Tag Archives: Coaching

Why do you work?

Feeling disillusioned with your work? Other than the money, not sure why you pitch up at work every day? You’re not alone. Reflecting on their recent State of the Global workplace report, Gallup indicates the 85% of employees around the world are not engaged, or are actively disengaged at work, representing an estimated cost of $7 trillion in lost productivity. The majority of these employees are ‘not engaged’, which doesn’t make them the worst performers in their organizations, but it does suggest that they are indifferent to the organization’s work or success. As Jim Harter points out, this does not equate to employee laziness. The far more probable cause is a lack of recognition of, and investment in, employee motivation and engagement. The result is employees who show up to work and offer their time, but not very much more.

This type of data is more often interpreted from the organizational perspective: what can the business do to increase employee engagement in order to improve results? This is an important question, but there is another obvious perspective that is less often tapped into with real depth: what about the individual? What impact does it have on a person to be spending the majority of her waking hours on work that is not engaging or meaningful to her? What would become available to a disengaged employee if his work became a source of satisfaction and purpose? These questions underlie – consciously or unconsciously – the career moves that many experienced individuals find themselves negotiating. Of course, everyone wants to be paid well or, at least, what they are worth. But beyond that is a more fundamental human drive: to be seen, to be appreciated, to feel of value. Work can either kill that drive or liberate it.

But, as anyone who has experience of holding an ungratifying job knows, changing the game is not as simple as recognizing that you’re unhappy (though, for many people that recognition is itself a major eye-opener). A balance is required between interior reflection and action in the world. Most self-help programs focus on one or the other. In working with clients in such situations I have found it helpful to draw on Ken Wilber’s four quadrant analysis. Essentially, we are all continuously engaged with four quadrants of reality:

  1. Our own individual interior: eg. thoughts, feelings values. As you read this post, for example, you are having some form of emotional and intellectual response that is entirely personal and invisible to anyone around you.
  2. Our own individual exterior: eg. body, actions, physical energy. For example, right now you are involved in the action of reading, but your heart is beating, you are holding a particular posture, neurons are firing in your brain.
  3. Our own collective interior: all humans – even hermits – form part of some kind of collective. And every collective has shared values, cultural norms or common feeling. As you read this, you have a cultural context of which you form a part. You have a perspective on what I am writing that is partly based in your social values.
  4. Our collective exterior: we are all embedded in systems and meta-systems greater than ourselves. As you are reading this online, you are connected to a technological system called the internet; outside your window you witness the manifestation of weather and climate, and in some way or another you are currently paying for data, thus playing a part of a broader economic system.

Though you will have a subtle bias towards one perspective – a ‘native perspective’ – none of these quadrants is more important than the others. They all arise concurrently and with equal value. So, in deciding how to engage with a significant topic like choosing a new career direction, I ask clients to pay attention to all four quadrants. Part of this process requires an evaluation of what is important to that client – basically answering the question ‘Why do you work?’ – and another aspect will be the commitment to action.

Here are some suggestions if you find yourself seeking work that will pay you well enough and provide you with meaning:

  1. Consider the types of things that you are passionate about, the pursuits that energize you or that increase your wellbeing when you are engaged in them. Basically, identify what kind of activities make you happy – don’t think in terms of ‘jobs’, think in terms of enjoyment and gratification. For now, don’t eliminate any of them for being ‘unrealistic’ – this is an exploratory exercise and every contribution is valuable.
  2. Make a list of jobs or work that incorporate these activities or draw on skills or aptitudes that you use in these activities. If you think of a job that correlates with a personal passion but requires a skill that you don’t currently have, identify that missing skill, write down what would be required to acquire it, and find out where you can learn that skill at what cost.
  3. Talk to friends and colleagues who are happy in their work. Ask them to share how they found that work, what guided them to it and how they would go about finding a new job if, for some reason, this one came to an end. Also look back at point 2 and check whether anyone in your current network is involved in one of the lines of work identified in your list. And expand your network by connecting on social media with new contacts in your target areas – LinkedIn, facebook and twitter are great places to start, though each of those platforms have more or less relevance depending on your industry.
  4. Determine how much money you need to make, consider your work experience, explore market opportunities, and come up with a plan. This plan will partly include the steps above as your refine and repeat the process of honing in your dream work and build on network connections. Most importantly, build an image of what your life will look like when you have work that satisfies you and offers you the lifestyle you desire. This vision is your compass – create a physical impression of it if that helps you – and can act as your anchor in the bigger picture as you deal with the practicalities of career change.

This process may sound simple, but the challenges involved are many and unique to every person. It will not always be easy, which is why I always recommend working with a coach or mentor of some kind, but I truly believe that happiness at work is your right. Claim it.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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The happiness factor

 

My youngest child turned eight yesterday, and the unbridled joy that poured from her on her birthday was infectious. It was an understated but close family celebration, and she reveled in being the center of attention for an entire day. From presents to cake to games to photos, my daughter smiled and laughed and danced. It occurred to me that she was happy – spontaneously, effusively happy. It also occurred to me that the difference between children and most adults I know is not principally whether they are happier or not, it is that they don’t try to be happy. Happiness is a powerful emotion. It has been associated with having a healthier heart, a stronger immune system and a longer life. But the main reason we’re attracted to it is because it feels so good. That’s the reason it is the final objective of almost the entire bookshelf of the self-help industry: stronger relationships, more money, greater sense of purpose, higher success, a more desirable job – in one way or another these make us feel happy, at least for a period of time. It is also the reason that the self-help industry is worth more than $11 billion a year in the US alone, and the global depression drug market is poised to surge to $16.80 billion by 2020. Everyone is after the happy kick, whether they find it in a book, a podcast or a pill.

This is in the context of global increases in depression and anxiety, and what seems to be a growing aversion to not feeling good. We have come to regard emotions like sadness, anger and loneliness as ‘bad’. Undoubtedly, they don’t feel great, but just like all emotions they contain information that can be used to make better decisions. Writing off ‘negative’ feelings eliminates a large portion of the human spectrum of emotions, leaving us chasing a one-dimensional ‘happy’ version of life. And the chase itself is damaging, because in our achievement-obsessed culture happiness is frequently sold as a goal that needs to be attained. If you’re not attaining it and everyone else is – as appears to be the case every time you log onto social media – you must be a failure, which is generally how you end up feeling after an hour of looking at your friends’ holiday photos on facebook. And Martin Seligman – who’ll we’ll meet later – identified the risk of this constant sense of failure in his depression-related theory of Learned Helplessness: after enough conditioning in pain and suffering, human beings will begin to believe that they have no control over what happens to them, and will begin to assume helplessness.

Rather than a goal, happiness is a state – a composite of psychological, neurological, physiological and even spiritual elements, the blend of which varies from person to person and time to time. But, as Dr Rick Hanson proposes in his book Resilience, this changeable state can be made more of a habit by utilizing the brain’s dependent neuroplasticity. Proactively engaging in positive behaviour supports the creation and reinforcement of neural pathways that generate higher levels of wellbeing. Proactivity is an important part of this concept. As Stephen Covey points out,

‘[Proactivity] means more than merely taking initiative. It means that, as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.’

It’s an attitude that directly counters Learned Helplessness, which is why it is the cornerstone of Martin Seligman’s other great contribution to mental wellbeing: positive psychology. In his work on depression Seligman came to the view that modern psychology was too strongly focused on pathology and mental illness, and not focused enough on mental wellness. Basically, mental health practitioners were spending most of their time analyzing what was wrong, and not really looking at what was right. When Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998 he used the opportunity to promote a new approach to psychology, one based on the positive, the uplifting and the inspiring. Sounds great, but what about the painful and the sad? Life isn’t just unicorns and rainbows. Positive psychology agrees, intentionally embracing the more difficult aspects of human experience, but granting them the weight they really deserve. Yes, things can be bad and it’s important to acknowledge that, but things are seldom as bad as we make them out to be and that’s important to acknowledge too.

Seligman’s perspective has become widely popular, not because it’s another feelgood fad aimed at denying the challenges of the human condition, but because it lends itself to practical and accessible long-term change. Rick Hanson’s work reveals that the cumulative effect of small habit changes can be profound and, to echo Viktor Frankl, the capacity for positive change resides in all humans. Yet, this is not the same as chasing happiness – this requires a willingness to be self-compassionate and accepting of what is, not an obsessive attachment to what could be.

Click here for a list of simple practices that help build emotional wellbeing.

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash

 

Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

How do you know when you need a coach?

There’s a fine line between ‘I’m not having a good day, I’ll be ok tomorrow’ and ‘I don’t think I can meet my goals without expert guidance’. Knowing at what point to seek professional support through the help of a coach is crucial.

Coaching is for those who recognise they have wandered off their path and need to realign themselves again – be it in business, life or relationships. It is not counselling, mentoring, therapy or training. What a coach does is listen to your aspirations and goals, recognise the obstacles that are standing in your way, and provide actionable solutions to enable you to fulfil your ambitions in a measurable, simple and successful way.

Seeking a coach demonstrates that you wish to improve and that you recognise that you need an expert to guide you. Every great sports person has a coach to thank for pushing them, motivating them, encouraging them and supporting them in their journey…life and business coaches do exactly that too.

So how do you know when you need a coach?

According to Alexis Meads, there are ten tell-tale signs that you need a coach in your life.

1. Your friends and family are tired of listening to you

It’s wonderful to have a support network around you, but don’t exhaust your friend’s kindness by going over the same thing every time you meet them. A coach is a professional listener who isn’t worried about telling you how it is – but not only will they listen, they will also give you a concrete plan to follow in order to overcome the struggles you are facing.

2. You over-analyze everything

There is such a thing as over-thinking things and if your mind is full of questions and no answers then it’s time to seek professional help from someone that can untangle the tangled knot of questions inside your mind.

3. Your relationship problems are making you ill

Mental strain has a physical affect on the body. If you aren’t happy with your relationship then you need to find a way to handle that – and ignoring it or repeating the same mistakes won’t help. Through the help of a coach you can find clarity and confidence again.

4. You’re not happy with your weight

Health and life coaches can advise on weight loss, fitness, nutrition and exercise plans but most of all they can give you the motivation you need to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Everyone knows that having someone by your side when trying to get fit is easier than going at it alone!

5. You’ve lost your identity

Whether you’ve recently moved abroad, had children, changed as you’ve got older or inexplicably lost confidence – coaching can help you feel like the old you again. Or alternatively, help you reinvent a new happier and more positive you.

6. You have Imposter Syndrome

On the outside you’re rocking it, but on the inside you’re crippled with self doubt, insecurity, worry and anxiety. A good coach can alleviate that stress and empower you with the skills to feel just as good on the inside as people believe you are on the outside.

7. You’re not at the point in your career you thought you would be

It’s nobody’s fault but yours, but you don’t know where you’re going wrong. Do you lack confidence to seek alternative employment? Or do you need to improve on your leadership skills and communication techniques? Our coaches will recognise the obstacles standing in the way of your success and give you the tools to ensure that you reach your career goals.

8. You’re stuck

Your life is in a rut. You’re bored. You’re wondering if there’s anything else out there for you or if this monotonous treadmill you call life is as good as it gets. Don’t worry, it can always get better, you just need a push in the right direction by a life coach that will understand your concerns and show you the light.

9. You have no social life

It’s not just the work and family life balance that a coach can help you wish, they can also assist with helping you find the all important ‘me’ time. Hobbies, mindfulness, interests and fun are just as important as family and earning a wage.

10. You worry about what others think

This is all too common in an age of over-sharing, but this form of thinking can be paralysing and in the long term affect all areas of your life. In order to reach your goals you need to be confident, fearless and positive. Coaching can help you value your self worth while providing ways for you to protect yourself from the opinions of others.

So if any of these points sound like you then you may benefit from coaching. Coaching is not a last resort, far from it. Coaching is a way of reigniting that internal spark that makes you want to be a better you. So get over your first obstacle and get in touch – we may just change your life.

 

Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

How time flies.

2017 to 2018.jpg

By: Angie Falls

The new year has begun and it gives me time to reflect on the past year. How exciting has it been? In a short time span, I was privileged to follow up on so many new adventures. Little did I know when I started my coaching study how it would develop. As a professional working in an international environment taught me a lot about communicating with people from different cultures. I wanted to develop this skill on a different level by coaching individuals who graduate and want to have a job experience in an international setting. This turned out to be very successful and one day when I was having lunch with an acquaintance I communicated about the excitement of this new activity. She shared with me that she was looking for a person with expert knowledge on expats. Her company was approached with a new assignment for which she did not have the in-house knowledge. This new assignment she would dare to pursue if I would assist. I instantly agreed and together we started this new chapter in our mutual lives. I was trained by her with the theoretical approach which was developed for this type of coaching. Along the way, she would be my coach for this assignment. The assignment was family coaching in the most extended way you can imagine and mostly for a track of 1 year. It involved the integration of another culture and the way of living. When a highly skilled migrant is invited by a company they mostly leave their home country with their families. Coaching is primarily with the focus on growing children at the age of approximately 16 years and their spouses who need to adapt life in a new country. I started a course Introduction to Psychology to get a better understanding of people in general. The whole coaching process turned out to be very time consuming for me and there were occasions during the coaching track that I needed assistance from behavioral specialists. I ventilated this to my acquaintance with an advice concerning collaboration with other colleagues. She granted me this and I was promoted to manager of the assignment. Two behavioral specialists were introduced to me. I had to select one to assist on this specific assignment. The candidate that I had the best connection with was very well organized in her presentation and a very likable person to collaborate with. When I started working with her she also could report and document on a high level. All of that for a student who graduated and just finished her internship to start her first assignment for the company with me. I discussed the assignment with her and the actions we had to take. I could share with her my knowledge and learn from her as a behavioral specialist. While working on the first assignment I was offered a new assignment to work on. I told my acquaintance that I would like to coordinate this assignment only if I could agree on this with the behavioral specialist with whom I am working right now. I felt that we were the perfect duo for both the assignments. That became coaching journey number two. My goals for 2018? 2018 make way here I come!

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

7 ways expats struggle more than most

The life of an expat may seem like a glamorous one. Many expats move abroad for better job opportunities, or for the lifestyle, or even for the fantastic weather and to enjoy a big adventure. From the outside, life seems full of possibilities and excitement…but being an expat is fraught with an array of unique problems that those remaining in their birth country may never understand.

Here are seven ways expats struggle more than others.

1. Communication barriers

Most expats speak English, but that doesn’t help when you are relocated to a country where they don’t. Even if you speak English at home and at work and you are doing your best to learn the host country’s language, it takes time to settle in, and in the meantime you are left struggling with issues that would normally be a walk in the park. Simple things like letters from the doctor’s office or the council; your television not working but not understanding the message that pops up on the screen; calling a company on the phone and not understanding the automated recording or what number to press – these tiny little inconveniences can lead to a sense of frustration, anxiety and in some cases anger or feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

2. Culture

One of the many reasons that expats look for work abroad is to submerge themselves in a new culture, but the flipside of that is that some cultures are hard to integrate into and difficult to align with your own customs and expectations…no matter how hard you try. Coupled with the communication barriers, it can sometimes feel very isolating and frustrating, you may feel cut off from your community and confused – or even worse, regretful of your move.

3. Losing your identity

Most expats move abroad for work – but if you move as a family, what about the other partner? What are they expected to do? Even though in a lot of cases one partner has moved the family because their new wage justifies the life change, the second partner is left to carve out a new identity for themselves. Do they embrace this change and start a new career? Train in something new? Reinvent themselves? Or will they be left feeling inferior, lost and unsure of their new role? These feelings of uncertainty, and sometimes resentment, can have a negative effect on the entire family and put pressure on the marriage. Without the usual support network around you, this shift can be even harder to manage.

4. Relocating family

It’s hard enough to move abroad and start afresh by yourself or as a couple, but what if you’re also trying to settle your children into a new school and a new way of life? Although children are pretty adaptable, and the children of expats probably more so than most, the knock-on effect of an anxious child can put pressure on the parent and affect marriages and alter the family dynamic.

5. Feelings of isolation

It takes a long time to create a community around you and to make friends. As a child, making friends and connecting with people is a normal part of life – but as you get older if becomes more forced and harder to do. When you are busy at home with family, and at work, how do you go out there and force yourself to get involved in your community and seek alliances with others?

An expat life can be a lonely one at times. It’s difficult to be separated from good friends and family, and it’s hard to live without emotional or practical support at hand, which is why some expats lose confidence or suffer from anxiety issues which they may previously not encountered.

6. Uncertainty

With the current political and financial climate, no job is a guaranteed job for life. So what happens when you experience feelings of uncertainty but you are abroad and dependent on that one job that brought you there? What if you are unhappy but there are limited options outside of your current role? When most people don’t like their job they are free to seek another nearby – but for an expat, that move is likely to be a huge one, one that affects the lives of the entire family including the children’s education, the partner’s job and the family’s lifestyle. When you feel like you lack choice in your career, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, stress, depression and ill health.

7. Lack of confidence

What makes us feel confident? The decisions we make in life, the encouragement and support of friends and family, our sense of worth at home and at work, and our own definition of who we are in society as a whole. So what happens when we are stripped of all of that? How do we feel when we are in a foreign country where everything we know, and everything that we feel defines us, is no longer the same? It takes on average a year to settle into a new country, and in that time you can experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

Being an expat is not all negative, far from it, or millions around the globe wouldn’t be jumping from country to country chasing exciting new job opportunities – but it is challenging.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

 

 

 

 

D I S C O V E R I N G ・ W H O ・ A N D ・ W H A T ・ W E ・ A R E

SigmundBy: Angie Falls

Having a fulltime job and 3 freelance assignments can be burdening. I start to doubt myself. Am I heading in the right direction? Is it correct the way I am engaged to get some fulfilling work done? Or am I just afraid to jump? Jump to the unknown. To determine whether I am on the right track I decided to pursue sessions with a psychologist.

Psychoanalysis is worth trying for personal growth on a personal and professional level.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 32: The Turnaround

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I can’t tell you how much has been happening – and it’s all so exciting!

OK to pick up from last time, I mentioned a new trial I have coming up. It starts with interviews next week and it’s with a student project team from the University of Applied Sciences in Austria. Ping! It just happened…

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