You will notice that I did not use the B or the T words in the title, and that is because this article is not about Brexit, or Trump for that matter. There have been enough of those already. It is more about how we as human beings, respond to change and what we can learn from our reactions to the events of recent months. Most importantly, what can we do to stay grounded and sane as these events play out?
Coaching is now a mature industry and many of you will have either thought about working with a coach or mentor, or will have done so. Perhaps surprisingly I still come across people in business who don’t fully understand or appreciate the value proposition. In some cases they see coaching as somehow remedial and only really for individuals with ‘problems' to fix. I believe that coaching and mentoring can deliver lasting value to most people most of the time, and here's why.
One of the many Joys of having children is seeing the world through their eyes, and having the opportunity to live it all again. One of the frustrations is that in spite of all of your accumulated experience and knowledge, they may seem reluctant to listen and only appear to learn by making their own mistakes. This is how I learned as well and it maybe a universal law. If I could shortcut the process, these are the things I would tell my 25 year old self and my children’s generation. Some of these points may resonate for you too.
As professionals, workers, parents and citizens, we all have strong reasons for wishing for fair collection and allocation of taxes. Our schools, NHS and public services of all kinds depend on it. So here is a heartfelt plea for companies, and particularly the multi-nationals who sometimes appear to be above the law, to play fair and to do their bit
If you read enough self help and positive psychology material, you could be forgiven for thinking that we could all be super optimists if we only put our minds to it. Whilst I share the sentiment, lets not forget that Pessimism is not an affliction and without it the world would be a less ironic, funny, diverse and interesting place.
I love Easter for lots of reasons, few of them based on religion. As the seasons turn we start to see more light, longer days and the green shoots of renewal and hope. Given recent world events, this year in particular will also be a time of reflection, made all the more poignant for me by a recent trip to the refugee camp in Calais. I would like to share what I saw and learned from the experience.
You do not have to look far to see the forces of gender discrimination at play. From disparity in pay structures to a lack of balance at senior levels in many companies, the evidence is clear. Why is this and what can women and men do to address the problem?
At a recent meeting with my colleagues at Accelerating Experience, we ventured on to the well-worn path of leadership and what are the qualities that leaders need in today’s digital age?
For our parents and grandparents generations, career change was nigh on impossible. Although it is difficult today, the good news is that the pace of change in the economy, new technology, greater awareness of alternatives and in some cases plain necessity have enabled access to new opportunities. Many have broken the shackles of the old world thinking and have started their own businesses or chosen a lifestyle alternative. In no particular order, this is my advice if you want to change direction or change career.
I was once advised that changing career in mid-life is like turning around an oil tanker. In a mature economy there is little room for enthusiastic amateurs or people who are quite good at what they do for a living and companies are unlikely to invest in you. Quite apart from the fact that this ignores entrepreneurial, portfolio or 'lifestyle' careers, having changed career myself and advised many others I now see this advice for what it is- narrow and self-defeating. You do however need to understand yourself and your risk profile well. Here's my advice for speedboats and oil tankers alike.
I have recently come across two significant days which i was only vaguely aware of in the past. September 21st is peace one day- a day of global'cease fire and non-violence' (god knows we need more of them). Today of course is kindness UK day, and we need more of these too. Of course it helps to have specific days to raise awareness and embrace these values but what happens when we incorporate them into every day activities?
I was once asked, or rather told at an interview ‘everyone is motivated by greed or fear, which is it for you?’ I answered (on reflection Spock like) that I did not agree with the question, and therefore could not answer it. The interviewer was a crocodile of a man and that was the beginning of the end of a difficult interview. We did not get on at all and it was a lucky escape as I would never have fitted with the culture. I have thought about this question and the interview a few times over the years, because it raises important questions about the role of fear, and control in business life. here are some of my thoughts and reflections.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a line from a dodgy 1970's B movie. Actually it is driven by a genuine concern for our children's future employment prospects, given the steamroller of technology which is heading our way, and therefore their way. The convergence of technologies, including the Internet, collaborative software, big data underpinned by ever more complex algorithm's, nanotechnology and yes, the good old fashioned Robots is akin to a perfect storm. This will have a massive impact on the number and types of roles which will be available to current, and future generations. I do not believe that it is possible to 'futureproof' our children, any more than out parents could do for us. There are however things that we and they need to be thinking about to give them the best life chances . In no particular order, these are my thoughts.
Many people, most of us perhaps, tend to be oversensitive to other's opinions of us. We will go out of our way to seek positive affirmation and you only need to look at Facebook or LinkedIn for example to see the most obvious expressions. This helps to explain why we tend to respond badly to others negativity towards us, particularly if we feel they are being judgmental. But is it always about us and what does others negativity say about their inner reality? More practically, what can we do about it?
Recurring problems in your life or career? You may be asking yourself the wrong sorts of questions..
One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned over the years, is that asking the right sorts of questions, is invariably more powerful than providing solutions. I believe that you can apply this logic to most areas of your lives and careers, particularly if you are feeling stuck or blocked in some way. This is how it works...
Having tuned into the Psychologies theme of friendship in recent weeks, I came across a quote from Orson Welles, which is both profound and thought provoking. 'We're born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendships can we create the illusion for the moment, that we're not alone' I like the quote, but take issue with the word illusion. I will explain why.
I have had the pleasure of working with many talented, often inspirational people over the years, who personify vitality in their careers. They seem to enjoy hard work, have an uncanny ability to give you their undivided attention no matter how much is going on around them and have a presence and charisma which is often infectious. These are the things which I have learned from them, and which help me to inspire happier lives and careers.
I recently witnessed an extreme case of road rage, where two guys got out of their cars and came close to physical violence. Their inner chimps had become raging baboons and it was not good to see. We all know how road rage can surface and what it feels like to be cheated out of a parking space or right of way. This incident led me to reflect on why some people are better than others at managing their inner chimps and how best to foster calm minds and harmony, in all aspects of our lives.
As a coach and mentor, I have followed the Psychologies happiness initiative with interest. I have learned all sorts of ways in which a change in attitude and outlook can lead to better lives. This has led me to reflect on how coaching and mentoring can support this, particularly from a career or career change perspective.