Choosing A Coach or Mentor

Have you noticed that, on a global scale, there seems to be an increasing proliferation of coaches?

I guess it’s a sign of the times that we live in. A sign that we are attuned to the need to reach out for help. That’s really positive! It’s wonderful when you are empowered to ask for help, when you understand it is not a weakness to seek help, but a strength.

The dilemma comes, when you have to decide who to work with.

A good coach is worth their weight in gold. Our guest poster last week, Michael Duckett, is a fabulous and highly ethical coach who has worked wonders for some extremely high-profile clients, including the legendary Heston Blumenthal.

A quality coach will help you gain clarity and achieve results. They will help you move forward with whatever aspects of your life or business you want to change/improve/work on. But it all comes down to choosing the right person for the job.

How to choose the right coach

This is where you need do a little homework (or maybe a lot of homework).

Just as there are horses for courses, there are different coaches suited to different people.  There are business coaches, personal development coaches, life coaches and a myriad more.

There are also those who are just keen to separate you and your cash. That’s why checking out reputations (not just what you read on Facebook or in other social media) is vital.

So, yes, it is confusing. Especially when you are going to be investing your hard-earned money.  At the end of the day it comes down to doing your own due diligence and choosing who you feel will be able to best serve YOUR needs.

Think carefully about what you want from a coach. Being clear on your expectations of a coach will help you make the right decision.

Lay it on the table and communicate the outcomes you expect.  Get clarity on how your coaching sessions will work, find out the availability of your coach and whether they’ll be running a ‘formula’ or if the sessions are unique to you.

Beware of the coach who claims to be able to work miracles. It comes down to your own efforts, but only once you understand what is required and have the tools to get from point A to point B.

There is no one size fits all, and different coaches have different niches and styles. You also need to consider whether their coaching style aligns with how you learn.

Or do you want a mentor?

There’s often confusion between the two. In an article written back in August 2015, on my personal blog, I talk about the difference between a coach and a mentor. You can check it out here.

Am I a coach?

Although some clients choose to engage me to coach them through specific areas of business I don’t market myself as a coach. I never refer to myself as a coach. I am a business consultant.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right consultant

Yvonne and I both have very solid and diverse business backgrounds which coupled with our international experience and clientele places us in a position to coach, but only in certain areas of business development.

Our teaching and training experience is what has provided the skills to deliver in a style that resonates with clients.

To your success,

Michelle

Happiness – what makes you happy?

20th March (yesterday) was International Day of Happiness. Today, we are celebrating Harmony Day in Australia. It’s a day where we celebrate cultural diversity and the wonderful multiculturalism that makes up Australia.

I thought this would be a great day to give a big shout out to all my wonderful friends, family, clients and colleagues that I’ve worked with from all corners of the globe. You have contributed to my happiness metre. Knowing you has helped me develop, grow and become the person I am today.

What does happiness mean?

Happiness, in my book, is being contented with living in the moment. It’s all about embracing what you have and being grateful for each and every opportunity that comes your way.

Yes, I have experienced some tough times in both my personal life and business life. But each moment that I’ve been through has grown me as a person. It has made me who I am today.

If you are one of my clients or students, you’ll know I often refer to FAIL as First Attempt In Learning. If we do not fail, then we often miss out on extremely valuable lessons.

The biggest happiness lesson

Happiness is not measured by how much you have or by where you are. Rather it comes from within.

You and I are each responsible for our own happiness. We cannot blame others if we are unhappy, nor can we expect them to fix things for us.

I’ve met so many people with so very little in their lives, yet they are happy. In contrast I also know people surrounded by abundance, with not a monetary care in the world, yet they are desperately unhappy.

Of course our happiness metre can increase when in the company of certain people or doing certain activities, but that is just a short-term boost.

If you constantly feel unhappy, you may be suffering from depression, and there is no shame in that. There is help available and I would encourage anyone who has been feeling low for more than a couple of weeks to seek out professional support. You do not have to travel this road alone.

Happiness and business

Being in business is tough. Being in business for yourself is even tougher. It can be stressful. Heck, it is stressful.

BUT, it does come down to your attitude and outlook. Being willing to reach out, by maintaining a positive outlook and being prepared to adapt and change to suit circumstances all contribute to your internal happiness with your business.

Setting achievable goals, working with a business plan, utilising expertise and mapping out time for yourself to refresh, reframe and relax away from your business are all contributing to your happiness equation.

I’ve had my back to the wall, struggled to pay bills and had to negotiate payment plans. What I teach and espouse is all based on personal experience.

My personal experience is what has added to my knowledge base. It has actually been of benefit because I have gained capacity to truly understand the needs of my SME clients. I did not learn just via a course or text-book, but in the school of life, and this is what now affords me testimonials like these:

I have found working with Michelle to be very valuable. She provides clear, easy guidance with keen insight to your particular business needs.

Linda Emslie

Helping others

You may feel that in tough times you need to tighten your belt. Yes, you do.

But that does not mean you cannot afford to help others. Donating your time is one of the most valuable gifts of all.

As a business, at Dragon Sisters, we have always offered pro-bono support rather than cash. Our inkind services are far more valuable than any cash contribution we can afford to make, and as a result of the pro-bono support we get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It makes us feel happy to have helped someone else.

You can help out in so many different ways, a few hours a week, a month or a year. It’s all valuable and valued.

Your happiness metre

It’s a little place inside you.  A place where you store up all the wonderful feelings and experiences.

Each good thing you do, each experience and each achievement, all feed your happiness metre. The more you feed the metre, the more reserve you have to tap into when there are tough moments to encounter.

Wishing you happiness today and everyday.

Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

Our guest blogger this week is Mike Duckett, Performance Coach and Director of Coaching for Success.

World renowned British celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal, has this to say about how Mike’s Releasing Creativity coaching helped him regain his creativity.

“I have found our work to explore my metaphoric sweet shop really helpful on a number of levels. At first it helped me regain my creativity and now that creativity has itself fed back into using metaphor to enhancing our customers’ dining experience.” Heston Blumenthal, O.B.E.

Mike is a regular contributor to The UK’s leading networking website for chefs The Staff Canteen, features on radio, as well as in a number of other print and on-line magazines. In the following post, originally written for Canteen Magazine, Mike provides insights and tips on how to create the right goals for yourself and for your business.

Have you ever been taught how to set yourself a goal?

Have you ever been on a goal setting course?

Have you ever listened to any motivational tapes about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)?!

Probably not, unless you have a corporate background, so you might be wondering how anyone could make such a meal over this. There is a huge number of books, tapes, videos and courses on the subject but this need not concern us here – suffice it to say goal setting is a subject all of its own that we may return to in another posting.

For the moment the bigger issue is how do you know what goal to set yourself?

You can learn about setting SMART goals – Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-bound and then set your own goals which might be something like “to open three new branches”. That seems to match the criteria pretty well so it must be a well formed goal. The problem for me is whether you’re sure that’s what you really want. It’s a bit like going to university after school; for some people it’s a real goal but for others it just seems to be the thing to do.

Before setting yourself some big goals you might want to consider how clear you are about what really matters to you. What values do you hold around your chosen career path? What is your core purpose? You don’t have to believe in the gods to entertain the idea that if they are playing a big game with us and we’re just pieces, what is the role your piece plays on the board?

Not to get too deep and philosophical about this, we’re talking about your true values, not the things politicians speak about such as “good old fashioned family values” – that’s just what they call meaningless motherhood and apple pie.

Thinking about this stuff properly can save you years of hard work, striving to get somewhere you never wanted to be in the first place. If – and it’s a big ‘if’ – you eventually achieve your goal of opening those new branches you might find yourself wondering if it was all worth the effort. As a business owner you are almost certainly clever enough and certainly hard working enough to make anything happen if you put your mind to it; so be careful what you put your mind to!

In fact, once you’ve done the thinking about your core purpose (mission if you prefer) and your true values, many things get easier, including the hard work needed to achieve things. Take a look at a couple of famous purpose, or mission, statements:

Walmart: to “…save people money so they can live better”

Disney: to “…develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world”

These aren’t complicated corporate jargon statements; they are pretty straightforward lines that tell us (and themselves) what they are here to do. The real point though is that once you’ve figured out your own you can use this as a decision template for most choices you will be faced with in future. It’s obvious that although selling insurance might be profitable for Disney to get into, why would they; it just doesn’t fit with what they are here for.

Knowing your own real purpose for which you have a passion, the goals you set each year may well vary, but you’ll almost certainly find the energy and commitment to make them happen because they should all continue to be in line with this single purpose. There are many ways to skin a cat, but this way you will end up with a skinned cat and not a dead horse – to mix metaphors!

The trick is how to uncover these unconscious beliefs and principles so you can make clear conscious decisions based on them. Let me give you a couple of tips: Try asking yourself, “if my business were to be closed tomorrow and no-one else follows me, what would the rest of the world be missing (even if they don’t realise it yet)”?

On the basis that you’re going to be spending many hours of your life doing work make a list of single words or very short phrases that come to mind when you ask yourself, “what matters to me about the kind of work I do?” Then take each one and ask again, “why does that matter to me?” Each time you ask “why” you’re getting closer to the real heart of the matter until you end up with maybe 10 key values. Every decision you make from now on can be made with this list in mind e.g. when recruiting a staff. If they have a very different set of values beware hiring them, no matter how competent they are. They just won’t ‘fit’.

Finally to get back to setting that goal of opening 3 new branches, when you’ve done that will it have kept you focused on your real reason for being in business?

Mike

Mike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach.

With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves, in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc.

As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs to senior managers of global corporate organisations

My business has been built on client recommendations and testimonials. If you know of anyone who would benefit from the advice that I offer please pass my details on.

You can also connect with Mike in the Dragon Sisters group The SMART Circle or at Coaching for Success.

 

 

Goal Getting- International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is an important day for us at Dragon Sisters as our core team is women. The day marks a time for reflecting on ourselves and our goals as well as for reflecting on the many great women in this world and how they reached their goals.

Achieving Your Goals

Goals are easy to create, but not always so easy to reach. Sometimes, it can seem nigh impossible to achieve a goal.

I often find myself staring into the abyss, contemplating how far away my goals are. But when I start to take action, even just baby steps towards my goals, everything becomes so much clearer.

So as we are marking a day to celebrate women’s achievements, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about sticking to your goals and reflecting on how some great women of history have reached theirs and the challenges that they overcame.

Looking Back Through History

In our modern day and age more and more women are making strides into greatness, but there is still a great deal to achieve.  It’s also important to remember the women who have long passed into the history books who paved the way for our generation.

A couple years ago, my mother, the brilliant Michelle Hanton, and I went to see the movie “Suffragette”. It was inspirational to watch.  I loved how at the end the credits rolled a list of when women had obtained the right to vote in various countries. The whole movie was not only empowering,  it was emotional and a reminder of the many struggles women faced to get to where we are today.

As an Australian I’ve always been proud of the fact that in 1902 we became the first country in the world to allow women both the right to vote in federal elections and the right to be elected to parliament on a national basis (though New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote back in 1893!).

Also, as someone with English heritage; my grandmother was born and raised in Yorkshire, I’m also extremely proud of the women in England who worked tirelessly for the right to vote.  Which brings me to looking at one of the most famous women in the suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst; the founder of the Women’s Franchise League and also one of the founders of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Emmeline fought for her goals, through protest and strikes, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, the full extent of her goals was not achieved until after her death in June 1928.

The pages of history hold countless tales of strong willed women. Women who followed their dreams. Women who  fought for their goals.

However,  in  2017 there are still gender equality issues, especially in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine), which is why for this post on the eve of International Women’s Day I’d like to reflect on one of the greatest scientist in history, Marie Curie.

Women have never had it easy when it comes to being accepted in scientific fields of study. However, that didn’t stop Marie Curie in her pursuit of knowledge. Receiving a general education and some scientific training from her father, she went on to become involved in a students’ revolutionary organisation, and in 1891 entered the  Sorbonne in Paris where she received her licentiateships (a licence to practise an art or profession) in physics and mathematical studies.

Marie went on to the School of Physics where she met and married Professor Pierre Curie. When Pierre passed away in 1906 she took his place as Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences, becoming the first woman to hold this position.

Most notably, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only woman to have been honoured twice with the Nobel Prize (the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry).

Including Marie Curie, 48 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 17 of those in STEMM fields (awarded for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine).

As we can see from the history books, women have made leaps and bounds towards equality, and yet we still have more to accomplish.

Inspirational Women of the Present

Growing up in the 1990s and early 2000s I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by inspirational women. From school teachers who helped me pursue my passion and cultivate my writing skills to family and friends who are constantly amazing me with their accomplishments.

Back when I was just a little girl I remember really looking up to Cathy Freeman. I wasn’t an athletic kid, but I just found her to be so amazing.

Now, as a young adult I still find her an amazing source of inspiration, an Australian Aboriginal who went on to be one of our country’s greatest sporting legends. Cathy was the first Australian Aboriginal woman to win gold at an international athletics event (1990), the first Australian Aboriginal to compete at the Olympics (1992), first person to win both Young Australian of the Year (1991) and Australian of the Year (1998). And all the way back in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games was the first competing athlete in history to light the Olympic flame.  Pretty remarkable!

The way she pushed past everything to win the gold medal for the 400m at the 2000 Olympic Games was breathtaking. In an interview about the win, she recounted how she told herself “just do what I know”; these simple, yet powerful words propelled Cathy towards her goal of becoming an Olympic gold medallist.

Aside from Cathy Freeman,  Australia has produced a range of inspirational women from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Among the great Australian women I’d like to shout out Darwin’s current Lord Mayor, Katrina Fong Lim. Katrina’s an outstanding lady and a great Lord Mayor.

Having grown up in Darwin it’s important to me that our City Council has such a strong, female, leader – she’s a fantastic role model for the young girls in Australia’s Northern Territory and is dedicated to her community.

I could go on and on about all the amazing women in the world who have set the path for gender equality, and who are serving as modern day role models. However, I won’t. Instead I’m commending all of the women out there who are working hard every day.

Whether you are a home maker or a business women, each of you is an inspiration in your own special way.

At Dragon Sisters we are very blessed to be working with a variety of inspirational Australian clients, as well as fantastic women (and some men too) from other parts of the world (we love our international clients).

Remember, all goals are achievable. You just need the determination to reach them and to take action.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Sasha Hanton

PS – if you need support with creating and maximising opportunities to reach your goals, Dragon Sisters can often help.