read on if you want to hear about Storytelling, Performance anxiety, Transforming Performance, NLP, Coaching and Culture change and bike rides. A perfectly sensible mix...........
Well May has been quite an incredible month. The team have been busy supporting clients with their HR, Training (and GDPR!!) requirements – there have been some complex and sensitive employee relations cases, restructures and mediation needed as well as the continued roll out of a major Management to Leadership training programme – lots going on and lots of variety to keep us flexing our agility muscles!
As is often the case, I find myself reflecting on how important it is to surround yourself with great people who share your values and have the passion and skill to deliver for your customers. When you’re up against deadlines and pressures, it can be tempting to take on people to support you but if your gut has a ‘nagging doubt’ about them then listen to it……. and don’t (take them on that is!). Never mind the CV or the experience, you can teach most things – focus on hiring brilliant people who are better than you, have fresh ideas and are passionate about what else can be done to support your customers; that’s where you get the edge. The Aspiring team are a wonderful example of this and this is a great opportunity for me to thank them all, so thank you team!?? ☆
And while the team have been busy being brilliant, I’ve also had an interesting month. It started with preparing for a public speaking event I had been asked to be a part of: ‘Fuelling Ambition’ to around 350 female entrepreneurs.
My preparation began by considering what the audience may find useful to hear. There are many subjects I could have talked about but what did the audience need or want? If I stood in their map of the world, what would I be looking for from a speaker at this event? My first step was to ask other female entrepreneurs I knew and get their view – without exception they told me “I’d want to hear your story – how you did it”.
So I know my story (better than anyone) but I needed to know how to tell it in the best way – storytelling is an art and a skill. I also needed to know how to respond to the choir of voices that had started to appear in my head – I recognised them immediately – the choir of doubt and performance anxiety (which is why I’m not a fan of anyone ‘performing’) but I needed some help to manage them.
You see, being a Coach doesn’t stop you needing some help – if anything, it helps you recognise faster that you either need a bit of help or have the opportunity to go for Gold!
I wanted to be the best version of me for the benefit of the audience so I had a think about who I knew that could help me with storytelling. There were 2 choices: my children or the Aspiring storytelling genius, Paul Miller. It was a close call but I went for the latter!
Paul put me through my paces, helped me chunk the story, consider the audience, get the flow right and I was ready. As it happens, he’s also a wonderful coach so through his courage, mirror and humour, I managed to quieten the choir and walk out on stage as June Sarpong announced me (only to have followed the likes of Holly Tucker, founder of www.NotOnTheHighstreet.com and Sophie Montagne, one of six incredible female army reservists who had recently crossed Antarctica – as you do!).
Hot on the heels of that was another wonderful event (Transforming Performance) with ASB Law and Diversity HR – a fabulous collaboration bringing the practical, the creative, the legal and the cultural elements of Performance Management to life. What a joy to show how you can move away from the traditional (and not terribly meaningful methods) of annual appraisals to something much more fluid and results led; and still be in the right place when it comes to your statutory obligations.
I’ve also been making great progress with our Leadership and Performance Model with the help of some great brains and the power of testing what actually works with willing clients! It’s a simple and clear framework for the 3 critical elements for Performance (individual, team or organisational): 1. Big Ambition; 2. Conscious Culture; 3. Psychological Safety. If upping the game is something you’re interested in – for yourself, a team or your organisation, get in touch and one of the team can walk you through the approach.
international nlp conference
A highlight of the month has to be my day at the International NLP Conference; spending time with Ian McDermott and Robert Dilts was an honour. 300+ people from pretty much every continent came to be reminded of the power of NLP and Neuroscience and what it can teach us when it comes to peak performance and behavioural agility. What a treat!
And now I’m writing this from my hotel room in Frankfurt – here for 3 days coaching a group of Senior Leaders who are all working hard through a time of huge change in their organisation but continue to be committed to developing their ‘best selves’ – for their families and for their employer. This is where I see culture’s change – through the individual, and then collective, changes people make as they work on their beliefs, behaviours, ambitions and strategies for success. The increased clarity, energy and motivation is significant.
If I’m really honest though, my greatest gift this month (and goodness knows there have been a lot) came from Sam, my 9 year old at the weekend. Now Sam is a ball of spirit that’s for sure and on a bike ride a week ago he was a real pickle – riding ahead, riding too fast, not listening to what he was told; standard ‘boy’ stuff you might say. Well, we repeated the activity on Sunday and he rode by my side full of delightful chatter about his week and very sensible road safety. “You’re being very sensible and riding beautifully today” I said. His response “well, I’ve learnt from my mistakes from last time”. I can’t ask for more than that – the gift of a mistake I hope we all continue to make many for that is where the real learnings and innovations come from.