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Career Coaching Networking Tips

Networking can be daunting for some people, it can be one of those things on the ‘to do’ list that never quite happens or for some it can be an enjoyable highlight of the week and a pleasurable way to do business.

Here are some tips that have worked for me and for my clients to make networking easier and more productive:

Be prepared: Research the various networking meetings available and choose ones where people attend, that you want to meet; set objectives of what you want to achieve and who you will speak to at each event, not how many sales you will make.

First impressions: Look your best and behave in a business-like way; be on time; have up-to-date business cards to hand; give a good handshake and keep eye contact, look and sound relaxed and confident.

Introducing yourself: Prepare what you are going to say about yourself, whether it is a ’60 second’ presentation or for a one-to-one introduction, think about what is important to get across and eliminate unnecessary waffle.

Listening and questioning: Listen carefully to what people say to you and ask questions that are relevant and show interest in their work/business; find out as much as you can before you talk about yourself, so you can tailor what you say to make the best connections with them and show how you can add value to them.

Work the room: Be ‘present’ i.e. focus on the person you are talking with; be respectful, when it is time to move on, thank them for their time, rather than making an excuse to leave; remember your objectives, make time to speak to all the key people on your list.

Build relationships: Find common ground, be generous, helpful and positive; you are there to make connections to start to build relationships with people you may do business with in the future; do not try to sell to people, this will make them back off.

Follow up: The most important thing after the event is to follow-up, send an initial email, take any action you agreed with them and then diarise to make a follow-up contact.

Follow them on Twitter, befriend them on Facebook, connect on Linkedin, read and comment on their blog, all these actions will ensure your name stays fresh and positive in their minds for whenever a business opportunity may arise.

Happy networking and do comment below if you have anything to add.

Lindsay

Life Coaching Tips for Boundaries and Saying No


Clear boundaries help us to thrive

Some of us feel we were to born to please others and so often say yes when we really want to say no.  This can lead us to do things we don’t want to do, become overloaded with work or run out of time to do what we really want to do.

This lack of clear boundaries can contribute to feeling stressed, frustrated and even angry because we’ve given in again or our good nature has been taken advantage of and we are not focusing on what is important to us, just what is important to someone else.

To change this pattern of behaviour:

 Step 1: we need to draw on our value of honesty and start by being honest with ourselves.  Decide what is ok and what is not ok, trusting our ‘gut instinct’ to recognise when we really do not want to do something.       

Step 2: we need to start being honest with others, tell them kindly that we would like to help, but cannot agree to their request, at least not within the timescales they are asking. Say what would be ok or when we could help or agree to their request, but only within the boundaries that are really acceptable to us.

By following these two simple steps, we will quickly find that we become happier, less stressed and so healthier.  If we are honest with ourselves, we can then be honest with others and they will respect us more for it.

Changing behaviours takes practice, so give it a go and see how you get on, then reflect back on your progress and notice any times when you could have made a better decision. Don’t waste energy beating yourself up for it, just make sure that when that kind of situation happens again you are ready for it and make a better choice being honest with yourself and those around you.

If you have followed these steps, I would love to know how you got on, so do add a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes

Lindsay

Life Coaching NLP to enjoy life

Autumn treesIf you wished you enjoyed life more each day then read on for a useful Life Coaching NLP technique.

With the busy, stressed lives we lead, we can sometimes find ourselves ‘going through the motions’ of enjoying ourselves, without actually feeling it.  How many times have you been out with friends, been to family parties, or even been on holiday but when you look back afterwards, can you really say you enjoyed yourself or even remember what happened without looking at the photos!

We can have very full social lives but not actually have fun, if we haven’t learnt to ‘be present’, by that I mean, live in the moment.  If we are always checking our phones, worrying about how soon we can leave or thinking about what we going to do afterwards, then we are not being present and are unlikely to be really enjoying ourselves.

To help ‘be present’, use all your senses to be in the moment:

– really look at what you can see around you,
– focus on really listening to what you can hear,
– notice how you are feeling at that moment,
– touch the things around you, maybe the hand next to yours,
– allow good smells and tastes to linger a while and soak them up.

For example: a simple walk in the park can be really improved if you take time to focus on the moment.  Look at the colours and patterns of the leaves, trees and grass around you, listen to the birds and the wind, smell and taste the air, touch a flower or a tree, focus on how you feel right now.

Using all your senses helps to relish and really live in the moment, to enjoy that time much more; it also helps you to remember it more vividly.

So if you want to enjoy life more, practice this technique until it becomes a good habit and part of the way you live your life.

Enjoy!

Lindsay

Wellbeing Tip: Pockets of Rest

With the stressed lives we lead, it is so important to take rest when and where we can.

My yoga teacher talks about taking ‘pockets of rest’ in certain yoga postures, during our intense 90 min class and it took me a while to really understand and value what she was talking about.  Now I find myself applying this concept to every day life.

It is possible to manage the fast-paced living, the multi-tasking, the multi-media world we live in, if we just look for and make the most of those ‘pockets of rest’.  Even if you can’t get away from it all on holiday or take a real break, you can regularly take a few moments to centre yourself, breathe deeply, take time to think and just be.

‘When am I going to find time to do that…?’ I hear you cry, well, next time you’re standing in a queue, waiting for a late train, stuck in a traffic jam, sitting waiting for an appointment with someone running late; rather than stressing yourself, getting angry at the waste of time or worrying about the rush you’re in, reframe the situation and view it as an opportunity for a pocket of rest, when you can just breathe and be, for a few moments or a few minutes. 

Put the world on hold, step off that ‘hamster wheel’ and find a comfortable, cosy place in your mind and take time to think and recharge yourself a little, you will feel so much better for it.

You’ll soon find yourself joining the longest queue, so you can take a moment for yourself!

Enjoy…

Lindsay

Career Choices

The decisions we make about which career we will follow significantly affect our levels of happiness for the rest of their lives.

So how do people choose a career?

Some go for the best paid careers, some go into the family business, some may choose a career that teachers or friends say they would be good at, whilst others may take whatever job comes along and see where it leads.

For me, a better way to ensure you are choosing the right career for you is to understand your career values, then find a career and an employer that are a good fit with those values.  This way you will be tapping into your core motivators and you will be honouring the values that are important to you which will help you to feel happy and fulfilled.

If you have career values such as freedom, choice and flexibility then it is unlikely that you would enjoy a 9-5 office job, whereas if you value security, certainty, reliability then this might be the right career choice for you.  If you value creativity, beauty and inner peace then a city-based job in finance or admin is not going to give you an environment to thrive in, whereas working from home, a studio or spa may well do.

Public or private sector? I have found that people doing well working in the public or voluntary sector are more likely to have values of making a difference, service and contribution, whereas in the private sector, values of achievement, independence and ambition are more common.

Understanding your career values stops you choosing the wrong career and environment for you and helps you to choose a career, employer and environment in which you will be happy, fulfilled and productive and will thrive and so are more likely to be successful.

If you would like to understand your values better then you might like to complete the free values exercise on my website and if you send the results form back to me online I would be very happy to offer you with a free 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your values and what they mean for your choice of career. www.careercoachlondon.com/values.html

Best wishes

Lindsay

Career Coaching tips for writing a great CV

Curriculum VitaeThere is so much information available on how to produce a Curriculum Vitae (CV), it can be difficult to know where to start, so I’ve simplified things into 3 key areas:

Create an impression
Imagine you are the employer reading the CV, what are you looking for, what does this CV
tell you about the person applying for the job, what are they like, do they have what you are looking for?  Use this technique to critique your own CV and help you to identify the areas that need enhancing.
Make sure your name is clear at the top, with easy to find contact details, then have a strong summary paragraph which gives the reader a good feel for who you are and whether you are the kind of person they want to hear more from.  Take care what you include in the personal details and interests section at the end; think about the impression you are creating.

Good structure
It is usually more important to demonstrate your skills and achievements than your exam results, so prioritise these on the first page of your CV and leave education and training to the second page.  Keep the content relevant to the job you are applying for;  match the skills and achievements to the requirements in the advert, this makes it easier for the reader to see you are a good fit for the job. 
Bullet points and quantities also help to get important information over clearly, e.g. I managed a team of 10 people; I controlled a budget of £100k; I had responsibility for banking daily takings of £5k cash; my project delivered benefits of £350k; I handled 35 customer calls per day.

Powerful Language
The kind of language used in a CV is just as important as in an interview situation.  Are you a manager or a leader? Are you a supporter or an achiever? Are you a team player or do you just work in a group?  Choose language in your CV to create the best impression.
Words like efficient, effective, capable and organised are appropriate for an admin or office type role.  Whereas, words such as created, designed, influenced and directed show much more of a personal contribution.  Project type roles call for words like achieved, accomplished, resolved, delivered and facilitated. For a managerial role, words like led, coached, mentored, motivated and liaised are more powerful than just managed.

Your CV is a representation of you; it is your first and best chance to get in front of a future employer so make it count.

I’d like to help, so if you’d like a free CV review, email your CV to me at lindsay@careercoachlondon.com

Good luck with that job!

Lindsay

Coping with Change

Change aheadThey say ‘there is one thing in life that is constant and that is change’ which can make it feel daunting, however if we view change as just the transition from one set of circumstances to another, it makes it more manageable.

 This week I shall be talking about coping with change at the Wellbeing Group I run in Winchmore Hill, for details go to www.careercoachlondon.com/wellbeing-group.html 
Here are a few tips that we will be covering, which I hope you will find helpful.

 Recognise the impact of the change: it can affect people in different ways, for some its negative thoughts, worries and concerns; others feel it emotionally in negative feelings, anxiety and panic or with tears. In more severe cases the impact can take its toll physically, for example affecting our weight or giving us skin, breathing or digestives conditions.

 Grounding techniques help to regain a sense of stability, such as thinking of all the good things in your life and in the world that are not affected by this change; or thinking of other times when you have coped well with a change and remember how you did it to give you confidence to do it again; or think ‘happy thoughts’ and remember good times that comfort you.

 Face the fear by working out what it is you are afraid of and breaking the change down into small steps, plan forward but focus one day at a time to make it more manageable and give you a sense of control; reframe the change into something more positive by taking a different perspective; know and reassure yourself that the transition period of change will end and a new ‘normality’ will settle you again.

 Emotional support is essential; talk to supportive friends and family who will encourage you through the change; a hug, a smile and a cup of tea can go a long way to improving how you feel.  Understanding which of your values are affected negatively by the change is also extremely helpful and drawing on other values will help to motivate you to take action to improve things.  For more information on values and to learn more about your own, see the free values exercise on my website www.careercoachlondon.com/values.html

 Relax and energise yourself by using breathing exercises, meditation or yoga; get active in whatever way you enjoy, e.g. go for a walk, a run, a swim, to the gym, dance, sing.  Even cleaning the house or washing the car can be good exercise and give you a sense of normality.  Keeping yourself relaxed and energised will help to ensure the stress of the change does not affect your health and will keep you strong to handle the challenge.

 I hope this is helpful and I look forward to hearing your views.

Lindsay

Introduction to Values

Values: That 'lightbulb moment' of self-awarenessMany times through my years in coaching, it has struck me how important values are; identifying ones own values can be a true ‘lightbulb moment’ of self awareness for most people.

Values are the things that are important to us, the core of who we are, the foundation of our lives, our reason for being, what makes us tick and indeed what makes us angry or upset if not honoured. 

When I ask people what is important to them, often the responses are things like family, health or money, however these are not values.  If we look a little deeper into ourselves and ask: what do these things give us? what do we get from them that is important to us? only then do we get closer to finding our core values e.g. from family we might get a sense of love, support or kindness. From having good health, we might get a sense of wellbeing or vitality.  Money might give us security, choice or freedom.

We will find different values in different aspects of our lives, for example in terms of career we might value responsibility, recognition and sense of achievement, whereas in our home life, we might have values of stability, happiness and love.  In our relationships with friends, we might value trust, honesty and loyalty.  In interests or hobbies, things like fun, growth and contribution might be important to us. There may also be some cross-over, so values like fairness and respect may be important to us in all aspects of our lives and in all our relationships.

All these things may be important to us to a degree, the key is to find out which of them are our core values, the ‘top ten’ values that are individual and crucial to us that must be honoured in our lives for us to be happy and feel fulfilled. 

When I have undertaken values exploration exercises with clients, they often say, ‘yes that’s me on a page!’ when they see the list of their top ten values, which represent their uniqueness and the core of who they are and what matters most to them.  That new self-awareness and understanding allows them to focus and move forward in a positive way.

Once we understand our own true individual set of values, then we have a foundation that we can build on to construct a life that will bring us happiness and fulfilment.

If you would like to learn more about your own values go to www.careercoachlondon.com/values.html and complete the free values exercise to experience the power of values for yourself.

Lindsay

Waste Bin or Waistline?

At The Wellbeing Group I run in Winchmore Hill this week, Bridgette Mansfield Hypnotherapist was speaking about weight loss and to all us overeaters, she said that food is better ‘in the waste bin than on the waistline’.

This advice really struck a chord with me, as I was brought up always to finish everything on my plate and I absolutely hate waste of any sort. Whilst I eat really healthy food, I do often find myself eating more than I need to, just because I don’t want to throw it away.

So I challenged myself to find better ways to avoid the waste than just eating it all up…
– Buying smaller plates was suggested to me, this certainly helps to serve a smaller portion in the first place.
– Serving up food (particularly things like pasta and chilli) onto plates and the rest onto a spare plate for tomorrow’s lunch or freezing it, to avoid having seconds works well for me.
– Drinking a glass of water before a meal, so I feel fuller quicker and am therefore happier to stop eating earlier is ok but not my preferred option.
– If I really can’t make good use of leftovers, I have changed my belief that all waste is bad, to a new more helpful belief that when it comes to food, it is indeed better in the waste bin than on my waistline.

If you have any more suggestions, I would love to hear from you.

For more information on The Wellbeing Group go to www.careercoachlondon.com/wellbeing-group.html

First Impressions Count

I recently delivered a career coaching workshop and one of the things I talked about that people found most useful was understanding how first impressions are made and therefore how important they are, so I wanted to share this with you.

Did you know that on average a first impression is created in as little as 3 seconds?

1…2…3…decision made

Why does that matter?

Think about how many times we meet someone new in the space of a week or a month.  The impression we make on them in those first few seconds will colour how they think about us forever.

Think about the judgements we make about people we meet based on the way they look, what they are wearing even how they shake our hand.

Whether it’s in a job interview, a business meeting, a social event or on a date, the preparation you put into creating that first impression is very likely to be time well spent.

How are first impressions made?

Career Coaching First Impressions

A huge 55% of the first impression we make is based on our physiology that is non-verbal signals such as our posture, gestures, facial expressions, dress, grooming, handshake, spatial behaviour and breathing.

Then 38% is based on the tone of our voice including, volume, pitch and tempo.

Only 7% of that first impression is based on the content of what we say; the key words and phrases used.

How much more successful could you be, if you improved that first impression?