Blog


The Coachinghotline blog has moved!

There is no blog this month as I am in the process of transferring the blog to my main website www.julieboyd.co.uk

My business has changed and developed over the years and it now makes more sense to coordinate things from one website. This is particularly the case as the different strands of what I do are often interlinked. 

Although the host site is changing the blog will continue to be written as normal at the beginning of each month. All older archived blogs can also be accessed on the new website as can the photo reflection tools. 

The old website will still be left live so if you have any old links for blogs you will still be able to use them without having to look for them on the new website. For now this website will not be added to in any way.  

 

Having difficult conversations

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  


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I am a bit late updating my blog this month - the usual story of lots to do and not enough time to do it!

One of my guilty pleasures, especially during busy times like the last month, is watching some of the different home programmes on t.v. Don’t worry there is a link between this and coaching as you will see!

It doesn’t matter what type of programme it is whether it be a renovation or a house move, in the UK or abroad. I think the interest stems from the fact that since I was a child I have moved house a lot. I often record the programmes so I can watch them during my breaks from work. They act as a motivation and are cheaper and less fattening than chocolate treats! 

I have recently been watching a series called Phil Spencer: Secret Agent. He surprises people who are having problems trying to sell their house. He offers advise on improvements sellers can make to the property to increase its chances of selling. 

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There is a similar formula for a lot of the programmes, particularly in terms of his advice; clear the clutter, depersonalise the property and clean up! Some of the properties do however take clutter, dirt and personalisation to the limit, and he has a challenging job helping owners recognise issues with their property.

What has been of particular interest with this particular show are the coaching skills Phil uses with the owners. Some of the ‘home truths’ he has to point out would make most of us cringe if we had to say them to someone else. No one likes to be told how dirty and messy their house is, or to have their taste in decor criticised. 

To ease people into the difficult conversation he often starts by asking things like ‘what do you think a buyer might say about this room?’, ‘what might be the key things to think about in here?’. Very often the seller says the same as what Phil himself would have said, and this enables him to address an issue that might otherwise have been difficult to approach. 

This is very much a coaching way of handling a difficult conversation. The same message is put across, but the seller is less defensive and more prepared to take ownership of the issue as they have raised it and not someone else. This style also enables Phil to follow up with, what he calls ‘brutal truths’, where he is brutally honest about changes that are needed. Whilst this isn’t a coaching style, and is perhaps more mentoring, the sellers are much more receptive because of his initial style of approach. 

Something else that is obvious in Phil’s style is how he tries to stick to facts based on what potential buyers of the property might be looking for. He avoids references to his personal dislikes trying to remain neutral. Again this approach reduces the defensiveness of the sellers. Where he does express personal opinions it tends to be within a framework of humour, which lightens the mood and often helps the seller see things in a different light. 

I can’t quite justify watching the programmes as ‘work’, but it I have found them a useful reflection tool when thinking about handling difficult conversations. I will even be mentioning them in some of the leadership and coaching training I do on this area!


This month's free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side ba

A change is as good as a rest

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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I started writing this month’s blog while on holiday. For lots of reasons it was a bit of a working holiday but nevertheless I came home feeling revitalised and invigorated and it reminded me of the phrase ‘a change is as good as a rest’.

I spent the week in Aldeburgh on the East Coast in a traditional old cottage (the one in the centre). The cottage in itself was very different to what I normally like, very olde worlde with beams, low ceilings, tiny windows & lots of shabby chic furniture and furnishings. Whilst not particularly to my taste it was good to step outside my comfort zone and do things differently. 

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After a day or so to relax and acclimatise we did a bit of rejigging of the furniture to enable us to set up areas to work. The great thing was being able to work by an open door and being able to see, hear, smell and feel the outdoors, especially as we were very close to the sea. Working with this ‘outdoor feel’ gave the work a very different feel. 

The property we were in also had a summer house in the back garden - well, more of a shed really, but again being able to sit somewhere different, particularly in any weather, once again made working more relaxing. 

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Although I had lots of work to do the different environment seemed to give me renewed energy & motivation. The bonus was also that in between work I was able to take lots of breaks exploring new areas & doing new things. This gave me a really good balance of work and leisure and made my leisure time much more relaxing. Also without the everyday pressures of being at home days felt longer and less frantic, which in itself made the days feel more relaxed.

We began each day with breakfast on the beach, which was a great start to the day, especially as we were fortunate enough to have great weather. 

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In between working we took breaks and did a bit of exploring in the local area. Although we know the area quite well, there was still lots to discover and rediscover. These breaks were good for  getting a new perspective on things; seeing something from a different direction or noting how something had changed over time. 

As someone who has an interest in all things creative there was lots to see that inspired my interest in art and design, whether it be a sculpture or simply the everyday things around me. 

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Overall this change of space for a week helped to give me a different perspective on things and reminded me that sometimes change is a good thing as is the reflection that goes with it. 

This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar



Being happy at work

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  


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Happiness is a theme I have covered several times before and I was reminded of this recurring theme when I saw this cushion recently in a shop 

Many of us strive for happiness but rarely know if we have achieved it. This is because happiness is a state of mind rather than something concrete. It is also very subjective and what makes one person happy will be different from person to person. 

In coaching conversations within a workplace the desire to be ‘happy’ is often raised. This can sometimes be seen as being more of a counselling or life coaching conversation rather than one that is relevant to the workplace. Many of us, however, spend as much time in the workplace (and often more)  as we do at home, so being happy at work is important to many of us, and this in itself makes it a workplace issue. 

Coaching strategies to try

It can be useful to get a coachee to identify work situations that sum up what ‘happiness’ in the workplace looks like for them. It can also be useful for them to choose key words that sum up this happiness as these words then provide a useful reference point for reflection, as well as acting as mental reminders when they feel less happy. 

Discussing the physical side of happiness is a useful reflection point; what body language do they use, what words, who do they interact with more (and who less) when they feel happy at work. All of this knowledge can help us ‘fake’ happiness. This is useful as some of the psychology behind happiness suggests our outlook on life influences how happy we feel. In other words if we go to work feeling negative and behaving that way this influences our actual reality, but if we are more upbeat this has a positive impact on our mood generally. All of this is important in the workplace as it is generally acknowledged that a positive mood leads to a more productive employee. 

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Smiling is an easy physical sign of happiness to reflect on. It is easy to get someone to observe this type of body language (e.g. counting how many times you smile in a hour), and it can be easy to observe this within yourself. In  my role working with teachers this is something I regularly observe and it can be amazing the difference a smile can make to a situation and how many teachers report back that something so simple changed not only their interactions with students, but also their feeling of professional well being. 

It is important to remember, however, that whilst a positive attitude, and things like smiling, may have a big impact in the workplace, the real key to being happy at work is for each individual to be able to identify the key things that make a difference to them and then to do more of whatever that is.

 Want to find out more?

Take a look at this short video clip on happiness http://goo.gl/cqd6Ts 

Happiness at work http://goo.gl/vrE592

10 steps to happiness at work http://onforb.es/qpT6lv


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

GROW questions

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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I recently came across this link http://goo.gl/HhuQu7 via @SLT_KAT & @greatleadership on Twitter. It is titled ’70 Awesome Coaching Questions Using the GROW Model’ and just as the title suggests the article is packed with loads of questions for each of the four areas of the GROW model.

GROW is an acronym for 'goals, reality, options and what next’, all of which help a coach framework a coaching conversation. Some people see the model as a bit limited but I am a big fan of it. It is short, easy to remember and it has helped me in many tricky coaching situations. I like the positive emphasis the word has and feel it explains well the impact coaching has. 

In particular I find it useful when a coach seems quite muddled or when they are jumping about with different bits of information. I find the framework useful to help me untangle what the coachee is saying as well as it being useful in helping me identify how to help move the coachee forward. 

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When I first started coaching I was keen to gather as many questions as I could which is one of the reasons my eye was caught by this link. In the past I would have found this list very useful, which is why I wanted to make reference to it here as I think those starting on a coaching journey may find the list particularly useful. 

Over time however I came to realise I didn’t need a huge range of questions and that it was more important I asked the right question, at the right time, with the right level of challenge. In fact over time my range of questions has probably narrowed and I now focus more on the responses the questions generate. 

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The link includes some of the questions I have found very powerful. In the reality section I am a big fan of using a one to ten scale as a measuring tool e.g. how committed the coachee is to something, how big an issue it is etc. I find this question challenges the coachee and really helps them reflect deeply on a response they have given. It can be used when focusing on the ‘reality’ of the coacher’s situation as well as being useful during the ‘what next’ section to measure commitment to a target. 

In the option section I also use the question ‘If anything was possible, what would you do?’. Often the ‘dream solution’ is closer that the coachee first realises. It may need adapting, as well as a few compromises, but this question often offers a few ‘baby’ steps towards a better situation. 

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A particular favourite question of mine that isn’t listed on the link is ‘if you could change one thing to improve this situation what would it be?’. This is a little bit like the ‘dream solution’ question mentioned before because it enables the coachee to focus on the small steps needed to move towards a bigger change. 

What are your favourite coaching questions? 

Do you have a top 5 -10 questions that you find particularly powerful? 

Which questions from the link do you use? 

Are there any that would be useful to try out in your next coaching session?


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.




Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar


Sweet dreams!

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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Dreams are said to be our way of reviewing the day and the events around us. Sometimes you can go to sleep with a problem and wake up knowing a way forward without being able to explain why. It is like your brain has had time to work through the situation and work things out in a way you couldn’t do without that time to reflect. In fact when faced with a problem or decision to make people will often say they are going to ‘sleep on it’. 

This really shows us what a useful reflective tool sleep can be. It’s true that sometimes our worries and thoughts (good and bad) do the opposite and disturb our sleep but often that time away from things is a big help in moving forward. There may be something about the sleep process itself that helps it be a positive tool for reflection. It is, however, also the time factor that makes a big difference. By sleeping on things we literally have time to think, both whilst awake and asleep. Sometimes things seem clearer just by not doing anything about them immediately. 

Indeed one of my own strategies when I am having a bad day is to think ‘things will be different tomorrow’. Often problems that looked insurmountable at the time look less daunting once a bit of time has passed. I have therefore learnt that sometimes I just have to be more patient to finding solutions to things as given time it will become obvious how to move forward. 

On the theme of sleep and dreams I love brilliant video of a baby who is clearly remembering something from the day that he found enjoyable http://wimp.com/cutestbaby/ . We often only remember our bad dreams but this video reminds us that it is important to bear in mind all the nice, positive things that happen in our dreams as well! 


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

World Autism Awareness Day

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

Wednesday 2nd April was World Autism Awareness day. This is an area that interests me a lot and in particular I am interested in young people and adults with Asperger’s. This is because it can be less easy to recognise Asperger’s, partly because the behaviours vary from person to person, but also because many people with Asperger's function at a high level, and this can mask any diagnosis. This means that many young people and adults are not aware they are on the autistic spectrum and neither are those around them. 

My role as a coach both in education and industry means I have coached a wide range of adults and young people many of whom show Asperger’s traits. Something that has struck me is how supportive we are of young people with Asperger’s, including those that we don’t formally recognise as being on the spectrum, but how this is not reflected in our treatment of adults, especially in the workplace. 

It is important to remember that young people with Asperger’s go on to be adults and they therefore make up a significant number of the people in our workplaces. The challenges they faced in school are therefore also going to be the challenges they face at work. What particularly interests me (and disappoints me at times) is how education environments in particular fails to take this into account, and yet this the one workplace where you would expect it would automatically be understood. Understanding the types of behaviour traits associated with Asperger’s means we can start to understand the behaviours of some of our colleagues and it helps us reflect on better ways of working with them. This applies to all staff but particularly to those in a leadership role. 

There are a number of links below on Autism and Asperger’s that might help you reflect on this area and how you cater for the needs of young people in your classroom. Don’t forget to take a little time out to also reflect on how this might impact on adults in your organisation and your own interactions with them. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4G0HTIUBlI - a video that describes what the autistic spectrum is

http://www.autism.org.uk - The National Autistic Society website that has a wide range of resources and advice on working with young people and adults on the autistic spectrum

http://gu.com/p/3nqx8 - teaching tips when working with young people

http://goo.gl/iz2qPq - a resource that summarises some of the traits for Asperger’s which can be used as a reflection tool when working with other adults


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

Developing young leaders

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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I have worked in a number of leadership roles, including at senior leadership level, both in education and retail. Leadership is therefore an area that interests me and I regularly run courses on leadershp and work as a coach supporting leaders.

I am a strong believer that leadership isn’t something that is limited to those who happen to be in positions of power. Anyone in any role can show leadership skills; an ability to enthuse and motivate others; a vision for moving things forward; a positive and forward thinking approach; or maybe an ability to see the bigger picture. 

I also don’t believe there are age boundaries to leadership. A 10 year old might not become the CEO of a major international company but they can still show high level leadership skills for their age group. Developing these skills in young people is just as important as the more traditional skills learnt in education. 

I liked this short video on leadership as it focuses on how anyone from any background can become a leader http://youtu.be/Z7O8s6NgAck. Using short sound bites like this with adults and young people can help provide useful points for reflection and discussion about their own leadership skills.   

Developing leadership skills can help both adults and young people gain confidence and increase self esteem. In particular developing leadership skills in young people can be a great way of harnessing potential and diffusing behaviour management issues. 

If you work with young people take a look at this Young Leaders award programme that helps develop and reward leadership in young people http://goo.gl/VuPZ1M .

If you work with adults this article on how to be a leader rather than a manager might provide some useful prompts for reflection http://workawesome.com/?p=19028 

Do you remember when you first started to think of yourself as a leader?

Do you recognise leadership skills in any young person you know? How can you help them recognise and develop these skills themselves?


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

Are you more cat or dog?

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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This video is an amusing take on teaching styles as illustrated by dogs and cats. Watch the video through to the end as it is worth it!  http://goo.gl/VcKf4B

On a more serious note it is interesting to reflect on the different teaching and learning styles people have. As an experienced teacher I know there is a ‘right’ way to teach, based on Ofsted criteria and thoughts on best practice. After watching many teachers over the years I also know that some of the best teaching and learning isn’t done by the book. 

Both the dog and cat methods in the video have their pros and cons. Sometimes the caring, nurturing approach works, and at other times jumping in at the deep end is better. Whilst I think a lot of my teaching over the years follows the example of the dog in the video there is no doubt that I do use the cat approach. Sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing, although perhaps not quite so literally as is the case in the video! 

Are you more cat or dog when teaching someone something? Do you nuture and show patience or just push them in at the deep end?


This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

Friendship

The coaching blog has now moved to www.julieboyd.co.uk . 

You have landed on this page as you have used an old link. You can still access some of the older coaching blogs and resources on this site using old links you may have. All new blogs and resources, as well as all older ones, can be found on the website.  

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As we start a brand new year the most obvious focus for this blog would be reflections on the last year and resolutions for 2014. I have however decided not to do this and to focus on something different. 

As this is a coaching blog many of my posts are already very reflective. New Year is therefore no different for me than any other time of year! It also seems a bit too obvious to use this as a focus as everyone else on Twitter and in various other blogs seems to be doing it. 

Instead I want to focus on the theme of friendship. This is relevant to this time of year when many of us get together with those we are close to, celebrating Christmas and the new year and giving each other gifts and good wishes. Not forgetting of course that Auld Lang’s Syne is a traditional song sung at New Year; a song which is about remembering and celebrating friendships. 

My focus on friendship hasn’t actually been sparked by the New Year but by a short video about an Orangutan and a dog and how they became friends (http://youtu.be/kqXBB89OFf4). The pair aren’t an obvious friendship pair but were inseparable from the day they met. Although they are an odd couple it is clear from their relationship that they get something from each other that they don’t get from anyone else.

When I was growing up I always thought you had to have a ‘best’ friend. In fact girls are known for the fact that, as they grow up, they have a smaller group of close friends, whereas boys are more keen on larger groups. As someone who moved around a lot as a child having a best friend was a bit difficult for me. When I joined a new school friendship groups were established, and just as I got settled and developed close friends we moved again!

It took me some time as an adult to realise that the elusive ‘best’ friend I sought was actually not as important than having different friends who offered me a range of different things. Over the years this has come to be more important to me. 

The close friend you can bear your soul to is still something I value, but I now also treasure the small encounters I have with people and the impact they have on my life. Friends who I only know through emails or social networks; school friends who I am only in touch with through Christmas letters once a year; colleagues at work; and those friends I only see once or twice a year. Like the dog and the orangutan they each offer me something different and not all of them are friendships that would seem obvious. They all contribute in a positive way to my life and I value what they add to it. 

This blog is therefore a celebration of friendship. I wish all of my friends, both close ones and those that are just acquaintances a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.  

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. Even longer,' Pooh answered.” ― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

This week’s free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Right hand mouse click on the image to download & save it.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk



To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar

© Julie Boyd 2012  All  text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission. All Rights reserved.