Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

What’s your Personal Best?

September 17, 2012

Just over a week ago the closing ceremony for the Paralympics drew to a close what’s been an amazing run of success stories for athletes this summer from across the globe – both from the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Many world records were broken and many personal bests were achieved.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to achieve a Personal Best!

It could be argued that many of the 70,000 volunteers and Games Makers, who helped make both Olympics such a success, achieved ‘personal bests’ in the services they provided, such as the example of greater confidence in the previous link.

Personal bests can be achieved in a whole range of areas …

What’s the best conversation you’ve had with a colleague or friend?

What’s the best lesson you’ve taught or best bit of 1-1 tuition you’ve done?

What’s the best conference you’ve organised or meeting you’ve ever run?

What’s the best bit of mentoring or coaching you’ve done?

I’m sure you can think of other areas where you can recall your personal best.

So, why were they your best moments? How do you know – what’s your evidence?

One Head teacher I’ve worked with identified the following elements of a successful meeting with her SLT:

  • knowing what was to be achieved from the meeting
  • clarity and understanding of issues from all
  • enabling and facilitating everyone to have a voice
  • encouraging creativity
  • ensuring conclusions and next steps are identified by all (taking ownership)
  • identifying clear strategies for communication of outcomes to all staff

What would your’s be? 

Once you’ve considered personal bests in a range of areas, are there common strengths underlying each one? How can you replicate these common skills in other areas to achieve more personal bests?

The nature of personal bests mean that there’s always the potential to beat them, either by changing some equipment you are using or by changing / tweaking your actions.

What personal best will you achieve this week?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Love What You Do #2: Stretch Yourself

February 7, 2012

… Not quite what I meant! (I’d certainly do myself an injury if I attempted this.) Although there are definitely health benefits to regular exercise, and getting up and moving about regularly if you have a desk-based/sitting down job.

In this second post in the Love what you do series, I’m talking about stretching yourself mentally … encouraging you to venture out of your comfort zone now and again to help you grow and develop!

Tip 2: Stretch yourself!

Some people love to constantly live in their stretch zone, spending much of their time trying new things, new experiences, pushing themselves physically or mentally to do or be better. I’m not suggesting that in order to love what you do more – you should be a constant stretch-zone occupant! But if you don’t step into this area now and again you’re in danger of being too comfortable …. too ‘stale’.

By stretching yourself occasionally, and learning from these new ventures, your skills and competencies will increase, leading to you feeling refreshed, re-energised, more confident and boosting your enjoyment of what you do!

Key questions

  • Which of your current activities are in your comfort zone?
  • Which are in your stretch or panic zones? (See activity here, to help with these 2 questions, if needed)
  • What’s the balance of activities in each zone? I tend to have about 70% in my comfort zone and 30% in my stretch zone, avoiding the panic zone as far as possible! But you may be different.
  • What percentages will work for you, to ensure you love what you do more?

Interested to hear your experiences on this topic.

(Photo credits: stretch, creative mind)

The importance of building rapport

February 7, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 7

It’s very important for coaches to build rapport with their clients, and quickly.

In everyday life we know how it can be easier to ‘get on with’ some people more easily than others, hence the saying:

“People like people like themselves”

This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to share common interests, it’s more about sharing common values. In coaching, the aim is not for the coach and their client (coachee) to become friends, it’s about the coach enabling and supporting the coachee towards achievement of their goals. A key part of this is developing a bond of trust which, I believe, comes from having good rapport and an open/honest relationship.

Listening at a deep level is crucial to this process, and my clients regularly comment that one of the benefits of coaching is being really listened to.

As a coach, if you’re not in rapport with your coachee, and you need to challenge their thinking to move them forward, you risk losing the valuable bond you share. As a result, they don’t trust that the challenge is in their best interests, and you end up having to work hard to re-build rapport.

In my various coaching trainings, I have explored a range of methods for building rapport. But at the end of the day, most success in building relationships with clients has come from using intuition, instinct, listening at a deep level, and providing appropriate feed back.

How do you build rapport with people on a daily basis?

If you’re a teacher, how do you build rapport with the children?

If you manage a team, how do you build rapport with them? Is it different for each member?


(Picture courtesy of Renjith Krishnan)

It’s all about good preparation

February 2, 2011

Welcome to Day 2 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge …

As well as applying the SMART process to my original blog goal, I wanted to add something more, to make it more exciting, more of a challenge.  As my SMART blog shows, there are other questions I wanted to answer to give me the greatest chance of success:

1. What values does this goal support? – being challenged is important to me, as is personal growth

2. What are the benefits of achieving this goal? – greater confidence with writing; developing a different style of writing; developing a more focused writing style; improving my own subject knowledge; learning from others; adding value …

3. What new skills / knowledge will achieving it give me? – extended knowledge from researching my blog topics; writing skills mentioned above; focused time management for blogging in the future

4. What else could it lead to? – being invited to ‘Guest blog’; writing articles; writing my first book!

5. What will my reward(s) be for achieving it? – other than reward in itself for achieving the goal, I will take time out and spend a day walking in the Derbyshire Dales

Now the ‘nitty gritty’ … the detail

The first question I asked myself was, “How do I find the material?” I don’t know whether this is something you would associate with or not. Initially I used it as a bit of an excuse for not starting something like this, but after dabbling in writing a few blogs I decided to brainstorm some topics. I started with topics which reflected the coaching and training work I do with my clients, and as I started to write, a spider’s web of ideas started to emerge. They were initially just headings, but at least I was getting started. (What gets in the way of progress is inaction – you need to start somewhere.)

I then talked to my coach, who was a regular blogger, and discussed the definition of a blog. This would answer part of the “How will I know when I’ve achieved my goal?” question. The conclusion I came to was to read other people’s blogs, start reading around what more experienced bloggers felt made a good blog, and get a feel for what styles I liked to read and how I might want my blog to look. (This is still being researched and I will continued to do this over the next 27 days – and beyond!) So far I’ve discovered length of blog and content does vary quite a lot between bloggers, which I think is not a bad thing; what I need to do during this Challenge is develop my own style.

My research also helped me conclude that there will always be material to blog about. This will come about as a result of:

  • continuing developments within my business
  • finding different ways to talk about a given topic
  • relevant news topics
  • changes and developments within coaching
  • new case studies, etc….

So my preparation can now be summarised as:

  1. identifying a goal and applying SMART, plus answering some of the more ‘meaty’ questions
  2. research around my goal area
  3. overcoming my initial obstacle about content

Further practicalities …

I’ve now decided on my topics; I am writing the first week’s worth of blogs in outline before I start, and I have identified hourly slots in my daily work diary to firm these up and for future blogs. Time will tell how effective my plans are; I will regularly review my progress and make any necessary tweaks as I go along. (Look out for my Saturday updates!)