By Lucy Bramley, #RideTheWave Alum
Do you have a robust plan for work and life? Have the next 5 years all mapped out? Look back on your life’s achievements with pride at a job well done?
No, me neither!!!
I bimble through life on a rollercoaster of trepidation, joy and guilt. I regularly feel that life is something that happens to me. I’m usually surprised by deadlines and tend to look back on each day feeling that, although I’ve been busy, I’ve just not achieved much.
Let’s talk about techniques that you and I can utilise to make us feel more in control, and some simple tools to recognise our efforts and achievements.
“I love it when a plan comes together” (Hannibal Smith, 1980s)
A plan’s only going to come together if we make one, so come on let’s grasp that nettle right now! Use whatever format you feel most comfortable with to get your plan documented. Even after 22 years working in the tech sector I’m still a pen and paper gal, so I have a lovely A3 weekly planner pad. To date this has been misused for doodles, pipe dreams and shopping lists. However last Monday I committed the 6 Big Ticket Items that I wanted to get done last week to paper in the To Do section of this fine document. Is 6 things too many? Only you can decide that. Look at what’s urgent and what you really need to get done. What do you really want to get done? Do you have the time to do things justice? If not, how might you create space to do that? Do you have some fun stuff in there too? (All work and no play makes for a pretty miserable week in my view!)
So we’ve crafted our goals for the week. Well done! Now let’s look at how to ensure that these things get the focus they need over the next 5 days (or however many days you work each week). What does your calendar look like? Is it lovely, empty, and just waiting for you to block out chunks of time for the tasks you need to do? Or does it look like it has been invaded by hordes of time thieves, none of whom are interested or involved in your goals for this week. Mine’s the latter! So first up is a bit of realistic pruning. When you’ve determined what needs to be there do another check on whether that gives you the time and space to get your goals met. Is what is in your diary going to help you meet those goals? Might it introduce more work for you to do? Will you be able to schedule that extra work in? Do you need to?
Top tip – be really firm about what’s in your diary. If it’s not going to help you to execute on your plans does it need to be there?
“But don’t look back in anger, I heard you say” (Noel Gallagher, 1996)
So how was it for you? My plan worked perfectly until about 09.15am last Monday morning when Other Urgent Stuff Came In. But I greeted the new tasks with grace (and breathing exercises). I had also built a bit of contingency in my week by blocking out chunks of focus time for the unexpected. Did you find that you had bitten off more than you could chew? How will you handle that next week? I noticed that goals which I left a bit loose, and not tied to tasks on specific days did tend to slip. So I have started pegging some of my chunks of focus time to defined work.
“If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, just one day out of life, it would be, it would be so nice!” (Madonna, 1983)
Listen, celebrations shouldn’t just be about holidays. You should be celebrating every little achievement you make every day. When did you last pat yourself on the back for all the good things you did during your busy day? One of the great things about maintaining a plan is that you get to see your successes as you gleefully strike through them in fluorescent yellow highlighter. I take some time each week to reflect and to recognise myself and those around me for a job well done. That gives you and those you thank a little hit of dopamine. Great to set you up for more success next week.
Let me know if you found these tips helpful, and please share your productivity and motivation hints in the comments. Have a great week!
By Simon Greenwood, #RideTheWave Alum
Hello, my name is Simon and I’d like to tell you about my experience of executive coaching and how it’s helping me become a better personal trainer. I have 13 years of experience in personal training and I have been lucky enough to work with a huge variety people. Their obvious objectives are to lose weight, improve fitness and gain muscle. The majority of the time, with the right dedication and consistency, these things can be achieved. What I have learnt though over the years is each client, no matter what goal they come to me with, come with an element of external stress. This is where executive coaching can play a crucial part of reaching new goals.
These external stresses can be work related, relationships, money, mental health … the list is endless. Some clients, when external stresses were high, found it harder to be disciplined with tasks given to them regarding their gyms goals and therefore reducing their chances of achieving the results they’re working for.
This got me thinking and through this reflection I made a number of changes to my programming style to fit client’s external environment. I found the change to be really impactful to my clients’ stress levels, but there were still some inconsistencies.
Personal Training revolves around being a ‘people person’, the ability to listen well and be empathic. Although, for me, as someone who always wants to help and fix a problem I found myself being less of a sounding board but more of a ‘giver of advice’. I would try to guide a client’s actions to improve whatever it was they were struggling with in their day to day. My objective – if I can help them improve their external stresses, it will improve their chances of success in the gym. Where my intentions were always for the good of the client, my advice was more along the lines of; “this is what you should do” or “have you ever thought of trying this?”
I was advising clients on what to do, rather than allowing them to come to a decision they felt was best for them. Where this undoubtedly built trust it also leaves me as a trainer in very murky waters, especially if the outcome of my advice isn’t the desired one. I felt there had to be a better approach to helping clients with external stress and coaching in a way that puts them in the driver’s seat of their decisions.
Enter ‘Ride The Wave’ (RTW) Professional coach training. My first experience of executive coaching.
The course structure comprised three, three-day modules all of which were jammed packed with opportunities to learn, apply and reflect. The delivery of the course, incredibly interactive and relaxed, aiding in a great learning environment. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t walk into module one overly confident, thinking that “coaching people is what I do for a living, it’ll be easy”. Although for years I have been a ‘giver of advice’, but with my new skills in executive coaching, the strategy is not to advise, it’s to guide.
I really struggled at first, having to holding back my usual approach and taking a step back to listen. I was soon to realise that there is so much more to the art of executive coaching, a profession that requires knowledge of a vast number of coaching techniques and how best to apply them. This was uncomfortable at first, but I’m a firm believer in making the uncomfortable, comfortable, so this was a great challenge for me.
Lucy and Sonya are brilliant at what they do and enable you to really discover your own coaching style. They wanted us to bounce ideas off them and all the others on the course, giving us another opportunity to learn. The learning doesn’t just stop once you leave module three either. You build a network of fellow coaches and mentors to help continue your development in executive coaching.
#RideTheWave opened my eyes to how best to communicate with my clients. How, through the art of open questions and tools to help open perspective, you can help empower people to make their own choices to better their lives. I now use my coaching as a tool to bridge that gap between client goals and their habits outside the gym. The skills I have learned have completely changed my approach and role as a PT and will be forever grateful.
An exciting future awaits.
By Coach Dom (#RideTheWave Alum)
There’s not been a lot of light for many of us in the last few COVID-dominated weeks, but today a brilliant ray of sunshine flashed into my life when the Association for Coaching informed me that I had achieved my Executive Coaching certification – and I was now an accredited Foundation Executive Coach.
By Sonya Shellard.
I’ve been running accredited coaching courses in the UK for many years now and have been excited to watch them evolve and indeed feel privileged to have been part of that evolution.
I am often asked what the essential components of any accredited coaching course should be, to help guide people when making their choice; so, I’ll share here what I think the key questions are that you should ask yourself...
By Sonya Shellard.
So I've learnt a lot about online coaching over the past couple of months with "lockdown" resulting in all of my coaching taking to the waves and now being delivered via Skype or Zoom (amongst others!). After a rebalance on my board, I have now found my feet and am comfortable doing this as the rule rather than the exception (for the time being at least). So I wanted to share my learning hoping to make the experience more rewarding both for you and your clients...
By Lucy Mullins and Sonya Shellard
Like waves in the ocean, challenges in life are a natural and powerful force that can be inspiring, terrifying, uplifting and overwhelming. And just like waves in the ocean, challenges in our lives are inevitable and unavoidable. Some challenges are big, some are small. Some you see coming, some you don’t. Some are regular and unremarkable; others are unexpected and life-changing. It’s how you deal with the waves you face that determines how you thrive and survive.
WAVES is a fresh new coaching model we have developed to help navigate life’s challenges - the waves that hit. Read on to find out how to ride the crest of the wave and avoid a wipe-out...
By Lucy Mullins.
The story starts with tennis coaches and ski instructors…
by Lucy Mullins
Do you know when you are ‘in flow’? Actually, let’s start at the beginning; do you know what flow is?
It’s an amazing state that we can experience… some combination of effortless, engaged, confident, optimistic, stimulated, happy, satisfied, focused, fulfilled, calm.
Sound good? Read on to find out how you can get to experience your own personal state of flow.
by Lucy Mullins
It is the beginning and it is the end. As we say Happy New Year, it is not only the beginning and end of a year, but also an entire decade. Read on for ten tips to embrace and enjoys the 2020s...