About Me

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The business bit: I have had 25 years experience in the IT sector encompassing equipment finance to computer recycling. The coaching bit: is about delivering business mentoring and personal performance coaching. My clients range from senior executives to the unemployed and I delight in working with them all to build excellence and promote growth. My specialisms are working with business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and enjoy themselves in the process, and helping individuals to realise their full potential. I also work with young people to build confidence and life skills so they can grasp life's opportunities and make the right life choices.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Purpose and Pleasure

It has long been understood by those in the coaching profession that in order to feel 'happy' people need to have a sense of enjoyment but also a sense of purpose in what they are doing.  Nothing particularly new there.

The key to real happiness however has been highlighted by Professor Paul Dolan who emphasises the difference in the way we view our happy state.  In essence, instead of seeing happiness as a view of how we are, we should understand it to be how we experience life.  Echoes of Epictetus here - it is not what happens to us but how we experience it that affects how we are, or as he put it “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them".  Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher, the guys who propounded the idea that to be happy you should be virtuous and not frivolous  (simplistically put). 

Putting aside whether the pleasure part of happiness necessitates frivolity, it is worth looking at the idea of purpose as a constituent part of that state.  Recent research suggests that having a purpose can add years to your life.  Dr Patrick Hill who conducted the research said "Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose." 

Well, this all sounds great, and as coaches we know it works, so find out more about how you can find your life purpose and get in touch with us.  And in the meantime, watch Adam Leipzig's talk on finding your life purpose in 5 minutes.  And remember these are the questions to answer:

  • who are you?
  • what do you do?
  • who you do it for?
  • what do those people want?
  • how do they change as a result?
Let us help you find the answers. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

How qualified are you really?

You'd think that when unemployment is high, there would be few vacancies in the job market.  And that when unemployment is low, there would be quite a few vacancies not filled.  This is the Beveridge Curve.  It usually looks like this, with a downward curve, reflecting what we've just said.

A PwC report last year suggested that £930 million pound is lost annually through a lack of productivity in mismatched talent across the UK.  So what happens to the Beveridge Curve when you get this skills/job  mismatch?  Something like this...

The process of getting the right candidate for the job has been so refined through on-line processes that it is in danger of obliterating the person in favour of the tick-boxes and algorithms.  Where is the real person in the applications?   The nuances and judgements that a good interviewer would bring to the selection process don't come in to play until way down the line, after all the skills and talents have been 'processed' by the clever automated application software.  How do you read someone's personality effectively from an on-line form?  How do you assess those all important soft skills, non-verbal and physical communication, influencing skills, conscientiousness etc?

Well here are a few tips from those in the know for applicants generally:

  • Use 'doing' words e.g. managing as well as management
  • Ditch the word 'assistant' in favour of 'executive'
  • Follow up on your application by calling the HR department or recruitment agency
  • Make sure your CV is scannable - no fancy boxed formatting and the like
  • Your LinkedIn profile is important - many employers will check it to verify your claims
  • Don't be flippant - these were genuine comments in CV's : "I have technical skills that will simply take your breath away" and "I can type without looking at the keyboard"

It's a tough world out there and one way to up your chances is to get some career coaching to help you with your application. Get in touch and we'll hold your hand

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Are you doing what you love?

Everyone has choices - everyone is accountable for what happens to them - everyone can be their own enabler.

Easy to say, and not always so easy to do.  Our lives are affected by our environment, our circumstances, the people we are involved with, and all of this impacts on the decisions we make and the direction our lives take.  So how many of us are doing something we love, or even just like, in our daily work activity?  If you were to ask any successful entrepreneur they would say that an essential part of their success was in pursuing something about which they are passionate. 

Therein lies the crux - is it essential to do what you are passionate about, or to do something passionately?  Here is an interesting viewpoint from Miya Tokumitsu on the 'Do What You Love' theory of work:
"DWYL is a secret handshake of the privileged and a worldview that disguises its elitism as noble self-betterment. According to this way of thinking, labor is not something one does for compensation but is an act of love. If profit doesn't happen to follow, presumably it is because the worker's passion and determination were insufficient. Its real achievement is making workers believe their labor serves the self and not the marketplace.
We don't all get to do what we want to do (however if you would like to try, then get in touch) .  The drivers for our work are often needs rather than desires.  Is it just the case that only those with a financially secure base can afford to do what they love, or can this be anyone?    And does our society value those who follow that route less than those who follow the path of need and obligation?  It would be great to see the best path being the one where you do your work with passion even if you are not passionate about it - wow, that would be something!  Here's Pugh's view...

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Invest to Grow

Business gurus in the know are advising small and micro firms to invest in their businesses in 2014 to ensure growth and maintain market presence and sales.

Alongside this advice are statistics showing that businesses which seek external advice are more likely to succeed: the FSB stated that "research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs".  Data from the BIS Small Business Survey 2012 shows that medium sized businesses are more likely to seek business advice than SME's. And 68% of the SME employers canvassed for the survey intend to grow their businesses over the next 2 to 3 years, with 60% focusing on developing leadership capability, 65% on developing new products or services and 74% by increasing their workforce skills.

So for those smaller and micro businesses not to lose out on valuable external business advice,  it is worth pointing out that business advice does not need to cost a fortune.  Carefully selected, clearly scoped coaching or mentoring with agreed outcomes can be a worthwhile investment.  Growth Accelerator is offering workshops for micro businesses with between 1-4 employees to explore routes to growth without great expenditure.  Ready for Business offers business plan support for start-ups and the new Enterprise Nation initiative will provide a supportive community for enterprising business owners.  Find out more about any of these schemes, and how business coaching can be a valuable development tool, by contacting Yourcoaching isla@yourcoaching.co.uk