All Posts in executive coaching

November 16, 2020 - No Comments!

10 Insights in 9 Days – 10/9

This is my last article in the series, reflecting on my biggest insights from what I rate as a 10/9 experience with my own mentor and his extraordinary community of leaders.  The 3 insights of the first 3 days were: Acceleration, Audacity and Advocacy. The following 3 days insights were: 3 x Authenticity.  And as I am writing my book where the only letter in my alphabet is A, the last 3A (or rather 4!) insights are: A to B, Astonishment AND Appreciation.

  1. From A to B

If you are a high performer, you are likely to have set many big stretching goals over the years.  You planned your journeys from A to Z. You marched towards your goals with passion and enthusiasm. 

In her brilliant session, my dear friend Georgie taught us many lessons on how to connect with powerful people.  You see, Georgie is writing her book on Stratospheric CEOs. High performers who got to the top of their game by applying certain behaviours, principles and lessons of success.

The one lesson that resonated with me most, was the tiny steps approach. Walking from A to B. Not worrying about the A to Z, which may feel really overwhelming.  Sometimes the more attached we get towards our big goals, the more creative opportunities we may miss along the way.  The whole idea is to enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination. One step at a time. Slow down, so you can put one foot in front of the other… 

My insight?  Focus on the tiniest actions that can make the biggest impact. Move from A to B and then from B to C. And that’s how you will get to your Z much faster and happier! 

  1. Astonishment 

And how else to finish off my series than on the high note of client astonishment? Astonishing your clients to help them achieve those big goals.

My dear friend Mandy led a session on coaching playfully, using some fun games during the session. This was such an alien concept to me. In my world of high achievers, serious finance and corporate professionals, it surely couldn’t work… Right?  

Wrong!   Mandy is an extraordinary coach to an identical audience of corporate players - investment bankers, lawyers, CEO and successful entrepreneurs. And her motto?  “Coaching is too important to be taken seriously!”

And Mandy’s session was soooo much fun!  I loved it.  Using games to help her clients interrupt their thinking pattern. Getting them out of their heads. And into their hearts. Accessing the path to innovation through play. Enabling them to grow through sheer astonishment.  And I was really astonished as to how using a cabbage (yes a cabbage!) in a coaching session can be so impactful and insightful.  The result?  I have been a lot more playful in my sessions ever since! And both my clients and I secretly enjoy it!

My insight? Playfulness is a mindset. It’s a place to come from, not to get to. 

  1. AND

The session led by Erin was called And.  I felt intrigued. I know what it means to live in an AND world.  My son is Ambidextrous. He can use his both hands to perform most tasks, from writing to playing.  He is able to move quickly between things that seem contradictory. He is also able to hold multiple emotions to be true at the same time. Anger and Appreciation. Love and Hate. They co-exist. And it’s his superpower. 

And the ability to use the word AND in our narrative and drop the BUTs and the ORs is a superpower too.  The ability to accept both sides of the same story.  Dropping the BUTs which negate a previous statement.  Dropping the ORs which imply a tradeoff. What if more alternatives are possible?  Adopting a possibility or infinite mindset. Being a beginner AND an expert in everything we do. Being a teacher AND a student of our own life.  Trusting ourselves AND asking for help when needed. Being compassionate AND straightforward. 

I learnt the power of being attached to the vision & purpose AND un-attached to the outcome!  Being a Master AND a disaster. Embracing failure, as an essential part of success.   And if you are a high performer, you’ve probably experienced many extraordinary highs AND some absolutely epic lows. It’s what it means to be human.

My insight? AND is a powerful word. Use it consciously and often and experience its magic.

  1. Appreciation

AND my last word is Appreciation!  Appreciation to our wonderful mentor, Rich Litvin for creating such a fantastic community.  Appreciation to the whole community itself for creating such an electrifying energy. And most of all, appreciation to Shelley, the leader of my small and special group of Amazing humans. She taught me how to truly slow down and I have been reaping the benefits since the event finished 4 weeks ago. Creating some magic in small steps from A to B. Or rather more accurately from A to A, in my A-world!

And I have realized it’s been exactly 12 months since I published my article entitled: “Love, Loss and Rollercoasters”.  And I appreciate that despite the many rollercoasters of 2020, our eco-system is solid. My son is enjoying his new college and is thriving. My daughter is enjoying her friends, school and playing guitar. My parents are healthy and today celebrated their 51-year wedding anniversary. That’s the biggest privilege of all! And we are lucky to be surrounded by some amazing people. 

With lots of love and appreciation to ALL.

ADA, 15 November 2020

August 25, 2020 - No Comments!

A-LIST Community Celebration

Who is a leader?  Someone whose “actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.”   On Saturday 20 June 2020, our ADAPTAA team embarked on a journey of co-creating a community of 222 A-mazing leaders by 2022.  A movement to grow together with an A-mazing group of human beings with open minds, big hearts and an infinite mindset.  

And on Saturday 22 August 2020, our founding group of A-mazing leaders completed their first journey of co-creation, sharing, giving and inspiring each other during a 10 week journey and beyond. A journey of playing with the letter A!  And which has inspired me to write my book about the journey of transformation from Type A leaders (ambitious, aggressive achievers) to AAA leaders (audacious, adaptable, authentic). 

And here is what each of our AAA leaders had to say. I am using their future self names for fun and a weak attempt at confidentiality! They all discovered their future selves  in Tatiana’s session called Aspiration, which has won the Award for most impactful and most memorable of all our 9 x A sessions!

Johnnie – “The question is how do we get the world we all work in, into a better place.  We obviously have to start with ourselves. And even during those sessions when I was late or half asleep, the insights were bloody A-mazing!!  My dream is to take this programme all over the world, to people who need it most. Life is tough, but so are we!”

Bundle of Energy – “There is no “one size fits all” definition of what a leader or leadership is. You just have to define it yourself and believe in it. And as a leader you need to have the capacity to self-assess and have a self-imposed system of red and yellow cards by looking in the mirror!  We constantly evolve and change throughout the years of our career and our lives.  Find your joy!  If you are willing to achieve your potential, it would take your own breath away!”

Fighter – “If you have a feeling of not belonging, or that you won't fit for one reason or another, it's probably best just to take the plunge and do it anyway.  To grow, you need to do things that feel uncomfortable. As a result, your comfort zone gets wider and wider and you start getting comfortable again, which is when is time to get uncomfortable to keep expanding and growing. Change your thoughts and change your world.“

Let it be – “I let curiosity led me. I had this gut feeling that I was going to miss out on something bigger and better, which meant that I just felt compelled to give this a go, even though I felt very uncomfortable about it initially. My advice? Do it and don’t quit! This programme has surpassed any of the corporate leadership programmes I’ve ever been on in terms of depth of knowledge and openness of discussion.”

Go for it – “It’s not easy to deal with the discomfort of trying to detach from a lot of security combined with unfulfillment. The metaphor I had was jumping out of a plane for the first time with a parachute and having the feeling of reaching behind my back to check that my parachute was still there. And that anxiety when pulling to find that nothing was there. Maybe I'll just fall to the ground. But when I fell, I realised the journey was not quite as bad as it seemed. Especially when you are the exception!  I certainly have a more heightened sense of fulfilment having embarked upon the journey.”

Queen – “I joined the programme to align my mind with my soul. I discovered that I was looking for, was already in me. Accepting that I am enough, even with my limits. And accepting others with their limits, without trying to change them.  Knowing that any change is not without struggle and that my biggest power is my ability to shape things and make things happen, even when they are uncomfortable. I just need to stop saying I wish and start saying I will!”

Powerful Smile - “This is something that we constantly need to work on – deciding on our next stages of life and career. And constantly reviewing what we want to detach from.  It’s not something that we do once and we are done!  And here lies the challenge of constantly stretching outside of our comfort zone to grow!  Have big dreams, you’ll grow into them!”

Sage – “This was a really difficult concept for me to grasp - where does my self-worth come from? I learned that our self-worth is inherent. We are all inherently worthy and we are all inherently lovable. We are all inherently precious and we are already full.  Be the voice, not the echo!”

Mage – “I learned to balance the three-legged chair that represent the Drive, Soothing and Threat self-compassion systems. To look for harmony and not just for high adrenaline action. To look out of the window and see that there will always be some sun, clouds or rain. And that the openness of the windows will not be affected by what goes by.  It remains completely untouched. Like the soul and the spirit. That’s the part of us that is always happy. Life is not a race, it’s a gift. Enjoy it, don’t rush through!”

Approachable – “As I step out into the unknown, I see a better side of myself that I hope I can put to use in my forward-looking organisation. I want to make a difference to people around me. And enjoy learning from people that I will be meeting in the next phase of my journey. Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!”

Living in the Present – “Before I joined this programme, I have to confess that although authenticity was an important value for me, I had many doubts it was really appreciated by others. Especially when you are surrounded by inauthentic people who perceive you as naïve. However, having now completed this programme, I am even more convinced that authenticity is a great quality that aligns us with our mind and heart and so I will now continue to value and show up authentically even more. Fear is just a feeling and you can get over it!”

Yoga Lady – “I'm just constantly amazed at where I was and where I arrived. The difference that it made, and the words that I've learned, such as authenticity and vulnerability. They were not words in my vocabulary and I certainly didn't recognise them as valuable terms. They have now become integral to my life. I have never focused on creating the impossible and now I feel it’s within my reach and almost quite tangible. I’ll just have to remember to celebrate the little things!”

Master Curator – “The ultimate thing that makes me the happiest is the freedom to be able to do what I want. Enjoying the flexibility and the beauty in the journey, learning and being inspired by A-mazing people. My wildest dream is to have my business listed on the Stock Exchange.  And even if I have to change along the way, I've learned a lot and I continue to grow. No regrets, I know I’m capable of A-mazing things!”

Brave Kora – “My biggest insight has been the power of practicing true listening. Giving someone the attention and the time they truly deserve. And seeing relationships and partnerships flourish as a result. It has been empowering to believe in ourselves and grow in confidence. My biggest dream is to share what I’ve learnt with others who could benefit immensely from it. I am here to inspire!”

Revolutionary Lucy – “It's easier to detach when you're younger. It gets harder when you get older, because you just accumulate more things - more relationships, more feelings, more experiences, more desires……. An institutional entity is a group of individuals, who collectively have to come together to find solutions and make corporate life sustainable, at a time when it’s becoming unsustainable. When we all need to unplug!”

And our Kind Mind has simply left us with the deepest message – “In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, calm is a superpower”. 

Our Wise Healer Carmen stated audaciously – ““Our manifesto is to create a new work-life corporate lifestyle balance and make it more enjoyable and sustainable. It's going to be our 222 Leadership Movement. There's plenty of knowledge, smarts and hearts in this room to come up with an A-mazing and sustainable solution. And remembering that our tribe attracts our vibe!”

And our own Wisdom Queen Tatiana concluded – “Leaders stand into their edges audaciously, creating the present from their future selves. The commonality of our experience is what actually connects us. Start to show up as your future self.  Act as if you have already achieved your wildest dream. And remember that mistakes are proof that you are trying!”

And the message that I got in a bottle from this A-mazing community?  “Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly!”

We are standing for co-creating a future that does not yet exist. A future we may not yet be prepared for, but for which we are ready!  And today we have completed our first small journey on a long path of co-creating an A-mazing community of A leaders, with audacity, excitement and joy!

You can read books or watch videos about leadership, but you'll only truly learn to be a leader from doing it —and more importantly, from sharing your mistakes and celebrations along the way. 

And if you read so far, you are A-mazing!

If you would like to find out more about our next A-list programme and our A-mazing leaders community, you are welcome to reach us on: office@adaptaa.co.uk

July 22, 2020 - No Comments!

Meet our future selves

Today at our 5th A-list session for our A-mazing leaders, entitled Aspiration, our Wisdom Queen, Tatiana, led us on a powerful visualization journey. We were transported to meet our future selves who told us what is the most important thing to pay attention to, in the next 20 years. Seeing and feeling the energy, the space and the place of where and who we subconsciously aspire to be in 20 years’ time. And learn to be NOW, who we aspire to be in 20 years' time.

It was truly A-mazing to really "SEE" us as us.

Most of our future selves, turned up to be our present selves, maybe just hidden away. It was fascinating and empowering to see that some of our A-mazing leaders are already living happily in their futures, whilst others are looking forward to the next 20 years’ journeys and what they will become. 

I wanted to capture the energy and the emotional journey that some so powerfully experienced. And some journeys were a lot more emotional than others. Travelling 20 years in 20 minutes. Discovering the nick names of our future selves given to us by the communities we will be living in. 

And writing our own stories:  Johnny being happy and content already, the Fighter celebrating all the massive achievements accomplished already, Boule d'Energie knowing she has all the energy to do what it takes, the Queen knowing she has the power to make it all happen, Living in the Present realizing the power of being present to what is and not worrying so much about the future, Sunny being a shiny positive force already, Saviour being on a mission to find and spread balance, Powerful Smile committing to not lose that smile as she gets older, Approachable committing to play this game with his wife and find a joint name for their life together, Yoga Lady finding the serenity and calmness she has been looking for, Wise Healer welcoming guests in her mountain retreat, Beautiful Soul writing her book that will touch other souls, Brave Kora seeing herself aging beautifully and never stop believing that the journey will be a great one 😉 and of course Wisdom Queen who will enchant all of us with her magic wisdom!

Tatiana taught us that our Thoughts are energy…as proven by recent science experiments.  So when we work on creating an image aligned with our values, aligning our thoughts with that image and feeling those thoughts and emotions in our body, we manifest the actions which are aligned to getting to that dream…and as if by magic, the Universe returns and reflects that energy back to us. The energy of Action and Re-action. 

Our present is very much influenced by our past. And in an equal measure, our present is also very much influenced by our ability to imagine the future. Imagining the future that we want to create and go about creating it already. 

Begin to look at yourself through the lens of your future self.  Asking myself “What would Beautiful Soul do?” She will write a book that will touch the souls of many more people. “What would Powerful Smile do?” She will keep her smile on, even when life gets difficult.  How would your future self see an opportunity in an adversity? And the truth is, she or he is already in you. Like Michelangelo said: “It is not carving the figure from the stone, it is freeing a figure from the stone.”

I recently came across a quote that really resonated with me and which fitted Tatiana’s session's theme today: "I don't have to change, I only have to remember who I really am!" Thank you for reminding us, our Wisdom Queen!

ADA, 18 July 2020

July 15, 2020 - No Comments!

Audacity – Dare to care and not care

During July 2020, here at Adaptaa, we have been exploring what it means to feel Confident. And what it means to feel Audacious, which is one step beyond confidence. It means taking risks, it means Dare TO Care, and knowing when to Dare AND Care and when to Dare and NOT care.  

Caring is a fundamental human skill, but if you don’t care enough about yourself, you cannot care about others. That’s the paradox of life. 

Confidence is NOT “They will like me.” Confidence is “I’ll be fine if they don’t.”

Humans are wired for social approval. We all like approval from others.  It’s OK to want approval, it’s called being human.  What’s NOT OK is NEEDING approval.  When you care so much about what other people think of you, what you're really saying is that “what you think of me, is more important than what I think of me”.

When you tell yourself that because others don't like you, it means there's something wrong with you, you give that person a lot more power than they deserve.  You need to learn that another person's opinion is just that - their opinion and that's all it is.  You must never give anybody that kind of power and control over you, because they will always have it. This is what I try to teach my kids, which is not an easy task, in the era of social approval and social acceptance measured by the number of likes on social media. 

There's a big difference between wanting approval and needing approval. When you need approval, it means you become powerless and ineffective when you don't get it.  You make other people's opinions more important thank yours.

As a coach to high achieving leaders, what I have noticed is that people who get the most approval in life are the ones who care the least about it.  They care most about staying congruent with their own values. And the ones who get the least external approval, are the ones who are always going after it. 

So if you want approval, you need to understand the paradox of life – when you stop needing the approval of others,  when you stop concerning yourself with what others think of you and start living in accordance with your own values and advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams,  you will meet success.

And what that means is that success is not something that you can get in life. Success is an inner process. Success is something that you bring to everything you do in your life. It isn't something you get out of what you do or what others think of you. And when you get that, and you learn how to make sense of your inner signals, then success will begin to chase you.  Simple and not easy. 

One of my favourite quotes is: “Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.”

Some call synchronicity.  When you are aligned with your deepest values and have the audacity to live your life in full accordance with those values, some unexplainable coincidences happen and success will come into your life in amounts that you never dreamt of before. 

I am finishing off with the title of one my favourite Brene Brown’s books – live “Daring greatly! Have the courage to be vulnerable and transform the way you live, love, parent and lead.”

ADA, 14 July 2020

July 6, 2020 - No Comments!

A-list Community Audacity

During our last A-mazing leaders’ session, we talked about Audacity. The willingness to take risks to fulfil your dreams and your potential. 

And I did an audacious thing and leaned into my edge by showing up "unprepared" and not using my usual perfect slides.  Ready to listen and follow the energy in the room.  For those who don’t know me, preparation and planning are my superpowers, so not using them felt edgy.  And sharing my edginess with the group created some magic. 

Inessa, one of our audacious leaders, reminded me of Churchill ‘s quote "If you want me to speak for 2 hours, I'm ready now, if you want me to speak for 2 min, give me 2 weeks to prepare!"  I was ready for the challenge.  And ready to challenge our leaders to speak up and share audaciously, by stating I was going to be silent for 5 min. After what felt like an eternity to me, a wonderful collection of stories emerged as a result....Stories of courage, of vulnerability and necessity. Of dreams to make the world a better place. Starting with us.

We agreed to put courage over comfort and play big and "dream without limits".  Everyone virtually chose one of the 4 questions from my jar with magical questions:

  1. What would you do with your life if you had all the money you needed?
  2. What would you do if you had all the skills and knowledge you needed?
  3. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
  4. What would you do if you had all the time you needed?

You see, we sometimes blame the lack of resources for our lack of resourcefulness. Or our unwillingness to take risks. You need to find the resourcefulness inside yourself to deal with the fear of or perceived lack of the resources you think you need (money, time, skills/knowledge and failure)!  If you have the resourcefulness, you will find the resources. 

Taking risks is not about being fearless or having no fear. It’s about acknowledging the fear and doing it anyway. It’s about knowing what you know and what you don’t know.  It’s about being open to people, open to ideas, and the chances you take to make your vision and dreams a reality.   

My biggest insight from the session? All of us found it easier to be courageous in our youth, as audacious Kora reminded us! When we had much less to lose. We had no fear of losing the money, the status or the recognition we didn’t yet have! Anything that you are not willing to lose, it has power over you.  The only real freedom is freedom from fear.

What is your fear? And what would you do if you could own that fear? As Tatiana told us “Fear is a gift. It’s telling us when we need to act or which way we need to go”.  

To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.  Let yourself be seen and be audacious. As Carmen told us, “let yourself go and flow with the river of life”.

ADA, 4 July 2020