Connected Living is an approach to personal leadership that draws on established research and theories from well respected academics such as Jung, Selligman, Brown, Peters, Csikszentmihalyi, Covey, Whitmore and Gallwey.
You are first invited to understand and connect with yourself and once you have connected with yourself, you will then be able to connect more effectively with those around you, by presenting the best version of yourself.
When connecting with yourself, we will explore what makes you you and why you respond in certain ways. We will explore the following;
Connecting with Others:
Once you you have connected with yourself you can now use that greater understanding to connect more effectively with others.
Communicate with those around you: do you communicate to understand and learn or do you communicate to advise and teach?
Impact of culture and society: how you and others view the world, does that impact on how you communicate?
The effect of emotions on your connections: using the knowledge of how your emotional thought processes work, we will explore who you prefer to connect with, why you struggle to connect with others and how you could challenge your assumptions.
A commitment to action: using your new knowledge and understanding of your preferences for behaviour and decision making, we will work together to create an action plan.
If you are a regular reader of my blog or know me, you will know that for part of my working week I lead the coaching network at my place of work. We are a fledgling network, so therefore we are still training our coaches. We currently have 2 cohorts running and by the end of the year we will have around 40 coaches with an ILM level 5 qualification.
The 2nd cohort (which is really our 3rd but the 2nd I have supported), were in this week completing the coaching for well-being module. My friend and coaching mentor Anthony (I may have mentioned him before) runs the course for us, which in turn is awarded through Leeds Beckett University. I always sit in on the modules, to develop and practice my coaching skills and to learn how to teach the course. Module days are always the highlight of my month, and coaching for well-being has to be my personal favourite.
To be honest it could not have come at a better time, as I mentioned last week I have been a little frazzled lately, and it was clear that that there were others in the room that had similar experiences during January. All the modules that Anthony delivers are very practical heavy with plenty of time spent coaching each other, interspersed with the relevant theory. For this particular module the students pair up with the same person all day. As there was an odd number this week I had the opportunity to pair up with somebody for the day.
So I had a day of talking and rediscovering some different models of well-being coaching and having the opportunity to try out some different approaches and using models in a way I had never done before, whilst at the same time supporting someone else’s coaching development. It was such a fulfilling day, and on top of my own coaching contracting meeting on Tuesday.
My old coach is moving on to pastures new, with a new and exciting job (good luck and thank you so much Vicky), so I have a new coach. It had been a while since I had had a coaching session, and with so much going round in my head, with a million and one projects I was feeling overwhelmed and stuck in the future, causing me to doubt my ability to achieve the goals I had set myself. So on Tuesday I had my first contracting meeting with my new coach.
It was quite liberating. For the first time in a while I had an opportunity to empty my mind in the presence of someone who was just prepared to listen, in the first instance and then probe and challenge. The whole thing took 2 hours (which is longer than I would normally feel comfortable with), there was so much that needed to come out that it felt more like 30 minutes. I talked, she listened, I talked some more she asked me questions, she invited me to draw it, I drew it, she asked me some questions, I drew it some more, I wrote a list and then drew some more, I cried, she listened, asked me some questions. After all that we had a purpose for the coaching and a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. We then set our boundaries and timings for our continued coaching relationship. It was massively helpful. When I walked into the meeting my jaw was tight, my fists were clenched and Foggy was having a field day. When I left my jaw and fists were relaxed and Foggy had gone to be. I had a clear goal and an action plan for the next month. I was back in the present.
Reflecting on that coaching session now, the most impactful aspect was the level of empathy shown throughout. Saying that though being challenged to have an action plan alongside the empathy (compassionate challenge) probably had the greatest impact. We all need that space to talk out what is going on in our heads, especially during these busy, stressful months.
As you will know I have been banging on about Connected Living for quite some time.
It is something I came up with in the summer inspired by some wonderful writers. It is has become an obsession of mine. I am writing a book about it, I have written a presentation and talk on it, and I have developed a coaching program based on it.
But what is it and why should you want to buy into it?
Connected living is a program that gives you the tools to manage all aspects of your life more efficiently, by learning and understanding how you view and interact with the world around you and how to get the best out of your relationships.
Your own health and well being
The map of your world
Why you react the way you do and how you can change that
How to be comfortable with your vulnerabilities
How you prefer to behave, make decisions and make plans
How to work outside your preferences
How to challenge you view of your world and have a different perspective
How you want to be viewed by others
Connecting with Others:
How do you prefer to work with others, do you ask or tell
How do you communicate with different groups of people
What groups do you live and work within
Do you belong
How do you manage difference
How do you react to conflict
Do you appreciate the complexity of others
Commitment to Change:
What requires development
How will you do this
When do you want to do this by
Who can help you
Who do you need to bring with you
What will you need
What might get in the way
How can you navigate round this
Are you making any assumptions
What implications will there be, if any
How will you know you have achieved this
What will you do to celebrate your success
If you want to know more or you want to book a presentation or a package of coaching email or message me.
Last week I attended a coaching masterclass through work run by Andy Gilbert a coach of high repute. It was a truly inspiring day, and has given me so many ideas to take into my own coaching.
Not only did it give me inspiration to coach others but also to coach myslelf. During the day I set myself a new goal and looked at some of the goals I have already set for myself, just to check in with my commitment to achieve them.
So I have set a goal of writing a novel over the next year, as well as to continue to work towards being fitter and healthier both mentally and physically. I have set very specific goals with timescales. For instance I will have a finished manuscript in my hand on the 4th May 2018, to achieve this I have set myself a series of performance goals along the way. So I have started putting together a story drawing on the work I did writing my story of my life, and brainstorming some other ideas. Next is to develop an outline of the story. That is to come over the coming weeks.
With regards being fitter and healthier I have revisited my level of commitment to running. Over the past couple of weeks I have questioned why I wanted to continue running. I have pushed myself to get out there and run. I use an app that gradually increases the amount of time running, I am now up to 28 minutes, and the last 2 runs I have started to enjoy, during the run itself. This is quite remarkable as I hated the discomfort I felt in my back and legs and never enjoyed the running. What kept me going was the feeling of elation and achievement after the run. But now I have managed to get to a place in my head that makes me feel calm and contented. I have tried mindfulness exercises in the past with some success, but this time it feels so effortless and natural during my runs. My runs have turned into something I want to do to relax and de-stress. Running now gives me something worthwhile rather than just sore legs.
However the problem I have is my food intake, my level of commitment to weight loss is some what suspect and I do need to re-examine why I want to lose weight. It has to be a reason that is more compelling than chocolate. Wish me luck.
This week has been a positive, optimistic week, I have coached a lot, been running and started to enjoy. City got relagated but that has been the only blot on the week and I finished it off this evening cooking a barbecue in the sunshine. Tomorrow brings a new week of opportunity.
The other day I was thinking about the time when I gave up smoking. I was wondering to myself how I managed to give up. Did it take will power? I know that I have next to no will power so it couldn’t have been, just denying myself something for long enough that I would just give in and not want to smoke. There is no way I could just deny myself from something that I wanted especially something that I had done all my adult life.
So what was it that I did to ensure I would never want a cigarette again. In fact the thought of smoking now makes me physically ill. The smell of cigarette smoke and stale tobacco disgusts me. And yet less than 2 years ago, the mere thought of not having cigarettes would bring me out in a cold sweat. I would go as far as saying that I was terrified of not being able to smoke. I knew I needed to stop smoking for financial as well as physical reasons. Over time the reasons for stopping smoking got greater than the reasons to keep smoking. I started to plan how I would stop. The point was that I wanted to give up on my terms for my reasons. For that reason I didn’t tell anyone until I was ready.
I had stopped smoking several times in the past, none of them were properly planned, and every time it was down not wanting to give up but thinking I should. I failed unsurprisingly, sometimes within hours. This time was different, I didn’t want a future with smoking in it. I aknowledged that smoking had been an important part of my life, but most of the reasons why I thought smoking was important was bogus and based on a psychological dependency to nicotine. When I examined my life, smoking did not decrease my stress, in fact it increased my stress, due to cost and having to try to hide my habit. So why after something stressful happened did I reach for my fags? Because the nicotine was telling my brain that. Smoking did not set me up for the day, in fact it slowed me down by reducing my oxygen levels, dehydrating me and giving me a headache and chest pain. Why would this be good for me!? When I looked at what it was doing it was a no brainer to stop. That is when it clicked, I was not going to deny myself anything, in fact I was setting myself free, smoking was denying me a life.
Saying that, nicotine still had a hold on me, and stopping completely terrified me. I mean truly terrified me, I still remember that visceral terror I felt when thinking about the day I was stopping. So I bought myself some nicotine gum. The gum was someone to hold my hand whilst I stepped off into the abyss of the non smoking world. That is exactly what it felt like, it felt like stepping into a terrifying unpredictable world. Clearly the reality was nothing like that at all. Nothing happened! For a few weeks I dutifully took the gum 3 times a day. Then one day I just decided that it was just too much trouble chewing the disgusting gum, so I just stopped.
The key to stopping anything that is destructive or bad for you is to give yourself a reason to choose a life without it. Denying yourself something as a long term plan is likely to end in failure. You must see a compelling future without whatever it is you want to stop. Changing how you look at your life can have a profound effect on your life.
We are amazing never tell yourself you cannot do something, based on the type of person you think you are. I never thought that I could give up smoking.
If you are struggling to change something in your life, get in touch.