Nobody said it was easy

By | Uncategorized

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. There were so many stories around to highlight how much we can celebrate in 2018. We are though, as part of our society at large, all a work in progress and there is much more we can do, women and men, to help and encourage each other. I was reminded yesterday that nobody said it was going to be easy.  Read More

New Year Resolutions

By | Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make, hard to keep. This year my resolution is to walk the Camino de Santiago for two weeks in October. It’s quite an ambitious resolution, for me anyway. Each week I plan to do a fairly long walk, so that I can lead up to being able to walk distances of 20 miles easily and with a back pack. The first thing I’ll need to do is buy new boots as mine are about to fall apart.

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Finding our own way

By | Uncategorized

Lord Davies’ published his final report in October 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482059/BIS-15-585-women-on-boards-davies-review-5-year-summary-october-2015.pdf In amongst the wide range of recommendations and hope for the future, one comment really stood out for me: women need to find their own way.

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The art of feedback

By | Uncategorized

Grace and grit

Worrying about what people might think of anything I write has held me back from blogging.  I could be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misquoted.  There’s a lot of that kind of mischief about.  I am more used to interacting,  to discussing, adjusting, exploring ideas by being with people and getting feedback from their reactions in the moment.

Yesterday I was at a conference that I really enjoyed and got a lot from. I know the speakers and organisers will have spent a lot of time thinking deeply about what they prepared and presented.  I appreciated all that I saw and heard, and will incorporate what I learnt into my coaching practice.  The conference will have built up our collective wisdom and contribution to our profession which will in turn enrich others’ thinking and leadership.  There was a lot of grace and generosity in the support and encouragement we gave and received while we were together.

Today I was asked, as is typical, for my feedback and to rate both the content and the speakers 1-5, poor to excellent.  It’s this call to judgement on others that I find difficult, it’s blunt, one-way, and often hard to swallow, even though the perceived wisdom is that I/we need to learn from the grit inherent in feedback.

I took this thought further: Beautiful pearls are only made in a protective response to irritants (commonly thought of as a grain of sand, but can be other organisms) entering a mollusk or shell.  The irritant can only get in when the shell valves are open for feeding or respiration.  Isn’t that amazing?  Transfer that idea to receiving feedback.  It may be that when we open ourselves up to breathe and feed we receive what can appear to be irritating and upsetting.  The result though is the formation of something beautiful to be treasured.  This takes time and has to be repeated often.  So actually, even as we give feedback, we shouldn’t be afraid of acting as a vital irritant.

When I gave my feedback I didn’t use all ‘5’s, although I could have done as all the presentations were much better than ‘good’.  Instead I used ‘4’s and ‘5’s reserving the ‘5’s for the times when I felt stirred, when my soul was touched and I experienced something deeper.  This poem, Walk, by one of the keynote speakers, Anthony Kasozi,  is an example:

 

Walk!

Barefoot.

Discover for yourself

the path

To life;

to consolation

Be!

Secure.

In Redeeming love

knowing

that through Grace alone

who you are

Is;

more than enough.

Walk!

Keep walking.

Barefoot

with courage

and integrity

Each step an inquiring scrutiny;

a firm testimony.

(http://anthonykasozi.info/_userfiles/pages/files/Walk.pdf)

So, I will post this blog and accept any feedback gracefully knowing that it will take some time and grit to become polished.

 

‘Even in the City, bankers are taking a pause’

By | Uncategorized

For 12 years I have gone on retreat with a group of fellow coaches simply to be together, reflect, slow down and (re)discover how much I learn from ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.  When people come on pause days they too discover the simplicity and huge value of taking stock and realising, once more, what is important.  Although this is an ancient tradition it has been popularised with the recent rise in interest in mindfulness.  The independent magazine had a full article last week http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-independent-magazine/20150314. Worth pausing to read it.

QUIET

By | Book Reviews

I highly recommend Susan Cain’s book ‘QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’.  In several recent meetings I’ve been talking to people about their introvert profile.  They are frustrated with having to work in open plan offices where they are constantly interrupted, or having to participate in day long meetings that are so full of talking and noise. This book will really help them appreciate how vital their contribution is to their teams and colleagues around them, and help develop ways of explaining their need to work in spaces that are conducive to reflection and uninterrupted thinking time.

For The Time Of Necessary Decision

By | General

5th December 2013 I heard this poem for the first time, it was read to a group of us.  I knew it was a time for change and so I took that step of courage that the poet asks of us – to start a new chapter in my life.  It prompted me to start Grace Coaching.

For The Time Of Necessary Decision

“The mind of time is hard to read.
We can never predict what it will bring,
Nor even from all that is already gone
Can we say what form it finally takes;
For time gathers its moments secretly.
Often we only know it’s time to change
When a force has built inside the heart
That leaves us uneasy as we are.

Perhaps the work we do has lost its soul,
Or the love where we once belonged
Calls nothing alive in us anymore.

We drift through this gray, increasing nowhere
Until we stand before a threshold we know
We have to cross to come alive once more.

May we have the courage to take the step
Into the unknown that beckons us;
Trust that a richer life awaits us there,
That we will lose nothing
But what has already died;
Feel the deeper knowing in us sure
Of all that is about to be born beyond
The pale frames where we stayed confined,
Not realizing how such vacant endurance
Was bleaching our soul’s desire.”

~ John O’Donohue