My blog revisited…

It’s a year since I posted anything on my blog. It seems a lifetime ago…

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that we’ve been living through many months dealing with the worst pandemic to hit humanity for over a hundred years. No-one across the globe has been unaffected. And we’ll be dealing with this pandemic for many months to come. COVID-19 may have changed our lives permanently… in one way or another depending who we are…

I’m grateful to all those readers who have continued to visit my blog. The current situation has meant I haven’t been able to engage for a long time, but the stats have nevertheless shown a level of interest and use that I didn’t expect. If my work has a ‘life of it’s own’ and is able to help people in their coaching journey, I’m happy. That was my intention when I began the blog back in February 2017, and it’s a great pleasure to me that what I intended is being fulfilled.

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Looking at resilience – My ‘Backchat’ article for ARC Magazine

This time I’m sharing with you an interview article about me and my work round resilience, published following a workshop entitled ‘Building Resilience in a Complex World’ which I presented in July 2019 for the North West branch of the Archives & Records Association (ARA) here in the UK.

Cultivating resilience is a key skill for all of us in these increasingly complex times, particularly those who, like archives and records professionals, often work in relative isolation. My workshop focused on looking at what resilience is, how we can gain insight into our ‘inner self’ and how it influences the way we react to our world, and practical tools that can help us build resilience, supporting us towards reacting skilfully in the moment when we are feeling stressed.

Following the workshop, I was asked to contribute to the ARA’s ‘Backchat…’ article in order that aspects of my approach could be disseminated more widely amongst those who had been unable to attend. The article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of the ARC Magazine, published by the ARA. You can see the original publication here (see pp9-10), and the copyright is mine.


Dr Alison Newby – historian and coach – talks to ARC Editor Matti Watton about how she came to be involved professionally in ‘personal resilience’ and some tips on how to recognise and begin to manage stress in the workplace. (© Dr Alison Newby)

Hi Alison. Could you tell us a little about yourself and where you work?

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Book Thoughts – The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters

Ever heard of the ‘inner Chimp’? If you have, it’s because of the incredible success enjoyed by Prof Steve Peters’ The Chimp Paradox. The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness, which first appeared in 2012. Even those who know nothing more than that phrase have been known to change their approach to life because through its graphic simplicity they have recognised there are things going on inside an individual which may have less to do with human logic than emotional reaction.

Chimp Paradox book coverNot all phenomenally successful books classed as ‘self-help and personal development’ are equally worth taking seriously. I tend to check carefully the background of the author in order to see how firmly based her or his ideas are in what is accepted as being scientifically sound. Peters is a consultant psychiatrist who has worked in the UK NHS for many years, been Clinical Director of Mental Health Services, and serves as a Senior Clinical Lecturer of Medicine at the University of Sheffield. This man should know what he’s talking about, and to find a specialist using such approachable images and metaphors is refreshing. They may not appeal to everyone, but the fact that just about anyone can work with them is a huge plus.

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Starting from wherever we are and with whatever we’ve got…

To greet the New Year I posted a quote from Jim Rohn which seemed to me particularly meaningful when we’re about to turn a page in life, or we’re considering doing so:

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”

What’s so great about that? Doesn’t it state the obvious?

Cartoon boat and sunWell, maybe not. Do we as coaches really understand what it might mean in terms of our coaching? Or do we approach our coachees from our own starting point rather than theirs, using what we prefer to use rather than what’s needed in the moment? And more broadly, how much pain and anguish can be caused for anyone, coach or non-coach, if we cannot face “wherever we are” and “whatever we’ve got” because we’re fixated with where we’d like to be and what we think we ought to have?

This time I’ll be looking at some of the implications of Jim Rohn’s deceptively simple sentence, and what taking it to heart might mean for us as coaches, as well as our coachees in the fullness of time…

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Revisiting ‘What if… we were coaching flowers?’

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the daylight hours are getting longer now, and from time to time we’re getting warmer sunnier days. Hope springs eternal (as they say), and before we know it we’ll be in the sunlit uplands of summer…

Purple crocusesFor many of us there’s nothing nicer than a brisk walk enjoying what will soon be the refreshing days of spring. Noticing the emergence of the first flowers of the year is especially inspiring, as snowdrops and crocuses stand bravely, emerging from what has recently been cold hard ground. Observing them, I was reminded of a post I wrote a couple of years ago at this time of year which imagined coachees as flowers. Revisiting it, I thought it would be timely to share it again.

Reminding us of how important attitude and ability to listen are for our coaching to serve our coachees in the way it should, the post caused me to reflect again about how our hidden assumptions and ‘baggage’ can dominate our thinking in sometimes destructive ways…

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