Are you listening?

Of course we’re listening!

But not always to what others are saying to us.  We’re very often listening to our own thoughts and just tuning in when a response is needed.

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Questions about coaching

Coaching Q & A

You might have got as far as thinking that working with a coach could benefit you, and you might have started doing a bit of research.   There are many coaching services on offer and so many different titles, terms and descriptions, it’s easy to be confused about what might work for you.

Here are some, hopefully, useful answers that might guide you towards choosing the coach to work with.

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Coaching and celebrating success

You celebrated your achievements?

Working with a senior executive at an engineering firm recently, I was again reminded about how so many people never celebrate their achievements or success.  They power on to the next project without taking a moment to step back and congratulate themselves.  They might even go as far as congratulating their team, or those involved in the success, but seem to overlook actually giving themselves a pat on the back. This person was talented, doing well in their career, enjoying many aspects of it and popular with their team and senior leaders.  However they felt stressed out and a little ’empty’ as they felt that they just weren’t succeeding.

As a coach, I work with many people who are pretty driven and have high expectations, just like this executive.  They often expect more from themselves than they would ever dream of asking of others.  If they let themselves down, they berate themselves and continue cracking the whip. If you recognise this pattern as something you do, then you will know that it is pretty relentless, and enormously exhausting. No matter how successful you are, you rarely feel accomplished or successful.  Your mind just focuses on the negatives, the failings, and criticism.

Stop for a moment!Take a step back

Ask yourself if this cycle is beneficial to you or those around you. If the answer is yes, then by all means, continue.  However, if there is even a tiny part of you that feels there must be another way, then take a break and think what you can do to change this behaviour. Continuing with this cycle can lead to burn out and stress, which is not something to head for lightly.

It’s not just the inner critic that makes us set another goal before we’ve celebrated the last – it’s often the fear of judgment and a worry about what others think.  If you compare yourself with others constantly, you’re also likely to think you need to press on to catch up. You might have had family that never voiced how proud they were of you and continually found reasons to criticise….. Then it’s hard to see yourself as successful, or to allow the inner voice to encourage and support.

Starter for ten…

Here are three simple ways to take a moment to focus on your successes.

When did you last tell someone about your achievements? If you don’t feel comfortable about this, why not write some down. Be kind to yourself and realise that self-flagellation is not necessarily the only way to succeed. If you take a moment to focus on what you have achieved, it’s a moment to down tools, get some perspective, let some positive feelings flood your brain.  “But I may never get back to being a high achiever again – I might start slacking” is a response I often hear. Ask yourself ‘who is in control?’ Are you likely to suddenly change a lifetime of hard working to become switched off? Challenge that belief, and know that you can take a break without the fear of losing your drive for ever. It’s highly likely that after a moment of self congratulation, you will approach the next project with renewed enthusiasm and greater energy levels.

Imagine yourself at the age of 85, looking back on your life. How will it feel if you realise you never stopped to look at what you’d accomplished? Take 20 minutes to ask yourself this question, as see where it takes you.

If you struggle to take a break and notice your achievements, you might benefit from looking into methods of achieving mindfulness, of increasing your ability to focus on now instead of pushing on to the future. There is plenty available online to inspire you.

Try the above, and let me know how it goes.