Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Blowing ones own 'Trumpet'

Being brought up 'British' we were taught that it is 'terribly bad form' to 'blow ones own trumpet' and for years I believed this to be true.

Recently I started to question this belief asking myself, "Well if I don't, who will?" and "What constitutes 'blowing ones own trumpet'?"

The Phrase Finder defines it as, 'Act in a boastful, self promoting manner'.

At the beginning of this year I took a huge leap of faith. After 20 years in the d├ęcor industry I decided to follow my passion and set up a Coaching practice. Like any business today it required me to 'get the word out', advertise, market, self promote.... Ah! There it is ..... I had to 'self promote'!

Does that mean I have to 'blow my own trumpet'? Well yes it does rather. As a solo-entrepreneur have you ever tried to build a website or blog to promote you, your business and your achievements, that doesn't require you to 'self promote' and that doesn't sound boastful?

In olden days a trumpeter was used prior to a herald announcing news or a proclamation; possibly the earliest forms of advertising and marketing, a fore runner to blogging perhaps?

And talking of achievements, on Saturday morning I opened my e-mails to discover I had been awarded the designation of ACC (Associate Certified Coach) by the ICF (International Coach Federation - the world governing body of Coaches.) And whilst I enjoy the word 'awarded' a few others came to mind like; studied for, sweated over, practiced for, paid for and earned.

So in a 'word association' kind of way another word came to mind; celebrate. Which I did with good friends and a bottle or two of bubbles! It struck me that like blowing our own trumpet, if we don't celebrate our hard earned achievements, who will?

And finally I wondered; how many of my other beliefs or assumptions need to be questioned?

What beliefs or assumptions do you value that perhaps no longer serve you as well as they might have once? Please feel free to comment.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Creative Entrepreneurs and why I coach them/us!

Why I choose to work with Creative Entrepreneurs.

Skilful coaching requires the Coach to be able to Coach 'beyond content' as exampled by Timothy Gallwey in his book "The Inner Game OF Tennis". Here he sites the example of successfully using Skiing coaches at a Tennis camp because they knew nothing of tennis. The coaches were able to concentrate on coaching rather than getting bogged down by the intricacies of tennis.

Having said this, one of the key tenets of coaching is to be able to establish trust and intimacy with the client. We tend to gravitate towards people with whom we have things in common and in my case, it's creative entrepreneurs. Typical of me, I don't choose the easy route as outlined in this article on creative entrepreneurs, but it does go some way to explaining who we are and why we are like we are, and in my mind, why we need Coaches who understand us!

If you are a creative entrepreneur, you really need to click on this link below!

 Picture: Thinkstock Source:

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Is poor communication costing you money, time, enery, endless frustration and stress?

Poor communication is most commonly caused by our inability to LISTEN. 

Listening is a learned skill, we all think we have it, but very few do. True listening is listening with focus and undivided attention, reading facial and body language, and at its deepest level, listening with intuition.

Listening attentively is one of the quickest ways of forging a bond between yourself  and another person. I hear you! I value you!

To listen well you have to put your life on pause and listen, REALLY listen.

Improving our listening skills and those of our colleagues will enhance our and their effectiveness, reduce frustration, improve feedback, save time, money and energy. Poor communication whether one-to-one with colleagues or clients, or within a group or organization is most commonly caused by poor listening skills and is expensive, time consuming, a source of endless frustration and stress. 

Listening occurs on 3 different levels
  • First level listening where we listen but tend to be distracted by something else or by our inner voice.
  • Second level listening where we actually pay deep attention to what is being said.
  • Third level listening where we start to listen intuitively and take into account visual signals of communication.
Listening Skills Workshop

Most of us listen on level 1 and occasionally level 2. This Listening Skills workshop is designed to develop your ability to listen on all 3 levels, to listen deeply and with understanding. Once achieved this gives rise to quality feedback and the ability to check if you have been heard.

For more information on organizing a Listening Skills Workshop for you and your colleagues contact me at

I look forward to HEARING from you!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

My Tern C7 'urban warrior'

Nifty little thing folds up; especially handy for city flat dwellers like me! It also fits neatly onto the back seat of Sparky, my car. May even fit in the tiny boot....if it wasn't so full.

Every Day I Learn Something New...and sometimes the hard way!

Took my new Tern C7 'urban warrior' bicycle out for another ride today and discovered 2 very important things:

1. Green Point is not as flat as it looks on foot. All cycle paths leading from my home are in fact a gentle downhill and therefore the return trip is a not so gentle up hill!

2. I also discovered which way the predominant wind - the South Easter - actually blows.....into your face on the not so gentle uphill return journey!

OK. 3 things....I am going to have stiff legs tomorrow!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How do you handle frustrating situations?

Today I set myself 2 'not-so-little' goals. The first was to complete and send of my ACC credential application to the ICF and the second to complete and send my profile to Coach Directory.

Just getting everything ready (especially the recording) for my ACC application was a challenge of note and if it wasn't for very loyal and patient friends, I would never have got this far.

Psyching myself up to completing the online questionnaire, I plunged in, only to have my credit card rejected!

But the good news is I completed and e-mailed off my profile for the Coach Directory!

So how do I handle frustrating situations? the tortoise, I just plod on.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Coaching a 'Creative' Entrepreneur to an alternative and empowering view of Sales

Recommendation by Rose McClement
"James has been my coach, largely business coach, since April 2012. What appealed to me initially was that unlike business coaching I experienced in 2011, James set out to open up the way coaching works and what the purpose of coaching, was right from the get go.

He has assisted me in resolving issues which were keeping me ' stuck' and eased me forward at a pace that I could cope with. He understood that being a ' visual' person, I could better relate to scenarios played out in pictorial scenes. I have experienced so many Ah-Ha moments when suddenly I knew that my perceptions had shifted and I was able to move forward out of a misty zone.

He has assisted me in gaining clarity and focus, while coming to understand myself and the way I operate as well.

Along the way, he has been my accountability partner. During all of this process and journey, I am constantly being empowered towards a place of strength and understanding, boosting my self confidence to levels unknown to me.

A recent major shift that James was able to facilitate, was bringing me to a new found perspective of sales. He has enabled me to review my resources, my personal toolbox and go about the business of approaching new clients in a way that works well for me. I stand amazed at this. Namely because - it is so unlike the previous business coaching where I knew that as a round peg, I was being pushed into a square hole.

James just gets me. I would recommend his business coaching service at any time."

Service Category: Career Coach
Year first hired: 2012 (hired more than once)
Top Qualities: Personable, On Time, High Integrity

Friday, 13 September 2013

The client sums up her learning and the value she got out of coaching.

James just got me and understood that as a very visual person, I needed pictures and metaphors. He would ask me what a situation would look like. Being able to visualise the situation, assisted me to see the options – like a movie with several endings and I could describe them to him. I always made the choice as to which ending to choose.

Being coached by James, has allowed me to develop and grow, following my own paths, seeking new, different ideas and solutions. I am allowed to be curious, create pictures, sit in the pictures, move to another picture and see what that looked and felt like and then decide which elements of each scenario to take with me. If everyone could just have one mind-shift, one light bulb moment, they would see the value of coaching!!!

On the journey, I took off quietly and have been flying ever since. Some days the flight is bumpy and I go to coaching to rest from the business of life, adjust my flight plan and take off again. James is the air traffic controller in my tower. Can I land without him, sure? Can I land better, yes, with the guidance, gentleness and ability my coach has to enable me to focus that camera, set those sights, adjust the flight plan and take off.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

"Light Bulb" moments of sheer wonder & clarity that allowed physical relief - my whole body thanked me!

Through the coaching process, I had many “light bulb” moments, moments of sheer wonder and clarity, the camera came into focus. One amazing session, around a particularly emotional decision: saw five HUGE shifts in my attitude, behaviour, taking the power back, stopping myself from playing in other people’s games and moving forward with all my positives. I felt as if 50 kg's of cement had been lifted off each shoulder, I felt myself straighten up, my chin lift and my whole body thanked me for lifting the weight.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Increasing your options

I also learned that when reaching a T-junction, there were more than two choices – left and right, rather several: Was there an actual barrier? How big? Could I climb over it with ease? Could I under? Around? Stay there? Go backwards? Get in a helicopter and look at the options with a birds-eye view? Did I need to make the decision immediately? Or could it wait until I had more information? Suddenly, I had a multitude of options and more options were coming to mind……WOW, a T-junction will never look the same again.

Monday, 2 September 2013

How to become unstuck and look at options. The client continues....


James was curious, he asked questions that stopped me, screeching to a dead-halt in my tracks, spraying sand and dust everywhere: a monumental achievement. Usually, once I am on a path, I move forward to achieve the result. James asked me where I was, and I replied that I had reached the edge of a cliff and wanted to fly, but just couldn’t seem too. James allowed me to give myself permission to stop, pause, take in my surroundings, meander on different routes, stop to smell the flowers, climb the trees and look at the scenery. Just pausing, breathing, surveying and seeing all the positives of my life.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Happy Client

I'm British and therefore somewhat reserved, but a recently received testimonial from a "Happy Client" so beautifully illustrates the power of coaching, the process and one persons results from coaching. It also tells you a little about me as a coach. So with her permission I am going to share excerpts of her testimonial with you.

"James and I go back a long way and I have always trusted his jud...gement and valued his friendship. When James gently mentioned to me one day that I could benefit from coaching I was rather dismissive. Having seen therapists in various “crisis” situations, shared my feelings too often with, I really did not think coaching was for me. I have been a manger for many years – what could coaching do that I couldn’t do myself? Just make a decision and follow the path of action to achieve the result. James explained more about coaching to me and I decided to give coaching a try."

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Begin Anywhere. (John Cage.)

So I start with a tribute to my friend and colleague Kathy, thank you for throwing down the gauntlet!