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Stages of Creativity and Coaching

The idea of creativity having developmental stages is not new. It has been around for a long time. It is as relevant now though, as it was in the past. Creativity and innovative outcomes are always needed in business. Concepts that work in reality have great value.

When the solution is in the listening. The gift of being heard – Part 4

In this series of blogs I have discussed what Solution-focused coaching looks like, including some of the common techniques associated with this approach and why it works. When it works, it feels like magic. Whilst these techniques are key ingredients of this magic, there is a danger that it can overlook a more fundamental element that is needed: Listening.

Leading with Solution-Focused Eyes – Part 5

In this series on the Solution-Focused approach, we have explored the underlying principles and some of the techniques that flow from working in this way. We have also described why they are useful. One of the key aspects is that a coach grounded in solution-focused principles can more readily and effectively support clients in moving towards achieving their goals.

Know the signs – Does your client need coaching or therapy?

Life can be extremely challenging at work and at home. It can get the better of us all at one time or other. As a result the World Health Organization says that depression and anxiety disorders, including stress-related psychiatric issues, are set to become just as prevalent as cardiovascular diseases.

Gathering around a roaring telly – The science of storytelling

In the 1970s parents told children they'd get 'square eyes' from watching too much telly. There's still some snobbery around the idea of hunkering down in front of the TV, which is seen as somehow less worthy than the theatre, opera, film, books, even radio.

Working with three horizons in mind – shaping new futures

We are living in such uncertain and volatile times. Everyone is searching for some ‘handle’ on the future? We are seeking to see what emerges and how to shape different futures - find a way forward through all the uncertainties and complexities.

About the Drama Triangle – And how to escape it

If you've ever found yourself trapped in a personal Drama Triangle, you will already know how detrimental it can be to relationships. But it also rears its ugly head in a business context, and it's something well worth watching out for.

What makes a great mentor?

Have you ever enjoyed the support of a skilled mentor, someone whose qualities and attitudes have helped you become the best you can be? Maybe you've been lucky enough to have had more than one fantastic mentor helping you reach your goals?

Kintsugi, wabi-sabi, and why it’s fine to be imperfect

In Japanese ‘Kintsugi’ means to 'join with gold', an elegant and graceful way to mend broken pottery, leaving the mend fully visible and highlighting it with the precious metal. The pot shards are fused back together with gold, and the gilded cracks become part of the object's beauty.

Leaders are weavers – of people and stories

In the current crisis, this may seem like an unusual way to talk about leaders. An odd way to describe how they can influence others. The idea of a leader being ‘a weaver of people’ resonates with us. We also believe a leader is a ‘weaver of stories’ - both a story-maker and a storyteller.

Are you Relentless and Unstoppable?

The tragic, untimely death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the end of January 2020 shocked the world, robbing us of a remarkable talent. Professional basketball lost a great player.

Innovate or stagnate? Get ahead of the curve

In a fast-changing world it is important to stay open, and be aware that people who are the most responsive to change are those who survive, even thrive. Does that sound familiar?

About the process of transition – And how to handle it well

Everyone experiences transition at work. It can be as dramatic as a seismic shift in the outlook of the business or as basic as someone familiar leaving the firm, the loss of a loyal supporter. The key is to recognise a transition point when you reach one, and to handle it well.

Flattery isn’t feedback – it rarely encourages or inspires genuine confidence

How do you feel about being flattered? Most of us find it slightly uncomfortable, even though we're not always sure why it doesn't feel right. Praise and encouragement almost always feel real. Flattery and ingratiation tend to have a shallower edge, an undercurrent that isn't as positive as it might at first seem, a hidden agenda.

How to write a successful blog for start-ups and small businesses

Writing a blog is a great way to grow your business and add value for your clients, creating a space to let you and your brand’s unique identity shine. Blogs can be a fantastic way to communicate directly with your customers and attract new ones, but with so many company blogs out there sitting unloved and unread in a dusty corner of Google’s search rankings how can you ensure that your blog avoids a similar fate?

About business ownership and the Founder’s Mentality

We have been privileged to coach many ‘founders’ of businesses. Founders are a special breed. Some we have worked with in the white heat of the early days, some in the mayhem of scaling up, and some in the relative peace of the uplands, once the business has become established and successful. But all of the founders we have worked with are remarkable people whose drive and perseverance have often impressed us.

Mastering the ‘experience economy’ – How customers or clients get what they want

The theory of the ‘Experience Economy’ gives us a powerful way of understanding how people get what they want in any ‘marketplace’. It matters because structuring your business around the idea will change the way you look at what you are doing, and how your clients experience it. If it sounds exciting, it is. Here’s an introduction to the experience economy.

Placement years – a student’s real life experience at work

Placement years at Universities are becoming more and more popular, with plenty of reasons why! Placement and Sandwich years are offered to students like myself, whilst studying at University, however not all courses offer them. I’m currently doing an Event Management degree and have just completed my Placement year.

It isn’t money, strategy or technology. So what really makes teams effective?

What makes an exceptional team? As the management guru Patrick Lencioni says in his 2002 book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.” So how functional is your team? Could you do better?

Start-up – giving yourself the best chance to make it

Start-ups are exciting. When you kick off a brand new business, whatever the sector or subject, you’re often on a rollercoaster ride. You need to move quickly and confidently but you also need to remain sure-footed and grounded, blending fresh ideas with tried and trusted business wisdom to create a sturdy, workable whole.

Always busy? Getting busier? Slowing down could change your life!

Everyone's busy. Plenty of us are really, really busy, all of the time. Some say busy-ness has reached epidemic proportions in the wealthy western economy. But is being so busy you can't easily turn around and can't always think well, really a wise approach to work?

About internships – Great for business, great for careers

In the USA internships kicked off in the late 1960s. Since then they've become commonplace over the Atlantic. Roll back time to the 1990s in the UK and internships were more or less unheard of. Now they're a fast-growing trend in Britain too. So what are the advantages of an internship? How do they help businesses, and how about the interns themselves?

Why your glass is actually half full – The value of positive psychology

Are you in the habit of being a 'glass half empty' person, a bit of a pessimist? If so you can learn to become more optimistic, learn how to fill that glass even if you're easily discouraged. You can steadily learn how to change your habitual reactions. Here's why it matters, and how Martin Seligman’s approach and techniques can help you.

James Kerr, the All Blacks, and their awesome insight into leadership

Who does teams and leadership better than anyone else? The New Zealand rugby team The All Blacks do an epic job, and their methods of working together are the primary reason behind their enviable, long-held status as the world's most successful international men's rugby team.

New job? How to make a positive impact and do it FAST!

You've landed a new role. Big congratulations! But beware... it can be a surprisingly tricky transition, a complex pivotal time unless you're prepared. A career move can make or break a leader, especially a new leader with little experience. You need a good, solid plan of action. Here's our survival kit.

The risk of single stories, and the value of balance

In the 1930s scientists began examining the cognitive effects of labeling. According to a hypothesis by the linguist Benjamin Whorf, the words we use to describe what we see aren't just random. They actually determine what we experience to a startling degree. And that can be dangerous.

How to slow down, calm down, and harness non-violent communication

At various times in your career you'll probably find yourself handling a variety of challenging situations. In fact anyone on an upward career path will encounter tricky circumstances at one time or another, involving unhappy, disappointed and frustrated people. So how do you manage yourself, and them, effectively?

About marketing a new freelance business – The basics

Plenty of people are freelancers. If you're thinking about going freelance yourself, you'll hopefully already have a few clients or customers under your belt, ideally a handful so you're not only reliant on one income stream.

A new start? All about freelancing…

According to Consultancy.uk, there are already around two million freelance workers in Britain, a number that's widely predicted to keep on rising. A dramatic increase in freelancers came about from 2009 onwards, as the global banking crisis and resulting recession began to bite.

How to stop your blind spots from tripping you up

Our blind spots often develop when we’re young. They help us survive, and they often start off being pretty useful. But as time goes by and your past successes become your only way to succeed in the present and future, things can get tricky. If our only approach to solving problems doesn’t work in certain environment, we’re lost.

Are You Struggling to Overcome the Imposter Syndrome?

Do you ever feel like an imposter? It's a surprisingly common phenomenon amongst leaders like you. If you find you're constantly worried that someone will realise you're not up to the job and 'find you out', you're not alone.

Shine at your next interview – How to prepare for success

How are you at job interviews? Some people cope just fine, managing to stay calm and focused. Others feel terribly nervous, forget what they want to say, lose the plot, fall apart. Do you struggle to give concise answers at interviews?

What is Emotional Intelligence? EQ is vital ingredient for success

Emotions are essential to human survival. But it’s all too easy for them to run away with us, especially under pressure. If you’ve ever really lost your temper in a work context you’ll know how unproductive it is. It can be difficult to handle and manage your emotions unless you know how you’re feeling from one moment to the next.

The power of visual storytelling in a digital age

Michael and Jack Whitehall are an unlikely double-act - a father and son duo. In their talk-show, Backchat, and with their recent travel shows, Travels with my Father, they constantly, repeatedly miss each others’ point. Their humour is based on the fact that Michael aged 79 and Jack aged 29 live in the same world but also inhabit totally different worlds. Their assumptions, their beliefs, the things they value are at total variance with each other.

Affirming our differences – What’s your label?

In today’s complex, fluid world, many of us define ourselves by just one or two aspects of our identity. These identity-defining aspects are very important to us, and when we become invested in them that investment often takes the form of very strong emotions.

Optimise your business mind: Harness the Chimp Paradox

We have a lot in common with chimpanzees, our close genetic relatives. Like us they use tools, recognise themselves in mirrors, experience emotions. But if you've ever seen footage of chimps at war, chimps carrying out a brutal murder, chimps losing the plot completely, it's easy to see they're far from human. We tend to have more control over our emotions... most of the time!

Resistance to Change in the Workplace – And How to Handle it

Change in business is natural. It feeds progress and drives success. Organisations can change their tactics, strategies and plans, their management structure, the tech they use, their culture, goals, markets, priorities, all sorts of things. But at the same time research reveals around 70% of change fails thanks to resistant employees.

The One BIG Thing

In the self-help world there are numerous books that claim to you give the four essential things you need to do, the five secrets of success, or the six principles to follow. This is compounded by the fact that people love a list, whether it’s the top ten celebrity shots or the hundred best reads for summer. The formula for success often ends up as a list, something quick and easy to digest.

Giving back – Living your purpose at work

As an individual or a business owner involved in a not-for-profit initiative or community endeavour, you might be interested in exploring your legacy. And it needn’t be a financial legacy. There are so many ways to give back.

The 7 secrets to a great new role

We coach a lot of people in transition. Transition coaching, helping people move from one role to another, is a distinctive niche in the coaching market.

Gestalt Coaching – greater awareness, greater choices

Awareness is a vital part of the foundation on which Gestalt coaching sits, a core principle underpinning it. As a coach, awareness is the backbone of your practice - awareness of yourself, others and the contexts or systems you and they are operating in.

Your USP – define your unique selling point

In business it’s our USP, our Unique Selling Point, how we distinguish ourselves from everyone else, that makes us different, that makes us special. That’s why people want to buy from us. Our brand is what makes us distinctive. Our USP is the very thing that makes us what we are, our ‘thisness’.

Rustout– About Burnout’s Lesser-Known Relative

Search online and you might find a few articles about it, none of which are particularly comprehensive. 'Rustout' isn't anywhere near as well covered, explored and discussed as the better known 'burnout'.

How to be a Good Chair

Strong, healthy, dynamic organisations need strong, healthy, dynamic relationships, especially between the CEO and the Chair.

Getting creative in Executive Coaching Supervision

Creativity enhances all sorts of situations. Creative thinking often delivers sparkles of brilliance, amazing and unexpected insights. And a creative slant gives executive coaches some real advantages, helping them re-imagine situations, dream up unusual solutions, and see things very differently. Here’s how creativity in executive coaching supervision can be a real game-changer.

How values – And being savvy about them – Will enhance your career

Focusing on your deeply-held values can be extremely beneficial at every stage in your career. Understanding your core professional values and how they directly influence you in a working context will help you to be yourself with far more skill. Values ground and anchor you. When life and work engage your values strongly, and you can express them congruently, you’ll be more fulfilled. But when there’s tension and conflict around them, the opposite happens.

How great managers create positive feedback loops

Feedback matters in business, and great managers set up the conditions where feedback is welcomed. They lead through walking the talk, by building strong, resilient relationships, and by welcoming feedback about their own performance. Giving feedback well - both negative or positive, is a skill every manager needs in order to improve the situation, enhance the person's, team's or department's performance.

Are You Blind-sided by Your Schemas?

Did you see it coming? MIT Professor Peter Senge suggests that one of the defining characteristics of leaders is their capacity to ‘read the signs well’. It’s called ‘sense-making’ and almost every great leader is also an excellent sense-maker.

True Grit – The importance of getting your story straight

Failure hurts. When you fail, make mistakes, relationships become strained or you disappointingly lose, it can shatter your equilibrium. Inevitably it always involves having to pick yourself up and dust ourselves off. It can take plenty of resolve and resilience to start again.

Stress Recipe managers need to avoid

Central to any management position is the thought that people matter. Organisations may say people are their number 1 asset but it is usually up to line managers to demonstrate this by how they relate to their staff. Yet providing recognition in ways that work for everyone can be challenging for any manager.

Business Narratives

As business leaders the stories we tell, the narratives we weave, are often the key to our success.

Mind the Gap – How to Manage Expectations

There’s often a gap between what you expect and what you get, and it can cause ructions. You can avoid the pitfalls by managing your own and others’ expectations, but that’s easier said than done. Your first step? You need a good level of awareness, plus the knowledge that while the gap is often invisible in work conversations, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Here’s how to mind that gap.

Coaching and mentoring intergenerationally – when you were born matters!

In business it’s our USP, our Unique Selling Point, how we distinguish ourselves from everyone else, that makes us different, that makes us special. That’s why people want to buy from us. Our brand is what makes us distinctive. Our USP is the very thing that makes us what we are, our ‘thisness’.

The Paradox of Choice – Solving the Career Choice Enigma

Are you looking for career coaching? Are you considering changing tack and kicking off a new direction? Whatever sector you’re in, whatever your role, it’s all about making choices. And, surprising as it may seem, having choices doesn’t always make life easy!

A Practical Approach to Resilience at Work

Work demands things of us. The job itself, colleagues, bosses, clients and suppliers all create pressure. But demands that are difficult or impossible to meet create too much pressure, which in turn drives stress.

How to make the most of your coaching supervision sessions.

Every coach is different, and every effective coaching supervisor understands how important it is to get the practical side of things right from the start. Setting up the right context for yourself and preparing well pays enormous dividends, enhancing the quality of your sessions

Managing Virtual Teams to Achieve Powerful Results

You can be as brilliant as you like as an individual, or as a group of individuals, and once you form a fully-functioning team, whether it's virtual or physical, you almost always achieve more than the sum of the parts. Having said that, without careful management and constant nurturing a virtual team can easily fail to gel properly in the first place... and just as easily fall apart.

How to become an Authentic Leader

As independent coaches, we're often seen as a useful resource to bring in when every other internal remedy has failed, a final port of call for people the organisation is struggling with. They frequently ask us to deal with problem issues.

Teams, Creativity & All That Jazz – Why Teamwork Should Be Fun

Different conversations are central to strong leadership. At the Listening Partnership we call it ‘Conversational Dexterity’. Conversations are essential to organisations, and that means having a good breadth and depth of conversational competence then applying it deftly in different situations. No wonder great conversational skills form such a vital part of a strong leader’s repertoire.

Great leadership needs conversational dexterity

Different conversations are central to strong leadership. At the Listening Partnership we call it ‘Conversational Dexterity’. Conversations are essential to organisations, and that means having a good breadth and depth of conversational competence then applying it deftly in different situations. No wonder great conversational skills form such a vital part of a strong leader’s repertoire.

Team Building Chatbots – The Future of Executive Coaching?

As recently reported in New Scientist magazine, innovative chatbot software created by London HR company Saberr is helping team members communicate better. Called CoachBot, it assesses workplace dynamics, 'listens' to people's complaints and puts forward ways to help make teams more productive.

How to choose a coaching supervisor

How will you choose the best coaching supervisor for you? Who might stand out from the crowd for you? How will you know for sure that you have found that person? Here are some ideas that may help you make this crucial decision.

The different dimensions of listening

People frequently talk about levels of listening as if listening is a set of logical steps that you can access one after the other. Sometimes listening is compared to driving from first to fifth gear then back down again, occasionally back tracking and moving into reverse!

Delegating well and avoiding pitfalls

Delegation is a sanity-saver, a distinct management skill that can change the way you work for the better and enable you to achieve more. Here's how.

How to Run Great Business Meetings

There's a way to run face to face and virtual meetings. Get it right, and it will enhance your career as well as getting essential things done. Here's how.

Managing your perfectionism at work

Perfectionism at work can be a wonderful thing. It can also be a nightmare for you and everyone around you. Here's how to deal with it and dial it down.

How to make your CV stand out

A great CV sits at the heart of every successful career move. How do you create a winning CV that gets you that new role? Here are our CV tips.

Golden threads in coaching

There is power in simplicity. If you can articulate the core principles in a way that others can quickly grasp, it makes running a coaching practice so much easier.

Taking humour seriously in business coaching

Humour can be a surprisingly powerful intervention and source of learning within a strong business coaching relationship. It rarely, however, seems to be given much air time on coaching courses.

Coaching and organisations – the metaphorical dimension

As executive coaches, listening out for the ways in which clients use metaphors in their business systems, can provide valuable insight. It gives information, data that can be drawn up to the surface of their thinking and evaluated, kept or changed.

Leadership luck

Leaders need to be open to what fortune, or the market throws at them. Yet great leaders often seem to be luckier than others. Or are they just better able to respond to the circumstances they’re dealt?

Leadership in 9 words

Leaders can tell a story in a way that captures the imagination of their people and holds their interest. That’s why knowing how to enthral your audience with a succinct tale is such a potent skill…

Signature presence

Executive coaching as a profession is growing rapidly. How coaches position themselves is becoming increasingly important. Coaches need to be able to communicate their distinctiveness and what they offer confidently and succinctly.

Leadership and mood

Leaders determine the mood of their teams, their departments and their organisations. Cultivating eight simple practices can increase a leader’s capacity to diffuse a positive mood company-wide through a process known as 'limbic resonance' thanks to the pioneering work of

What would Google do?

The world’s most successful internet company, google, has lots to teach us all about how to thrive in business today and in the future. What would google do? Is a great question to start our thinking… in 1896 christian socialist,...

Coaching is all Greek to me

Many people think coaching is easy. After all, doesn’t it just involve waiting for the person you’re coaching to arrive at their own answers? However to be the kind of coach that makes it look effortless, you first need...

Choosing a facilitator

There are times in the life of every group when the team has a really difficult matter to resolve, or would benefit from fresh thinking and a different perspective. There may also be meetings when you as team leader would...

Team performance

Teams are the basic building block of business, but few teams always perform at their best. Paying attention to how they’re set up and how they’re expected to function as a group is vital. By following a few simple ...

Great CVs pass the 20 second test

Information overload and constant visual distraction make it increasingly tough to hold a reader’s attention. By applying seven simple rules, you can create a CV that’ll be noticed, remembered and get you shortlisted...

Getting your career unstuck

Being stuck in your career is no fun. Getting yourself out of a role or an organisation that’s just not you can feel impossible. If you start to follow the ‘six laws of holes’ there’s hope and a bright ...

I’m on the road to nowhere

Whenever a team meets, there are two dangers: an outcome no one really wants or slipping into complacent groupthink. Both involve the sacrifice of beneficial results and informed decision-making. However, there is another way… british indie band, the subways, could've...