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Is ‘consistency’ one of the greatest acts of kindness?

I spent the last six months or so of 2016 coaching and developing frontline Social Care Practitioners around the concept of Strengths-Based Practice. On my last day one of the coachees posed an interesting question, which led to a fascinating debate on the day and has left me reflecting on it ever since. What did she say….

“I must say that you are one of the most positive individuals that I have ever met. Positivity is your strength. You are so lucky to have had the training that you have had to enable you to have this mindset consistently.”

 Now, I’ll leave the full debate about nature versus nurture for another post in the future, and I would love to hear your personal experiences in the meantime. I’m sure that there will be the whole spectrum of responses. There certainly was on the day: obviously this lady was in the 100% trained positivity camp, whereas the guy sitting next to her was of the 100% opinion that it was an innate skill and that I was born with a positive mindset. As a professional Coach, I imagine the answer is somewhere in-between. I know oodles of strategies for developing, nurturing and sustaining a positive mindset; perhaps the ‘nature’ part makes it easier for some than others depending on their baseline. Anyway I digress – this is not the nuts and bolts of my personal reflection..

Please don’t get the wrong idea about me either…..I’m not the skipping down the corridors, beaming from ear to ear, irritating type of positive (well I hope not anyway)!! I prefer ‘understated and effortless’ positivity. I have my bad days like everyone else. I have my strategies for resolving negativities quickly; and above all I endeavour to never show that side in front of my clients or training attendees.

They deserve to see the best version of me, and only ever that version.

I would be a terrible trainer, facilitator, Coach if I took ‘baggage’ into the session with me, yet I am sure we have all experienced it first hand. You probably only need to think back to a conversation with a partner who’s not listening to you properly or is obviously distracted following a tough day at work. Their mind is elsewhere but you need them to be truly present. And what happens next? Feelings of resentment, annoyance, irritation, guilt perhaps. You feel like you have been short changed somehow.

I’ve always been quite a natural ‘compartmentaliser’ and my journey to become a Personal Performance Coach through The Coaching Academy really did harness the skill (so my attendee was right in a way, although I really am adverse to the word ‘lucky’). There are a lot of techniques out there to support oneself in de-baggaging, or as an ex-Cabin Crew friend recently said: “Emptying your Capacity Bucket.”

There’s relaxation, visualisation and mindfulness techniques. There’s stories of individuals who write their frustrations on a piece of paper and then lock them in a box, ready to be picked up later. You may have also heard the story of the The Trouble Tree:

” The Carpenter I hired to help me restore and old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.”

“On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.”

“Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.”

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree”, he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

“Funny thing is”, he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there ain’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

What I actually think the lady in my session was commenting on was my ability to behave in a consistent manner. The positivity thing might actually be a bit of a red-herring. This got me thinking about consistency (not necessarily positivity) as an essential leadership skill.

So what did I do? I googled it of course!! There are so many great quotes to chose from; my favourite has to be “we become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.”

I have had some great and inspirational managers in my career; and reflecting back I think their consistency might have been their greatest attribute. If they were consistently positive all the better! In fact I have met some seriously miserable managers – and when done consistently it weirdly sort of works. At least their staff knew exactly what they were going to get and were respectful of that. It becomes trickier for employees when faced with an inconsistent manager – up one minute, down the next. As leaders don’t our staff deserve the best version of us, consistently?

And why stop at leadership or business; aren’t we all looking for a little bit of consistency in all aspects of our lives?

I’m not a parent and I am certainly not going to start dishing out parenting advice. But I was a child once, and I know that one of the kindest things my parents did was to apply boundaries and rules consistently. And what about our other personal relationships too – how do they benefit from a consistent approach (of course allowing room for spontaneity and surprise)?

I’ve consistently become a little bit obsessed with the word ‘consistent’ as a result of this experience and now writing this article…..so I’ll sign off here. I will leave you with one final thought though……How could you become more consistent? It might just be the kindest thing you do!

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Goal Setting Tip (Final Thought)

Goal Setting Tip (Final Thought): We all get doubts and that little voice inside our telling us “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough” – in the word of Coaching we call them the Gremlins.

So my question to you is how are you going to face your Gremlins? Are you going to let them win? Or are you going to tackle them head on? I know that you can do the latter.

So take a deep breath, warm-up you body and your mind, have a good stretch and say out loud (confidently and assertively) “I will do it.” Now. That felt good, didn’t it?

Goal Setting Tip No.6

Goal Setting Tip No.6: To my friends and family (and particularly my poor boyfriend), the phrase “crack on” is a well-known one. It was my phrase of 2016. And yes, it may have got the occasional raised eyebrow and sigh, but it really did influence my decision making and goal achievement. (I might roll it on for another year – sorry Tom!!)

Once the goal is effectively set, and all the visualisation techniques have been used, there is nothing left to do but take action. Crack on!!

I hear people say that they have tried all of the different interventions and therapies but nothing has worked. Not in all cases, but in some it does lead one to wonder about the common denominator. Although different in background and technique, most interventions rely on one critical thing at the heart…the client’s desire to change and take personal action. There’s no effect without action. Change happens when you crack on!

Goal Setting Tip No.5

Goal Setting Tip No.5: Fear is a perfectly normal emotion – and very healthy. It could stimulate our fight or flight response when faced with danger. It can keep us safe. Inappropriate and negative fear on the other hand can stop us making decisions and present us with the infamous ‘what if’ scenarios….it can make us feel ‘stuck’. If this sounds like you and you have inappropriate fear (or for that matter anger, sadness, hurt or guilt) in your life, then I would recommend googling Time Line Therapy.

Goal Setting Tip No.4

Goal Setting Tip No.4: Involving others in your goal setting and also your goal achievement can be really important. Simply saying your goal out loud to a trusted friend will help you take more accountability and in turn mean you are more likely to achieve it. I mean you’re not going to want to lose face, and there’s nothing more annoying, I mean helpful, than a friend saying “have you done that yet?”

We can reach out to others for a supporting hand or a kick up the backside. For words of encouragement or even sometimes the harsh reality check. Remember though, that responsibility for achieving your goals is always yours, not theirs.

Goal Setting Tip No.3

Goal Setting Tip No.3: Just like in a game of chess, you need to have a strategy. It’s like knowing your next move at all times; always thinking at least one step ahead. And it must be YOUR strategy. Not your friend’s, your partner’s or your colleague’s. You know you better than anyone else; take advantage of that fantastic knowledge and do something with it.

And a strategy does not stop there…..

What’s your strategy for maintaining a positive mindset? What is your strategy for dealing with hurdles and set backs? What’s your strategy for keeping momentum up? What’s your decision making strategy?

I personally hate chess, but I can think strategically!!

Goal Setting Tip No. 2

Goal Setting Tip No. 2: I’m sure we’ve all heard the Milton Erickson quote, “a goal without a date is just a dream.” He’s correct of course. Research shows that you are statistically more likely to achieve a goal if you’ve specified exactly when you are going to achieve it by. And why stop at just the date? If you’re setting short-term tasks, specify the time too.

Time is a fascinating concept….do you know some people think that it is an illusion? Regardless, even if it is nothing more than a ticking watch…that’s the sound of life passing you by. Start doing today!

Goal Setting Tip No.1

Goal Setting Tip No.1: Do you ever hear people (or yourself even) talk about goals using the phrases “I hope to….” or “I’ll try to….”? Doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that they are going to be achieved, does it? Sounds quite a lot like there’s permission to fail held within the sentence. I mean how often do you hear a friend say “I’ll try to call you on Thursday” – and how often do they call?

The language we use is so important in goal-setting. It is like a direct link to our unconscious. So let’s drop the H’s (Hope) and the T’s (Try) and get focussed on the W’s (Will) and A’s (Am)!!

Become Your Own Masterpiece….NLP (Day 10 – The End!!)

And breath!! Okay, so I’ve learnt that I’m not a fan of train travel, tube journeys are just as hard work as I remember them, writing a blog a day takes some practice; but most importantly of all that I have what it takes to certify as a Master Practitioner in NLP, Hypnotherapy & Time Line Therapy. The course may now be complete; the journey is far from over.

I cannot wait to share the benefits of my learning with my clients through the ‘Become Your Own Masterpiece’ coaching sessions and workshops. I’ll be working with:

✔ Individuals who want to unlock or harness a skill that seems beyond their reach

✔ Business owners looking to set personal & business goals

✔ Young People/ Students who need support navigating a period of transition in education

✔ Corporate Individuals who need coaching to deal with a transition or business challenge

And if you’re wondering why there are two broken pieces of wood on my lap – I also learnt that I can break through wood with my bare hands!! I’ve been looking forward to that all week, absolutely nothing was going to stop me….and if the boys could do it, then I definitely could!!

Thank you for reading….

 

Become Your Own Masterpiece….NLP (Day Nine)

Today’s post will be short and sweet….as today’s session was all about me!! Working in pairs we facilitated what is called a ‘Breakthrough Session’ – you work through a personal history of each other, and then utilise NLP, Hypnosis and/or Time Line Therapy techniques and interventions to resolve problems or support future goals. I’m not one for problems, so I utilised the opportunity to look to the future and visualise my business goals for next year, particularly useful as I am taking the business in a slight change of direction from January 2017. The quote above really resonates with me as a result. My focus is on the future, and I am confident that it will secure the reality that I am looking for.

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