Tag Archive for: coaching

Cheerleaders

As an 11-year-old, I recall trying out for the school football team.
I was a little anxious that day about playing at my best and afraid that I wouldn’t make the team, like my brother had some years before.
As I unpacked my kit bag, I found a little note from my brother inside my boots, with a few simple words.
It said, “๐’€๐’๐’– ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’…๐’ ๐’Š๐’•, ๐’š๐’๐’–’๐’๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’•!”
That’s all I needed, I played well and was selected for the team!
Roll the clock forward several years, to 2013.
Starting out in business on your own is risky, challenging and can be a little frightening.
How grateful I am for my wife, who provided the love, encouragement and instilled within me the self-belief that I could make a success of setting out on my own journey.
Then onwards to 2021.
Serving as Mission Leaders in Belgium and the Netherlands has been a huge stretch!
There have been many ups and downs on our journey and likewise no doubt in your own journey through life.
Are ๐˜๐Ž๐” a cheering section?
Yet, I know there are those pulling for us to succeed, including parents, partners, children, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, work colleagues and now missionaries past, present and even future.
My message is, hopefully, clear, every person in this life has a cheering section.
It is composed of those all around us who sometimes silently and oftentimes vocally, cheer us on to succeed.
Who is on the sidelines in your cheering section?

Curious?

โ€œHow do I have better conversations?โ€ the young missionary asked.
In response I said, โ€œBe curious!โ€
We then roleplayed several conversations, restating and rephrasing words spoken, then asking further questions, by being ๐’„๐’–๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’–๐’”.
It was enlightening as we explored questions together.
Children tend to have it in abundance.
Curiosity has to be a personal practice.
Curiosity allows us to find out about another personโ€™s reality, their views and their perspective.
Its easier said than done, but it takes humility and meekness, to escape the trap of thinking/feeling of โ€œbeing rightโ€ at times, and see beyond our own thoughts.
To be really curious you need to see beyond what you think you know and become much more fascinated by the way others see things.
Consider every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new.
Curiosity requires that you become genuinely super interested in what the other person is thinking and saying.
It is important to slow down, be very present and take time to ask questions, listen and observe.
And you also need to suspend any judgements that you may be tempted to make!
Be inquisitive.
Ask others their opinions, their perspectives, and their approaches to certain things.
โ€œI have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.โ€ โ€“ Albert Einstein.
Curious minds are exploring minds.
Yesterday, I met a complete stranger and engaged with them on a personal level, by being curious about where they came from, why they were in Amsterdam, and simply showing some genuine interest in them.
It was a wonderful conversation, and we discovered some insightful connections.
I was simply being curious.
These are a few of my thoughts and ideas this morning.
Iโ€™d be really interested in hearing a few of yours.
How do you stay curious?

Notetaking

It is an interesting little four-letter word โ€œnote.โ€
There are all kinds of notes, including bank notes, musical notes, people of note, promissory notes to pay a debt, or a brief record/memorandum used to assist our memories.
In my lifetime, I have sat through all kinds of meetings, thousands of them.
Note taking has frequently been part of my routine.
I know that by listening to and then summarising what you hear can help you understand and remember the information later.
I have probably filled up 100โ€™s if not 1000โ€™s of notebooks too.
Some of which I treasure to this day.
Iโ€™ve gathered action points and insights galore.
Taking notes can help you to concentrate and listen more effectively.
In fact, notetaking can also help keep you awake at times and even forces you to pay attention!

Paying attention

Growing older however, Iโ€™ve recognised that the most thoughts, impressions and feelings come gently, very softly even.
Last week whilst in a zoom call with Elder David Bednar, with other European mission leaders, he encouraged us to do something different.
Previously, sat in these kinds of meetings my experience is that there is an in initial rush to capture what an Apostle is saying, and like many others I found myself trying to keep up.
This time however, he invited us not to take dictation style notes, but rather to record personal impressions, as President Russell M. Nelson has challenged, so that โ€œI know for myselfโ€.

Knowing

I started to look for and listen for those customised messages, specially crafted so that I could โ€œknow for myselfโ€ what I needed to learn in that very moment.
As I listened to learn, my note taking changed from words he stated, to personal meaningful impressions that came.
I recognised that there is a space between the words that someone uses to the feelings of the spirit that can stir our souls into action.
Still, small, whisperings of the spirit came.
Why not consider your note taking in your next meeting, seminar or class, consider not recording the words said, but rather the feelings or impressions that come.
Listen to learn and learn to listen.

Walk and Talk

Never before have we lived so close to a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In Scotland, it is a 4 ยฝ hour drive to the temple in Chorley, Lancashire.

Today, we live only a short distance away in Leidschendam, a 20-minute drive from the temple in Zoetermeer.

Temples are different from the thousands of Church meetinghouses located around the world.

Meetinghouses are where Sunday worship services, youth gatherings, service projects, and other community events take place.

Temples have a more specific purpose.

They are places specially set apart for sacred service and ceremonies.

They are the House of The Lord.

The House of the Lord is the most sacred place of worship in the world โ€” a place where heaven touches the earth, a place where marvellous blessings are bestowed, and a place where we can feel closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as we strive to become more like Them.

Temple Grounds

In recent weeks the temple grounds have become a favourite place to walk and talk.

The grounds are a place of beauty, serenity, and reverence.

The grounds attract many local visitors.

They have become a sanctuary to rest, to contemplate and to consider the deeper purpose and meaning of life.

The grounds have also become for me, a place to listen to, meet with, talk with, read with, laugh with, study with, walk with, pray with, reflect with, ponder with and counsel with our missionaries.

Learning

As we walk and talk, we learn together as our thoughts are elevated heavenward.

In my professional coaching career, I have also found that breakthroughs occur in our thinking more easily when surrounded by nature, open space, and a tranquil environment.

Walking and talking just make good sense!

My wife and I take time to walk and talk every day.

We take in the surroundings and breathe in fresh air. By so doing, we are using all our senses to be in the present and soak up the natural world.

โ€œThe sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.โ€- Charles Dickens

Imagine for a moment your favourite walking spot.

How does it make you feel when you walk there?

Endurance

Growing older is never easy and it can be challenging.
We all experience ebbs and flows.
Suffering, hardship, trials, adversity are obstacles that will visit all of us in our lifetime.
The scriptures teach us that there must be opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11).
It is just a matter of not if, but when, these tests arrive.
Subsequently, how we respond to lifeโ€™s difficulties is a matter of individual choice.
For many, challenges can come every day.
I marvel at the endurance of long-distance runners.
Family, friends and coaches, ensure they do not endure alone.
Over many years of training and exercise runners develop physical speed, strength and stamina to endure.

Stamina

Stamina is staying power or enduring strength.
For example, you donโ€™t just decide to run a marathon.
Runners must train daily, and slowly build stamina to endure the 26.2-mile distance.
And so, it is with life.
Stick to your task โ€™til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honour, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
Stick to your task โ€™til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come lifeโ€™s victories after a while.
โ€”Author Unknown

Don’t Quit!

We learn to endure by fulfilling our responsibilities and not quitting when things get tough.
Endurance is one of the greatest challenges in life, but it can also be one of our greatest accomplishments.
Just like a runners coach, we all have a shared responsibility to lift and help others to endure, through a simple conversation, a listening ear, a cheerful smile, or words of encouragement.
Do I use hardships as an excuse to withdraw from life, or as a reminder to help someone else in need?

Dialogue

It was an afterthought.
Leaving for the office yesterday afternoon, I nipped back upstairs and picked up my box of CCS cards.

The Task

Later, as I started the meeting, I asked each participant to consider a question and then select three cards they regarded to be an answer to the question I posed.
Each participant was holding an identical pack of cards, with the same photographs, illustrations, and words.
Attentively, I watched as each member of the council started to thumb through the deck and select some images that captured their personal point of view.
I smiled, as I watched their faces light up, obviously amused as they shared and compared images with one another, theyโ€™d found interesting.
I was struck by their concentration, and evident delight in finding suitable cards that meant something to them in answer to the question I’d asked.

Sharing

Then, after some time, in our safe space, it was time to share.
I explained a little and observed again.
Quietly, deeply, respectfully, each person asked themselves โ€œwhat is it that I most want to communicateโ€?
Randomly, one by one, each person articulated their thoughts with great depth of clarity and understanding, allowing them to speak about what was in their hearts and minds.
The personal insights shared were powerful and thought provoking.
Each participant said something that was true for them and everyone else respectfully listened.
It was clear as participants felt safe to share their half-formed ideas, and discover new meanings in a simple image, the energy in the room began to gather, and the atmosphere started to deepen for the dialogue that followed.

Outcomes

The purpose of the simple activity was to help participants to uncover and talk about their thoughts on the given subject.
Instead of getting down to business straight away as normal, it was just really nice to pause, talk and meet together as fellow human beings, by engaging in a meaningful conversation in a fun way.
It has been my experience as a facilitator, that saying something in a friendly, respectful, and informal way, early in a gathering, can set a pattern of full participation that can help maintain energy levels throughout any meeting.
Setting the scene yesterday, opened up a new way to ensure authentic dialogue throughout our meeting together, where crucially we really listened to one another.
How do you ensure authentic dialogue in your meetings?

๐‹๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฃ๐จ?

Years ago, in one of my many coaching conversations, I worked with a senior leader in an organisation who highly valued his professionalism. (To protect his identity, Iโ€™ll call him Max).
Max had a great track record with the organisation.
In my first meeting with Max, I noticed something.
In fact, I observed a lot.
His whole body told me that he was lost and really didnโ€™t want to be there.
Heโ€™d lost his purpose; his meaning and the organisation had become a frustration for him.
Max had lost his ๐’Ž๐’๐’‹๐’.
Mojo; meaning – influence, confidence or personal charisma.
His spirit had shrunk and was sagging.
His body was downtrodden and browbeaten.
His eyes looked jaded and dulled.
His sparkle had long since disappeared.
He was lost.
I felt sad.

Coaching

As his coach, I worked with Max for several months.
Initially, our coaching conversations were more about others in his team and the organisation.
But then the sessions turned towards Max.
We embarked upon an intensive and deep journey together.
We searched long and hard to find answers.
During those profound listening sessions, Max began to find his purpose and meaning.
In those months, he reconnected with himself.
He slowed down.
With a little help and lots of self-reflection a new door had opened.
His search was over.
He discovered a new purpose, much bigger, yet simpler, that filled his entire being.
Heโ€™d tuned into himself.
He found the courage to step into his unique calling.
He found his mojo.
Now from a distance, I watch Max shine.
How have you reclaimed your mojo in life?

Ones

Half of two; 1
One is singularly unique and one of a kind.
As individuals, you and I are ๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ.
As mission leaders Monic and I are not simply managing an organisation, directing programmes, planning schedules, or controlling resources.
Rather, our foremost, indeed, the key stewardship responsibility that we have as Mission Leaders, is to minister individually to each and every ๐Ž๐๐„ of the missionaries past, present and future.

Our Quest

Our quest is to help each one of them become a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ.
We minister to each of them, just like the oft repeated pattern found in the scriptures, ๐’๐’๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐’๐’๐’†.
Some years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley counselled, โ€œWe must look after the individual. Christ always spoke of individuals. He healed the sick, individually. He spoke in his parables of individuals. This Church is concerned with individuals, notwithstanding our numbers. Whether they be 6 or 10 or 12 or 50 million, we must never lose sight of the fact that the individual is the important thingโ€.
The pattern continues today, in our one-by-one ministering to each missionary.
One way we do that, is during every transfer period of six weeks, we meet with every missionary throughout the mission, one by one, for 20 โ€“ 30 minutes in a coaching interview.
All 100+ of them.
It is a pattern the Saviour himself established.

Scripture Examples

In the scriptures there are many examples where Jesus Christ ministered to ones.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25 โ€“ 37), The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7), The Parable of the Piece of Silver (Luke 15:8-10), The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24), when Jesus appeared to Thomas (John 20:24-29) and many more.
In the Book of Mormon, the phrase ๐’๐’๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐’๐’๐’† is used six times, four of which are used by Jesus Christ in His personal ministry to the Nephites in the 3rd book of Nephi.
Elder David A. Bednar has taught that โ€œHe intercedes for each daughter and son. One by one.โ€
This week, we began our one-by-one pattern of interviews in Apeldoorn.
I have learned that the most important things are done individually.
Following each interview, I took some time to capture a few of our treasured ๐’๐’๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐’๐’๐’† moments.
What can you do to better follow the Saviourโ€™s example of ministering ๐’๐’๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’š ๐’๐’๐’†?

Crucial Conversations

Consider the two words below.
– rea๐‚tive
– ๐‚reative
These two words describe the mindset that you can bring to any conversation.
There is a key difference in the position of the letter โ€œ๐‚โ€
Best-selling author Neale Donald Walsch, says โ€œWhen we ๐‚ things correctly, life becomes ๐‚reative instead of rea๐‚tive.โ€
Repositioning a letter… one ๐’”๐’Ž๐’‚๐’๐’ move, makes a ๐’‰๐’–๐’ˆ๐’† difference.
Our mindset is vitally important.
Changing the way, we talk with one another; will change the way we act.
And subsequently changing the way people act, will in turn, as a result, change the outcomes.
Recently Iโ€™ve been involved in several conversations about presence.
Presence: being aware of what is happening in the moment, experiencing body sensations, noticing thoughts, feeling emotions.
Whilst deepening your presence can be somewhat challenging, the results can be transformative.
When we are present, we are in touch with whatโ€™s really happening.
Research reveals that presence is a capacity that can be developed by everyone.
Being ๐‚reative in the here-and-now is pivotal in re-energising and engaging people around you.
Slowing down is equally crucial.
When people listen to each other, they do their best thinking, by surfacing concerns in both directions.
Subsequently, when you are really โ€œpresentโ€ and โ€œlandโ€ in the moment by addressing what matters most, experience has taught me that new unseen possibilities emerge and come into view.
So, what does all this mean for you and me?
Simply stated, a single conversation can potentially open or shut a door on a whole new future that can help us to become more conscious of how we talk with one another.
Choose to be present today and for a while, give someone your undivided attention.
How do you ๐‚/๐ฌ๐ž๐ž things?

Reframing

โ€œWhat do you mean by reframing?โ€…asked the missionary.
In response I said, โ€œWell, what I mean by reframing, is that you see a current situation from a different perspective.โ€
Essentially, reframing can help you see things differently, all of which can be really helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning.
Over many years in my coaching practice, Iโ€™d often use reframing to help someone become unstuck.
Similarly, I find it regularly in coaching interviews with missionaries too.
For example, a missionary may say, โ€œI really doubt that I can do anything about this issue.โ€
In response, I know Iโ€™m likely to say something such as โ€œSo, what is one small step that you can take?โ€
I often find myself moving from the past to the future with missionaries too.
Oftentimes Iโ€™ve heard a comment like โ€œIโ€™ve never been good at speaking with people.โ€
If I hear that kind of comment, my response is something like โ€œIf you imagine yourself being successful in speaking with others, what would that look like and feel like?โ€
Changing the language you use is helpful.
For instance, a missionary may say โ€œI am really struggling with my new companion, I donโ€™t understand him, and we just donโ€™t connect at all.โ€
Reframing that could look like this โ€œGetting to know a new companion can take a lot of time and work. I have done it before successfully. Itโ€™s very rewarding and a great opportunity to learn something new about myself and others.โ€
Reframing is allowing yourself the opportunity to reinterpret a situation in a way, that is going to help you move through the challenge faced.
By reframing a threat to a challenge, can help us to feel courageous.
In summary, reframing an experience can give you access to more productive and positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
What is your favourite reframing tactic?