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Safety, Instruction and Preparation

Jumping, or more accurately, ‘falling’ out of a plane is easy, but the carefully delivered instruction, leaves you in no doubt of the risks involved.
Finally, on Saturday, Cristi and I completed a tandem parachute jump for Mary’s Meals, raising ยฃ2K to boot. I’ll share a video and images later this week, but I want to say something about the rigorous due process of instruction and safety.
Before stepping on the plane, we read several Health & Safety documents, completed a risk assessment of virtually every kind of risk known to man.ย  We declared ourselves COVID free and then spent time going through our basic training, before being signed off, ready to take off. We were both left in no doubt about the serious risk to life of a parachute jump, hence the strict training instruction and multitude of safety checks that followed.
The training covered the essential things we must know, including the safety harness, a detailed overview of the main parachute and the reserve. It was reassuring when the instructor said that he’d never had to deploy the reserve “in over 2000 jumps”. Then he quipped “so I’m overdue one now!” – we all laughed, nervously…
Key was exiting the plane, position in free fall and lifting your legs on landing, so you don’t break any bones.
Our exacting preparations were key to our success, as it is with many things in life…
More to follow…..

Penalty Points…

No! Not again – another 3 points! ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ
1989, an unforgettable year. I was in my 24th year of life. Young, enthusiastic, driven and eager to succeed.
I’d just secured a new job in sales and vividly recall taking the train down to Adwick-le-Street, near Doncaster, to pick up my company car. A new fast car, with a car phone to boot. I was in heaven.
Driving home a few days later, I discovered that I never had so much power at the touch of a small pedal in my life before.
Then it happened.
A few short weeks later, speeding fine number 1. Silly me I thought.
Another few weeks and speeding fine number 2. I’d better slow down I thought.
And not many weeks later, speeding fine number 3. I had to slow down.
I can’t recall my boss’s exact words (thanks Tony), but they went like this…”Daryl if you get caught again, you’ll be banned from driving with 12 points, and we’ll have to let you go.”
Albeit I was forced too, but I learned a much needed powerful lesson.
๐‘ฐ ๐’”๐’๐’๐’˜๐’†๐’… ๐’…๐’๐’˜๐’.
In time the points expired.
Frequently in life physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially we all may be ๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’„๐’†๐’… to slow down.
Yet, it is far better to ๐’„๐’‰๐’๐’๐’”๐’† to slow down.
To speed up in life, sometimes you need to slow down.
When will you “slow down?”

Frustration

What frustrates you?

Frustration: “…the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”

I know that an upside of frustration is that it tells you that you still have some important lessons to learn in a specific area.

Are you like me? Gripping a few prickly problem perhaps? You try extremely hard to resolve the issue yourself. Then anxiety and stress start to build. We become our own worst enemy, when infuriatingly despite our best efforts, we can’t resolve the matter. Grrrr!

I was like that for a little while on Saturday morning. What was this huge grizzly challenge? Of all things – a wooden gate! My woodworking skills aren’t amongst my top abilities and my stubbornness meant I wasn’t for listening to any suggestions either.

Yet, sometimes a rescuer comes along and helps. With patience, kindness and tender words, they help you to see things differently, offering alternative solutions to the issue at hand. The answer can only be received if you humble yourself, set aside your pride and listen!

As the tension subsided, working together we resolved the matter. Gate fixed! Thank you to my darling wife, for her forbearance, restraint and composure to deal with grumpy old me. Lesson learned, again!

So, you want to be a mentor?

“So you want to improve your ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  skills” I asked. “Yes indeed” came the reply.
This week, I have spent a lot of time in 1-1 sessions, helping individual mentors improve their mentoring skills.
Here are my ๐ญ๐จ๐ฉ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฉ๐ฌ for guidance.
  • ๐‹๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ง with compassion, empathy and understanding โ€“ Deep or Active Listening.
  • ๐€๐ฌ๐ค ๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ, be curious, seek clarity, probe, ask why and help each mentee to ask questions of themselves.
  • ๐‚๐ก๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ž – move their learning from their comfort zone to their stretch zone.
  • Give of your ๐“๐ข๐ฆ๐ž, frequently, consistently, intimately, 1-1
  • Be fully ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ญ. When you meet, create a psychologically safe space, and ensure there are no distractions.
  • Storytelling. Share your experiences that helped you succeed. Bring your stories to life.
  • Make a ๐๐ฅ๐š๐ง, set objectives and begin with the end in mind.
  • Provide ๐’๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ & ๐„๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ to your mentee to push through difficult challenges. Be a trusted sounding board.
  • ๐€๐๐ฏ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž & ๐‘๐ž๐Ÿ๐ซ๐š๐ฆ๐ž โ€“ make suggestions, offer different perspectives to help a mentee become unstuck through self-reflection.
  • Give ๐‚๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง & ๐ˆ๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง from time to time, to avoid potential pitfalls.

Friendships

I love this picture!ย  Look at our huge smiles. I can still remember, as if it were today, something subtle happening, that we were scarcely aware of โ€“ we all became friends, each of whom who have subsequently touched my life for good.

That day, the six of us made some powerful professional breakthroughs and connections in our own community of practice.ย  But above all, the part I cherish most of all, was the power of true friendship.

Friendship

Listening, laughing, understanding, being a little silly together and empathy were in all in evidence as we embarked upon a new journey in our work on extra-dependent teams.

โ€œA friend is a priceless possession because a true friend is one who is willing to take us the way we are but is able to leave us better than he found us. We are poor when we lose friends because generally they are willing to reprove, admonish, love, encourage, and guide for our best good. A friend lifts the heavy heart, says the encouraging word, and assists in supplying our daily needs. As friends we will make ourselves available without delay to those who need us.โ€ โ€“ Marvin J. Ashton

The photo was taken in Zurich, in December 2019, just a few weeks before the pandemic and lockdown.ย  Subsequently, the six of us have met by Zoom on several occasions.ย  Our conversations have been moments I hold dear, through what has been a challenging year.

Somehow these special moments of friendship seem to have a long shelf life, which I am so grateful for. They can sustain you even long after the moment has passed.

Good friends are a little like stars, you may not always see them, but you know they are there!

My conclusion – the only way to really have friends, is to be one yourself.

Go on, reconnect today.

Coaching in style!

Recently I was asked “Where is the best place for a coaching conversation?”
It made me think of all the many places I’ve held such a conversation.
Of late it has nearly always been on Zoom or Teams, but in this last year I’ve had many walking in parks or along the beach front. Other venues have included client offices, hotel receptions, restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, trains, planes, cars, taxis, corridors and many at home in my living room!
Coaching conversations can happen anywhere. However the best place is where your coachee feels safe, at ease and comfortable to share confidentially what is on their mind. Over the years, I have found it helpful too, to mix up the location, for instance by taking a walk in an open space. A change of scenery can help to change the dynamics of the conversation.
What is key is that both of you are present, in mind, body and spirit – you are really there….together!
Finally, the best place was the restaurant at Gleneagles Hotel, where my client also paid for a beautiful lunch!!

Are you asking the right question?

Asked any good questions lately? As a coach, I am constantly asking questions to help clients move forward.
For example…”What do you want?” “What do you need most right now?” “So what?” “Why now?” “How can you be more true to yourself?” “Can you tell me more?” “How are you, really?”
Querying something can be extremely powerful. They help us to think, feel and do things differently. The best ones usually start with “why.”
Some professionals like doctors, lawyers and journalists are taught how to ask great questions as part of their training. In my own professional career through sales and coaching, I have found it equally important to be able to formulate and ask the right question. Questions aid performance, close sales, help provide inspiration and direction, they even help to build trust and rapport. It is a useful skill to be able to ask great questions.
Its time to be a little more curious. Asking questions is an important part of life and learning, it shows that you want to improve.
What question will you ask today?

Council Together

I am grateful for the many opportunities to council together with friends, colleagues and especially family members this last year.

There have been many challenges to address over the last few months and as I look to the year ahead, I am certain there will be many more.

Meeting together as a family council, we set technologies aside, we listen to one another, we discuss concerns, we make plans, set goals, we support and strengthen one another. Jointly, we search for solutions to the problems of the day. When open and candid conversation is filled with love, patience, kindness and respect for the opinions of each other, the council has always been a success.

In addition, when each member of the family is invited to contribute to the discussion, they can and do feel part of any decision reached. In turn, this leads to positive reinforcement of their own feelings and supports our family to move forward in a unified manner, as we each take ownership of the issue.

Whether it is around the family dinner table, the work canteen table, or the board room table, the principles of sitting in council together are universal.

Why not give it a go today? Focus on an issue and ask – What can we do about it? What are your ideas?

Eye contact – connections!

Why is making eye contact so important?

Yesterday, I recorded a video for the British Heart Foundation with tips for audience engagement and presentations. I shared a few ideas, but it struck me how really valuable eye contact is!

In every instance and often unwittingly we use our eyes as a means of communication with other people. It’s a very important form of body language. In fact, when you have good eye contact with another person, it demonstrates that you are paying attention and listening.

Using your eyes is a powerful way to really connect with another person, whether with members of an audience as you scan their faces one by one, or in our virtual world by actually looking into the camera! Sharing yourself openly with an audience, builds trust and is literally the window to your soul and theirs!

As you maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to, it denotes your interest and expresses that โ€œYou are important and I am listening.โ€ When you don’t look people in the eye, they are much less likely to engage with you. Conversely, when you look someone in the eye, they are more likely to engage with you and much more likely to listen!

Making eye contact builds rapport and always helps to connect. Give it a go today!

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?”

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?” asked the workshop participant…

A great question and one that I have been asked repeatedly in recent coaching workshops.

A big part of the answer is to do with ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ฒ.

Empathy is understanding another personโ€™s feelings, thoughts, and condition from their perspective, rather than our own.

In my experience empathy is being very present in any conversation, attentively listening deeply, being open minded without judgement, looking into their eyes and giving someone your undivided attention, in order to sense their emotions. Frequently a human connection is made, resulting in a peek or a fleeting impression into how or what they are really feeling. It is a momentary glimpse of their reality. That’s when I start to feel I am being empathetic.

The good news is – empathy is something that can be learned.

Active or deep listening and asking powerful questions helps us to develop an understanding of another persons situation and in turn develops empathy. As you seek to understand another person, simple responses are very often the most powerful and meaningful ways to help.

Try walking in another’s shoes today, go on give it a go!