Links: coaching, change, mindfulness and authenticity

I’ve read and or listened to a few interesting things this week that you might like to check out. 

I’m also five days in to daily 10 minute meditation and I’ve been using this great app from Andy Puddicombe:

I’ll post separately about meditation and mindfulness at the end of March. Suffice it to say I was a very reluctant meditator and it’s taken me years to give this a go. 

Feedback: difficult to receive but vital for change

Feedback is meant to be seen as a gift but a lot of the time it’s just depressing or infuriating

I have just finished reading a fantastic book: Thanks for the feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. Unlike the quote above it starts with the premise that feedback is really hard to receive well. 

I read this book because I had noticed that, whilst I value feedback, I often got caught up in my reactions to the feedback rather than listening to the comments that I was receiving. 

Having read this book I now understand that:

  • my reaction to receiving feedback is perfectly normal;
  • we often struggle to say what we really mean; and
  • there are things that we can do to help us to better receive feedback 

There are very few books that I would recommend as having the power to kick start a change in your personal style and effectiveness but I’m adding this book to that list.  This book gives plenty of very practical advice about receiving feedback and by turn how to give it. More than this it also helps to explore your relationship with the people to whom you’re giving feedback. 

If you’re interested, the only other book on my list, so far, is: What Shamu taught me about life, love and marriage by Amy Sutherland. I realise I’ve not blogged about that but I will shortly. 

Success won’t make you happy

I’ve been coaching people for a few years now. Sometimes for a short while – maybe over a period of a few weeks – and sometimes over a period of months. What really stands out to me is how much better people seem. How much happier they are in their own skin.

Most people who come for coaching are unhappy. Not depressed – I coach people – I’m not a therapist. It’s more like The Princess and the Pea. Something isn’t right.

I’ve just finished watching this awesome little TedX talk by Shawn Achor. He’s an expert in positive psychology. This is a topic that often gets a bad wrap for being mixed up with positive affirmations. Positive psychology isn’t about trusting in the positive as a solution to overcoming a problem. Positive psychology is about recognising that mindset informs action. Focusing on successful approaches is more successful. I once worked in a team that was keen to reduce sick absence. Inspired by BUPA’s concept of a wellness centre, I introduced a wellness target. Instead of ‘driving down sickness’ we were increasing wellness. A positive target is a more inspiring outcome for which to reach.

Towards the end of the talk, Shawn used this slide:

Happiness leads to success

It really stood out for me as a worthwhile outcome for getting to happiness. We all spend a lot of time raising the bar: “if I do this *then* I’ll be happy…” Shawn’s video addresses this and explains what each of us can do to start making a change.

focus on being happy, put your energies there. Then you’ll find the work to get to success doesn’t feel so insurmountable or unattainable