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World Kindness Day – lessons for business (and life.)

World Kindness Day was invented in 1998. 23 years to appreciate the importance of kindness;

  • How it helps us break down divides and differences.
  • How it helps us to appreciate the world from someone else’s point of view.
  • How it connects and nurture us, our friends and family, our communities, our networks at work and in life and even our online worlds.
  • How it can help us be better leaders, managers and parents
  • How it can lead to better solutions for businesses and societies.

And yet according to Advance HE “Racial discrimination in higher education continues to exist. Despite the events of the past year and heightened focus on structural and institutionalised racism, we see growing tensions arising from differing cultural, ethnic and other identities, both on campus and in wider society.” * (1)

According to research by Lenovo there is a kindness gap in UK society with 82% of UK citizens placing value on living in a kind and empathic society but only 37% believe they live in a city that is like this. (2)

Further evidence that kindness is not riding high comes from the annual Report Harmful Content that says online hate speech increased by 225% last year!

Every area of our lives has seen the negative impact of a lack of kindness. As a mental health ambassador, I’ve been working with charities and organisations to raise awareness on mental health and wellbeing for 17 years and we still have the same issues that if we had a greater level of kindness in the world we could help lessen and eradicate. So what can we do about this?

This world kindness day, don’t just share a post and think “I’m doing my bit.” Up your game;

Here are 6 powerful ways you can make the next year a kinder one both personally and professionally;

1.         We all know someone that annoys us. Instead of continuing with this they annoy me, it does this to me, it has this impact on me, I then respond like this, it negatively impacts on me like this…. response. Look to understand what about this person annoys you? (If you’ve read my books or attended any sessions with me you will know strategy is from the Negative spiral.)

Understanding our own “Hot buttons” and our own way of thinking, acting and responding can help us bridge the gap between ourselves and people we don’t get on with. We won’t necessarily change them, but we will be able to change our response and see the world differently. This is great in business; enabling very different thinkers to work together powerfully to a common goal.

2. I read a great quote in a book on philosophy that asked, “what is the purpose of arguing?” I love reading bout ancient philosophers (who still have so much to teach us since us humans still have brains and minds) I learnt that an argument is an opportunity to learn, and not what most people think.

Alas what Aristotle said wasn’t so simple as, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” He actually said;

““It is right that we ask [people] to accept each of the things which are said in the same way: for it is the mark of an educated person to search for the same kind of clarity in each topic to the extent that the nature of the matter accepts it. For it is similar to expect a mathematician to speak persuasively or for an orator to furnish clear proofs!

Each person judges well what they know and is thus a good critic of those things. For each thing in specific, someone must be educated [to be a critic]; to [be a critic in general] one must be educated about everything.”

Okay so not as snappy but it teaches us a lot. If we can understand others, we can be kinder in our response. I’ve had thousands of coaching conversations with individuals and teams where this approach has led to eureka moment, so consider your response. You can’t possibly know everything so it’s a good reminder that your mind, your knowledge, your beliefs and view of the world will not match everyone’s. Accepting and honouring that can make you a kinder person and better in business and life.

3. Be real. This is not for everyone, however in a world that is becoming so polarising and causing so many divides the more honest, transparent and real you can be the better. That doesn’t mean you’ve got shout in the office “I ate the last cookie and hate Monday meetings; you all talk too much!” but it does mean that you respond to the world in a more honest way.

Bella Hadid (3) the international Instagram model with over 47 million followers shared her own very personal images of her crying and upset, talking about her own mental health. While I think this is good in some respects. It has its limitations. After posting this Bella probably has the funds to access confidential help and do what she needs to do to be mentally well and strong. Many don’t have this option and will have to battle on through because bills need to be paid and they don’t have millions of followers to say you can do it or the confidence to say what is really going on.

When I shared my frustration that a recovery company left me after being robbed in a city centre in the middle of the night for 2.5 hours most of the comments were constructive. (4) I’d aimed to highlight that to stay safe sometimes those that we trust aren’t doing what they should (I think I’ll probably move away from this organisation and not trust it to look after my children should they break down either) and I wanted to highlight this to my friends online and hopefully get the recovery agency to attend faster! I wasn’t expecting someone to accuse me of being a victim and looking for attention or being someone that fails to motivate and inspire people no matter what they face to achieve in life.

If you follow me on social media, you will know that my husband and I have faced a lot this year. As one of my mastermind groups and a lawyer put it “You’ve been through a fair bit this year.” Let’s just say so as not to bore you that if we wrote the last 18 months into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, they’d write it out straight away for being too unrealistic!

The Most Heartbreaking Moments on Grey's Anatomy so Far

I was just incredibly unlucky to have my car singled out from a line of cars and be robbed. I wasn’t expecting an attack on social media afterwards. I asked my mastermind group if I was boring people, over sharing and not as I have aimed through out the last year to showcase, we can overcome everything. That with the right mindset no matter what we face we can be happy, lessen our stress levels and still achieve great things.

As I said to my mastermind group, it is one thing after the trauma, accident, brain tumour, tsunami, mental health breakdown, obstacle to stand on a stage and inspire others when you have the evidence to say it all worked out fine, it is quite another level of resilience, determination, strategy and mindset to deliver this in the midst of the hell.

On reflection would I share again?
Yes, because I’m honest and real. If I cock up, I will be honest and look to learn, if you create a world that says yes to you and reinforces what you believe, then how can you grow and improve?

How will you know what works and what doesn’t?

To be kind consider the part you play in the global attitude to social media.

Do you make assumptions or share in a way that inspires motivates and supports others?

There’s a big difference between moaning and honesty and I think the line can be very blurred sometimes. Step back and ask how do I wish to be represented online? What is my message? My brand? It doesn’t matter who you are – student, retired teacher, business owner, leader or speaker. What are you projecting to the world?

And if your life is all perfection online ask yourself how you are impacting on others?

4. “I’m fine” a statement made so often. When I spoke to my husband’s oncologist about support, they advised that it is very common to see that cancer patients are alone in the world. In the early months patients are inundated with support both practical and emotional, but as the time passes people fade away. It gets harder for the patient and their community to connect and be kind to one another as their worlds are so different. The offers of traybakes and trips to the hospital diminish and the “How are you really?” conversations dry up as people move on with their lives.

A big way you can be kind is to ask if you are hearing what you want to hear or what they are saying? We often hear what we want to hear so that we can continue down the path we are taking. When I was working with a business team, the leader chose to hear that everyone was fine because that was what they had been told, however the profits, the absenteeism, the lack of growth and the length of meetings and inboxes told a different story. Choosing to hear what people were really thinking (but not confident to share) meant the company, the team and every individual felt honoured. And of course, happier too.

So, what do you really hear?

5. Helping others is a proven way to support yourself and make this world a better place. According to an AmeriCorps report, people who volunteer 100+ hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the U.S.

Studies have shown that helping others can;

  • reduce loneliness and stress.
  • make you happy.
  • make you feel connected to the world.
  • help you learn new skills and new knowledge.
  • gain a greater understanding of the world.
  • build communities.
  • reduce social and racial tension.
  • boost your self esteem.
  • improve your career prospects and earning potential.
  • increase your brain function.
  • AND make the world a better place.

I often talk in leadership and team coaching sessions about how the chemicals are bodies can create can be actively produced if we do the right things. It has been viewed as fluffy and emotional when I talk in corporate settings about the softer side of being human, but there’s nothing soft or fluffy about understanding what you think can actively change your performance, happiness, health and even how much money you make!

In my talk on controlling the uncontrollable that I’ve delivered for many organisations and businesses to help them migrate to 4 days weeks and navigate through the fast paced changes our personal and professional lives have to travel through, this slide has proven a big talking point;

To view the full slide show/article click here

How are you looking to set off positive chemical responses in others?

(These are obviously just a few examples, and none are essential!) however it does highlight how it is not rocket science to find ways to be kind and leads us nicely onto…

6. You. To be kind in this world, you have to start with you. If you’ve heard me speak, you know I ask you to tell me where you fit on the Importance ladder?

  • Down at the bottom, doing everyone’ bidding feeling completely downtrodden broken and unable to cope?
  • Or just as valuable and as important as everyone else acknowledging and honouring your own needs?

This not only supports you to do more for others it also ensures you are a great role model for those around you. Despite the endless hospital appointments, calls and surgeries I can hand on heart say that I’ve prioritised my needs as much as I have anyone else’s. And this has ensured that despite every challenge and obstacle I’ve not missed a single speaking gig, coaching session or training day and my business continues to grow.

Kindness, pays, so 23 years after International Kindness Day started isn’t it time, we all considered how powerful it could be and do something about it?

If you have enjoyed this article and aim to do something about it, then I’d love to hear more. You can connect on social media, email me or even pick up the phone!

Social media links are at the stop of the homepage.

Tel +44 (0) 798 935 556

Email – mandie@mandieholgate.co.uk

(1) https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/events/race-equality-colloquium-2022

(2) https://news.lenovo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/New-Realities-Empathy-And-Technology-Report.pdf

(3) https://www.instagram.com/bellahadid

(4) shorturl.at/moIY4

  • November 13, 2021

3 O’s – overworked, overwhelmed and overloaded

You don’t need to be presenting signs of the 3 O’s to be not working as productively as you could. Performing to an exceptional standard requires you to constantly consider what you are doing, why you are doing it, what it will give to you and what results you want to see as a result.

The pandemic has made many question “Is this the best way?”

One team I worked with were able to reduce absenteeism to 0% thanks to the strategies we put into place. They started to see an improvement after our first 3 hour session. The knock on long term effect was that many team members said they felt far more in control of their role and like their voice was heard.

The management team said that they found their teams came to them with ideas and solutions, rather than problems and concerns. It made performance so much better and didn’t take a lot of work, because we concentrated on the individual and their needs and how that was to work along side the organisational needs and results. When you understand how you think, you can understand how you act and the results you get.

Improve the quality of your thoughts and emotions and you improve your actions and results – it sounds simple but it takes a bit more than that to understand the science of the way you think and it’s implications for you, your team and your business.

Whatever your budget I’ve a way of supporting you and your team to work smarter.

If you are considering the 4 day week, just adjusting what hours your team work is not going to be enough.

This is an opportunity to really consider your mission, your values, your culture, your outcomes and the way you want your team to feel every day that they work for you.

Increasingly in the UK the cost of rehiring is around £11,000 per member of staff so this is not just about happy teams and the implications of this on your organisations success, it’s also about profit.

This is a brief slideshow of the key strategies I utilise with teams around burnout, performance, productivity and the 3 O’s.

Every training session, speaking engagement and coaching session is tailor made to you and your team and what you are working on. This ensures results fast.

  • September 8, 2021

£5 billion in avoidable sick days – 10 ways to avoid the true cost of burnout

According to Indeed (1) burnout is on the rise with 80% of those asked saying Covid had made burnout worse.

The cost to business is around £5 billion with 43% of all sick days in the UK alone due to burnout.

In business it is likely to cause;

  • Absenteeism.
  • Mistakes.
  • Disgruntled staff.
  • Poorly performing teams.
  • Reduced productivity and even damage profitability and innovation in business.

Here are 10 strategies to fight overwhelm, overload and overworking for you and your team. They are all taken from my unique style of coaching that can deliver results for teams within 3 hours. I’m happy to talk you through these strategies and share more – get in touch here.

1. Create a communications policy for your company

I’ve created over 40 communication policies this year for teams and each has been unique. They have included things like “No email to be sent after 1pm on a Friday” this stops the “get it off of my desk mentality” and improves communication and team relationships. Or having an agreed green, red, orange system for subject line – green – for your information no need to reply, orange – you may need to be involved, please review and reply as necessary, red – urgent please respond within 4 hours. Agree on a policy and then communicate it, ensuring you reflect and review 6 weeks later to see what is working and what needs to change. You will be surprised how many in your team do not know when it’s okay to walk into your office or to phone you because the conversation has never happened and they are worried they will be in your way, disturb you, ask something stupid or look like they can’t do their job. Fact.

2. Negative to positive.

It’s a lot harder to make improvements when you don’t know what is causing the issue. If you’ve read my book Fight the fear or Taking control of your mind you are not new to the negative spiral strategy. Everything you achieve (or not) is as a result of your feelings, emotions, actions and results. If you think of the negative spiral as the M25 (for my international readers this is a UK ring road around London; notorious for being congested, jammed and slowing down journeys. It can take you 2 hours to get to your destination or 5 hours!) Now imagine that ring road with no exits. The negative spiral is just that, a way of being trapped in a continual loop of negative feelings, emotions, actions and results. When you know the negative you can do something about it.

If you look at this short version you can see that one feeds the other. You don’t need to go in order of feeling, emotion, action and result. It could be in any order. What do you notice?

You can now look to create breaks between each bubble. When I do this with clients we see how bad the negative spiral can get, imagine what a positive version could look like and then come up with lots of ideas on what could break the pattern between each bubble. This is quite a complex strategy to do justice to so get in touch if you’d like more guidance (or re – read Fight the fear and/or taking control of your mind for reminders on how they work.)

3. It is what it is

This is a statement I’ve heard in practically every corporate team coaching session. Every single one. What’s wrong with that you ask?

Well if you believe that it is what it is then you aren’t looking for solutions or ways of making things better for you, your team or your business. It is a victim mentality that holds teams stuck in poor working practices, overloading communication practices and damaging ways to work. Challenge everything at work that this statement is levied at. What other statements are made that take away any opportunity to improve things?

And in every session I’ve heard this statement, by coaching the team through what they believe is possible we’ve helped them make better choices.

4. No

This tiny word gained a whole chapter in Fight the fear, because so many of us fear using it. The irony is that people that are good at saying no, rarely have to use the word.

  • Where and when do you constantly say yes?
  • Do you worry about not looking like a team player?
  • Do you worry you look like you can’t cope so you always say yes?

If you understand what inspires your instant yes’s you are able to work out what it does to you and your own list of jobs (remember the negative spiral from above?) and how to create a better way of communicating. When we’ve explored this word and it’s power in teams, I often see that the team are worrying about letting each other down. Causing everyone to over deliver and say yes that creates a culture of working that is unsustainable and damaging to all, so speaking up could literally save others too!

5. Listen to your body

I still hear people proudly exclaim that they got up at 5am, not had lunch and are powering through. After all we know about burnout and stress this is astonishing. If you won’t look after your body because you literally can’t survive without one consider looking after your body because it will work better and perform better if you do.

According to the HR Booth(2), dehydration alone can cause your employees to struggle with concentration, productivity and happiness.

It doesn’t take a genius to suss that if you don’t eat well then your body can’t perform well. This has many implications on burnout.

6. Really listen to your body

We’ve become attached to our computers thanks to the pandemic and as a result we aren’t moving as much as we used to. There is growing evidence to suggest that even a short walk can benefit your mental dexterity.

And just 10 minutes in nature can make you feel more emotionally strong and less stressed. Taking a break actually makes you think better and faster, it can even change your perception of time (see below).

I encourage clients to work on a task for 40 minutes then take a short break. It’s amazingly effective for problem solving and the ability to work for longer. As you step away while you think you aren’t working on the task you need to complete, your subconscious is processing everything you were doing and carries on doing this, so that when you return “magically” you’ve got new ideas to use.

7. Ditch or deal

When it comes to To do lists I often find these are the root of a lot of productivity issues and problems that exasperate burnout. A To do list with more than 5 things on is not likely to be achieved in a day. My clients only ever get a maximum of 5 actions towards any goal. Why? Because too many jobs on there and it becomes overwhelming. They then have back burner ideas – things they can work on after they’ve completed the first 5 tasks, this ensures they stay focused, stay motivated and achieve more.

If you’ve things on your to do list that have been there over a week, make the decision to ditch it or deal with it. Prioritise it. Heard the saying “kiss the frog”? My clients learn that the frog becomes a big warty, slimy toad getting bigger and bigger if they don’t get on with it. Deal or ditch.

8. Perception

One of the reasons we end up feeling overworked, overloaded and overwhelmed is because we don’t have the control we would like to have. It’s one of the reasons I can help a team work less hours and get more done with less stress in 3 hours because it’s about how we personally see the world.

I recently wrote about our perception of time. How time can speed up if we are feeling happy and slow down if we are frightened. If we are in awe it can make time seem a lot slower and when we are “on flow” as us coach’s like to say, time flies. By understanding how you see the world you can appreciate what impacts on that. As a coach my job is to help you understand what you believe to be true, what you feel matters, what experiences have shaped your view of the world and what values are important to you. Your experiences, beliefs and values greatly impact on your ability to stop burn out. Learn to recognise what beliefs, values and experiences are motivating and empower you and which ones are damaging.

9. Sacrifice

Lastly what will you sacrifice? To be more resilient and cope better no matter what you face at work means you have to know what you are prepared to sacrifice. For instance;

If you stay late at work you know you are sacrificing quality down time to return to work fully charged the next day.

If you agree to work through your lunch break you are agreeing to an energy slump mid afternoon and the implications that could have on your performance and productivity.

If you sacrifice checking your email you know you will finish that report.

When I look at people’s to do lists we often discover things that are “should’s.” For instance “I should really look at that report they wrote.” Tasks like this that you don’t deal with, you’ve got to ask “For what reason do I not sacrifice something else to achieve this?”

Ideally think in emotions and feelings as well as the physical implications, because ultimately they drive you forward or force procrastination. So if you are harbouring feelings of “It’s so boring, they waffle on and I don’t understand half of it.” Then what are you going to decide to do?

  • Always struggle with reports.
  • Learn new skills, jargon and knowledge to understand.
  • Always feel guilty and like you are failing because this task never gets completed.

Which ever you decide it’s a sacrifice for something you do over something you don’t want to do. Adjust your perception of the tasks and your actions and you will work out the right things to sacrifice so that you aren’t overloaded trying to people please and look like you know everything.

10. Time

Time is a wonderful commodity that we forget we can manipulate, as we’ve already touched upon. With the new ways of working hybrid between office and home it can be all too easy to lump your commute time into your working day. Every team I’ve worked with that were doing this told me it was so they worked less evenings and weekends. This doesn’t work, because they weren’t proactively choosing their use of time.

  • Are you reactive or proactive?
  • Do you start with what everyone else deems is urgent, ie email or do you start with your to do list – that I hope you wrote last night?
  • Do you split your gained commute hours between you and work? This is a great way to look after you and your career. Not by giving it all to the organisation.

Take a few minutes to sit down and work out what your ideal week would look like. Have you ever considered that you may not have to do 9 to 5 at all? Often it’s assumed what the management expect from their teams. I’ve heard so many in coaching sessions say “Well, I can hardly work at 6am and then stop for a few hours just to do the school run can I?” Only to hear the boss say “Actually, why can’t you? As long as I can get hold of you at some point in the day, I don’t care what hours you work, as long as you are looking after yourself and doing your job well.”

This requires open and honest conversations, and while most leaders think they do this every week, rarely do I see this happening. A few books on personal development, leadership and coaching does not make you a coach. And often there’s a risk of trying to establish this kind of relationship without having the knowledge on how to fulfil it.

I’ve hundreds of strategies to enable your team to feel resilient and work more productively thus reducing stress and improving performance. Please do feel free to get in touch. We often hear work smarter not harder, but still so many are failing to grasp how.

(1) https://www.indeed.com/lead/preventing-employee-burnout-report

(2) https://www.thehrbooth.co.uk/blog/the-hr-booth-updates/why-its-important-to-keep-your-employees-hydrated/

  • September 1, 2021

Intro into – How to Control the uncontrollable.

In my first article for The Human Resources Report I outline how to control the uncontrollable.

In a time before elections, Brexit and pandemics we still had a global issue impacting on the world’s economy; Stress.
A WHO led
 study estimated that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. (1) Stress can be caused when we feel like we are losing control, so when you face something so big it’s completely out of your control what can you do about it?
I’m going to share how to control the uncontrollable. A great example would be company A who in the first lock down reduced their absenteeism for their team of 250+ to zero and they said it was “In no small part down to our coaching with you.” I don’t share this so you think I’m awesome I share to prove the uncontrollable can be controlled.
When people feel like they can’t control a situation it can lead to stress, guilt, anxiety and many other negative emotions, put that in the working environment, and I’ve seen it cause;

  • Grapevine mentality.
  • Reduced productivity.
  • Over working and burnout.
  • Micromanagement.
  • Illness
  • Bullying.
  • Them and Us mentality.
  • Defeatism.
  • Anger management issues.
  • Poor teamwork.
  • Lack of creativity.
  • And possibly worse of all a drop in profitability and sustainability for the company.


LET’S LOOK AT WHAT YOU CAN DO:
IS IT TRUE?

Working from home has featured in many coaching sessions this year often with clients stating there’s “Nothing I can do about this” or (my pet hate) “It is the way it is.” When I hear this statement, I know that this is not the case and that it’s the root cause of why the organisation is experiencing issues or not growing as they’d like.
So, the first thing you need to do is challenge what you believe to be true. Statements like;

  • I had to send those emails.
  • It’s always happened like that.
  • It wouldn’t work any other way.
  • I must work that many hours to get it all done.

These are signs that you need to challenge what’s believed to be true. You don’t try and stop the sun rising? Why, because you know it to be out of your control. Do you try and get out of the way of a stampeding bull? Why, because you believe you have control.

These are 2 obvious examples however at work they are more subtle and they are the statements that no one pays attention to. So, learn to!

GET CREATIVE

When you find the hidden beliefs in your organisation your brain will instantly come to your aid with solutions, the tragedy is that these are rarely the right ones. When coaching a team at this stage it is only on page 2 or even page 3 of a flip chart will we discover the really powerful solutions. The reason?

YOUR BRAIN LIKES TO PROVE YOU RIGHT.

So when you say 1 plus 1, it’s already proudly given you the answer. This stops you from finding new more productive ways of working since your brain wants to keep you safe – believing you’ve done all you can and there’s nothing that can be done.

It gets some raised eyebrows when I get people to think with a magic wand. “If you could do anything to fix this, regardless of cost, time, skill what would you do? If bringing Elvis back from the dead would help, we’ve got magic so what would you do?”

This gets people laughing (Or embarrassed for me – that’s all good – challenging your beliefs is tough) and more relaxed so it’s easier to deal with challenges at work when you don’t feel responsible for them. If you are going to use this tool, ensure you ask follow up questions like;

  • “And what would that give you?”
  • “And why would you benefit from that?”
  • Or “And what would that lead to?”

This is where the powerful ideas are!

SHARED GOALS – ACCEPTED AND APPRECIATED DIFFERENCES

In a company you’ll have those that are predominantly interested in the end result, those that are interested that it delivers to your customers what was promised and those that want to ensure it comes on budget.

Trying to get them to think differently won’t work and can cause a lot of stress as different departments feel they have no control over the outcome.

Enabling everyone to appreciate their different views and priorities and how they come to together for the result helps reduce stress, which leads us on to a massive issue when we feel we lack control..

COMMUNICATION RULES

By now you can see that control is not always about control but your perception of it. When you bring everyone together to a common goal that they feel invested in it can be hard to not end up with email mountains. I’ve never seen a team I couldn’t reduce their workload for. Time management improves and staff get happier when they don’t feel like they are constantly chasing their tail to do everything for everyone.
As a company create communication rules. (Go back to the crazy magic wand idea to achieve this.) They can include;

  • No emails to be sent on a Friday afternoon – stops the Sunday night panic to get ahead of the game.
  • Stop blanket “what do I do” emails and encourage “Here’s 3 solutions which would work best” emails?
  • Open door policy applies, Thursday afternoon is quiet afternoon – only email/call if it cannot wait – urgent.
  • Is it really urgent or are you trying to move it from your desk?

These aren’t comfortable conversations, but they help restore a sense of control. If…

BOUNDARIES

Are enforced. Enforced sounds like a harsh word however to restore a sense of control in any environment if everyone creates the rules, everyone lives by them.

If after a few weeks you discover the rules aren’t working for you, don’t be frightened to go through the process again and see what’s working and what needs to alter.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois studied occupational stress and employee well-being, those who have greater “boundary control” over their work and personal lives were better at creating a stress buffer that helped protect them from falling into a negative-rumination trap. (2) and research also teaches us that those that feel like they are respected, and part of the process are usually 90% more committed to a positive result, so it’s a process worth investing in.

And lastly, we all know that trying to have complete control is a cause of stress, therefore by lowering that need for control you can become more in control – ironic right?

Check out Polarity management by Barry Johnson PHD (3), his theory on managing uncontrollable situations has featured in more than a few coaching sessions. he teaches you a more powerful way to see the uncontrollable, instead of trying to control it, work on balancing it and says “those that develop the ability to distinguish between solvable problems and unsolvable polarities and have the ability to respond effectively to each will outperform those who can’t distinguish between them and who try to address all issues from a problem solving perspective.”

The good news for you and your team is that no matter what the future may throw at you and let’s be honest after this year it could be anything, with these skills you are ready for anything, resilient with an adaptive mindset ready to embrace the uncontrollable.

This is such an important subject I will be bringing you future ideas around this to support you and your team. If you would like personalised solutions, do get in touch. My coaching is very unique and gets exceptional results. Working with you and your team will be an honour.

(1) https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/mental-health-in-the-workplace

(2) https://www.mdadvices.com/ArticleDetails/3/control-over-work-life-boundaries-creates-crucial-buffer-to-manage-after-hours-work-stress

(3) https://amzn.to/3m5SYaT

  • December 11, 2020

Can a coach get a dip in confidence and how can you fix it fast?

One of the surprising things to come out of Lock down is a dip in confidence. And I’m not immune.

I was invited to speak at the worlds biggest online conference for Luminary Learning, a company that works with some of the biggest organisations in the world – 18 speakers, 17 hours. (They are doing a bigger one in October and I’m speaking at that too!)

And in the lead up to the big day I had meetings with the team to see if I would fit. I was keen for this to happen because I’m not your usual conference speaker and I didn’t want to stand out (for all the wrong reasons) like the proverbially sore thumb!

I rarely have slides (unless the hosts really want them) and I don’t’ usually follow a set script. Choosing instead to find out what they want for their audiences and what they want the result to be. In that way I will create a mass group coaching style session that is really powerful and ensures people get personalised solutions rather than generic ideas.laughing with mandie holgate business and life coach

As I chatted with the hosts, I ended up showing them my Disney mug of coffee, my tiny dog and even my Olaf Keyring… such a grown up. They loved my honest, fun style and said that with my exceptional knowledge on growing businesses and people I’d be perfect.

So all good right?

Except when you don’t see your audience whether you are a speaker, professional or a business leader it can be tough.

Are they getting what I am saying?

Usually body language gives us massive clues on this. The crossed arms changing to hand at face in deep thought is always a good one to aim for. Along with obviously the laughter and relaxed poses.

So with our world moving to online can you deliver to the same high standard?

Yes of course but watch out for the confidence levels.

As the day of the big event got closer, I found myself writing copious amount of notes on the subject of leadership and building great people. You know, the subject I spend my life coaching people and teams on!

How ridiculous I found myself thinking you know this stuff inside out. “Why are you writing it down?” “Why are you adding stats that you could recite in your sleep!” I shrieked at myself. “Are you likely to lose your mind between now and Saturday!”

It was a dip in confidence. Not to be confused with a sensible level of nerves because you want to do well. One is good for your performance, the other can destroy it. (If you aren’t sure pick up a copy of Fight the fear where I help you reduce your fears to a sensible level often getting rid of them all together but being mindful that sometimes a little nerves is good for you.)

So I did what any good coach would do and I talked to another coach. Me and Gordon Tredgold have been proverbially kicking each other’s butts for years. In fact it’s thanks to him I’ve achieved more and I know I’ve been able to help Gordon too. (I love relationships that are win win like that. I highly recommend Gordon’s books, and yes you guessed it Gordon highly recommends mine too!)

So I messaged Gordon. Something along the lines of “Hey Gordon, I’ve got the major wobbles about Saturday. I know I can do this with bells on but still….”

Gordon replied with the right words as we usually do for each other, but when you are bordering on a dip in confidence that can induce fear (and trust me as author of Fight the fear I know this stuff (again inside out!) if you don’t fix the confidence then fear is only a step away.) So despite the fact I believed Gordon and if Gordon Tredgold tells you, you are an awesome speaker, then you are an awesome speaker I still was feeling concerned at a level I didn’t want to take to the event.

So, I used a tool I created for a client and use all the time…

“Where is your evidence Mandie?” I asked. “Have you got on a stage before and tanked it?”

“No”.

“Have you let an audience or hosts down?”

“Er again, I’m going to have to say No”

“Have you made audiences laugh and learn and have eureka moments that changed lives and business?”

At this stage I was beginning to hate myself just like my clients do when they are faced with the facts that they don’t suck and they are awesome! I knew how my coaching clients felt under my scrutiny and it wasn’t easy to accept but accept it I did. I’m good at my job.

I wanted to share this with you because people often say “You are so confident I bet you never doubt yourself” As a human we all do it, the difference is as a coach I can get myself back into a great mindset and get the results I want because I coach myself and control what is allowed to go on inside my brain. Hence the new book Taking control of your mind is so popular because it helps you do just that.

And just so I don’t let that dip in confidence come back I printed off the amazing words that one of the team sent to me.

Just a quick note to say...thank you very very very very very much for trusting me and for coming on board....your energy was so great that we fed off that....your stories were pointed and you were able to bring it home with each example....it was fantastic.....    It so lively....and hilarious..but drove home a very string point!!!    Thank you so much and both T and myself simply love you and your vibrancy and zest for life!!!!    We are fans and friends for life!!! Will chat soon...

If you want to stay positive it’s important you give yourself visual clues so you don’t revert to negative and stay there because that’s not good for you, your team or your business. And remember people like to be with positive people. People that inspire and motivate them. Those people make tough days and obstacles to success so much easier to overcome.

If you would like to know more about any aspect of this feel free to get in touch and if this made you rethink what you allow to happen in your head a donation on the button on the right would be appreciated, thank you.

I can also request white labelled copies of Fight the fear for your company – minimum order 100 copies.

 

 

  • June 23, 2020

Time Management – too many tasks and not enough time – 10 day plan

I once was sat with a client who protested “I could have 10 days in a week and I’d still not have enough time to get everything done!”

We went on to create a 10 day week and they were right, they had too much to do! But through their coaching session they created this plan and now miraculously have more time, less stress and achieve more. The 10 day week is a strategy for time management that is so powerful that I share it with many business owners, teams and leaders and it helps increase productivity and creativity and reduce stress too.

Below you can download your own version and ensure you also ask the below questions(these are some of the ones that featured in my session with my client), because often when you don’t have enough time in your day these things are the real issue;

  • Not wanting to upset someone by not replying immediately.
  • Not wanting to look like you can’t cope.
  • Fearing missing out or of what people will think of you if you leave the task they’ve asked you to do.
  • Fear of missing out on opportunities.
  • Getting on with the unimportant tasks because they feel easier and you assume the big tasks will fail, be hard or not work.
  • Lacking confidence.
  • Lacking skills.
  • Lacking communication skills to ask for what you want or need.

Questions to ask yourself;

  • At what time of the day do I set my to do list? (Last thing at night is the key time.)
  • Do I open emails at all times of the day or at a set time? (Opening emails and not actioning them wastes precious time, my clients learn to handle every item, message, email task only once.
  • Am I on my agenda or manipulated by others needs? (Can you Justers feature in my book Fight the fear in Chapter 6. Learn how to communicate with them so you achieve more.)
  • Do I have clear goals for this week? This month? This year?
  • Do I honour my needs?
  • Do I put myself at the bottom of the importance list?
  • What stops me from believing in my ability to achieve?
  • What stops me from picking up the phone so I hide behind email?
  • What assumptions am I making on the outcome of this activity? Is it helpful or hindering.

There are lot of questions you need to ask yourself, but if you aren’t achieving it is more likely to do with your perception of what is importance, your confidence and communication and prioritising what your success needs. I’m happy to have a chat to look at this in more detail.10 day plantime management tool 10 day week

  1. When you set up a 10 day week, start on any day you like. You can include weekends or block them out so you only have the working days featuring.
  2. Follow the instructions on the worksheet and question what reasons there could be on inaction or lack of completion.10 day plan
  3. Personally I use an A3 piece of paper and different colours to denote money making jobs, clients needs, silent working time, etc. You don’t have to include lines to your day column although for me I find it makes me take time seriously. I quite often find that I’m so focused on the goals for that week/month/year that I can get ahead of schedule and I’ve never been so update on emails too – hope it helps you too.

My online mastermind group is only £5 a month and gets incredibly results. I’ve just launched all my courses for my mastermind group at £1 each so that I can add more low cost ways to support those looking to achieve more no matter what. Learn more here.

10 day plan down load yours here

  • March 26, 2020

You, Your team and time management – how to achieve more every day.

Not getting as much done as you would like?
Please don’t read another book.
Please don’t write another list.

In my experience and I’ve helped individuals, mums, CEO’s, teams of 10 and teams of 200+ to achieve more and even apps aren’t enough!

You need to go back to the beginning.

As a coach people mock me for some of the questions I ask thinking they are wishy washy, however having achieved awesome results with my clients (they do most of the work, I’m just the catalyst) these woo woo questions are the ones with the power, so for starters;

What do we stand for?
What do I want?
Why do I want it?
What will this give me?
What are my values?
How do I want to impact on the world?
What do I fear?
Can I confidently say No?

What will my actions lead to?
What are my goals?
Where will they take me?
What stays on the to do list that I never get around to?
How does that make me feel?
What to I assume will happen?

Ditch or deal with everything on your to do list.
Money making first.

And if you really want to achieve more, I share at The BWN and speaking engagements and with clients my 10 day week.

So damn powerful and makes even me achieve more. (I can’t share it here because it’s too visual to work).

And lastly if you have more than 5 things on your list of to do today, you are setting yourself up for long term failure.

There’s a ton of other things but time management and achieving big things is not rocket science. It is about understanding the power of who you are (not an author, guru or expert) and utilising that power, stepping up to the stuff that you fear and having the accountability and focus to get on with it.

I love coaching because it’s so powerful. And the silly little thoughts that crossed over your mind just now, they could hold the key to maximise the use of every hour from this moment on!
Cool right?

There’s more that I teach and share – communication rules and laws, boundaries, respect, open door policy and when not to. Company policy, mission and vision. So much, but this should get you and your team achieving more.

Remember if you want to achieve more you have to create space to and that means making time – time management coaching enables you and your team to do this.

  • March 4, 2020

All doom and gloom

I remember as a child being told “Mandie Timns you ‘re all doom and gloom!”. I was always Mrs Happy, Positive I love life or Mrs Oh no the worlds’ ending. (That’s why I know we can all change, because I have!)

As a child I loved Lost in Space and the sad robot was who I was compared to most of the time. It’s not easy to change however it is something we can all do.

So last night I was lucky enough to slide into a beautiful full length ball gown covered in sequins, spend far too long getting ready and head out to celebrate the finest businesses of my home county, Essex.

As a coach and Founder of The Business Womans Network I realise that one of my super powers is that I love business. Not just mine, everyone’s! I’m so ridiculously proud of everyone’s achievements and I’m very happy to be regaled with your business story, passion and ambitions. Therefore to spend the evening with so many businesses that I’ve helped, watched and loved for years and to see their faces light up on hearing their name called out was sheer joy.

But here’s the thing. Many of the speakers and guests were also overjoyed at everyone’s success and passion however I couldn’t help noticing the doom and gloom.

Into too many speeches in my view Brexit reared it’s stupid, unruly head. (This is not a political post so you are safe to read on.)

Why does this matter?

Surely it is something that is happening right now and could impact on all businesses?

Last time I looked I was not a politician or the Prime Minister so getting stressed about Brexit achieves nothing. On a celebratory night to mention the B word was just as useful.

Have you noticed how two people both have the same end destination or goal and yet only one will get there despite similar skills, beliefs and passion, why?

And what does that have to do with Brexit?

Concentrating on the negative around us is not good for business, we do need to be mindful of what could impact on success, our teams, our suppliers and profit margins however ultimately you don’t have control over Brexit so talking about it only creates fear, tension, negativity and nervousness – and consider any big occasion in your life, were those feelings and thoughts useful or damaging?

It is mindful to remember that bad news sells, not good news, and as such if you want proof that it’s all doom and gloom you are going to be able to find it,  however if you want to hear that business is good, people are seeing record breaking sales, profit margins and companies are sustaining growth despite smaller budgets, then you can find evidence of that too.

You see the human is a clever thing, it can look where it’s told to, the brain in all humans can be powered up for greatness or reduced to a nervous bundle of oozing do nothing just with a thought. So if you concentrate on the negative your actions will be impacted upon.

This is not pie in the sky, airy fairy “your coach believes in you” nonsense, this is factual. I can work with a team who know that there is no more money, there will be no extra staff, they do have far too many emails and the to do list seems to grow as fast as they tick things off – and despite what could be perceived as doom and gloom there company grows, the staff become happier and feel more respected, KPI’s are nailed and profits grow. What did I do?

  • I helped them see what they could control.
  • Accept what would always be fluid and that if you can’t fix/fight/change something you can still control what you choose to think – because thoughts impact on all results.
  • Be mindful where you look. Discussing doom and gloom brings doom and gloom to the forefront of your mind and the human mind loves to give you what you focus on.
  • If you don’t want doom and gloom be aware that it exists, that it could be impacting on your thoughts, feelings, actions and results and take responsibility for your choice of thoughts.

So often when I’m working with a new client I hear “We want to achieve this” and when I ask them to explain it in more detail there is no depth to their want for that goal. Which means that in times of uncertainty as we clearly could be considered as having right now, it’s imperative that you choose the calibre of your thoughts. Remember bad new sells, and you are not a news story.

Define your own direction. Don’t get pulled into a negative rabbit hole. Concentrate on what you want and how you are going to ensure you will get there, we all know someone that has achieved great things despite the odds.

That’s all of us right now.

Ditch the doom and gloom. Leave that for your competitors. I established The BWN in the middle of the last recession. If I’d listened to the doom and gloomers I’d have believed;

  • Now is not the time to grow, it’s time to batten down the hatches and survive.
  • No one is going to want to network in a recession.
  • No one is spending money on marketing or coaching.
  • People won’t travel to a remote hotel just to hang out with other business owners.

The list was long, and I didn’t’ listen to any of it. If anything I have always found that when everyone else is stunned like a rabbit in the headlights that is the perfect time to think big, plan well, structure the actions and concentrate on what you really want. Because you are likely to achieve despite anything. It’s your choice where you choose to focus your thoughts, energy and actions – choose wisely.

  • September 27, 2019

Are you really professional? Professionalism and your success. (Warning: Not for the faint hearted)

Okay so this is a difficult one, and I’ve been sitting on the edge of writing this for about 2 years. But since it’s at a near critical level I’d better mention it.

A lack of professionalism is killing many people’s success.

There I said it.

People think they are professional but in the last 24 hours I’ve had 4 people talk to me confidentially (because they know I will be confidential) about this issue.

(These are not their stories – these are some of the ones that I’ve seen in the last year. There’s plenty more!)

  • The business owner that told me they couldn’t believe they’d spent months trying to get a client to complete the paper work. Only to phone them and discover they were “Desperate to get started” so why had they not been in touch, completed the paper work or phoned?
  • The business owner that needed someone to turn up at a set time and they didn’t just not show they didn’t even explain why!
  • The contractor that was unceremoniously sacked from a position via email after years of loyal service.
  • The business owner who was unhappy with the quality of a product and instead of telling the supplier they ranted on social media and slated the company at networking events.
  • The business owner that discovered they’d been removed from social media groups and had all of their messages ignored in a “we hope they just go away” approach.

If you’ve ever done any of these things it’s damaging your success;

  • Talked about people behind their back.
  • Not picked up the phone when you are unhappy with the service, product quality, etc.
  • Not turning up to things you said you would.
  • Not done something that you said you would.
  • Hidden behind email when you should have told someone how you really felt over the phone or in a face to face meeting.

There’s plenty more but you get the idea.

The point is that owning a business is not all high sales, happy clients and fun times. It can be hard work and it can also be uncomfortable (top tip if it doesn’t feel uncomfortable once in a while then you are not pushing yourself – speak to your coach about that.)

You will need to have conversations that you don’t want to.

When I help clients deal with confrontation, I’ve never had the result where the client has had to have an all out slagging match with someone, however they have had to face the situation and address it.

When you don’t’ deal with things in a respectful and appropriate way it can damage your professionalism, your reputation, your sales and even your mental health as you berate yourself night after night about why did you not do that, or not say this.

Difficult conversations do not need instant responses. They need time to process your thoughts. Establish the facts. Remove the emotion and communicate what is wanted to resolve the situation.

Difficult conversations need to be had so that people know you are a business owner and not a push over.

Difficult conversations need to be managed well so that you walk away with your head held high.

  • So if you say you are going to attend an exhibition – turn up. I’ve heard plenty of event organisers talk about no shows to their events and the problems it causes. What is worse the situation seems to be getting a lot worse. When I started my professional speaking career you would see a no show average of 10 to 25% now it can be as high as 50%!
  • If you say you can help with something, then don’t rain off. If you are a People Pleaser that says an instant yes and thinks after. Learn to say something different like “I’d love to be involved with this. Can you send me some info over so I can check my work load and see if I can.”
  • If someone doesn’t turn up for meetings on more than one occasion or contsantly moves your meeting date, do you really want to work with them? Learn to walk away from unprofessional people.
  • If you always feel like there is a hidden conversation that you are not part of, find out why. Ask someone. It could be you are not alone in this and others feel awkward and unwanted to. It could be that those that can make a difference have no idea and would really like to be able to address the situation – if they knew about it.
  • If you feel you are being treated unfairly stand up for yourself. As above you may not be the only one but you could be the one that helps establish a new transparent, fairer and ethical way of working and communicating for others in the future. Not everyone will have your confidence to speak up. Others may suffer in silence for years!

None of the above our easy. Plan what you will say. Don’t fear the outcome. Trust you are good enough.

You can’t win every battle and you won’t get on with all 4 billion people on this planet. Accept that and be professional. So that no matter what happens you know you did your best, and ultimately that is the best you can do.

  • June 12, 2019

How to keep it simple and achieve more – this tips work powerfully!

A post on LinkedIn and then in a group created a lot of “Oh yes!” and “I’m so guilty of this! comments. It led to me thinking about my clients.

Already this year I’ve worked with some amazing coaching clients and because we are into February I’m starting to see people for a second time (a lot of clients like to see me every 4 to 6 weeks if we are working together long-term and not on a fear or a short term goal which we achieve so they don’t need me anymore.) And I love hearing about a client’s progress. Recently I have noticed a bit of a trend.

Not for the first time this week I’ve heard a client say, “Why did I make that so complicated!”

Because so often to achieve big in life we assume it’s got to be really tough, complicated or detailed. We think it’s got to be rocket science or brain surgery – beyond the capabilities of most of us.

So whether you are looking to;

  • achieve something big,
  • overcome a life long fear,
  • deal with that constant sense of overwhelm and overload
  • or just find the easiest way forward

Here’s a few tips on how to keep it simple inspired by my clients. In case this months budget doesn’t stretch to a couple of hours with me;

One client sat back, glared at me and rolled their eyes “I knew this would be hard” They said. “Well” I replied, “If you think it’s going to be hard guess what you’re going to get?” They laughed and scowled at the same time (because they knew I was right!) The fact is that before you get started assess what you think;

  • Do you think it’s going to be hard work?
  • Tough to find a solution?
  • That you’ve tried everything and there is no solution?

What ever you think will ripple though to your actions and results so choose wisely.

When you’ve finished creating a plan of action ask yourself “Can I remove something?” Be your life editor, just like a real editor who will always find something that can be cut question every action, pathway and choice. Is it really necessary and going to get to where you want to go or is it a distraction so you can feel like you got somewhere (even if you didn’t!)?

Do less. Sometimes people are shocked by how few hours I can work in a week and still achieve so much. (Okay some of that is Lupus) however ultimately, I work in a way that is so powerful that I know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what result I want from it. I don’t have a detailed planner, app mapping out of every detail, or chart, why? Because, well that’s the next top tip.

I’m an in the moment, live life to the fullest, go with the flow but make sure you are getting what you really want (and don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way!) kind of person. I know that I love nature and the sound of the sea instantly makes me breathe deeply and think of some of the happiest days of my life. I know what makes me happy. What makes me mad. What makes me stressy and what makes me demotivated just as well as I know what makes me get on with it. If you want to achieve more don’t jump onto the next populist band wagon on this years “Must have” way of working with this “must read” book. To truly achieve more look inside you. I know it sounds corny and from a cheesy TV ad, but hey its true. So deal with it. Literally. Stop right now and ask who am I really? When you know that you can work out the most natural way to work, think and get results. Simple right? But you will be surprised how many new clients tell me about this new trend or that book that is not working for them and yet they battle through thinking they are wrong and not the book! Not every book or trend was written for you. Well maybe Harry Potter is the exception.

Simplify your goals to mere words. My goals are researched, broken down, questioned, analysed, planned, and constantly monitored to check for results, accountability, focus and even productivity and impac ton my long term goals. But to really achieve I can tell you 3 words that sum up every thing I wish to achieve this year;

Breath                  Read                     Walk

Sounds too simple right?

However while this is simple to get to 3 words, I had 3 sentences that had all the coaching, research and back ground to ensure I’d do exactly what I would need to do. Ultimately if you can’t think of your goals in mere seconds then how aer you going to achieve them?

If you are struggling to achieve your goals, or don’t even know where to start please feel free to give me a call so we can find out if I can help you. There are many ways I can help including a confidential mastermind group that is accessible 24/7 for just £5 a month – I know you think “how can something be awesome that is that small a cost?” Right?

It’s because I genuinely care and aim to help 1 million people this year – which is why my online courses are the same price too. Simple right?

  • February 7, 2019