Discussing The Power Of Positivity And Everyday Coaching With Kim Morgan

FINDING VALUE, MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES AND BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS

We all have those nagging little voices in our heads that try to tell us we're not doing well enough, that try to psych us out at the crucial moments we need to be at our best, those annoying worries and moments of doubt. Sometimes we just need a helpful prompt to guide us back onto a more positive and fulfilling train of thought. To remind us to behave in an affirmative manner more often and assist us in overcoming the many obstacles that work and life can put in our way.

Today I'm happy to be sharing an interview with the very inspiring Kim Morgan, Managing Director of Barefoot Coaching and one of the UK's foremost business and personal coaches. Kim shares with us what it is that led her into the world of coaching, how coaching can benefit us all as well as some really top tips for valuing yourself, your life and your career. So without further ado ...

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Hi Kim. Please could you begin by giving us a little insight into your career to date and what it is that you do now?

For the past 20 years I have been the owner and Managing Director of Barefoot Coaching. I launched the company when the concept of coaching was in its infancy and have seen the whole world of coaching and personal development grow into the huge and exciting industry it is today. We offer University Accredited Coach Training programmes, one to one coaching and a whole range of personal development events and courses. I have a monthly column in Psychologies magazine and am currently writing my second coaching book. We produce a lovely range of coaching cards for everyone to be able to use coaching in their daily lives – at work or with their families.

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

What was it that drew you towards the world of coaching and to set up your own business in this area?

I had been working as a therapist and a specialist trainer in confidence and assertiveness before I set up Barefoot Coaching so the world of personal development was not new to me.  

I was drawn to coaching because it brought together all the very best concepts from the worlds of therapy, sports coaching, personal development, management and business development in an individual 1:1 offering. Having coaching doesn’t assume that anything about you or your life is “broken” and needs fixing. On the contrary, it’s a positive intervention to help you get the best out of your life, work and relationships. 

As soon as I knew about it, I had a feeling that coaching was going to be big. I wanted to train coaches and bring into that, some of the valuable lessons from my own training in therapy. I also knew that I wanted to offer an accredited course. In 2001 I launched our first Postgraduate Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching. I think I had about 5 people on the first course and most of them were my friends! Now we run courses throughout the year in London and the East Midlands and have thousands of students who have completed the course with us. 

What is it that you love most about the work you do and what motivates you on a daily basis?

Honestly, if this doesn’t sound too cheesy, training people to be able to coach others, thinking about how many people we have trained and in turn, how many people they have helped all around the world. 

I also love seeing the growth and development of our students into successful business owners too. Some of our alumni have done Ted talks, written books, become successful bloggers or developed a reputation for a specific coaching niche. It excites me to have “grown” all these amazing coaching entrepreneurs.

How can coaching help people in their everyday lives whether in the workplace or at home?

Coaching can help in any of the following ways:

  • Navigating your way through life stages or transitions: changing jobs, having a baby, redundancy, getting married, retirement, starting a business, ending a relationship, planning a new career
  • Searching for fulfilment: planning for the life or career of your dreams, identifying your values and what you really want from life, finding your purpose
  • Managing yourself and being the best you can be in terms of: health, fitness, work, relationships, behaviours
  • Preparing for: a job interview, a special event, public speaking, a particular challenge
  • Providing a confidential sounding board: someone to listen to you, challenge and support you to achieve your goals in life and give you a sense of perspective.
Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

When it comes to your career what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could go back and give your younger self?

That’s a great question but it’s hard to choose just one piece of advice as I think I made so many ‘mistakes’ along the way! If I had to have just one it would be:

Value yourself and what you are offering. That means:

  • Deciding on your fee structure and sticking to it
  • Resisting the impulse to over-deliver (giving away your time)
  • Believing that what you are doing is making a difference
  • Not discounting your skills and recognising all of the time, energy, training and investment you have put in to being able to do what you do.

For anyone reading who has a passion for helping others and is interested in the world of coaching could you advise how you train to become a coach?

Well, when I launched my coach training course in 2001, it was one of the only courses available, but now there are so many that it can feel like a minefield for someone looking for the “right” course. I would always advise choosing an accredited course, asking lots of questions and ensuring you attend an open day or taster sessions before signing up.

Work wellbeing and work-life balance are important topics here on The What Now Blog so I’m intrigued to know if you have any tips for keeping balance in your life and if it’s something that you believe can be achieved?

This question made me smile because I confess to working a lot! For a long time I felt bad because I didn’t have the “work-life balance” I thought I was meant to have. Then one day someone asked me a great question, which changed my perception of my life and work: “Does your work nourish you?” It certainly does. I live and breathe my business and I am passionate about it.

My motto for my life could be the old saying “find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life".

I realise that for most entrepreneurs, the idea of work-life balance is different. My family and friends are involved in the business in a number of ways. My daughter works alongside me in the business, which is a source of great pleasure for me. I have the freedom to take time out whenever I want to. It’s a different kind of work-life balance and it works for me. I think everyone has their own unique requirements for their blend of work-life balance and we should think about what an ideal blend is for us, before feeling too guilty that we haven’t done early morning yoga or taken up a new hobby recently.

When it comes to looking after your own wellbeing how do you like to unwind after a busy day and make sure you feel refreshed and refocused for the rest of your week?

Guilty secret: Unwinding at the end of a busy day usually means some easy watching tv shows with a glass of red wine in hand. Oh how I wish I had said 15 mins of mindfulness practice but I thought I would tell it like it is!

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Thank you to Kim for sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience here on the blog today. Personally I've always been interested in the world of coaching and it's been great to learn a little more and have time to think about what it can do to help us. Not only that but with the beautiful selection of coaching cards that Kim has put together we can all bring a little of that daily coaching and positivity into our lives.

I was lucky to get the chance to view a pack of the Coaching Cards for Every Day as pictured above and I absolutely love them. Look out for a further review and giveaway involving these lovely cards coming up on the blog in a few weeks time. Just in time to get your hands on some goodies ahead of the festive season!

In the meantime if you can't wait to check out the range of these beautiful cards why not have a look at the Barefoot Coaching Cards gift range. For more information on the range go to www.barefootcoachingcards.com/life or follow Barefoot Coaching on Twitter and Instagram.

Have a great week everyone!

Louise

 


From A Passion For Florals To A Blooming Beautiful New Business

A CHAT WITH BEARDS & DAISIES FOUNDER JO LAMBELL PLUS AN EXCITING READER GIVEAWAY AND OFFER

It'll come as no surprise to regular What Now readers when I say that I'm a lover of everything floral! I mean who doesn't love flowers? Guaranteed to brighten anyones day and bring a little beauty into everyday life. So it's a pleasure today to bring to you a little floral and career inspiration combined, as I discuss turning something you love into your own business with Jo Lambell, the founder and brains behind the brilliant 'letterbox' floristry company Beards & Daisies.

Beards And Daisies Bouquet

Beards & Daisies was started by Jo as she pursued her real passion in life - a love of beautiful flowers. Leaving her corporate career and a poor work-life balance behind her, Jo sought out the skills to build her own business and create a better sense of wellbeing doing something that she really loved. Whilst the hours may still at times be long, especially during popular holidays, events and occasions, the joy found in doing and creating something that she is passionate about, from scratch, and calling it her own, seems to be what drives Jo to continue to succeed with her ever growing business.

This is a florist with a unique idea. It's not just the usual flowers to your door in a big bouquet or box, although that option is available, it can also be a bouquet of beautiful flowers that fits neatly through the letterbox. Flowers in a custom designed box, that can survive for a prolonged period of time without water. Ensuring that even if the recipient is not in to receive their gift, they will find their way safely onto the doormat and still be a beautiful bouquet of fresh, floral goodness once opened and displayed.

So today I share a little from Jo about her business and how and why she decided to take a leap of faith and set up on her own. Plus don't miss your chance to win a beautiful bouquet of your own, or get your hands on some stunning blooms with The What Now Blog unique discount code. So stay tuned!

Beards And Daisies Rose And Glasses

Hi Jo, Firstly could you tell us what led you to set up your company Beards & Daisies and how you arrived at where you are now?

I felt like a square peg in a round hole having a career in sales. I desperately wanted to be doing something more creative. I was working long hours and just felt I could be spending that time on growing something that was all mine rather than contributing to someone else’s business. Plus having my own business would also allow me to balance work and life a little better. I’d always been surrounded by flowers having spent most of my twenties living on London’s famous Columbia Road with its weekly flower market, so I finally took the plunge to quit work and retrain in floristry. 

I probably did things the wrong way around really as I started the business at the same time as re-training which was a little ambitious! The idea for the business began when I sent some flowers to my mum for her birthday as I couldn’t be with her in person and as lovely as the flowers were, I was disappointed that they didn’t look as beautiful as a bouquet I could have picked from my local high street florist. I realised that not everyone has the luxury of a local florist and although the supermarkets have a fantastic selection these days, it lacks the personal approach that my hand tied bouquets have. Plus they come in pretty snazzy wrapping as I’m a sucker for great packaging! So the idea for Beards & Daisies the online florist was born.

Beards And Daisies Rose On Keyboard

What's your biggest passion when it comes to your business, what keeps you going day after day?

Whenever I feel stress creeping up on me, I remind myself that a). I work with flowers for a living... I mean come on, how lucky am I! and b). I remember the place I was in two years ago. I honestly love having something that I can call my own and how utterly progressive a start-up business can be.

I'm intrigued to know what's behind the name Beards & Daisies, it's such a great name! How did you choose it?

I was helping plan my sisters wedding which was to be held in her garden. She wanted it to be informal with lots of wild flowers. This mixed with the fact that her fiancé and most of his friends have beards meant we coined her wedding theme ‘beards and daisies’ in amok. The phrase stuck and I’d like to think it’s memorable which can only be a good thing!

Beards And Daisies Rose

How do you set about conquering your biggest fears and setbacks in your working life?

When I was working in sales there were always scenarios that took me out of my comfort zone, whether it was a project, a meeting or a presentation. It would be easy to play it safe when you have your own business as there's no one to push you or challenge you other than yourself. It’s cheesy but at least once a month I try to force myself to do something which takes me out of my comfort zone or makes my stomach turn with fear. For example going to a networking group where I don’t know anyone. Living in fear of making mistakes, is the only mistake you can make’ is a great motto to live by.

With the season of autumn upon us, which blooms should we be looking out for to keep our home or office spaces looking and feeling seasonally happy and cosy?

I’ve just finished shooting the Christmas collection of bouquets and we will shortly be seeing anemones and ranunculus back in season, which I will be using a lot. They come in the most amazing array of colours and ranunculus has an amazing petal formation, like a more delicate version of a rose. Just like fashion everything gets richer and deeper in colour, which is refreshing after a summer of colourful flowers.

Beards And Daisies Flower Card

Finally, with the idea of wellbeing in mind, what's your personal idea of the perfect weekend, how do you like to switch off and relax?

I’ve by no means mastered the art of switching off as having your own start-up business can be demanding, but my perfect weekend would be a magazine and coffee in the deli on my high street in the morning and then getting away to the coast for the rest of the day. I just love being by the sea and I feel very content when I’m there - it’s good for my soul! 

Beards And Daisies Rose And Keyboard

Thank you to Jo for sharing her journey and I hope it has inspired any of you out there with a burning entrepreneurial spirit, not to give up on your goals and aspirations for the future. 

Jo has very kindly offered a giveaway prize of one beautiful bouquet to one lucky What Now reader. If you would like to be in with a chance of winning please follow the instructions and T&Cs set out below.

Plus if you have a special occasion coming up and are looking to treat a loved one (or indeed yourself) to some beautiful blooms then What Now readers can receive £10 off of their first order using offer code THEWHATNOWBLOG between now and the 30th of September 2016. Take a look at the Beards & Daisies website and get yourself inspired: www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk

 

***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED***

TO ENTER THE BOUQUET GIVEAWAY follow @TheWhatNowBlog on Twitter and RT the competition tweet. 

The competition will close at midnight on Friday 30th September 2016. After this time the winner will be notified and I will arrange for your prize to wing its way over to you so that you can enjoy your beautiful blooms asap.

PLEASE NOTE entrants must be 16 or over and the competition is open to residents in the UK only on this occasion. The bouquet may differ from the one pictured in this post but will be a beautiful, seasonal arrangement that I know you will enjoy!

Best of luck.

Louise

 

*As part of this interview I was sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers as a sample of Jo's work and as depicted in the photographs in this post.


How To Make Work-Life Balance Work: TED Talk

Ah the inimitable premise of work-life balance! A topic I've talked about a lot here on this blog and something I've given insurmountable thought to over the past few years as I've watched so many people around me struggle with the hefty pressures of the workplace time and time again.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

Work-life balance is a term that implies we should always be treading some sort of invisible perfect line between our work and our life and that if we aren't getting it consistently right then we're kind of missing out or doing something wrong. Yet we all know that's just completely impossible in the grand scheme and reality of the modern day workplace.

There are other terms for such a subject being debated out there in the big wide world right now that might I suppose be more suitable, the most recent of which being work-life blend which I guess is slightly better - although it's not really a term that I particularly feel all that excited to embrace!

I'm understanding more and more that the idea of balance is deceptive. We are constantly out of kilter in life. There are so many pulls in so many different directions. What's important is how we continue to assess and realise when something is starting to pull us too hard in one direction leaving little time for anything else. If we realise that a certain pull is consequently making us unwell or unhappy then how do we redress the state of things and come back to a place that allows us a little more peace?

It's also important to find a way of working out what really matters. I came across this talk by Nigel Marsh a few weeks ago: How To Make Work-Life Balance Work (embedded below for ease of playing!) and it kind of nicely sums up the realities of the pressures many of us face.

It's not a new talk, it was given back in 2010 and chances are you may have already seen it if this type of subject interests you. But if you haven't then I'm sharing it today because I think it's a particularly concise and interesting listen on the heady topic of work-life balance, especially if you're also trying to juggle the pressures of a young family as well, the added difficulties of which I can't even begin to imagine!

Nigel Marsh is a former CEO of global advertising company Leo Burnett as well as turning his hand to many other creative pursuits. As author of the book 'Fat, Forty and Fired' he has had very definitive first hand experience of trying to figure out what work-life balance actually means! I certainly think it's an interesting listen and I hope you'll also find it worthwhile.

PLUS: I'm intrigued to know what work-life balance means for you? Is it something that you struggle with? Perhaps you enjoy the work-hard, play-hard lifestyle and finding better balance is an idea that holds no real importance for you? Let me know what you think and how you approach your working lifestyle?

I'd love to gather some of your thoughts, especially if you've personally written anything on the subject, for sharing in some upcoming posts on a similar topic. Leave any links in the comments below or Tweet me with your ideas!

Louise

 

Learning From The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Course (SIYLI)

THE EXPERIENCE AND AN OVERVIEW OF THE TWO DAY PROGRAM AND ITS KEY POINTS

So a couple of weeks ago you may remember me writing that I was going to attend the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Course at Google HQ in London. A course dedicated to understanding and implementing mindfulness and wellbeing in the workplace through practising a series of personal development exercises and tools. It was Louise from Work Well Being who kindly introduced me to this course and I’m so thankful to both Louise and SIYLI for the opportunity to attend and take away a number of fantastic tools for my on-going work and life toolbox!

There’s so much I’d like to share with you following this two-day intensive and extremely informative session. Amongst other things we journaled, we practised meditation in various forms and we discussed and tried out different conversational and listening techniques, looking at how we might implement them in the workplace. I would certainly like to cover a few of these topics in greater detail in some future, separate posts. 

For today I thought I’d begin with an overview of the two days, a run down of what was covered and some of my personal thoughts and feelings having let the learning start to settle in over the last week or so. If you’re considering taking part in a future course then I hope you’ll find this an interesting and useful insight. 

Search Inside Yourself

SO WHAT DO YOU EXPERIENCE ON THIS COURSE?

The course is designed to bring forward techniques to help manage the fast paced environments in which we often find ourselves at work and in our lives, in a more thought out, mindful and meaningful way. Helping us to step back and work through problems that perhaps don’t have an immediate solution, to try and find a little more peace, self-awareness and understanding in difficult and challenging situations.

Over the two days our two experienced tutors, Laurie Cameron and Simon Moyes, assisted and guided us through a number of practical exercises as well as sharing their knowledge and expertise. They also discussed the neuroscience that is steadily becoming available to explain and complement the meaning behind mindfulness training and the given exercises.

In a theatre style, conference setting, we were talked through a number of slides, interspersed with opportunities to get up and partner with fellow attendees and practice differing exercises. There was plenty of opportunity to share how we felt about each exercise, ask questions and take short breaks to absorb each step along the way.

The course is designed to make you feel very safe and at ease. Don’t think that you’re going to have to stand up in front of a group of strangers and divulge personal information about things that bother you at work and in life. You do work in pairs at times but in a very safe environment and when it comes to feeding back to the group and the tutors it’s very much up to you whether you choose to bring forward your thoughts and feelings or if you wish instead to sit and absorb from others around you, as well as reflect on each moments revelations for yourself.

 

PERSONAL THOUGHTS AND MY EXPERIENCE

Personally I very much enjoyed actually sitting back and taking it all in without feeling the pressure to be sharing to social media, taking photographs or commenting in any way if I didn’t feel the need – a common blogging problem at most things I usually attend, and although that’s not something that I dislike at all it was nice to have a completely absorbed and in the moment approach instead. Reminding me that perhaps I need to behave in such a way far more often! After a little persuasion to my mind and body, I was gradually able to find myself truly in the moment and take in what was happening instead of negotiating external pressures and ideals.

When we began our first exercise, a short attention training exercise designed to help us focus our wandering minds, I could physically feel my digitally strained, computer and iPhone focused body and mind fighting against me! My back and shoulders were tense and angry; the mind was still lost in a myriad of early morning commuter woe, concerns over where my phone was in my bag and why couldn’t I remember the name of the person sat next to me, again?! As well as, had my current blog post published itself as instructed whilst I was on the train and when would I get a moment to check and share it to social media. These are the sorts of things that bother me daily! My mind definitely didn’t want to focus and my body was letting me know that it had no interest in sitting up straight and focusing without causing me a lot of tension and unwanted pain. Initially I thought to myself that this had the potential to be a very long two days!!

But by the end of the first day, and without realising it had even happened, each exercise and meditation, the calming, streamlined and more focused approach, had already had an incredibly positive effect to both mind and body. Physical pains and mental chitter chatter had started to ease, and that night I slept like an absolute dream – something that I’d been struggling with in the lead up to that week. So the foremost thing that I took away from day one, aside from a heady desire to share each and every little morsel I had learned and an excitement about just how much of it really made such perfect sense; is a feeling of greater peace and an ability to actually rest.

 

SOME OF THE TOPICS THAT WE COVERED

Emotional Intelligence is really the key to the course and the skill upon which you are trying to build. Self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy and social skills all collide to enable us to better interpret our own emotions and those of others around us. We looked at this in greater detail, trying to grasp ways of improving our emotional intelligence and how we can apply this in both the workplace and in life.

Mindfulness is such a growing topic and beneficial skill. But of course it’s easy to be mindful when everything is calm and you feel collected and on top of things. The true trick and challenge is learning how to maintain it when that calm, stillness has been well and truly disturbed. When everything is coming at you at once and you need to make decisions despite pressure and stress being ever present. Through learning how to cultivate the mind, set an intention for what you wish to achieve, apply focused attention and invite an open awareness of yourself and your surroundings, learning how to be a little more mindful in your everyday work can really enable the following:

  • Stability in the midst of a storm - sit like a majestic mountain.
  • You become more aware of what is happening and why, training the witness, the observer in you.
  • Paying attention in a different way, with calmness and a greater clarity.
  • Understanding and choosing to respond in an optimal way even amidst the craziness of life.

It’s like training the body in the gym, but training the mind instead. It takes practice, repetition, to build a muscle that will react in a certain way when you need it to. The brain and the mind are just as susceptible to such training and this course gives you ways of building upon that.

Leadership and how we can try to lead with greater compassion was also a key theme. How do we influence others as well as ourselves? How can we lead with a desire to help someone else succeed and communicate in a more insightful and compassionate way?

 

WHAT SORT OF EXERCISES DID WE TRY?

Attention Training: Clearing and focusing the mind through meditative exercises to help bring about a sense of self-awareness with more clarity and calmness.

Journaling: Free flowing, writing without self-censorship. Allowing the pen to keep moving no matter what and getting everything out and down onto paper.

Mindful Listening and Conversation: Learning how to stay present and focused on what the other person is saying. Actually really hearing the other person, not letting the mind wander and not interrupting.

Mindful Walking: Truly experiencing walking, the environment around you and having an awareness of the movement that you are making.

Empathetic Listening: Active or reflective listening where you are listening with true empathy. Learning how the person is feeling about something that has or is happening to them without projecting your own thoughts or feelings.

 

THOUGHTS SINCE FINISHING THE COURSE AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE!

This is potentially the sort of course that you come away from full of ideas and new experiences that you can’t wait to implement but low and behold, life kicks back in and a few weeks down the line you find you haven’t really had the time to give the course or its techniques a second thought. Except something about Search Inside Yourself really stays with you.

Firstly the team don’t just send you off into the big wide world again without checking in to help remind you of what you learned and what you might have forgotten to look back at and hopefully start feeding into your everyday life. There are a number of resources available and each week for a month following the course, you receive an email with various prompts and advice. Checking in and helping steer you back on track. Alongside that you are invited to attend a webinar at the four-week mark to reconnect with the course leaders, solidify where you’re at and where you wish to be going forward.

Secondly the benefit of this course is that many of the techniques stay with you and they tap in at moments when you most need them. Of course meditation, mindfulness and other techniques that complement these ideas require regular practice in order to really gain meaningful benefit and make a real difference. Yet just gaining a greater awareness really helps on a day-to-day basis when you start to feel the strain of a heavy workload or a particularly stressful situation.

I took so much from the two days and will certainly be working further on everything I learnt going forward. I will definitely share a little more about some of the techniques in future posts as promised. For now I hope this has been a useful starting point and overview.

If you’re interested in learning more about Search Inside Yourself please visit the website to find out more: Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. There are many upcoming public programs happening worldwide this year with further courses in Europe including Amsterdam, Helsinki and Paris. Take a look at the calendar to learn more and to register if you're interested in taking part for yourself: Public Programs Calendar 2016.

Farewell for now everyone and enjoy your day.

Louise

 

*My place on this course was complimentary as part of working with the program to learn more about these techniques that I feel are so relevant to the work I love to share on this blog. All opinions are completely 100% my own and if I hadn't enjoyed the program and felt it was worth sharing with you then I wouldn't be writing about it here today.