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Can You Manage Your New Year Resolutions?


7 CEO Tips To Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution On Track

As we near the end of January, how’s your new year’s resolution going?

It’s around now that most New Year’s resolutions fail, as the initial motivation and drive has been gobbled up by the daily grind and routine. But fear not, we’ve put together seven solid ways that top CEOs make change stick, starting with a quote from the epic philosophical journey that is Kung Fu Panda.

“There is no secret ingredient” Po.

When it comes to making change stick, there is no silver bullet or simple method, but there are steps you can take to supplement your will power and motivation. Not so much secret ingredients as ‘best practice’ for achieving resolutions:


  1. Make your goals specific

Stands to reason that if you know what your goal is, you stand a better chance of achieving it, if only because you’ll clearly know when you’ve got there. By being specific you’ll know how far away from your goal you are and how to achieve it, keeping you motivated and able to visualise the end result.

Visualising is very important; it’s linked to positive self-talk and statistically increases the likelihood of you achieving your aim.


  1. Record your progress

Photo’s of your body, diaries, tracking figures, it doesn’t matter how you record your journey; just make sure that you do. ‘Future you’ will need to see progress to reassure you and keep you on track, this is why measuring and recording change is so important.

Like any change, you should be prepared for it to take time, which can be hard. But by measuring progress you can help make it clear that change is happening even when you may think it’s not.


  1. Patience

Change is woven into time like a tapestry of life itself. True change takes time and the path is seldom straight, but that’s the beauty of it. A resolution is about more than achieving a goal; it’s about discovering what you’re capable of along the way, smashing through the fatigue and barriers that have prevented you from doing it so far.

Sure, when you’re ramped up and raring to go, it can be difficult to maintain the motivation when change appears to be slow. But time will soon pass and you’ll be proud that you kept going. Or disappointed that you let your impatience get in the way of success, again.


  1. Share your goals

This one is always contentious, some people don’t like the pressure of having to share progress and some like the idea of achieving a resolution in secret, leading to a big reveal. But really, sharing your goals is a great move that can keep your resolution on track for longer.

Friends and family can offer great support and encouragement, which in your weakest moments will be a great help. And remember you’re no expert, so by opening your ambition up to the world you could receive some great advice that takes your efforts to the next level.

And if all that fails, guilt is a powerful motivator – there’s nothing like the thought of having the ‘I gave that up’ conversation with loved ones. As Billie Jean King said, pressure’s a privilege.


  1. Make time for change

You may have got this far on sheer commitment alone, but as time goes on and life continues to throw curve balls, you’ll last longer if you schedule time for change in your routine. Dedicate a regular evening, an hour or whatever you can in the pursuit of your goal; it’ll make it more structured, professional and tangible.

It also helps you take control of the emotions attached to resolutions, you don’t need to be worrying about change all the time, because you have an allotted time dedicated to it. It fits in around the rest of your life and by giving it a specific time slot; you’ll be able to better measure progress and ability over the weeks, months and years.


  1. Do something, however little it may be

‘Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.’

‘There’s no such thing as a bad workout.’

You know what we’re getting at; doing something is better than doing nothing. So don’t set yourself unrealistic goals and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t squeeze in your development every week. Just make sure you do what you can.

And if you think you won’t have time, you definitely have time. Take action when you can and you’ll feel better. Also, going for a five minute run or picking up a book for 20 minutes can easily turn into a full session before you know it.


  1. Failure is your friend

This little chap is essential, in fact you can’t change without some form of struggle, it’s an integral part. Never ever treat a setback as a problem, never give it negative headspace and understand that it’s part of the process. Failure means you’re pushing your limitations, it means you’re on the edge of your talent and growing it.

Failure is you laying extra railroad – every time you fail you put down extra tracks so next time you go further and get closer to your destination.

Failure is awesome so just imagine what success is like. You can’t have one without the other, so remember why you chose your resolution and keep going. Here’s to 2017 being the year you make it.

©Lumina Coaching Ltd



The Power of Positive Thinking

A free tool to maximise your career potential (and you’ve had access to it all along)

impossible-unable-photo“That thing at work I’ve been asked to do – I can’t do it. I’m not capable of doing it and my colleague could do it better. So I won’t bother.”

Sound familiar? It’s negative self-talk and it can have a stifling effect on your potential. So in this blog we’re looking at the benefits of positive self-talk and how it can help your career.

Talking to yourself is fine; just make sure it’s positive

Your mind is a special effects unit designed to stop you from getting killed, and its weapon of choice is fear. It will use this weapon whenever it senses threat. These days, the threat is more likely to be on your self-confidence than your life – sabre tooth tigers have been replaced by skillsets and rival tribes by talented work colleagues. But the physiological and physiological reactions internally are the same.

From poor self-esteem and low confidence to self-doubt and inadequacy, your mind can conjure up any thought it likes and create strong, emotional feelings to ‘protect’ you. Unfortunately, this gets in the way of progress.

But therein lies the empowering, career-boosting opportunity

If you can create feelings of negativity, you can equally create feelings of positivity.

It might not feel like it, as it races off at the speed of thought, but you have complete control over your mind. The world is ‘inside out’ not ‘outside in’, you decide how you react to situations. The world doesn’t ‘make’ you feel anything and you can choose to be positive in all situations.

When you adopt this viewpoint and base your thoughts on reality – what you know to be true – and not on fear of failure, you’ll begin to expose negative thoughts as simple, fear-driven reactions. You’ll accept that they occur, but they’ll no longer create negative feelings.

Switching to positive self-talk

Positive self-talk is a career building tool that can improve your work performance, productivity and success, and it’s completely free. Here’s how to make the switch to a more positive internal dialogue:


  1. Start recording daily accomplishments, big and small, because in a busy working environment, wins rarely get the celebration they deserve.
  2. Write down what makes you unique, what your strengths are and how you’ve used those strengths to get a result. Keep these answers close and read them every day.
  3. Don’t over-generalize with terms like ‘never’ and ‘always’, be accurate and specific about an issue and don’t indulge in self-pity – keep your reactions based on reality.
  4. Catch yourself being negative and instead choose to be positive. The more you do this the more it will become second nature. Life’s short and negativity is a waste of energy.
  5. Be your own biggest fan, no one will sort your career for you so get behind your goals by giving yourself a pep talk when you need it, or at the start of the day. A short, positive statement can go a long way.

Positive self-talk and new jobs

Positive self-talk is particularly beneficial at a time of workplace uncertainty or loss of complete control over your career. This typically occurs when starting a new job or when taking on challenges outside of your established skillset. Tell yourself ‘you got this’ and just do it, you don’t know the future, so don’t write it with negativity – be positive.

Try visualisation

Winning athletes visualize themselves winning before they begin. It’s a form of positive self-talkcan-and-cant-photo that fills your mind with positive thoughts and useful feelings conducive to success. For instance, if you are preparing for a pitch, visualise yourself confidently delivering it, If you are preparing to finish a big project, then visualise yourself nailing it on time.

With these techniques you can start a more positive internal conversation with yourself and quit wasting time on useless negativity.

©Lumina Coaching Ltd







Trust relationships are vital to the way we do business today.

trust-plaqueDoes your business have high trust? Examine the culture in your own place of work. The foundation of trust will permeate every aspect of your company: the people, the products they produce, the service they deliver and the corporate culture. This is why I consider trust to be a non-negotiable trait. If trust is lacking, take the necessary steps to allow this vital immeasurable to improve.

The challenge is having a conceptual framework and analytical way of evaluating and understanding trust. Without the proper framework for evaluating trust, there’s no actionable way to improve our trustworthiness, whether it is internally or externally.

The model of trust that I like to use was built and developed by Charles H. Green, which has evolved over many years. This is explored in his three books: The Trusted Advisor, Trust-Based Selling, and The Trusted Advisor Field book.

The Trust Equation is now the cornerstone of my practice: an analytical model of trustworthiness that can be easily understood and used to help yourself and your organisation.


What do I mean by these variables?

  • CREDIBILITY. These are the words we speak. For example, we may say, “I can trust what she says about coaching; she’s very credible on the subject.”

RELIABILITY. This is about our actions. We might say, “If he says he’ll deliver the results tomorrow, I trust him, because he’s dependable.”
  • INTIMACY. This 

refers to the safety or security that we feel when entrusting someone. We might say, “I can trust her with that information; she’s never violated my confidentiality before, and she would never embarrass me.”

A person’s focus. In particular, whether the person’s focus is primarily on him or herself, or on the other person. For example, “I can’t trust him on this deal — I think he’s too focused on what he’ll get out of it.” Or, “I don’t trust her — I think she’s too concerned with her own agenda”.


Trust in business requires good “scores” on all four variables in the Trust Equation. You want high credibility, reliability and intimacy, and low self-orientation.

How does the level of trust currently stand at your company? What could you do to help it increase? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


©Lumina Coaching Ltd

How Resilient Do You Think You Are?

hillary-clintonWith the 2016 US Presidential elections now completed, my thoughts turned to Hilary Clinton. What will she do next? How will she recover from this very public crushing blow delivered at the potential apex of her career?

As a business owner, imagine building your business for 8 long years of sacrifice, of hard, often heart-felt decision making, of lack of stability; only to have it all snatched away from under your fingertips when you were about to sign the life-changing deal of which you’d always dreamed.

Or as an associate in a professional services firm, your ultimate career ambition for most in private practice is to become partner. Picture that, after your 8 long years of slog, the promised promotion is pulled away at the final moment.

How do you recover?

It’s well documented and self-evident that a good deal of resilience is needed to be a successful executive. So, what is resilience?

The word means “springing back”, from the Latin resilientem meaning “inclined to leap or spring back”. I like this definition as it focuses on the dynamic nature of the quality; rather than just getting through tough times, resilience is about leaping back, absorbing the difficulties then learning and improving from them.

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. It is not a trait that people either have or do not have. Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.

Whilst being resilient may sound great and an exciting possibility, how do we actually bridge the gap to getting there? In my work I have identified a few key components of a resilient attitude and I encourage coachees to remember these and develop them as skills until they become second nature. These components are:

  • Positivity
  • Confidence
  • Emotional control
  • Solutions-focused orientation
  • Flexibility
  • Persistence
  • Sense of purpose
  • Sense of well-being and balance
  • Support networks
  • Reflection and perspective
  • Acceptance

In the last 15 years of my career as a leadership coach I have been working in the corporateresilience-lighthouse-photo sphere coaching leaders to find their own voice, to show up with confidence and sustain resilience through adversity. The speed of change and level of uncertainty in organisations is making life more complex. This complexity demands a personal resilience that enables executives to remain focused and productive.

Do you think Hilary Clinton will have the ability to bounce back? These next few weeks will be a time in which to observe whether she has the resilience to come back, adapt, be strengthened, and enhanced.


©Lumina Coaching Ltd

We can retrain our minds with effort

unknown-1This week, I have been discussing the importance of self-talk with a number of my coachees.
Humans have a fundamental tendency towards the negative and we have to work harder to shift from bad to good. We have to make more effort to see the upside, but it is possible! By doing so it boots our happiness, well being, health and performance. This informative TED talk may assist:


Why CEO’s Don’t Want Executive Coaching

Why CEOs Don’t Want Executive Coaching

“Self-awareness and the growth it supports, combined with such business perspectives and practices, can and should be the heart of executive coaching and leadership programs.”
Do you find the increase in self awareness enhances your leadership capability?




You Need a Holiday

I’m back from a fabulous holiday in Mallorca.

Fabulous why? Time to relax, switch off from work, recharge my battery, eat fabulous food, laugh (a lot!), cycle, swim, explore, spend time with loved ones, learn about another culture.

This is the ‘recipe’ for a successful holiday for me.  What’s yours?

mallorca-photo-for-blog-161018We all need holidays to recharge our energy levels and executives are no exception. Keeping the balance between work and life is critical.

It’s all too easy to forget that wonderful, post-holiday feeling when heavy workloads, deadlines, pressure and stress threaten to eat into our precious vacation days. Most people are allocated a minimum number of holiday days a year but many of us don’t take them!

In the US in 2014, for example, workers only took 51% of the small number of their holiday allowance and 15% of people took no time off at all (US Travel Association survey). The reasons? Worries about falling behind in their work and concerns that they would lose their edge on the competition for promotions.

Despite the shift to empower workers to take their holidays, many still feel guilty about it, drag their feet and then struggle to schedule time off at the last minute. But this reasoning is flawed.

Research shows that not only are holidays good for you but that they may also increase productivity meaning they’re good for the workplace and for your career as well.

Many of you have heard my theories around Quality Recovery Time as a critical component of the peak performance. Holidays give us:

More energy

Research has found that after taking a holiday, executives are less tense and stressed, and to have higher levels of energy.

Improved health

Research has shown that people on holiday immediately feel healthier, have less physical complaints and even have a reduction in cholesterol levels on their return.

Increase productivity

Executives who have had a holiday see the tasks they have to complete as part of their job as less effortful compared to before they took time off

Greater creativity

Individuals who felt that their holiday was highly recuperative, experienced enhanced effects when they went back to work. They were happier and more satisfied with their lives even in the face of a heavy workload on their return.

This shows that it’s not enough just to leave the office, you also need to switch off when you take time off.

Ability to role mode leadership behaviours

Executives are not just business leaders, they are also model leaders; the way they live their working lives shapes the culture within their organisations. This is why they need to become the change they want to see.

A year after Evernote announced its unlimited vacation program, the Boston Globe reported that then CEO Phil Libin, who introduced the program, had not taken a vacation in a year.

Leaders should take their time off and encourage other management to do the same and make a point of it. Ensure the leadership makes it clear that the company views vacations as economically sound, fun and fully beneficial to the workforce and the company. Attitude is everything here.


It doesn’t matter what your recipe is for a fabulous holiday….. Just take one!!


Managing Your Emails Better


Is this worth trying? What do you think?

Click here to read it

5 Ways to lead in an era of constant change

5 ways to lead in an era of constant change

unknown-1Jim Hemerling’s inspiring talk about changing organisations by putting people first.
Do you find transforming your business in today’s constantly-changing world invigorating or draining? There may be some ideas in this TED talk, which will assist you in leading change in an empowering, and energizing way.



The Case for Coaching

It’s lonely at the top – the need for executive coaching in senior roles

Let’s start with three facts:

60% of CEOs don’t receive coaching
50% of senior executives don’t receive coaching
100% say they want it.
So what’s going on, why are organisations choosing not to support those that have the biggest influence over their business?

The figures are from Stanford university research that’s been well cited throughout the business coaching world, and with good reason. But when it costs 400% of an annual salary to replace a senior executive or CEO, the risk of underperformance is sizeable, affecting not just the bottom line but also investor, employee and even customer confidence.

Your executives want coaching. Your competitors will provide it.

When you’re paid to make critical decisions that can directly affect company success, it’s no surprise you’d like a little support to make the right choices. 78% of senior executives that took part in the Stanford survey said they arranged coaching for themselves. This should be an very loud and piercing alarm bell for any business that doesn’t provide external coaching. At such a high level, training should be part of the package and senior staff are starting to see it that way.

The risk for those businesses that don’t share the same view is a six figure retention problem. In a world where headhunting and succession planning are the norm, don’t be surprised if your competitors see ‘development’ as a key differentiator. Simply providing coaching as part of a competitive package could be enough of an incentive to make your brightest and best jump ship.

See your executives as elite athletes

Backing the case for executive coaching, Stephen Miles, CEO of leadership strategists The Miles Group CEO, said: “Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in”.And added: “We are moving away from coaching being perceived as ‘remedial’ to where it should be something that improves performance, similar to how elite athletes use a coach.”

Executives and CEOs aren’t robots or demi gods, they’re members of the team. The thought that you hired them because they’re the finished article or that they know much more than anyone else shouldn’t stop you from broaching coaching. As Stephen says, at this level, the benefits aren’t so much about being better skilled in your line of expertise, it’s more about enhancing performance through psychological improvements.

Start with a solid onboarding process

Even if you’re incredibly experienced, you can still be new. When a senior member joins, they may be highly skilled and confident in their abilities, but they’re still in an unfamiliar environment, around new people and learning new systems, approaches and cultural nuances. Like anyone, a company-wide introduction, induction and defined onboarding process is essential to clear the decks of any doubts, fears and uncertainty, allowing the individual to focus on delivering in their role.

The flipside of not taking care of this is, at best, a delay in them hitting their stride and providing a return investment, and at worst, they feel isolated, unsupported and unable to share concerns or feelings. And at very worst, they leave.

All you have to do is ask

Whatever the reason why you haven’t coached your top brass, forget it and start by asking your execs what coaching they want. Using an internal coach, whether it be an expert or a close team member is an option, but consider the privacy and expertise benefits of an external specialist. 60% of CEOs asked said they’d want to keep their training and progress private, which is much easier to achieve with the help of an independent coach.

Get it right and the result is an executive team that feel cared for, are more effective and can share skills across the business through leading by example. And the win/win is, the business sees an uplift in productivity. You’re only as good as the lessons you’ve learned and while the boardroom is far from the classroom, your high-level staff can still grow, develop and deliver more for your business. All they need is a little support.

Remember, even Roger Federer has a coach.


©Lumina Coaching Ltd