Taking time out over the festive season…

It’s the middle of December, and here in the northern hemisphere the shortest, darkest days of winter are upon us. It can seem a long haul to reach spring, having left the warmth of summer far behind.

Snow, fir trees and Christmas baubleSome of us may be looking forward to winding down over the festive season, taking some time out to reflect on the year that has just passed and the year that is to come. We’ve touched on the importance of being a reflective coach on this blog before, as well as the need to temper this reflective work with self-compassion if we are to take care of ourselves with the same degree of empathy that we strive to offer our coachees. 

This time all I’d like to do is remind us to reflect realistically and honestly about what we’ve done in the past year, whilst encouraging ourselves to be patient with our frailties, with the things we may feel we could have done better. If and when we go about planning goals for ourselves to work towards in future months and years, I’d wish for us to set ourselves up for success by distinguishing clearly between our dream goals, end goals, performance goals and process (or work) goals. Taking time to tease this out will ensure our goal setting is transformative rather than disillusioning.

Yes, the shortest, darkest days of winter are upon us. In amongst the twinkling lights of the festive season, we have a wonderful opportunity to take stock and be kind to ourselves as we approach the turn of another year. Be compassionate and kind to yourselves as well as others. Being mindful of our own frailties can help us be more patient with those of others too…

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Encouraging coach self-care through an “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance

This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote not long ago concerning how coach self-care can be encouraged through a novel application of the “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance familiar from Transactional Analysis. We usually try to apply such a stance when dealing with our coachees, endeavouring to bring a non-judgemental compassion to our relationships. Yet many of us are rarely so non-judgemental or compassionate with ourselves.

Here I suggest that we can take care of ourselves better as coaches if we learn to approach ourselves as if we were someone we were coaching. By tapping into the best of what we bring to our coaching relationships, we begin to be able to non-judgmentally acknowledge and accept our own frailties, treating ourselves kindly for having tried our best.

Self care umbrella

The guest post first appeared in Coaching World in August 2018, published by the International Coach Federation (ICF). You can see the original publication here, and I’d like to point out that copyright is held by the ICF (meaning it should not be reproduced or reblogged without gaining permission from the ICF first).


Encouraging Coach Self-care through an “I’m OK, You’re OK” Stance

As coaches, our aim is to maintain a compassionate “I’m OK, You’re OK” stance with our clients. We respect their “wisdom” as well as their ability to dig deep (with our help) to find the appropriate solutions for their particular needs. We bring a non-judgmental attention to those with whom we’re working. Yet, do we bring the same compassionate stance and non-judgmental attention to ourselves?

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3 things we can do to stop feeling guilty when we can’t coach

We all know there are times when we really aren’t in the right place to give a coaching session. Perhaps we’re ill, or in the middle of a personal crisis. Or maybe we’re genuinely inundated with other things that we can’t put off or delegate to anyone else. But what if despite knowing this we’re the kind of individual that still feels guilty? What if we just can’t let go of that feeling we really ought to go ahead or we’ll be letting our coachees down?

Crying easter eggIt’s bread and butter for us to help our coachees recognise when it’s time to call a halt to something they’re fixated on needing to do. We use our coaching skills to call them out and to raise their awareness of the psychological blocks and filters which can lead to such fixations in the first place. But we may find it difficult to recognise when our own psychological blocks and filters are kicking in.

This time I’ll take a look at why we may feel guilty when we’re not in the right place to give our coaching sessions, and suggest three ways we can help ourselves to deal with this situation.

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Building Supportive Coach Communities with Twitter

This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote not long ago concerning how we can build supportive coach communities with Twitter, based on my experience of being involved in the #coachingHE Tweetchat – an initiative organised by a dynamic group of coaches working in Higher Education settings, backed by the Staff Development Forum (SDF) here in the UK. As a vehicle to bring together and preserve the ‘wisdom’ of a widely geographically-dispersed cohort of coaches it has been highly successful. I hope this post encourages you to look into this form of community building as well, in order to promote CPD opportunities for coaches in different settings and an additional sense of coach well-being.

Smartphone and twitter global networkThe guest post first appeared in Coaching World in April 2018, published by the International Coach Federation (ICF). You can see the original publication here, and I’d like to point out that copyright is held by the ICF (meaning it should not be reproduced or reblogged without gaining permission from the ICF first).


Building Supportive Coach Communities with Twitter

Coaches work in different contexts; some in relative isolation, which can lead to negative impacts on professional well-being and development. But, with the use of social media, we can create a supportive culture of “community” among coaches.

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What if… you’ve had enough of thinking?

We’ve all been there. The brain goes into slow mode, a fog descends, and we can’t seem to crank it up any more with our normal levers and tweaking. We’ve had enough…

Head with spaghetti-like brainDon’t think I’m referring to burnout here. As in my previous post discussing the times we just don’t feel like coaching, by homing in on the occasions we don’t even feel like thinking, I’m not including burnout. Burnout requires specific help and action that’s well beyond the scope of this blog, or of coaching itself. What I’m talking about is the kind of ‘slow processing’ the brain defaults to when we’ve just finished a project, or we’ve been firing on all cylinders for a while and need to call time out. In our usual busy ‘thinking and doing’ mode we may not recognise this, and we may start to berate ourselves or begin to worry something ‘serious’ is afoot.

How often do we fall into analysing what might be ‘wrong’, and examining ourselves for even more inadequacies than we know about already? Or look around for those nefarious culprits that we’re sure are ruining our health and lives – usually our bosses, colleagues, family members, the dripping tap that keeps us awake at night… anything that can explain this reluctant brain which appears to have gone on strike?

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