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Are randomness and uncertainty playing an increasingly greater roles in determining business success?

I for one have felt a little uneasy at times over the past 12 months but I think this just makes us more robust. In my mind, the world keeps turning and the UK workforce has always had the ability to bounce back…..unless there’s something crazy on the political horizon…..surely not?!!

- Andrew Goodfellow

 

Andrew


Goal Setting

Do you have a clear idea as to what you want to achieve this year? Do you have a 5 year plan?  Are your clear about what your objectives are at work? Do these align with any personal plans you might have now and for the future?

To succeed in making any of the above into reality, it is really important to set your goals and have a plan in place as to how to achieve them. Goals provide focus and direction, they give shape and clarity to vague ideas and provide a pathway to getting where you want to go.

The problem usually lies in the fact that most people have no idea how to translate what is in their head into a clear action plan and find it difficult to do this on their own.

So – here are some steps to help you on your way:

  1. Motivation : your goals must be important to you, and you must feel that there is value to you in achieving them. If you aren’t motivated, you won’t have the impetus to achieve them
  2. SMART goals : you should be able to apply the SMART litmus test to each of your goals: Are they:
  • S  pecific :       Clear and well defined
  • M easurable : Include precise information against which you can measure success
  • A ttainable :   Make sure it’s possible to achieve the goals you set; no pipe dreams
  • R elevant :      Goals should fit with your life and the direction you want to head in
  • T ime specific: Give yourself realistic deadlines
  1. Put your goals in writing. This will make your goals feel real and tangible, and will give you something you can refer back to.
  2. Make an action plan. After all your hard work in framing your goals, you need to break them down into manageable,  bite sized chunks. As you tick each off each step along the way, you will have a sense of moving forward and feel that much closer to the end-game.
  3. Stick with it! Don’t give up – goal setting is an on going activity so give your self reminders to keep on track, set aside a regular time to review where you are up to and congratulate yourself each time you achieve a step along the way!

By following these five simple steps in the Goal Setting toolkit, you will be able to translate ideas into action, and have a far better chance of making them reality. Unless you spend the time really understanding what you want, why you want it and how you are going to get it, the chances of achieving your goals will be much reduced. So give it a go! Who knows what you can do when you put your mind to it.

To help you, here is a Goal Setting Template

 

Goal Setting Worksheet 1Goal Setting Worksheet 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like help in setting your goals, contact Liz at : bltcoaching1@gmail.com

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FutureParent

Returning to work after parental leave can be daunting for new parents and with the advent of shared parental leave, the issue can affect both women and men.  Everyone experiences this new phase of life differently and it can vary with each period of parental leave. The support you receive from your employer and colleagues will have a huge impact on your ability to readjust quickly, as well as your own feelings about your return.

Typical issues faced are that the business has moved on in your absence, there may be changes to the economic climate that affect the dynamics of the business, colleagues and clients may change or have moved on, and maybe others have taken on some of your role and responsibilities.

On a personal level, you may feel a lack of confidence, maybe you need to invest time in getting up to speed with new business initiatives or technical changes, and dealing with the whole work / life balance is a massive issues in itself.

If you are struggling with this new phase in your life, coaching may enable you to work through the issues you face and find effective strategies to deal with these issues much quicker that if you try and cope alone. I will work with you to get you to a place where you are able to balance both areas of your life so that they can exist in harmony.

If you would like to have a confidential discussion contact me at bltcoaching1@gmail.com

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FutureHealth

If you have had to take a sustained period of time off work due to illness, the return to work can sometimes prove challenging. On the one hand you are delighted that you can return to a semblance of ‘normality’ by going back to the familiar routine of work, but on the other hand it can feel disorientating  and induce feelings of anxiety and stress.

The ease with which you are able to return will depend on the type of illness you have experienced, the length of time you have been absent and the attitude of both you and your employer to the situation.  However, it is not unusual to experience  a lack of confidence, concern about asking for any extra support you might need, and issues around slotting back into your old role, especially if others have had to cover for you in your absence.

If you find yourself in this position, some external assistance in the form of coaching might help ease the transition of your return, providing you with coping strategies, boosting your confidence and enabling  you to discuss any issues that are troubling you in a safe and confidential space. I understand from personal experience the challenges an extended period of leave for illness can raise and so will be sensitive to your situation.

If this resonates with you, please contact me to discuss in more detail : bltcoaching1@gmail.com

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Mindfulness at work

Whatever our profession, whether we work from an office or from home, it is a given that our workplace is where we spend a high proportion of our time as adults. For most of us, we work for a mixture of reasons – to pay the bills, to do something that we enjoy, to do something that fulfils us, to provide identity, and enable us to contribute to society in some way. Some or all of these may apply to you. Whatever your motivations are, the bottom line is that given the important part that work plays in our lives, if something goes wrong in our work place, or if work becomes overly challenging or stressful, it can have a devastating effect on us and in turn impact negatively on all other parts of our lives.

According to the Health and Safety executive (HSE) in 2014/15 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at the level they believed was making them ill. That is 40% of all work related illness. And that is what is reported – I would argue that many people suffering from high levels of stress simply ‘get on with it’.

Of course, there’s no doubt that certain levels of pressure can be motivating, and some jobs are, by their very nature stressful. In an uncertain world, both politically and economically, in which many businesses are being buffeted by circumstances beyond their control, and therefore expecting ever more from their employees, levels of stress are only likely to increase.  However, if as the HSE states, stress is ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures and demands placed on them,’ and as a result the incidence of stress related absence from work increases, surely it is worth considering all strategies  that can have a positive impact?

How does this manifest itself?  Absenteeism, increase in grievances and complaints, workplace unrest and higher staff turnover are but a few issues. On a personal level, when under pressure we can often resort to a less conscious mode of relating to ourselves and the world around us,  making choices based on the need to simply survive.

Mindfulness is a term that is much overused and frequently misunderstood.  However before you dismiss the benefits mindfulness might have in  the workplace, or think it as all far too fluffy and frankly a bit weird, I think it is worth considering the possible benefits.

So what is mindfulness? Simply put, it is defined as ‘Deliberately paying attention to your experience as it arises without judgement’.  Mindfulness offers a way of training the mind to be more skilful in dealing with workplace challenges; when we are more mindful, and acting less on autopilot, we appreciate that we have options in how we respond to challenging and stressful situations and people. We develop the inner resources that enable us, in the midst of such situations, to centre ourselves and access a core of stability and resilience.

There has been a great deal of research undertaken on the benefits to a business of introducing a mindfulness programme and these include a reduction in stress levels, increased levels of emotional intelligence, lower rates of absenteeism through sickness, increased self-awareness, improved sleeping patterns, higher levels of well-being and work / life satisfaction  – to name but a few. What’s not to like?

So what might a workplace programme involve? There are myriad courses, workshops and coaching programmes available to suit your business and budget, but all will work on enabling participants to incorporate mindful techniques into their daily life, to train their attention to become aware of unhelpful thought processes and habits that feed stress levels, and learn how to work with challenging situations in a more creative and resourceful fashion.  Theoretical training, guided mindfulness practice, discussion groups and exercises to practice between sessions will all feature.

There are other options available if a formal training programme isn’t for you. For example, the popularity of the Headspace app (millions of users in more than 190 countries), which provides on line guided meditation packs, is testament to the growing popularity of mindfulness techniques  to cope with a whole range of issues. If your workplace does not provide a formal mindfulness programme, this is a great place to start.

Mindfulness isn’t of course the only strategy available  to deal with stress in the workplace.  And whilst it has many devotees, it is fair to say that  there are those who don’t feel quite so passionately about it. However, from both personal experience and the wide reading and research I have done on the benefits of mindfulness,  I would conclude that whilst it might not be the only strategy to mitigate against workplace stress,  it is certainly worth including amongst a portfolio of techniques that employers and individuals should have on their radar.

- Liz Watt

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