A-Head for Success

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What is Integrative Coaching?

Integrative CoachingCoaching is a wonderful tool for those who care about getting results with more ease:  it helps you achieve your goals by creating practical action plans, using tools and techniques to help achieve them and helping you to build skills to facilitate the change you seek.

Integrative Coaching does the same but it goes deeper, if required.  Because sometimes there is a reason that goal achievement is elusive, or perhaps challenging.  Integrative Coaching looks at what is blocking you.  Unless the blocks are removed, problems will recur, especially in times of challenge.  Integrative Coaching, a more sustainable approach, will look at the psychological blocks, the biological ones (tired all the time is a common factor), the emotional ones (stress and anxiety for example) plus more.

Author Philippe Rosinski says it is “… a holistic approach that calls upon multiple interconnected perspectives to facilitate the unleashing of human potential towards meaningful pursuits … from the physical to the spiritual.”  In the A-HEAD for Success terms, spiritual is all about purpose and meaning.  When you are aware of and completely aligned to that, everything else becomes easier and clearer.

Three Levels of Integrative Coaching

Integrative Coaching is at the forefront of The A-HEAD for Success 5D Coaching Model ™ which helps provide three levels of integrative coaching through the 5 Dimensions (Clarity, Skillset, Mindset, Stress-Resilience, Health and Energy).  Of course we only work at the level of need but the process helps identify the need which is different for everyone.

  1. Integrating a variety of approaches tailored to suit your specific needs
  2. Integrating mind and body. A good example is that a client may present with any number of physical symptoms.  For example: exhaustion  (my latest book explains how complicated this condition is and why the integrative approach is so important), insomnia, headaches or Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few.  Though there may be physical causes to these, there may also be emotional and lifestyle factors involved.  Stress is very often a factor in IBS so we deal with it from a multifaceted perspective.
  3. Integrating parts of the self. This deals with self-sabotage which may be impacting performance, health, relationships and more.  So we address this internal conflict:  if you feel that you have your foot on the breaks and the accelerator at the same time, self-sabotage may very well be at play, but it is often subconscious so you need to work with an expert to deal with it.

Conventional coaching tends to be somewhat formulaic and will not always address the finer details which can so impact on us.  Integrative Coaching helps address the complexity of what it means to be a functioning person in a dynamic world.

Want to know how it might help you?  Call me, Tricia Woolfrey, on 0345 130 0854 to find out more.  Calls are no-obligation and completely confidential.

© Tricia Woolfrey

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Source of Negative Stress: Deadlines

Stress and deadlines
As we near the end of my series of articles on sources of negative stress, we will explore the common stressor:  deadlines.  Deadlines can certainly add to your sense of stress, especially if there is a lot at stake:  perhaps your reputation, or a valued customer, or an important sale which is the difference between making target or not.

Yet, without deadlines, tasks can stretch to fill the time available.  And, of course, if there is no deadline, the time available is all the time in the world.  That is until the consequences are felt too strongly and too late to do anything about it.

There are five main questions to consider about deadlines:

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Source of Stress: Failure

Source of Stress: FailureI doubt there is a person alive who enjoys the prospect or experience of failure.  But for those who value success, failure is a necessary part of that journey.

A popular NLP concept is that ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.  And Thomas Edison really understood this principle when he viewed his many attempts to create a commercially viable lightbulb not as failure but that he had found 10,000 ways in which it did not work.

What this shows is that success is a process.  That you have to learn to get up when you fall down; learn from your mistakes; and have a relentless vision to keep you going.

Famous Failures

Any person who has failed in any endeavour will be in good company – other ‘failures’ include:

Steve Jobs who was fired from his own company;

Walt Disney who was fired for lack of imagination;

Oprah Winfrey who was demoted as a new anchor for being unfit for TV;

The Beatles who were rejected by Decca  who didn’t like their sound and thought they had no future in show business;

Einstein who couldn’t speak until he was 4 and whose teachers said he wouldn’t amount to much;

Bill Gates, a dropout from Harvard, founded Traf-o-Data.  The product had too many bugs and the company closed.  He is now the richest man in the world;

Marilyn Monroe who was told by Colombia Pictures that she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress.

So, you see, failure is not an affliction.  It doesn’t have to define you.  It is your attitude to it that defines you.  With all the people mentioned, they used it to spur them on.  They learned from their mistakes so that they could improve, and improve some more.  And improve again.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers describes the ‘10,000 hour rule’, emphasising that success is rarely by accident but rather by practice.  Somehow, in this world of ‘instant fixes’ we have lost sight of the fact that anything worth having takes effort.  And persistence.  And the ability to not take things personally but rather to use every challenge on the ladder towards success, knowing that you will slide down the odd snake as you work your way up, only so that you develop resilience, resourcefulness and insights that will serve you well.

The Three Worst Things You Can Do

If you make a mistake, the three worst things you can do are:

  1. Pretend it didn’t happen. Denial is no friend.
  2. Take it personally. Blaming and shaming get in the way of learning and growing.  Think of the difference between “I am a failure” and “It was a failure”.  One is a about identity and the other is about process and results.
  3. Give up.  When you give up, you miss opportunities.  Sometimes success us just around the corner.  You also deny yourself the sense of achievement you can only get when you have worked hard to achieve something, navigated difficult waters, climbed a mountain or five, and made it.  You don’t get that sense of achievement when everything is easy.

Show me a person who has not failed at some point in their lives and I will show you someone who has not reached their potential or who has lived within the safe but entirely unexciting and unrewarding confines of their comfort zone.

If you would like more help in overcoming a fear of failure, or learning how to grow from failure, why not book a session?  You’ll be glad you did.

 

(C) Tricia Woolfrey 2019

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How is Your Mental Health?

World Mental Health Day and Stress

It’s World Mental Health Day until the 10th  and I thought I would give you a heads up as a part of my Causes of Stress series.  Since my work revolves around performance, productivity, stress resilience and health and energy, mental health is at the centre of it all so it is a good time to reflect on it and to share with you something to help make sure that yours is optimal.

You see, we all have mental health.  The question is not whether you have it but in what condition it’s in.  Would you describe yours as Optimal?  Functional?  Variable?  Or On the Floor?  There are three main components to mental ill-health:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Of course, it isn’t as simple as that but it’s a really good start.  There will be times when you feel you can do anything, but there will be times when you do feel stressed, depressed or anxious and each day feels like you’re wading through treacle, with weights on your ankles and a monkey on your back.

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Sources of Negative Stress: Regrets

Stress, regrets and hindsightIf you are living with regrets, it can feel as though the past is ever-present, tarnishing what is good and holding you back.   Yes, regrets can be stressful.  They can certainly keep you awake at night.  They can also affect how you manage, and engage in, your daily life.

Regrets can be for something you did which you shouldn’t have or something you should have done which you didn’t.

In the moment that you do something (or decide not to), you do so with our best thinking at the time.   As someone

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5 Keys to 2017 Being Your Best Year EVER (2.5 mins to read)

2017 Best year yetMost people want each new year to be their best.  But with much less stress.   And more fun.  And bigger results.  If possible.  So, is it really possible?  If we accept that we can only control the controllable and take response-ability for our results in a focussed way, I would say a resounding ‘yes’.  But too often we give our power away to outside forces.  So, the following keys will help you take charge and make it happen:

  1. Get clarity

Become clear on what you want to achieve (your vision and goals) and why.  The why is your motivation which carries you through the tough times so it needs to be big enough to do that.  It makes all the difference between achievement and enrichment - two concepts which are not mutually exclusive unless you make them so.  Clarity enables you to say ‘no’ to those things which are not ‘on-purpose’ so it frees up more time for you to do what’s needed to fulfil your goals.

Clarity around how you are going to achieve it is next.  When you break things down into your priorities, the next step is easier to take.  And the one after that.  And the one after that.

2.  Develop skills

Whether you work in a corporate environment, or for yourself, there will be certain skills which are essential for ongoing success.  What is appropriate for you in your environment will vary from person to person but influencing skills are always important, time management too (so you don’t slip back into overwhelm), but perhaps the most important is emotional intelligence which is said to account for 80% of your success.  It enables you to manage yourself and others, even in times of challenge.  Of course you need professional skills relevant to your role too.  Finally, knowing how to hire in talent to support you is going to make a big difference.

3.  Cultivate mindset

How you think about a situation will dictate your results so a positive, ‘can-do’ mindset is important.  But not if it is up in the clouds, far removed from reality.  Having the right mindset will maintain your confidence levels and ensure that you are solution-focused in a problem-filled world.

Using a blend of neuro-linguistic programming with mindfulness and the principles of neuroplasticity, you can make sure your mindset is success-enabled.

4.  Become stress-resilient

We can’t avoid stress.  In fact we need some of it to motivate us.  However, if you have unrelenting stress for too long, it can derail you and, worse, lead to burnout or breakdown.  Becoming stress-resilient enables you to roll with the punches, to bounce back from setbacks, keep your cool when things are hotting up and grow through adversity so the small things don’t become the big things and you are able to enjoy the good times better.

5. Nurture health and energy

It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do, if you aren’t healthy and your energy is on the floor, your ability to deliver will be compromised.  Just as you would take care of your car – taking it for a service, filling it with petrol, making sure it has enough oil and water – you need to take care of yourself because you are your strongest asset.  And, like it or not, exercise and nutrition is non-negotiable if you are serious about success.  And managing your energy too.  Not by pushing through but making sure that you have a natural, calm energy for consistent performance, through good times and bad.  In fact, the better care you take of yourself, the more likely you will be to enjoy more of the highs and navigate the lows with style.

If you are serious about success for 2017 and don’t want to leave it to chance, why not book a session so that we can stop any potential derailers in their tracks and make sure you are firing on all cylinders.  Because if you are, your business is too.

This article is based on my 5D coaching model from the AHEAD for Success program.

Call me on 0845 130 0854 to find out more.

In the mean time, here is to 2017 being your Best Year EVER!

 

(C) Tricia Woolfrey 2016

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10 Traits of Successful People

10 Traits of Successful People10 Traits of Successful People

You could argue that most people want to achieve more success with less stress.  Whether you feel your efforts are yet to be rewarded with results or your success has come at too high a price, there are factors which characterise those who have a positive success formula.  Though of course it will vary from person to person, there are common themes:

  1. Clarity

The very first component for success is to have clarity of purpose, mission and goals and to keep these in sight.  When you have this kind of clarity, all your efforts are focused in the right direction – so you spend much less time readjusting, backtracking and regretting.

  1. Openness

Successful people are open to new ideas.  They are less attached to the rigid constraints of their own thinking and instead have an open curiosity about new ways.  In this way, they evolve themselves and their businesses to meet the changing landscape and are less likely to be left behind.  They are also open to feedback, seeing all feedback (good and bad) as an invaluable source of further development.

  1. Surround themselves with talent

No-one can know it all or do it all.  The successful person will recognise that they need talent around them to support their success.  Whether this is in terms of employees, suppliers or a support network, the right people are a strong foundation.  Richard Branson said that you should train your people so they can leave but manage them well so they don’t want to.  I love that because it means that you strive for the best in your team.  I also believe that you should hire really carefully so that you have the right infrastructure around you.  All the best people have a good coach too – it’s just too hard doing it all alone.

  1. Influencing

Successful people are great influencers.  They do this by building rapport, understanding other people and having a clear sense of what they want to achieve.  They use these to motivate others in the direction they want them to go.  This is not the same as manipulation (which is totally self-serving and disregards the needs of others) but instead creates a win-win for all parties.  Influencing well creates the kind of loyalty where you are trusted, supported, and respected.  Of course, it’s great for sales too.

  1. Grounded

They have a strong sense of themselves, with strong values, a clear sense of purpose and are not easily derailed in times of setback.  Like a tree, they are both strong and flexible, adapting to their environment with relative ease.

  1. Realistically Optimistic

Most of the time I have to coach people to be more positive.  For a few, the bottle is not so much half empty but dangerously low and this can really affect their results.   For a small minority, they are so positive that they are not in touch with reality, trusting that everything will work out no matter what.  For sustainable success, a balanced perspective is what’s needed.   Which brings me to my next point …

  1. Great planners

Whereas a positive mindset is essential, its importance is matched by the ability to plan.  That’s the initial plan to achieve an outcome and contingency plans too.  If something were to go wrong with an idea or a project – what could you do about it?  This means that surprises will not catch you unawares - you will be prepared.  A case of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst so you are blindsided less often.  This kind of thinking exercises the mind in such a way that it becomes easier and easier to plan for success.

  1. Excuse-avoidant

There is no room for excuses if you want to be a success .  Excuses keep you stuck.  The difference between an excuse and a reason is that an excuse is a defense against the guilt of not doing enough.  A reason is an explanation for an other-than-intended outcome, despite best efforts.  Excuses are alibis for failure because they are devoid of growth, learning, progression.  Commit to a course of action and make it happen.  Learn from mistakes, prepare for success and make sure you surround yourself with people of a similar mindset.

  1. Practice Self-Care

People serious about success see self-care as an important strategy to achieve it.  They are the tools of their trade.  Just like a high-performance vehicle, we all need to be taken care of if we are to perform at our best, particularly when the going gets tough.  This means good nutrition, plenty of water, sufficient rest and regular MOTs just to make sure you are firing on all cylinders.  I talk about nutrition as being healthful rather than healthy.  It is possible to eat healthy food but still be missing vital nutrients.  Healthful means ensuring that you get the range of nutrients in the right proportion for sustainable energy and a strong immune system.

  1. Manage Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and you need some of it to perform well.  However, too much of the negative kind can really affect performance, decision-making as well as health and even relationships.  Managing stress effectively is absolutely key.  A lot of people think they are managing stress when in fact they are just suppressing it or distracting from it.  If you find yourself eating more, drinking more, smoking more, spending more time on social media, or any other ‘too-muching’ as I call it, it is a sign that you are distracting from stress.  This might seem like it’s helping but the long-term effects can be catastrophic – breakdown or burnout.  I teach my clients how to manage stress so that they enjoy the positive benefits it can bring in terms of performance without the negative consequences.

I’m sure you know that success is more complicated than this but I wanted to share with you some common traits of those who enjoy sustainable success.  I hope you find some inspirations to help you in your work.  If you would like support so that you can enjoy success with less stress, do feel free to contact me on 0845 130 0854.  It would be lovely to hear from you.

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A-Z of Business: Z- ZEN – Can Mindfulness be Profitable?

Mindfulness in BusinessWhen I started out in business in 1998, success to me was the achievement of a particular goal, be it profit-related, the completion of a project or the acceptance of an idea.  And while these are true, they are concerned with the what of success, not the how.

Over the years, I have studied many psychological and business-school concepts.  And what is missing for most people is the application of zen principles to business.

For the purpose of this article, the term zen can be considered as the mindful engagement with your work and operation of your business (or your job if you work for someone else).  This means being purpose-ful about what you are doing and why, from a macro perspective and a micro perspective.

So, to begin with, why do you do what you do?  What purpose does your business (or job) fulfil?  I am reminded of an old parable about a man who visited a city many hundreds of years ago.  He came across two men labouring under the noonday sun.  He asked the first what he is doing “Oh, I am just doing some labouring.  It is hard work and I will not be finished for hours.”  He asked the same question to the second man who responded “I am helping to build a cathedral”.  This story beautifully describes the purpose of their work.   One saw it is a job, a means to an end, something he had to endure each day.  The second man saw it as a vocation and put his heart and soul into each stone he laid.  Which man was likely to have been more productive?  Which man happier?  Which would have inspired others?  And which went home with a sense of achievement?

Are you clear about what your business is there to achieve in terms of a higher purpose?  If you are in business purely for money, as a lot of people are, what is the higher purpose that money is there to achieve?  For example, let’s take a cleaning company.  Not the most glamorous of businesses and fraught with day to day problems.  It would be easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty of the issues around difficult customers and unreliable staff.  So, what is the higher purpose?  This would be personal to everybody but it may be to provide a beautiful environment for your clients to live or work.  Or it may be to provide work and career opportunities for employees who have had difficulty holding down a job in the past.  Or, if you really have no passion for the work at all, it may be to provide a good education for your children so that they can be free to make more fulfilling career and life choices for themselves.

When you have an over-riding purpose, it can carry you through the most challenging of times.  It can pull you out of the mire of the day to day and into a higher, more creative, more empowered mindset.  Which is likely to create more profit for you?

At a micro level, it is about being purpose-ful in the moment.  This means applying yourself 100% to whatever it is you are doing, fully absorbed.  The ability to multi-task is seen as a skill and even a virtue.  It is something I have been proud to call a skill.  And it is.  But it is also a weakness.  I noticed myself yesterday doing something and then stopping it to start something else and then interrupting myself doing that to do yet something else.  I realised that I have become so “skilled” at multi-tasking and responding to requests and interruptions that I now interrupt myself!  So I have to remind myself and, when I do, there is a flow to my work.  A peacefulness, a quiet productivity which is enriching and rewarding.  Of course there are times when I have to multi-task and over the years of my career I have had to do this thousands of times, shifting gear at a moment’s notice, which is why it is a difficult habit to break.  However, the effort of stopping and starting and stopping and starting again reduces productivity and increases stress.  It is important to be able to do it but not to make it a way of life.

True multi-tasking is a myth as usually you are simply stopping and starting, picking up and putting down.  I recently saw a cartoon about women being great multi-taskers.  It showed a woman flying through the air with a duster in one hand to clean the ceilings and pushing a vacuum with the other to clean the floors.  But in reality it is really very difficult to apply yourself fully to more than one task at once.  Sure you can wait on the phone for someone to pick up while you file something away but in reality, you are almost always only doing one thing at once.  Doing that one thing with a sense of purpose can bring a richness to the most mundane of tasks.  Most people hate filing but if you do your filing with an intention to create order in your environment this can transform the experience and it can even feel meditative.  In addition, thinking about the piece of work that paper represents with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation can be equally rewarding.  Certainly better than attacking the filing with a feeling of resentment and obligation.

So, the concept of applying yourself 100% to whatever you are doing in the moment, thinking about the purpose of that task, brings with it a higher level of clarity and productivity, a calmer demeanour and a much nicer person to take home to the family!  This brings with it greater financial profit but also an intrinsic profit which is priceless.

And last, but by no means least remember the principles of karma – that you reap what you sow.  So, be kind in your interactions and you will be richly rewarded with deeper and more trusting relationships as well as greater loyalty with your associates, your employees and your clients.

If you would like to learn more about how mindfulness can enhance your productivity and your profits, call me on 0845 130 0854.

On this note we end my A-Z of Business blogs, which I hope have been productive for you. As we enter the new year, I hope that your 2014 business plans are clear – your company goals, business values, products and USP...and that you feel personally prepared to take on the year ahead, manage your time effectively, serve your customers and motivate your staff. For any additional support, do contact me at tricia@pw-consulting.co.uk. I wish you a very happy new year and a successful 2014!
 

© Tricia Woolfrey 2014

About Tricia Woolfrey - click HERE to find out about the author.

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A-Z of Business: X- X-Ray Vision – Know your Business Inside Out

Your business results don’t reflect the effort you put in. Sound familiar?

If so, you are not alone.  Indeed, some of my clients have been working so hard that they are nearing burnout.  This is often because they are focusing on the wrong thing, which they believe to be the right thing.  This is why having a forensic view of your company – x-ray vision – helps you to focus on those factors which make the biggest difference to your success.  Working smart, not working hard is the difference which makes the difference.  Productivity, not activity.

For example, if you are spending a lot of time bringing in new business but haemorrhaging customers out the back door, your efforts will be as effective as attempting to fix a burst pipe with a sticking plaster.

Or perhaps you are spending your time bringing in new business that you don’t have the infrastructure to support?  Like building a house without it’s foundations.

Maybe your customer service is poor and you are busy sending out feedback forms when really the problem is that your hiring processes and training do not enforce your company value of customer satisfaction?

Or is your business booming but your customer’s aren’t paying their invoices?  This is where success leads to ruin.

So, x-ray vision on the essentials helps you work strategically - making the right decisions about how you spend your time and your money and what will be the best strategy to take your business forward.  The first step is to get yourself some key performance indicators.  These help you to measure your performance against target on areas you consider to be important, for example:

  • Turnover
  • Profit
  • Product revenues
  • Sales growth
  • Cost of sales
  • Costs
  • Performance against budget
  • Sales conversion ratio
  • New sales by marketing method
  • ROI (see individual blog about this)
  • Revenue by customer
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee performance
  • Revenue by employee
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer complaints
  • Customer complaints resolved
  • There are also various KPIs for:
    • Social media
    • Site engine optimisation
    • Call centre performance

Lies and statistics

A lot of clients view a nice big turnover as proof of their success and they just work very hard at increasing that number.  However, a forensic examination of the statistics will let them know whether there is also a healthy profit because if the ratio of profit to turnover is low, you are working hard for little reward.  It will help you look at what is creating the biggest profit and whether you need to make a loss on something to bring in profit on something else.  This is both an art and a science.  Also, if you are producing lots of nice big invoices but not getting paid because your credit control is not effective, that turnover is meaningless.

Here are my 5 steps to help you take control of your business with x-ray vision:

  1. Consider what KPIs you want in your business (the above are just a few examples)
  2. Regularly review performance against these
  3. Look at the relationship between them
  4. Decide what is causing the positive results and do more of those
  5. Determine what is causing negative results and take remedial action.  Make sure there will not be negative consequences elsewhere.

Remember that an x-ray shows you what is wrong structurally, it is up to you to find out the cause and to take appropriate action.

If you need help with any of this – it is hard doing it for yourself – do give me a call on 0845 130 0854.  I look forward to hearing from you!

© Tricia Woolfrey 2013

About Tricia Woolfrey - click HERE to find out about the author.

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