Is “Trust” important in this digital, rapidly changing, global world or is it a thing to be consigned to the archives as ‘no longer fit for purpose’ ?

John Blakey, élite coaching professional, author and speaker concurs with Stephen Covey’s view that “Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”. However, he is also concerned that our leaders think that “Trust” has been placed well down the list of management priorities in their focus for bottom-line profit.

Over the recent past we have seen many senior people in business, sport and politics loose credibility in the eyes of their public: democracy was created to provide the ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’ an opportunity to help shape the future of their country; yet turnout in political elections over recent years in UK has been dismally poor ! Scandals around MPs expenses, broken election pledges, misuse of funds for political campaigns have had their impact. An Ipsos MORI poll in Dec 16 recorded that only 19% of the public thought politicians were telling the truth during the EU Referendum campaign, while another MORI poll conducted in Jan 16 indicated that only 21% of Britons trust politicians to tell the truth.

Sport is something that has a vast audience, even for those who don’t participate. This huge congregation hears of ‘cheats’ taking physically enhancing drugs, the antics of those at the highest levels in Football and Athletics striving to remain in power or to ‘feather their own nests’. Nor must we forget the frequency of ‘match fixing’. Should we accept this as ‘business as usual’ in Sport ?

In business we hear of leaders receiving massive bonuses in comparison to those whom they lead, underhand dealing with ‘Pension Pots’ and a general attitude of ‘get rich quick’ by many managers. The global financial crisis exposed many unscrupulous practices that had previously remained hidden !

In Society at large we see an increase in ‘dishonesty’ cases in the Justice System, and the general trend demanding ‘Rights without Responsibility’, which too suggests that a lack of “Trust” is endemic.

Not withstanding this, following massive research, John Blakey found that “Trust” within many organisations, is still regarded as very important, at least in certain specific areas: 89% think it is critical for attracting and retaining top talent, 91% regard it as critical to customer loyalty, while 88% think it critical to sustaining organisational bottom-line performance. If this is the case, why is the erosion of “Trust” frequently headline news ?

The world of the internet and social media in particular has brought people together ‘virtually’ in the most extraordinary way. As well as bringing people closer, it can provide insight on conditions in the most inaccessible and hostile places not open to normal forms of reporting and spread information instantaneously at the press of a button. However, the ease with which this incredible method of communication can accessed by both individuals and organisations mean it can be exploited for both ‘good’ and ‘evil’. It allows extremists to spread terror with great effect and to a greater audience than hitherto available to them, while the use of Twitter during the ‘Arab Spring’ generated massive gatherings and has been used for natural disaster warning and relief. Even the current President of the United States of America appears to favour Twitter over the more traditional methods of communication !

Most individuals now have easy entry to a platform providing access to massive domestic and global audiences. This coupled with the lack of any form of scrutiny or checks on the content of messages before being sent, results in the ‘normal’ rules or protocols of communication becoming obsolete; so too is the authority to enforce them !

Many of those who deploy thoughts, ideas or calls-to-action using social media do this with little understanding of the impact their message may have. Some however, do have full cognisance of the effect of their transmission. Whatever the intent of the initiator, it is clear that the result of this is that few in authority can ‘hide’ and any previous respect for authority itself is consigned to the dustbin !

Like it or not, social media makes any ‘group’ of people and the rules by which they organise themselves potentially transparent, those rules and the authority to implement them are open to immediate and unfettered challenge and often ridicule. In this brave new world, where “Trust” is still regarded as important for a group to prosper, how can this crucial emotion be fostered when it can no longer be be taken for granted ?

In business, current thinking suggests that the single bottom-line motivator of profit is underpinned by ‘Intellectual Ability’ and ‘Authority’. However, with authority no longer respected, a new set of ‘pillars’ are needed to underpin the bottom-line.

In John Blakey’s award winning book “The Trusted Executive” he suggests redefining the single bottom-line ‘Profit’ motivator to one of a “Triple Bottom-line” comprising; Results, Relationship and Reputation (or people, profit and planet) underpinned by three new pillars of Ability, Benevolence and Integrity.

This new revolutionary thinking has already been adopted by Unilever: since January 2009 Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever has had an ambitious vision to fully decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact through the ‘Unilever Sustainable Living Plan’ ( ). Others will follow.

Profit, contained within the “Triple Bottom-line” as Results will always remain a vital factor for business success. However, the loss of authority as the guarantor of “Trust” means that a more holistic and inclusive approach must be adopted, because “Trust” has been shown to be the catalyst for success.

Professional coaches are well aware that the prerequisite for a successful coaching relationship is “Trust”. Coaches are therefore well suited to play a pivotal role in both raising awareness of the importance of “Trust”, but also to help facilitate the adoption of this seemingly obsolete emotion in both business and more widely in society. Time is not on our side and many look only to the short term. As Coaches we have a responsibility to step up to the mark, take action and … as John puts it ‘evangelize’ on the subject !

To learn more about this sustainable way of thinking visit:


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A Brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others

Studies in neuroscience have long shown that the main drivers for survival, trigger a physical response to minimising threat or maximise reward. More recent findings suggests that the same brain networks used to initiate the primary survival techniques are also used to ‘switch-on’ those for social behaviour.

David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute reports in the NeuroLeadershipJournal on a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. Properly used it can be put to good effect by improving peoples’ ability to work together. In this world of increasingly dysfunctional communication the SCARF model can be a great aid for coaches operating in either an organisational setting or in private relationships.

The SCARF model involves the 5 dimensions of human social exposure: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. By labelling these domains it allows conscious awareness, of otherwise unconscious processes to recognise, understand and potential to modify the social domains that drive human behaviour.

Status refers to the relative positioning of self among others, Certainty is a measure of confidence in the future, Autonomy one of independence and authority over events, Relatedness concerns the quality of relationships with others and Fairness a measure of an individuals’ sense of ‘fair-play’ in relation to and with others.

An understanding of the brain networks that trigger our social behaviour and a greater appreciation of the dimensions of human social behaviour, allows us an opportunity to influence the environment, to facilitate change to more positive behaviours.

If you are interested in this subject or want to know how coaches are using their increasing knowledge of neuroscience, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Supervision for Coaches

Those of us who are professional Coaches are responsible for our own Continuing Professional Development, but what do you know of ‘Mindfulness’, ‘Provocative coaching’ or ‘Brain based Coaching’ ? These are but three of the more recent techniques being discussed and increasingly practiced in our Craft. As we become more experienced in our chosen field we will encounter an ever increasing number of techniques, tools and models and we will wish to use these new ‘learnings’ with our clients; however, we must be mindful that whatever we do with our coaching encounter it must be in the interests of the client/coachee and not principally for our own benefit; this comes as a consequence of that encounter.

Engaging in ‘supervision’ is now widely accepted as essential for a professional coach whether operating within an organisation or as an independent/external coach. ‘Supervision’ provides a coach with support for their ‘resourcing’, ‘development’ and a ‘health check’ on the quality of their practice.

If you currently do not have a Supervisor and intend to develop your practice, seriously consider exploring such a relationship. If you just wish to learn more about the workings of a Supervisor or a ‘supervision group’ and what it entails, get in touch to have a chat.

If you already have supervision and have had the same Supervisor for an extended time, are you getting too familiar ? Is it time for a change ?

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Christmas is, for many, a time when relationships are foremost in their minds. But for some, it is a time of deception, when the printed words of peace and love are in direct opposition to what they really feel inside.

As a professional coach I am mindful, albeit sad that at this time of year, any relationships that are under strain may totally split asunder. As families gather together, old animosities and rivalries can bubble to the surface. The mature approach is to just let them go. It takes two people to have a disagreement. If one of them (you) decides that life is too short and makes a personal commitment to let the real happiness and peace that is Christmas become a reality, then there is no more argument. There is no point in winning a series of battles if you can simply end the war.

In a series one-hour conversations, I invite clients to review their relationships at home, at work and in the social environment. Together, we can create a strategy for repairing any that are suspect and for terminating the few that are beyond repair.

It is important to point out that the coach is simply the catalyst. It is the client who makes the decisions and the commitment. For a great many, the regular reporting back of progress is the spur that keeps them on target. For others, even small achievements can create their motivation. If you use your energy to perpetuate a feeling of grudge, envy or hurt, then you are using energy that could, and should be directed towards more positive things – like building yourself the life that you truly desire.

Coaching helps people from all walks of life to take control of their future. If relationships, either intimate or work-related, are a cause for concern, your regular coaching session can show you a clear way forward.

In coaching there is no blame, no right or wrong. There is simply an outcome or result that arises from an action. If you can learn the actions that create harmony and peace, then the joy of Christmas really will, as the cards say, stay with you throughout the rest of the year. It is true to say that, if you want to change somebody else, the only place you can begin is with changing yourself and the best time to start is right now.

Get in touch and find out more or tell me what you think.

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Some American motivational speakers have a phrase. They refer to their “warm fuzzy file”. This may seem a trifle unacceptable to our ears but the philosophy behind it is certainly sound.

As a professional coach I have learnt that it seems to be human nature to dwell on mistakes, failures and the negative aspects of life. This is really sad because we all, without exception, have some really good achievements for which it is worth rewarding ourselves.

In a few conversations, at regular intervals, I invite clients to review where they are now and where they want to be in the future. Together, we create a strategy for getting to where they want to be and define the actions that will produce the desired results. It is important to remember that the coach is simply the catalyst; it is the client who makes the decisions and the commitment. For a great many, the regular reporting back of progress is the spur that keeps them on target. For others, even small achievements can create their motivation to widen their personal goals and to aim higher.

It seems to be a natural reaction for many people to focus on what they have not done rather than on what they have done. This is enough to prevent some of them even attempting anything new if it is allowed to pass unchallenged.

I frequently get a laugh when you refer to an individual’s ‘warm, fuzzy file’. This is simply a list of all the good things that you have done since your last review. These may be as simple as having a daily ‘to do list’ and then actually doing everything that is on it. They can be as simple as spending some time with someone who is lonely – or smiling at a shop assistant. This approach doesn’t exclude the big things but, if you focus on these, it is all too easy to lose sight of those little things that make a big difference to someone else.

As this year draws to a close, I suggest that now is the ideal time to undertake your own ‘warm fuzzy list’. You will be surprised how helpful it can be when you are having a day when things seem out of kilter. If you maintain your list regularly, you will be amazed at what you have achieved and this will spur you on to do even more.

To learn more about the benefits of a coaching relationship get in touch.

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If you lead an active outdoor life, you will think of the September dusk as coming too early and making your evenings shorter.  If you spend much of your time indoors, you will see them as longer evenings.  The hours of darkness are the same for everyone.  It is only your perception of them that is different.

No two people see the world in exactly the same way.  The art of achieving success in life is to ensure that you see every challenge or opportunity in its most positive light – and this is a great time of year to start doing this.

It may be that many of us are too busy working at earning money to actually take time out for living fully, but what is it that you really want to do with this money ?  Why not ask this question of yourself: ‘What would you choose to do in your life if you could do absolutely anything with no limitations, no prospect of failure and no accountability to anyone ?’  More often than not this question is answered with a long list of what they do NOT want to do !  It is important to admit this to ourselves, and possibly for the first time, give yourself that opportunity of considering what it is that we really want to do and achieve in our lives.

Some people are amazed at how liberated they feel when they realise that they can and should take control over their own lives.  Too many just go with the flow and respond to the pressures of what others think they should do.  Coaching help to change peoples’ behaviour from a ‘victim’ mentally to one of ‘victor’ thinking.  There is no time like the present and anyone can do it.

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Indians, we are told, do it more than any other nation. People with religious beliefs do it once a year. Captains of industry do it less often. Our Parliament does it as a routine. You can do it whenever you like.

For centuries, the practice of taking time out to do something different has been recognised as a sure-fire way of recharging your batteries, igniting your enthusiasm and solving problems. In commerce, it is sometimes called a sabbatical; others may call it going on retreat.

We could all benefit from this simple procedure; you don’t have to spend a week as a hermit on a mountain top, just one day will release amazing benefits and the best part is that it doesn’t cost anything.

Lots of my clients benefit from this simple change to their routine. When you put a little distance between yourself and your routine challenges or issues, you see them in a different light and from a different perspective. You may even create a few miracles for yourself as a result. These come as flashes of intuition that can lead you to take the action needed to resolve a problem.

If you look at something, say an apple, and hold it close to your face so that it is touching your nose, you will see a very small part of it. Hold it at arm’s length and you will see the whole apple, its texture and colours. Look at it from the other end of the room and you won’t see the detail but you will see it in the perspective of its surroundings and in true proportion. It is the same with issues or problems. You add distance and see them from a new angle.

The Summer is a great time to do this. Simply set a weekly date in you diary right now, when you will take off to the countryside, the hills or the beach. Go by car, bike, train or foot but go some space alone. Set off early and plan to be out all day. Leave your mobile phone at home and travel light. Then, just wander around for the day, thinking of nothing in particular, focusing on the ‘now’ experience.

Many coaching clients are amazed how easy this is. They are ‘off the leash’ and, just by being in a different place; they find that their thoughts turn to solutions and answers rather than problems and challenges. You create in life what you think about.

If you do the same thing, in the same way, you will get the same results. Your one-day summer retreat may be the one enjoyable change that you need to create those spectacular ‘miracle’ results that you know you deserve.

So make that date in your diary now. Look forward to it, keep it without guilt, enjoy it and return refreshed.

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