going to meet later this week.
So Employer! Thank you. You’ve just made me even more determined to make a success of this.
I can't remember whether I mentioned her, but I was approached a couple of months ago by a life coach who saw some similarities between my profile and her own.
I'm sure I did but can't find the post, so you'll have to trust me. But she contacted me and offered her help, experience and support. I was overwhelmed.
We have remained in touch over the last few weeks and now I'm ready to meet her metaphorically speaking, so i mailed her to check she was still OK with it. Experienced Coach mailed me back and suggested we meet face to face half way. That would only be about an hour/hour and half journey. Its exactly what I would have suggested, but I didn't want to impose.
Once again I feel a sense of disappointment with my Backing Young Britain Mentee. Mentee has once again failed to ring me when she said she would. I can't help myself thinking "youth of today" and shaking my head - and then realising how old that makes me.
My problem is finding the right approach. I don't want to take a heavy approach with her - she might back off and that would be it. But at the same time I want her to realise that what she's getting is a gift and one she at some point in her life might actually appreciate. I'm taking time out of my working day to help and support her. I still have to complete all my work tasks. So the very least she could do is keep her appointments or let me know if she can't - a courtesy.
I have sent her an email asking if everything is OK but I will need to take a tougher stance going forward.
Change can be uncomfortable for all of us. It’s perfectly normal to experience a variety of feelings even if you’re the one driving the change, or supporting the change.
The change curve is a model that many people identify with, some if not all of the stages. Even those committed to change, as a steady state, sometimes feel momentary DENIAL.
There are lots of variations of the Change Curve, the most notable is the Kubler Ross Curve that is specifically used for grief.
I used to have a great link for the Kubler Ross curve, but it seems its been removed from the Web. So I am going to come up with my own version that takes you through a range of emotions which are more suited to general changes.
My new coach suggested we did things properly. This meant having a sponsor. A sponser being Boss. The idea behind this was to make sure that both he and I bought into the same reasons for the coaching and could work towards the same goals.
I ummed, I arrred and I ummed again. Then I decided to bite the bullet. What had I really got to loose?
So at my next monthly appraisal I raised the topic. Boss didn’t really pretend to understand, but knows that as my manager he is expected to support my persona; development and I guess to some extent that he saw that whatever time I spent doing this was effort that he didn’t need to put in.
So coach, Boss and I sat down and talked about me. I was amazed how clued up Boss was. He’d made some observations about me that where quite startling. The phrase he used was Snowdrop sees herself as a square peg in a round hole.
He’d completely hit the nail on the head. I knew that’s how I saw me, but I couldn’t believe he could see it too. God! I must be transparent
This is the third in a series of posts about change.
Sometimes we want to change. Perhaps there is something that you don’t like about yourself and are seeking an opportunity to do something about it. You might actually like who and what you are but are seeking continuous improvement and in doing so see a need to change.
Sometimes we resist change; perhaps change is being forced on you at work. In recent times employers are dictating that change is essential for their businesses to operate. As an employee it can be difficult to keep up.
It could be that someone you are connected to is seeking change, forcing a change directly on you. Major life events such as marriage or loss of a loved one envokes change.
It’s how we deal with that change that matters.
To keep ahead it’s critical that we continue to develop as a person and change. Change, however can bring many emotions, it can be exciting or terrifying, fun or confusing.
I hope that some of my upcoming blog posts will help you to cope with whatever aspect of change you are facing, understand your inner feelings and help you to deal positively with these.
It can be easy to judge people, to have a pre-conceived idea of who they are, what they're about and how they'll act - and this is something I'm going to have to move away from as a life coach an d learn to treat everyone on face value.
My Backing Young Britain Mentee contacted me today. I'd written her off. One session, confirmation to the job centre that's she'd attended, allowances in tact. And that was the overriding feeling. She'd missed a meeting - just one, and failed to respond to my messages and I'd written her off.
I guess not everyone checks their email daily.
Just one week later she contacts me. She's been given a three month placement under a government backed incentive and will be doing some admin work in a local hospital. Its a fantastic opportunity to get some relevant work experience and a chance to prove herself and come out with some good references. It wasn't easy to talk, she was on her mobile so we're going to have a proper chat next week. I'm really looking forward to it. but my learning point this week is go give people more of a chance.
Had a coaching session with one of my volunteer coachees today. I was able to go into the session, not worrying about whether or not I'd done enough prep. And the session was so much better because I allowed it to flow naturally.
I can't go into details because my coachee has a right to privacy, but I do know that they have taken some pretty big steps in facing the obstacles that are in the way of progress and will be able to continue to use what they have learnt in the future too.
This person's enthusiasm for what they are doing is amazing and it makes my job very easy. See, I can't simply accept that I might actually be a natural at this!
From my point of view, I know I push a little too hard at times, I need to take a step back and allow my coachees a little more time to identify their own solutions.
I guess the real buzz of it came when my coachee rang me back to say they'd actually done what they'd been putting off. I'd say that's a really big well done to both of us.
A rare treat today! I took a half day off working this morning. I generally prefer afternoons. I like that feeling of getting work over and done with early and not have it looming over me like an a swinging axe.
So I managed to get an extra Body Pump work out in and then went to meet Pete at Business Link. I found him a bit feeble, although he was enthusiastic, over enthusiastic. Its a shame really I've heard great things about Business Link but could be easily put off by the first meeting I had. The reception girl at my local council office just vaguely waved me in the direction of his office, the meeting lasted about 20 mins, but the advice sound:
"As soon as I have clients get some business insurance, business car insurance, record mileage and keep receipts". We also talked about their courses which was my main reason for going - so I will reserve judgement until then.
He offered 4 course dates. Two of them are during the days and I will find them difficult to attend. The other two are Monday and Wednesday evenings but are immediately following my 4-day weekends at Barefoot Coaching getting my training. I will be shattered. But its that or wait until December.
Today I also posted my balance cheque to Barefoot -so I am paid in full. Again I posted it with a little nervousness but no real doubts. Cara has sent me the joining pack through which covers all the course work and mentions a journal. I do keep one already, but I sense this one needs to be written with more feeling - as probably does my blog. Starting .................