BLOGS

The Uncomfortable Networker Unleashed

Top tips for the uncomfortable networker!

It is said that over 70%  of jobs and business comes from networking.  These great top tips to unleash the uncomfortable networker come from an excellent Coaching Academy CPD Event yesterday with Rasheed Ogunlaru.

I consider myself outgoing. Even so, the thought of working a room of strangers  authentically and effectively is uncomfortable. It’s funny how alternative ways to spend the time present themselves. So here are some top tips for the uncomfortable networker!

  • Arrive early. Counter intuitive right? But this way you are in the position of greeting and not breaking into groups already formed
  • Have something to say – in fewer than 10 words who you are and what you do, thats interesting. Write it down before you go and say it to your trusting mirror or even a friend
  • Make eye contact – some-people dont want to be tapped on the back!
  • Get the greeting right.  The handshake if you use it should be firm but not bone crunching.  If its a multi-cultural group handshaking might not be the thing.
  • Sm-eyes (pronounced schmize)! Deliver your greeting with a smile that reaches your eyes and isn’t looking over the shoulder to the next best person
  • Numbers. Set yourself a target of people
  • Move on graciously – if you’re getting stuck with someone telling you about model trains or the inclement weather (no offence to afionados of either discipline) say thanks and move on!
  • Celebrate. A successful networking event is part of your work and needs celebrating with new contacts and recognising new opportunities

Have fun and please share how you get on! Of course, Get in touch to discuss your coaching needs

Is coaching right for me?

How do I know if coaching is right for me?

Many new and potential clients are confused about what coaching entails and whether it’s right for them. If the answer is yes to any of these question, then coaching is right for you and can most definitely support you.

  • Do you feel that you aren’t reaching your potential and feeling fulfilled?
  • Is there a gap of where you are now to where you want to be?
  • Do you sometimes feel you don’t have the skills, resources or confidence to do what you want?
  • Do you sometimes feel stuck and put off making decisions or fail to stick to those resolutions you have made?
  • Are you ready to entertain new and fresh ideas?
  • Are you willing to be accountable for what you want?

So what is Coaching?

Put simply, coaching is a tool that is used to empower or enable individuals as they reach their goals. It is a structured conversation that takes place in a professional environment between the coach – me- and you the client. 

What coaching is not

Coaching is not about your coach giving you suggestions or advice. I am not mentoring or counselling you.

How does coaching work?

Different coaches use different models to structure their sessions. The models all have the same intention: to provide a structure for a conversation that will reveal your aspirations, the reasons or values that underpin them and pathways to realise them. 

Coaching keeps you moving forward towards your intentions while learning and becoming aware of yourself through the experience.

During coaching sessions you create action plans.  I will listen to you without judgement while asking questions and finding out what challenges you. I will not offer advice. You will be encouraged to make decisions and take responsibility for these decisions.

Typically the format of a session is something like this:

  1. You review progress since the previous session
  2. Establish the intention for this session putting the desired change into a measurable format
  3. Consider where you are at the present moment in relation to the change
  4. Consider your options in making the change happen
  5. Agree on some actions
  6. Summarise the session before completing.

A session usually last between 45mins and 1 hour. 

Special sessions may give you an opportunity to explore in more depth what motivates you, what personal preferences and values you live by.

Who else will know what has been said?

A coaching session is completely confidential. I  comply to the Coaching Code of Conduct which you can find here

What does the coach need from me during a session?

Not surprisingly, clients who get the greatest benefit from the investment they make for coaching are those who come to the session prepared. They have reflected and come with an idea for a change they want to make or work towards.

Collecting your thoughts and ensuring that you are relaxed and ready makes a difference. You may also need a pen and paper to hand and any other items that you may think will be useful such as a diary and other ways of recording your plans and commitments.

I think I want to start coaching now. What do I do?

Your first step is to CONTACT ME!

We will talk over your understanding of this service and what you are hoping to get out of it. We will look at a package to fit your needs. Our first session will look in greater depth a what coaching can do for you. If you decide it is not for you, you will not be charged for this.  Nothing ventured etc etc

Make a resolution to stick to!

Seasons Greetings from TopHat Coaching

Seasons Greetings from TopHat Coaching! 

 

Season’s greetings from TopHat Coaching to you and your family. Thank you for being part of TopHat Coaching in 2019.

If, like Troy (pictured)  you are intending to feast with friends next week why not try the game in Knowing Me Week 7?  you may uncover truths you never knew!  Of course with one too many mouthfuls, relaxing and thinking about the future might be a more attractive option.

I look forward to being part of your resolutions in 2020. Let the coaching begin!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

Knowing Me Week 9

Knowing Me Week 9 – Dream for a new you!

From the over-consumption of chocolate to changing career, the solstice is a the season of reflection. Imagining how things can be different is the start of the magic!  

This week we will draw on the work of the late Steve de Shazer and I will invite you try something new. Dr. Shazer’s work was used in therapy but has great application for self discovery.

The time is now!

For northern hemisphere dwellers, 22nd December 2019 will be the shortest day of the year. For the southern hemisphere it’s the longest. The earth’s oceans will swell and fall to their highest and lowest points at this time. This key moment in the year has for centuries been a time of celebration, feasting and reflection. More recently, all over the world people use the New Year to make decisions to reflect on habits and ambitions they want to change.  What’s yours?

Take your pen and paper…

Are you comfortable? Then I will begin…

Think about something that you consider is a problem in your life. If you have none you are truly lucky! Visualise it, hear it, feel it and consider how long it has rested within you.

Now, imagine yourself at home, completing all the last tasks of the day and retiring to bed. As you sleep some yuletide magic occurs and that something that problem is miraculously gone!  You have no idea how, you just know when you open your eyes that this is so.

Think for a moment and write down: how is life different now? Write down as much that is changed that you can think of in detail.

Think again of your best friend. What difference would they experience in you? Write down as much that is changed that you can think of in detail.

Now ask yourself three more questions: 1. If/when you last felt like this new you; 2. What score you give yourself between 0-10 where 10 is the magic state. 3. WHAT ONE THING COULD YOU DO TO MOVE CLOSER TO 10?

For more about the project and links to all the previous wonderful weeks look here.  Contact me to take the next step!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

 

Knowing Me- Week 8

What To Be, To DO or Have

In Knowing Me Week 8, we enter into the spirit of the festive season! What better than lists of what you want and  baking a personal cake?  It may help with your resolutions for 2020!

As the regulars among you know, the Knowing Me Project is all about getting to know ourselves better. You could add to that challenge, being more honest about ourselves.

For more about the project and links to all the previous wonderful weeks look here. If in doubt contact me for more info!

So whats it to be? A cup of tea, a glass of something else? Either way, get the pen and paper or wherever you capture your thoughts and here we go…

The list

Take a page and divide it into three columns labeled Be, Do, Have.  Under each title allow your imagination and inner thoughts take over as you list all the things you want to be, do or have (avoid writing what you think you should write!). NOTE The words in the columns don’t have to link across. Let your list grow and when you think you have run out ask:  What else?

Keep this list safe and prepare to make your cake.

The Cake

Sometimes this is called a wheel. For the calorie conscious among you may prefer thinking about Wheels. No matter, this is how it works:

step 1

List the things in your life that are really important to you. This is your choice. Often it is family, or friends, fitness, health, work, finance, community etc. It may change from time to time.

step 2

DRAW a circle – your cake – and divide it into as many slices as you have important things up to around 8.

Put each of the important things from step one into each of the slices (see the example)

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Ask yourself two things:  

  1. Why does this segment matter to me?
  2. For each segment, if the outer rim is 10/10 and everything is fine and the centre is 0/10 what score would I give this segment based on how I feel it is going? 

If you are the colouring in kind, you might like to shade in. So that if you are feeling that work is presently at 50% of what you would like you will shade in 50% from the centre.

Step 4

When you have your thoughtful cake in hand, look back at your be do have lists above. Do you see things in one that is not in the other? Is there and alignment?  

Step 5

With all this reflection and with a new year just around the corner ask yourself:

Is there a segment I would particularly like to work on, to make improvements in my life? 

If this game or any of the proceeding weeks has made you think and you would like  some guidance on moving forward with coaching. Give me a call!

Acknowledgements – thanks for this exercise to many coaches and in particular to The Coaching Academy

 

 

 

Knowing Me – Week 7 Meet your past self

Do you know your past self?

Knowing your past self can be fun and enlightening! Would you know yourself at 12? What advice would they give you? Here are 21 questions to start your thinking! 

Hello! And welcome back to the one and only marvellous Knowing Me Week 7! 

If you have just arrived here, welcome to the place of self-exploration. Each week we have been finding out a little more:

Week One; Week Two; Week Three; Week Four; Week Five; Week Six

This week I invite you to look at your past and play a game testing your memory.  You may already know that your memory plays tricks. We mis-remember and add meaning to events long after they have occurred, fully believing that our later version of events it TRUE.  This fascinating blog explains some more.

That said, memories can serve as an important part of reflection for the present: the place you stand now and the choices you will make. Grab a cuppa and here we go!

First ask yourself the questions listed below. Some maybe things you haven’t asked yourself in a long time. They may just remind of things you love or are proud of that you have forgotten about. They may leave you puzzling about that person who has become a stranger: the younger you.  

If you have friends or a partner you have known a long time and whom you love and trust, the question can be a great round table game of mutual discovery. Maybe you could adapt to use in the workplace too. Have fun and please contact me to share the experience!

When you finish, pause for thought and make some What has this exercise thrown up for you? How do you feel having completed this exercise?

THE TWELVE -YEAR-OLD YOU!
1. What did I like to do best when I was 12?
2 What was my favourite holiday memory?
3 What was my favourite food ?
4 What are some chores that I had to do when I was growing up?
5 What did I like most about my best friend at school?
6 Have I ever performed on stage?
7 What did I want to be when growing up (more than one?)?
8 What did I play most when growing up?
9 If I met my 10 year old self what impression would I get?
REFLECTING OVER YOUR WHOLE LIFE
10 What are 3 places that I have been to and would love to visit again?
11 What key words would you use to describe them?
12 What does my closest friend like best about me?
13 What are/were my parents greatest personal strengths?
14 If I was given a forced vacation for three days tomorrow what would I do?
15 What is a key skill that I have that most people don’t know?
16 What gives me greatest pleasure in life?
17 If I order a meal in a cafe, what will it be?
18 What is irritates me  more than anything?
19 What would  my best friend say are the four most memorable things about me when describing me to a stranger?
20 If my sixteen year old self met me now, what advice would they give me?
21 What is one thing that I wish I was better at?

If this or other exercises have provoked some questions. To find out more about coaching CONTACT ME and we can discuss your ideas.

Please let me know how you got on or improvements you would make to these posts. See you next week!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

 

 

 

Knowing Me – Week 6 What Matters?

Get to know yourself a little be better every week! If you are here for the first time and wonder what its all about, you can find out here. You can follow the exercises of being a blob, meeting your future self in a dream, considered your role models,  meta programmes! This week we are talking values. Its the real deal. 

What are values?

In the British gangster movie Snatch, a trail of dead bodies litters the screen. Vinny the hardened gangster however cannot kill the dog that’s swallowed the diamond they need! It was a step too far! In other words his values won’t allow it.

Values are concepts. They imply behaviour. Words like trust, honesty, or fun might be used to suggest good things. Others may point to other ideas like caution, patience or seriousness. No assumptions can be made about what people mean when they use these words: even if we agree that fun is good, your idea of fun might be very different from mine.  And yet even with this ambiguity, they are very important. They are at the heart of many a misunderstanding, conflict, anger and hurt. They are also central to building relationships, the basis for reconciliation and understanding. 

So what are yours?

This 5 step exercise is a start to exploring our values and reflecting what it might mean in the workplace or at home.  BEWARE! Most of us lie doing this exercise! We get caught up with what we think we should feel rather than what we do. Try to avoid this!

STEP ONE

The list in the table below contains a jumble of many words commonly used to describe values.  As you run down or across the list, choose and write down every one that is truly important as a value to you. Do not overthink your selections and spend long on it. You may think they are all important but this exercise is to pull out your 20 or so top list.

As you read through the list, simply write down the words that feel like a core value to you personally. If you think of a value you possess that is not on the list, be sure to write it down as well. You may have quite a long list!

BenevolencePowerAbundanceEthics; CommitmentEnthusiasmCalmness
PassionIndependenceGenerosityJoyIndividuality; Preparedness; Dedication
Punctuality; ConsistencySelf-ControlZealCaringVersatility; Trustworthiness MindfulnessServiceQualityUniquenessSecurityFriendshipsInclusiveness
Responsiveness; Appreciation; Intuition; Achievement; Cooperation; Fun; Empathy; Inspiration; Autonomy; Resourcefulness;  Credibility; Safety; Individuality; Proactive; Carefulness; Thoughtfulness; Professionalism; Teamwork Reliability; Daring; Fairness; Security; Well-Being; Curiosity; Understanding Dependability; Perfection; Challenge; Stability; Expressiveness; Contribution; Charity; Open-Mindedness; Popularity; Family; Creativity; Happiness; Development; Kindness; Cheerfulness; Balance; Compassion; Traditionalism;Grace; Peace; Warmth; Stability; Playfulness; Love; Freedom;  Knowledge; Honesty; Attractiveness; Resilience; Spirituality Encouragement; Success; Optimism; Diversity; Advancement; Wisdom
Advocacy; Performance; Adventure; Boldness; Leadership; Cleverness; Learning Recognition; Innovation; Risk-taking; Healthy; Usefulness; Acceptance; Responsibility; Decisiveness; Collaboration; Simplicity; Selflessness; Humility; Relationships; Recognition
Ambition; Excellence; Brilliance; Humor; Community; Growth; Intelligence; Loyalty
Flexibility; Originality; Thankfulness; Wealth

STEP TWO

Look at your list and group all similar values together  Group them in a way that makes sense to you, personally. Create a maximum of five groupings. If you have more than five groupings, you will need to make a further choice and drop those least important.

STEP THREE 

Underline the one word in the group that is for you the most important one. Keep this to one side

STEP FOUR

Now think about your experiences. Explore them to answer the following (you might need to close your eyes to remember!) making some notes as you do:

      1. When have you been angry?
      2. When have you been most satisfied? 
      3. What do you consider my best experience (when you performed at your peak)?
      4. What types of environments inspire your best work?
      5. What aspects of my personality are most admired by others?
      6. What, if I had my choice, would I never do again if I didn’t have to?
      7. What have been my key reasons for leaving a job?

STEP FIVE

Look at the five groups and underlined key words from STEP THREE.  Do you see any connection between what you have enjoyed, disliked, succeeded in etc and the values you have identified?  What might this reflection tell you about important aspects of your life, such as work, family, community or friendships? How might they affect the choices you make?

If this or other exercises have provoked some questions. To find out more about coaching CONTACT ME and we can discuss your ideas.

Please let me know how you got on or improvements you would make. See you next week!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

Knowing Me Week 5 – mind your language

Welcome back to our Knowing Me zone where you can get to know yourself better in the privacy of your own home!  

Knowing your language preferences is a key part of knowing yourself. Have you ever listened and wondered why certain words mean more or less to you?

The language that you use and like can tell you a lot about how you perceive and react to your environment. This usage has been affected by our culture and our upbringing (see this fascinating BBC article to know more on this)

Our journey of self-discovery continues this week with an exercise to look at the words we like and might use to express our feelingsGrab a cuppa, find a quiet space with a pen and paper and join me.

If you are here for the first time and wonder what its all about, you can find out here. You can follow the exercises of being a blob, meeting your future self in a dream, considered your role models and now its time for meta programmes! What? Read on..
READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST
  1. Read the 21 sentences below and mark 7 that appeal most to you. Try to do this as swiftly and fluidly as possible so you tap into your learnt intuition. 
  2. Once you have marked them look to the table below and mark the table with your 7 preferences.
  3. You will be able to see HOW MANY As, Bs, or Cs you have
No. Sentence
1 The tinkle of the wind chimes tells me that the breeze is still rustling outside.
2 All dressed up and ready to go out she was a vision of glowing confidence
3 The sounds soared throughout the room, while the rhythms echoed in their heads
4 The house seemed to sigh as she turned off the light and felt the crisp sheet rustle
5 As I ran, I could feel the breeze on my back. My feet pounded along the path.
6 On a cold night, I like to relax by a warm fire in comfortable room with a cup of smooth, warm cocoa
7 In the long distance I can hear the whistle of the train.
8 The panorama of the green countryside stretched out clearly below us in the bright sparkling sun
9 There were flashes in the night sky as they drove north on the clear road
10 After a lot of revision she felt she grasped the essentials of  her work and could get a grip on her responsibilities
11 She was bitterly disappointed by losing this opportunity and felt she had been punched in the stomach
12 The shadows danced on the wall as she went up the stairs with the candle
13 The crowd cheered with a thunderous applause as the artist entered
14 With constant practice he was able to put pressure on his fitness and gave a solid performance
15 The crowd of brightly coloured roses around her door always gave the house the appearance of a painting
16 I was very comfortable at work and felt I was on the same wavelength as others in my team
17 I want to create an atmosphere in which they feel free to think and feel and be anything they desire
18 The water in the meadow glistened in the autumn
19 I was alert to the change of his tone. The blood raced through my veins, and I felt prepared for a confrontation
20 It seems crystal clear that if we don’t take steps to save the environment the outlook may be uncertain
21 Their steps were pounding on the pavement as they made their way home as fast as possible

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
B A B B C C B A A C C
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21  
A B C A B C A C A B

Mainly As – indicates that you have a visual preference (seeing)

Mainly Bs – indicates and auditory preference (hearing)

Mainly Cs – indicates a kinaesthetic (or feeling) preference

 Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What does this exercise tell you about the language you use?
  2. What does this exercise tell you about how you listen to others?

DID YOU NOTICE ANYTHING IN MY INSTRUCTIONS THAT MIGHT TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT ME?…

When working with others and needing to build rapport sometimes this is increased to great effect by noticing their sensory preference.

Have fun on this exploration! Nothing is right or wrong, better or worse –  although we may feel it to be so. A key part of becoming self-aware is to think about how you respond in certain contexts. Consider others you work or live with, notice their language. Does it shed light on why you might find it easier to persuade some people more than others?

If this or other exercises have provoked some questions. To find out more about coaching CONTACT ME and we can discuss your ideas.

Please let me know how you got on or improvements you would make. See you next week!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

 

Knowing Me Week 4: Patterns in our thinking

Welcome back to our Knowing Me zone where you can get to know yourself better in the privacy of your own home!  This week, we will explore patterns in the way we think and behave and the words we typically use. Noticing them can help us understand our working or living relations with others. Once we know them, we can choose to live with them or change them! Grab a cuppa, find a quiet space with a pen and paper and join me.

If you are here for the first time and wonder what its all about, you can find out here. You can follow the exercises of being a blob, meeting your future self in a dream, considered your role models and now its time for meta programmes! What? Read on..

So which is it? Half Full or Half Empty? Of course, it depends on you!

Researchers Bandler and Grinder identified patterns of thought. These describe the ways in we are instinctively pay attention or filter out information. They are usually in opposition, for instance the TOWARDS/AWAY FROM pattern.    The patterns are called Meta-Programmes. Meta means at a higher sub-conscious level and programmes because they can occur routinely. As you will see from the table below our typical behaviours, the words we use and our emotions reveal these patterns.

Although there are many such patterns, in this week’s exercise we will consider only four.  You can have fun exploring more by looking for Meta Programmes here.

So, are your seatbelts, fastened? Here we go…

First – Take a quick look at the table below. In it, you will see a column listing Patterns. In the two other columns are listed the behaviours and words that are typical of people with a preference for one or the other side of the pattern.   

Second – Choose a context (e.g Workplace, Home, Community). Write it down and think about yourself in that context. Take a long breath in as you create a mental picture of it noticing what you see, hear and feel in your interactions with people and activities there.

Third – Using the table below ask yourself two questions, making a note of your answer: 

    • Which of these describes your responses and the words you might use?
    • How might these habits affect your relationships in the context you have chosen?
Patterns MOTIVATED BY/ WORDS USED
TOWARDS/AWAY FROM

 

Towards

You like goals and achieving them

Words you typically use: get, attain, target, have

Away from

You solve or avoid problems

Words you typically use: avoid, get away from, prevent, solve

INTERNAL/EXTERNAL

 

Internal – You like to set own standards and decide for yourself

Words you typically use: I’m satisfied; only you can decide; I’ve nailed it

External – You want to use external standards

Words you typically use:  I need feedback; so and so thinks; others say; lets check

OPTIONS/PROCEDURES

 

Options – You enjoy possibilities to try a different way; make and break rules; you start new projects not always finishing them Procedures: You like to follow set ways; believes in a right way; finishes what you start; you stick to rules
SAMENESS/DIFFERENCE

 

Sameness – you look for mutual interest and links

Words you typically use:  basically the same; we have this in common

Difference – you emphasise change and newness;

Words you typically use: fresh approach; new concept; innovative

Fourth – do the exercise in a different context. Was your selection different? 

Thinking ahead. These are patterns that can change if you choose to recognise them, notice the behaviour and work to adjust it.  

Have fun on this exploration! Nothing is right or wrong, better or worse –  although we may feel it to be so. A key part of becoming self-aware is to think about how you respond in certain contexts. Consider others you work or live with, notice their language and behaviours. Does it shed light on why you might find some people difficult?

If this or other exercises have provoked some questions. To find out more about coaching CONTACT ME and we can discuss your ideas.

Please let me know how you got on or improvements you would make. See you next week!

TOPHAT COACHING

 

 

Knowing Me Week 3: My Models

Thanks for joining me again for 10 minutes as we continue with small pauses to get to know ourselves better.  Today we are thinking about your formative role models

If you are here for the first time and wonder what its all about, you can find out here

By now you’ve been a blob , met your future self in a dream and now its time for models!

 

Grab a cuppa, find a quiet space with a pen and paper and join me.

For 5 minutes or so, give yourself permission to pause.  Think of someone, who was not your primary carer and whom you trusted and loved being with when you were younger. (Perhaps a relative, a friend, a friend of your parents, etc)

Spend a moment remembering your time with that person, visualize your interactions, listen again in your head to your exchanges and how you felt when you were with that person.

Answer the following two questions, thinking as you do about their behaviours, and attitudes:

What did they do that you likes so much?

How did you feel?

Once you have your lists ask yourself: 

  • Who are the people in my life who need to trust and rely on me in some way?
  • How much do I mirror the behaviours you have valued in your interactions with others?

This exercise is taken from John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance. In his own studies he notes that most commonly listed words were:

The person: Listened to me; Believed in me; Challenged me; Trusted me; Respected me; Gave me time and attention; Treated me as an equal

I felt: Special; Value;  Confident; Safe/Cared for; Supported; Able; Fun/enthusiasm; Supported

Are yours similar?