Page 1

Train Your Brain 5 Top Tips on Having A Happy Outlook

Imagining the Future of Leadership - A Call for Mindful Leadership

Eithne Cusack HSE Coaching in the Irish Nursing Profession

How Do The Irish Score in Happiness? By Catherine Cleary


issue 02, volume 1 | price FREE

I r e l a n d ’s c o a c h i n g m a g a z i n e


The Wheel of Life Taking a Helicopter View of the Work/Life Balance



Paula King Director Kingstown College

Coaching the Sacred Space Maurice Whelan

| to subscribe to this magazine, please contact us at | website:

3. A Call for Mindful Leadership Professor Ellen Langer looks at the future of Mindfulness in Leadership.

Second Edition


6. Happy Days: Building Resilience Through Positive Psychology Paula King tells us it’s time to get optimistic and be happy.

8. How Happy are the Irish? Despite toppling over an economic cliff, Irish happiness is proving robust.

11. Coaching 101: The Wheel of Life Taking a helicopter view of our work/ life balance.

13. 5Top Tips on How to Develop a Happy Outlook Train Your Brain with Paula King.

16. Alumni Focus: Intuition: A Key To Transformation with Dr Jill Walker Using intuition effectively helps unlock truly transformative coaching.

20. Alumni Focus: Coaching the Sacred Space Maurice Whelan reflects on the role of the Coach.

28. Alumni Focus with Eithne Cusack Coaching in the Irish Nursing Profession.

26. In Conversation with... Interview with Paula King, President of EMCC Ireland & Director of Kingstown College

34. New Mental Health & Wellbeing Coaching Diploma By Shelley Crawford 2|

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

coaching Ireland’s coaching magazine

Editorial Team Paula King Edward Boland Tessa Mc Auliffe Deirdre Mc Caughey contributors Paula KIng Dr Jill Walker Maurice Whelan Eithne Cusack Ellen Langer Cassie Moore Shelley Crawford layout Alison Tobin KIngstown College would also like to acknowledge the invaluable help of Mary Mitchell O’Connor for her contribution to this edition. Any enquiries please contact KIngstown College, 89 Upper Georges St Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. T: 1890-788-788 E: Copyright © 2014 Coaching Magazine


a call for mindful leadership

Dr. Ellen Langer is a professor in the Department of psychology at Harvard

HBR Blog | Imagining the Future of Leadership

Mindlessness — not a good quality for any organization — has led to some questionable assumptions about the need for leaders; namely that: 1) those who lead have privileged and reliable abilities and knowledge — what are often described as “leadership competencies” ; and 2) people need to be led to achieve their goals. If organizations were mindful — referring to the simple act of noticing new things — leadership would be quite a different matter. They would not only be mindful themselves; their most important responsibility would be to enable their followers to be mindful as well. One might argue that in an increasingly

complex world — where work cuts across all types of institutional boundaries — the leader’s only task may be to promote and harness “distributed” mindfulness. By DR ELLEN LANGER nOTICING PU T S U S I N T HE P RESENT, M AK E S U S S E N S I TIVE TO C ON T E X T, AN D AWARE O F CH ANGE AN D U N C ERTAI N TY. When we are mindless we hold our perspective still, allowing us to confuse the stability of our mindsets with the stability of the underlying phenomena. Hold it still if you want but it’s changing nonetheless.

However visionary we consider our leaders, they cannot predict the future any more than anyone else. They may be able to predict what might happen much of the time if the situation stays constant — which of course is questionable — but can never predict individual occurrences, which is where we should be most concerned. If, most of the time, when someone does “x” the result is “y” it doesn’t guarantee that the next time you do “x,” “y” will follow. (Do you believe Mercedes makes a great car? Would you bet all of your money that any particular Mercedes will start with one try?) Those in positions of power often keep quiet about what they don’t know. Instead of making a personal attribution for not knowing — “I don’t know and you don’t know because it Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 3

When we acknowledge these universal limits, we can be less distracted by the need to appear to know, which would allow us to get on to the problem at hand. Being awake in the moment allows us to learn better what we need to know now. Leaders can’t know and that’s fine. What about those being led? Mindlessless can lead you to assumptions about their behavior. Once you understand the actor’s perspective, you can be less judgmental. If I see you as rigid, I want to ignore you. If I see you from your perspective, as someone I can count on, I’ll value you. We can turn around every judgment in this way (e.g. impulsive/spontaneous, grim/serious, conforming/eager to have everyone get along) and when we do we’ll find we have a less rigid view of people (some bad, some good). Once we free ourselves from our misplaced superiority, we may find talent and ability to provide solutions in those we prematurely cast in an unflattering light. Regardless, the larger issue is that, if everyone is awake, you don’t have to lead as if everyone else needs to be led. You may find that people will see what the situation demands, and the surprising result may be superior performance. In a study I conducted with Timothy Russell and Noah Eisenkraft, orchestra musicians were instructed to be either mindless or mindful. In this case, being mindless meant replicating a previous performance with which they were very satisfied.

The mindful instructions directed them to make the piece new in very subtle ways that only they would know. (They were playing classical music and not jazz so the novel distinctions were indeed subtle.) Their performance was taped and then played for audiences unaware of our instructions. We found tht not only did the musi cians prefer playing mindfully, the mindfully played pieces were judged as superior . Everyone was in a sense mindfully doing their own thing and the result was a better co-ordinated outcome. In more than 30 years of research, we’ve found that increasing mindfulness increases charisma and productivity, decreases burnout and accidents, and increases creativity, memory, attention, positive affect, health, and even longevity. When mindful we can take advantages of opportunities and avert the and avert the dangers that don’t yet exist. This is true for the leader and the led. In sum, there is no best way to do anything independent of context, so the leader cannot have privileged information. When leaders keep everyone in their place with the illusion of knowability and possession of this privileged knowledge the benefit to them is that we “obey” and leaders feel superior. The cost is that they create lemmings. Their mindlessness promotes our own mindlessness which costs us our wellbeing and health. Net result, the leader, the led, and the company all lose. Dr. Ellen Langer is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

O r c hes tr a l performance and t he f oot p ri n t o f m i n d f u ln ess study By timothy Russell, noah Eisencraft & ellen langer


Coaching Magazine Second Edition

Happy DAYS: building resilience through positive psychology

why it’s time to get optimistic & be happy “ W hat possible reason does that person have to be unhappy?” W ithin that question is the key to understanding the concept of happiness” The above question assumes that our external world is predictive of our happiness levels but the reality is happiness comes from within, simply by how we view our world. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Is the world out to get you or does every cloud have a silver lining? An optimistic outlook reduces the risk of physical and emotional health problems, and therefore, it is really worth our while focusing on creating happiness and positivity in our lives and reducing negativity. I was discussing my belief on how important it is to be happy with my friend Linda. A self-confessed (and proud of it) pessimist, she said that she believed that the human species is just not meant to be happy, and guess what? She is not completely wrong. To be honest I felt a certain relief when I came to the realisation that we are not supposed to be happy all the time. We may want that, but nature designed us to have emotions for

a reason. Emotions are a primitive signaling system. They’re how our brains tells us if we’re doing things that enhance – or diminish – our survival chances. We’re supposed to be moving through these emotional states. So if someone offers you a pill that makes you happy 100 per cent of the time, you should run fast in the other direction. It’s not good to feel happy in a dark alley at night! Sometimes we look at others and envy their knack for happiness. We wonder why we can’t seem to find that ‘place’. Life’s lessons have taught me to revise this way of thinking and to understand that happiness is a place to visit, not a place to live. Good times come and go for everyone on the planet, but what makes a real difference is to be found in our mindset and our perception of what makes us happy. What can give us a lasting boost is how we think and behave, rather than depending on the material world to validate our happiness. It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable. Understanding this, makes it easier for us to live with the moments we perceive as difficult. We recognise that these negative moments won’t last when we develop an optimistic view of our life. Although I would have always classed myself as an optimist, for a large part of my life I bought into the modus operandi “if I work harder, I will be more successful; and, if I’m more successful, then I will be happiSecond Edition

Coaching Magazine | 5

er”. But, every time I enjoyed a success, it seemed as though I changed my valuation of what success looked like as I aspired to achieve something bigger and better. That was one sure fire formula for failure! Learning that these patterns and paradigms of thinking that didn’t serve me well were easily reversed, changed my life completely. In retrospect it was just a simple shift in my outlook towards optimism and positivity in the present moment that allowed me to achieve happiness. A number of years ago, I trained as a counsellor. My mum died when I was a teenager and I understood what it felt like to be in a place of pain, and thought that my training would help me to assist others through dark moments in their life. The reality was that I felt that my training only taught me to help my clients to focus with increased strength on their hurt and pain and to use up Kleenex as fast as possible. I began to question the world of therapy and look around for a different answer to our quest for happiness, and I believe that I have found this in the positive psychology movement. It evolved from the work of psychologist Martin Seligman, who went from being the world’s leading scholar on “learnt helplessness” and depression to become the world’s leading scholar on optimism. In simple terms he became curious about what it is about some people

that they just never give up even in the face of extreme adversity where other people can find it extraordinarily difficult to deal with quite minor challenges. I met Professor Seligman at the first world conference on positive psychology two years ago in Pennsylvania. In truth, I expected to meet a happy and jolly person full of wise words and positive thoughts. Instead, I met a man who told me that he was, by nature, a natural pessimist. It turns out that this man who has introduced the world to a more positive way of viewing life is, in his words, “not a natural optimist”. Indeed he explained for the first 50 years of his life he endured ‘mostly wet weather in his soul’. Through his research he discovered developing more positive emotions in our lives will build friendship, love, better physical health, greater happiness and greater achievement. At last it all made sense to me and I was determined, not just to embrace this “strengths based” approach to living my life, but I also wanted to share it with anyone who would listen. As a society, we wrongly hold fast to a number of assumptions about what will make us happy. Ironically, some of these may be evolutionary necessities – it can seem like there is a “conspiracy” between genes and culture to keep us in the dark about the real sources of happiness. I was genuinely surprised to read research by Professor Daniel Gilbert

Then at the end of your life, you might say “I am so glad that I gave myself permission to be happy”. 6|

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

dont worry Be happy

psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness that people reported having children as having had ‘only a small effect on happiness and it is a negative one’. Well let’s face it, if we figured out that children don’t make us happy, we would become extinct! I have discovered that having a positive-thinking mindset has led me to perform significantly better than if I were negative, neutral or stressed. Not only does it make me feel much happier, but the other big advantage is that my brain becomes more engaged, creative, energetic and resilient. It’s true! We naturally become more productive and successful when we think positively, and this can significantly improve our life’s reality and outcome. Remember that what we take our attention away from will wither and die, and what we focus our attention on in our life will grow – “I think, therefore I am”. Happily, there are substantiated ways and methods to effectively help develop a positive mindset, and they’re very easy to do. I have listed some of my favourite and successful tips to help you achieve a happier and more fulfilled life. Go on…give them a try for a month, and I am positive you’ll never look back. Then at the end of your life, you won’t wish that you had let yourself be happier. Instead you might say “I am so glad that I gave myself permission to be happy”.

ACCREDITED LIFE COACHING COURSE FOR PRACTITIONERS WHO WORK WITH VICTIMS OF ABUSE This course is accredited by the Further Education & Training Awards Council (FETAC) and offers practitioners who work with victims of abuse the tools and techniques of life coaching which will assist them to work with their clients utilising innovative and empowering approaches. On completion of this training participants will: -Have been introduced to innovative coaching tools and techniques. -Have gained an understanding of how to utilise powerful Coaching dialogue including appreciative enquiry to assist their clients to put in place goals and actions. -Have learned how to work with their Clients’ values and belief systems in order to assist their clients to move towards a brighter and more fulfilling future. -Have learned how to harness the tools of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) whilst working with their clients. -Have gained an understanding of how to structure a professional Life Coaching session. This course is accredited by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (QQI Level 6) | (Lo Call) 1890-788-788 KINGSTOWN COLLEGE 89 Upper Georges St, DĂşn Laoghaire, Co Dublin 1890-788-788 | |

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 7

irish happiness is proving itself robust d esp i te t h e ec on omi c climat e

HOW HAPPY ARE the irish?

W e are , apparently. Despite toppling over an economic cliff, I rish happiness is proving itself robust. What exactly is going on, asks Catherine Cleary

By catherine cleary


Coaching Magazine Second Edition

We are standing at a busy city junction. Each car that drives past throws up a sheet of dirty puddle water. I have three wet children in tow and a drowned-rat dog. Every time a car almost splashes us we laugh. Later, we will be tired and cold. Everyone will grumble. But for this moment we are weirdly, almost defiantly, happy. I’m fascinated by happiness. I spent over a year chasing it writing a book about trying new things. Despite toppling over an economic cliff, Irish happiness levels haven’t crashed. We have only recently slipped out of the top 10 happiest European countries. And we’re

world leaders at seeing happiness in the rearview mirror. When the question was asked in a World Gallup Poll (2008-2011) “Were you happy yesterday?” Irish people answered such a resounding “yes” that we shot to the top of the list. The happiness industry is huge. The word is sprinkled over books (Amazon lists almost 30,000 with happiness in the title), academic studies, newspaper headlines and political manifestoes. It may be only a matter of time before governments establish Departments of Happiness. But here’s the problem with happiness science. How happy do you feel now? Yes you, reading this

magazine. I could send someone in a white coat to take a spit swab and test it for cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. But otherwise I can’t tell anything about your happiness without asking you. The science of happiness is entirely subjective. We can really only measure it by asking people how happy they are. Consultant psychiatrist Brendan Kelly says this paradox makes happiness science “inherently daft”. Happiness is so multi-dimensional that one person’s version could be “a hundred times different” to someone else’s in precisely the same life circumstances.

“There is no underlying biology of happiness,” he says. We can’t measure it like cholesterol. Linking a bodily substance like saliva to happiness is, he believes “pretty spurious.” In happiness science, the lab rats are filling in their own reports. So why do the Irish score well in happiness surveys? Do we lie? Are we in the grip of a national happiness delusion? Or is our personal happiness ring-fenced from the misery and anxiety of Austerity Ireland? Kelly is not surprised that our happiness levels have dipped rather than plummeted. We have a set point for happiness famously

shown in the winning-the-lottery or losing-a-limb research. The lottery win obviously results in the winner’s happiness level shooting up. A catastrophe such as losing a limb will make someone utterly miserable. But both groups later return, roughly, to their previous happiness levels. “There is more stability in it than you think,” Kelly says. That stability also explains what knocks the happy-ever-after shine off those big-ticket purchases. The rush of pleasure we get from the trophy house, the car, the designer bag, doesn’t last. We adapt to what we have and our happiness level settles again like sediment in a bottle afterSecond Edition

Coaching Magazine | 9

- a vigorous shaking. Having a baby gives most people a surge of happiness, Kelly says. Within two years that extra happiness has evaporated. “Does it mean you should have a child every two years? Of course it doesn’t.” The relationship between happiness and money is especially interesting. People with lower incomes who live in more equal societies report higher happiness levels than the very rich in unequal societies. Poverty makes us unhappy. But once a basic level of income is achieved more money does not equal more happiness. What seems to matter more is contentment at a wider societal level. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway and Finland are top of the class in happiness studies. The weird blip in this success story is that these happy countries also have the highest suicide rates. “My guess is that having a very coherent social setting is good for most people,” Kelly says. It’s conducive to well-being but it may also, for a minority, make it harder to fit in.” The importance of equality was highlighted, Kelly explains, in a study where a majority of people said they would take a $50,000 (37,500 euro) salary over a salary of $100,000 for the same job. It makes no sense until you realise the $50,000 salary was paid in a scenario where the average salary was $25,000. And the $100,000 was offered in the context of a $200,000 average. People preferred to halve their salary than to feel less well off than the majority.“Stop comparing yourself to others. That’s the bumper sticker for happiness,” Kelly says. The biggest shift in Irish attitudes to happiness is that we now believe income is the most important factor to maintain it. Until the recession took a real hold the answer to that question was always “health”. Kelly believes our ideas about happiness are shifting and the 10 per cent increase in joblessness is a big factor. “Unemployment is uniquely corrosive of happiness. It hits our self image and self regard. And if national unemployment levels increase 10 per cent [as has happened in Ireland going from 4 per cent to 14 per cent between 2003 and 2011] everybody’s happiness is affected.” Until the most recent study the European Social Survey showed our happiness levels in small but steady decline. We went from 7.94 in 2005 (on a zero to 10 scale zero being extremely unhappy and 10 extremely happy) to 7.55 in 2009. 10 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

once a basic level of income is achieved money does not equal CONTENTMENT

In a recent research paper with colleague Anne Doherty, Kelly looked at the other side of the equation and the serious national indicators of unhappiness. In 2011, 525 people died by suicide, a 7 per cent rise on 2010, and a sharper increase than in recent years, indicating what could be a delayed reaction to the downturn.“At European level,” Kelly and Doherty wrote, “there is strong evidence that every 1 per cent increase in unemployment is associated with a 0.79 per cent rise in suicides.” They also looked at the pills, the level of anti-depressants and anxiety medication being prescribed from the boom years to the bust. In 2006, 4.4 per cent of people said they had used anti-depressants. In 2010/11 that had risen by just 0.4 per cent to 4.8. The much larger increase has been in the use of sedatives and tranquillisers which have jumped to 6.5 per cent in recent years compared to 4.7 per cent at the height of the boom. And yet the prescription levels are still much lower than for north of the Border. “Interestingly, in Northern Ireland the rate of anti-depressant use over the previous year is almost three times that in the Republic of Ireland [12.0per cent, compared with 4.8 per cent] and the rate of sedative and tranquilliser use is almost double [11.0 per cent, compared with 6.5 per cent].”

These are what US psychologist and self-help guru Martin Seligman calls the “hedonistic treadmill”, she says, things that are immediate and fleeting. “It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage in them,” Allen-Garrett says (phew), “but we need to realise that they won’t give us enduring happiness.” Whether you see happiness science as woolly psychobabble or incisive and important thinking there is increasing evidence that people who say they are happy are demonstrably healthier. Studies suggest having more friends can boost your immune system. One study found that happiness could add nine years to your life span. Happily married men get seven years extra, their wives get four. Happiness over a lifetime tends to be Ushaped. Children and young people are happy. In mid-life happiness dips and then it rises ‘ the hedonistic treadmill’ again, not quite to childhood levels but close. Doesn ’t l ea d to last ing happiness So what can we do if we are struggling with persistent feelings of unhappiness? So what can we do if the answer to the “are you Dr Conor Farren, a consultant psychiatrist and happy now?” question is a resounding, “No.” senior psychiatry lecturer, has just published a Dublin-based psychotherapist Patricia Allen-Garrett book called The U-Turn – A Guide to Happiness. runs a happiness workshop she calls the Happiness He feels it is a deeply personal issue separate Ratio. What does that involve? Firstly, she explains to any national happiness measurement. to people the idea of negative thinking. It’s part of “It’s astonishing how two people who have being human. “It’s what kept our ancestors alive.” the same boxes ticked – wife, kids, home, job, In a negative mindset you have a Teflon approach to car – can have profoundly different happiness praise – it slides off easily – she she explains and a levels.” To him the surveys give a glib idea of Velcro attachment to criticism. It sticks fast. happiness. In smaller groups she gets her students to look at “They can give hints but people answer in the the various areas of their life where they experience moment, so they might just have had breakgratitude or kindness and get a sense of a “wholefast or have a half-day off work. Those surveys hearted life”. People will often describe it as a rethat say we’re twice as happy as the Germans discovery of something they had lost. “How have I – I don’t think that gets to the essence of that. forgotten that I needed to be grateful?” She follows I don’t place too much store on the national up by asking people what positive habits they have stereotype that we’re great craic in pubs so managed to stick with. Her students have been thera- therefore we’re happy.” pists, social workers, teachers and charity workers. Happiness, in Farren’s book, is a “knowing She’s also worked with drug addicts, whose problems contentedness”. Being happy takes work. “I stem from the same area. “We all try and find conhave to work on it on a daily basis and I’m a nection. We’re hard-wired for connection. With an relatively happy person.” It starts with underaddiction, a least healthy one is chosen.” standing our emotions. “Why am I unhappy To Allen-Garrett, happiness is a three-tiered thing: and how the hell can I get out of it?” The cognitive, emotional and spiritual. In her workshops single most important support to deep people answer the question what makes them happy, everything “from wine to sex to music, George Clooney, a movie to chocolate” Second Edition Coaching Magazine | 11

- happiness is self esteem, he says. “If we have low self esteem that can lead to periods of unhappiness, anxiety and depression.” His book is based on the idea of being able to fix that. “If you think poorly of yourself you have to recognise that is not a normal state. It is not normal to dislike yourself.” As a country, Ireland doesn’t have “a brilliant self image and so we over compensate. We tend to be very sensitive to what other people think of us. If you look at Americans, they’re not obsessed with what the world thinks of them.” There are five basic happiness maintenance steps that Farren recommends building into our lives. Firstly, you get a good guide or self-help book, then talk it out with friends or counsellors. We must exercise three times a week for 45 minutes, “really robust cardiovascular not just walking the dog”. We must do some form of aggressive relaxation (this does not mean meditating with a frown on your face) but actively relaxing with yoga, tai chi or meditation. “And finally if it’s too much, get professional help.” What makes him happy? “I do try and relax aggressively. The real thing is interaction. For me it’s based on how I’m dealing with the people around me, my family, people I work with.” That tuning in to others, like happiness, is a work in progress. For six weeks last summer, every Thursday psychology PhD student Karen Hand asked thousands of people how happy they were feeling now and with life in general. Working with Trinity psychology professor Malcolm MacLachlan, Hand was running the National Happiness Experiment with volunteers who agreed to answer weekly questions by text. Interestingly, three-quarters of the happiness guinea pigs were women. Every week they texted the mobiles of 3,309 people in 28 counties in Ireland. The idea was to gauge happiness over time. The textees could have been in the bath, or on the bus or in a hospital waiting room when they read the message. The subjects texted back rating their happiness on a scale of one to 10. The National Happiness Experiment found that the average happiness level was between a six and a seven, similar to the ESS studies.

12 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

People uder 20 and over 60 were happiest. Having children didn’t make you happier but parents and grandparents were more satisfied with their lives. Men and women were equally happy. Those people who ranked themselves as more religious were happier. The weather, surprisingly, had no effect. Hand and MacLachlan’s readable, witty book, Happy Nation? Prospects for Psychological Prosperity in Ireland, goes further than giving the results of the experiment. They say Irish policy makers can do things to make us happier. Their foundation stone is equality in health and education. In the spirit of “why waste a good crisis” they argue that the recession is a chance to reframe our national objectives. We already know economic growth doesn’t lead to happiness, they argue, so making happiness a national objective allows us to redesign a system that’s not working. They cite a famous Harvard study in 2010 which saw two groups given money for shopping. One group was asked to shop for themselves the other to shop for other people. “At the end of the shopping trip those who had spent the money on others were happier.” What makes her happy? “ My kids, my husband, my work . . . but if I think of a context for my happiness it’s probably a sense of urban community and the things that go with it. There are only 23 houses on our road but about five and half years ago we started an annual street party, where everyone brings food and drink out on the street.” Why does she think Irish people score themselves highly in happiness studies? She believes it’s down to those connections we make with each other. “What we do have going on is these close ties with friends and family and in general that’s what’s buoying us up.” Even if it is a mass delusion, Hand argues, it is a positive one. We begin to believe the stories that we tell about ourselves. The next step, she says, is working to make those stories true. Catherine Cleary lives in Dublin and is a writer with the Irish Times

COACHING 101 | The Wheel of Life

To be truly fulfilled, one needs to lead a balanced life. When life is busy, or all your energy is focused on a special project, you can find yourself ‘off balance’, not paying enough attention to important areas of your life. By regularly taking a ‘helicopter view’ of your life, you can bring things back into balance.

The Wheel of Life:

Taking a Helicopter View of Your Work/Life Balance

The ‘Wheel of Life’ helps you quickly and graphically identify the areas in your life to which you want to devote more energy.. The eight sections of the wheel represent the key areas of your life. Ideally these areas should be in balance just like a wheel.

Step 1:

Step 3:

Step 2:

Step 4:

With the centre of the wheel representing ‘0’ and the outer edge as ‘10’, rank your level of satisfaction with each area by drawing a line to create a new outer edge Now join up the marks around the circle. With this new perimeter for the circle, how balanced or ‘out of sync’ is this wheel? Is it crooked and would it struggle to turn smoothly, or is it perfectly balanced?

Re-plot what you think your ideal satisfaction level would be in each area. A balanced life does not mean getting 10 in each life area. Some areas will need more attention and focus than others at any time Now you have a visual representation of your current life balance and your ideal life balance. What are the gaps? These are the areas of your life that need attention.

Once you have identified the areas that need attention, what things do you need to start doing to regain balance? In the areas that currently sap your energy and time, what can you stop doing or re-prioritise or delegate to someone else? Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 13




Harvard Medical School research has proved that positive thinking really does change our brain in a physical way. This science is called neuroplasticity. It means that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains. Repetitive positive thought and positive activity can rewire our brain and strengthen brain areas that stimulate positive feelings. t R AI N YOUR BRAin with paula King

the q uality of your decisions relate to the quality of your life

on how to develop a ha p p y o u t l o o k Here are some simple actions you can take to change your own brain. THREE GOOD THINGS: This is one of the most powerful of all positive psychology techniques. Every night for one week, look back at your day just before you go to bed and find three things that went well for you during the day. Write them down and reflect on your role in them. But, there are three caveats: – to write them down is important, as it helps you to focus on the events – to reflect on your own role, as it contributes to your sense of perceived control and that in turn has an impact on well-being – the time period is vital to achieve results – either stick to it for one week or try it once a week for six weeks. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE: We have noticed that emotionally resilient people, when encountering a challenge in life, focus on what they have influence over. Too often in life, we sit within our circle of concern

14 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

focusing on things that are completely outside of our control. Move into your circle of influence, and focus on what you can do about a situation, not what you can’t do. In this circle of influence, you will become empowered and make decisions that will add value to your life. Remember the quality of your decisions directly relate to the quality of your life.

THE YES/NO EXERCISE: It is great to be a giver in life, however, not to the detriment of your own well-being. If you find that you are exhausted at the end of the day and that you have very little time for what is important, then do this very simple exercise. Make of list of everything you said “yes” to during the day, and then follow that by making a list of everything you have said “no” to. Look at the list and remind yourself that every time you say yes to anything, you are automatically saying no to something. Your list might reveal some very interesting patterns.

MORNING SMILE Every morning when you wake up, put a smile on your face. Your body will react automatically, and believe that all is good in the world. I have found this personally extraordinarily powerful (even if sometimes the smile is more like a grimace!).

TERMINATE ANTS Beware of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). When you learn to correct negative thoughts, you take away their power over you. Remember, you don’t have to believe every thought that goes through your head.



There have been many times in my own

When Paula asked me to give some insights on how

life when I have had to dig deep and find the emotional strength to continue living a positive life. I lost my beautiful sister Pat to cancer some years ago, and not very long after that, my brother lost his sight. It was an extraordinarily difficult time. I have to be honest, I was resistant initially to the concept of emotional resilience and positive thinking. As one of Paula’s students, studying to gain a qualification in Life and Business Coaching, her belief and teaching in emotional well-being now resonates deeply with me and I truly embrace the challenges every day presents.

mary mitchell o’connor td

I have found the process of consciously embracing a more positive outlook I was a bit puzzled on how I could do this. It has been such a gradual process that I now have difficulty describing it. That’s when I got a light bulb moment. That is the secret to living more positively – just, little by little. I have been what is termed a high achiever all my life, completing my doctorate at the age of 25 and getting the job of my dreams shortly afterwards. I got promotion easily and worked 24/7, with little social life, which did not bother me one iota. I went into complete shock when my company made the decision to relocate making me redundant in the process. I felt useless and became truly depressed and upset. When I met Paula, it was with a view to creating a world-class CV. I was uninterested initially when she encouraged me to focus on my circle of influence and take control of my life. Slowly, I realised I had lived a life of toleration and frustration for a long time, and had never really given myself a chance to grow into the human being I am capable of being. One of the small things I began to do was to do something good for another person every day. My focus completely changed. I went from being extremely inward thinking to focusing on others’ needs, and this created an enormous shift for me. I am currently in my new job for six months. I continue to focus on the little things, understanding now that this is what creates true contentment and happiness. * Name has been changed Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 15

ALUMNI FOCUS | Dr Jill Walker

Transformative coaching helps clients grow and learn so they can handle future challenges or decisions rather than just deal with immediate issues. Coaches who have this deeper, longer term effect are usually well qualified and highly experienced but also go beyond this and trust their own intuitive sense of what is needed to make the coaching as valuable as possible . At the heart of coaching is a unique relationship between coach and client which needs really effective ‘in the moment’ decisions about what will best serve the client and the coaching agenda. An experienced coach knows that those momentary decisions involve not just logic but instinct. It’s like good doctors will often say to trust a parent’s instinct about their child - sometimes they just ‘know’ something isn’t right even if the symptoms

intuition: A Key to Transformation.

A s a practising occupational psychologist for over 2 0 years dr j ill walker has a view of coaching which goes against her background of seeking evidence and research. she believes that as well as using proven methodologies, experienced coaches often also rely on their intuition and the combination of the two leads to really powerful , transformative coaching..

relying more on your intuition can be very liberating for a coach 16 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

aren’t there and invariably they are right. The development of the intuitive side of coaching is about moving from your head (your coach training, books, theory, what is the ‘right’ thing to do etc) to also paying attention to the messages from your gut. For example, all coaches have clients who talk a lot and who may be somewhat stuck in their thinking about an issue. In one situation I may interrupt their flow and ask them questions to open up new areas of thinking, and in another I might wait until they have fully told their story even if it takes a long time. On the face of it these two situations may appear similar, but in one my gut will be telling me what they need is to move out of their stuck pattern of thinking and in the other I may feel they are not ready to move forward until they feel fully ‘heard’. Listening to your intuition sounds straight forward but with all that we need to focus on in coaching at the same time - paying attention to what the client is saying, how they are saying it, how this fits with previous themes etc - if we are not careful we can miss the important messages that our intuitive side is giving us. Some people, including myself, access their intuition in a very physical way e.g. in their stomach, in their chest, hairs standing up on the back of their neck etc. Some access it more visually - an image or a flash of something comes to mind. Others find that a word might come into their head or a metaphor e.g. a feeling that the client is “wading through treacle” or has just “taken a very heavy coat off”. Others just get a sense or a feeling about

Co-Active Coaching describes intuition as “neither right or wrong. It’s more like a nudge we receive”.

something. One way to increase our level of intuition is to notice how we experience it. Once we know this it is like turning up the volume on our intuition channel so it’s not drowned out by all the many competing messages and voices we are constantly bombarded with. One of the biggest barriers to really hearing our intuition is our inner chatter “Is the client making enough progress?”, “What should I do next to move them forward?” etc. This kind of self talk stems from our desire to be a ‘good coach’ and provide value to our client however it tends to drown out the more subtle and important messages from our intuition. When we look at our self talk more closely it is often more about us, and how we are performing as a coach, rather than about the client. Once we can throw out our ego, be completely present with the client and tune in to what serves them best, it is much more likely that we will be able to hear the subtle but important frequency that our intu-

ition works on. Often an intuitive coach will pick up a sense of something but it may be nebulous and hard to explain exactly to the client. Just because we may not be clear exactly what it means does not mean though that we should fail to act on it. I had been working with a CEO for quite a while and the coaching had been progressing well. In the sixth session I got a gut feeling I was missing something and decided to use a tool I had used previously with the client to ‘take stock’. All seemed fine as per our previous conversations - but I stayed with the feeling and remained silent for a few moments after he was finished. Suddenly he started talking about one area of his life that was an attempt to compensate for another and it became clear that this was significantly affecting the issues we were working on in the coaching. I could not have told you when I started down that road where this was going to lead, but acting on my intuition was exactly

dr jill walker ireland’s first emcc seniorpractitoner level coach the client needed to unlock a key driver for his life choices. When listening to our gut we therefore have to remain curious and open and not wedded to our interpretation of what our intuition is telling us. Co-Active Coaching describes intuition as “neither right or wrong. It’s more like a nudge we receive”. Acting on our intuition is not always easy. Your gut might beSecond Edition

Coaching Magazine | 17

telling you “I’m not sure I’m the right person to coach this person” or “I don’t think it’s working today” etc. The more difficult it is to surface, the more likely it is to be significantly affecting the coaching in some way. What helps me act in these cases is remembering Dr Jim Loughrey phrase - “what is the truth that needs to be spoken”. When that truth, whatever it may be, is surfaced it often has a truly profound effect on the coaching. For instance, I had an unsettling feeling that I wasn’t managing to connect with a particular client one day. I said that I felt something wasn’t working quite right in the coaching that day and what did she think. This ended up leading to a disclosure of a very serious long term mental health issue which was particularly bad at the time and resulted during the following discussion in the client deciding to seek professional help with it - something she had not done for 20 years. Relying more on your intuition can be very liberating as a coach. I have observed that when a coach is really following their intuition the coaching often has a natural ‘flow’ or ‘lightness’ to it, rather than the coach trying too hard to make it work. While it can be liberating, to make sure this is in the best service of your client, it should be done with a liberal helping of reflection, preferably by keeping a reflective journal and being in supervision. Kolb talks about learning being most effective when we complete all four stages of the learning cycle - experiencing, reflecting on this experience, concluding from this experience and applying this to the real world. Taking the time, even with a busy coaching practice, to build in reflection time is a critical part of our continuous improvement as coaches and ultimately our service to our clients.

For information please contact: Dr. Jill Walker, MD at People Potential Ltd E: M: 087 2997368 W: 18 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

Increasing your level of intuition can be invaluable, whether you are a practising coach or not. So perhaps try this exercise some time over the next week. Think of an issue you are finding challenging at the moment. Then close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Focus on nothing but your breath in and out of your abdomen for a little while. When you feel calm and present, allow this issue to come to mind in a relaxed way. Without trying to ‘make’ anything happen just see what comes up. It may be an image, a feeling or a sensation in your body. Stay with this and listen to what it’s telling you. If nothing comes up, that’s fine too. Just stay open and curious. Our intuition is like a timid little mouse. The more we chase it, the more it hides from us. When we are relaxed and open, it is more likely to reveal itself to us. To me, this is a skill worth nurturing because at the heart of powerful coaching you normally find a confident, experienced coach who also knows the value that intuition can bring. Using it effectively is one of the keys that helps unlock truly transformative coaching which in turn makes a real difference to people’s lives. Dr Jill Walker is an occupational psychologist with 20 years experience and the first senior accredited coach in Ireland with EMCC. She works as an executive coach, mainly at CEO/Director/Board level and has coached all the managers at the Irish Stock Exchange and more than fifty high potential staff at Google throughout EMEA. Using a positive psychology approach, she is an expert in the pioneering area of evidence-based resilience coaching. With a real passion for helping people be the best they can be, her style is engaging, positive and motivating.

ALUMNI FOCUS | Cassie Moore author and tutor on the CERTificate in coaching for practitioners that work with victims of abuse at kingstown college

ROSE PETAL | CASSIE MOORE Delicate Rose Petal so pretty and bright. Hold on to the branch with all of your might, The storm may be brewing but you must stay strong, You’ve just started growing, and you’re not here long, I stand and I watch as the storm grabs a hold, I see you sway fiercely and I grow cold, “Hold on little Rose Petal!” I hear myself say, As the wind rages hard trying to blow you away, But soon there is sunshine, The bad storm is gone, There my Rose Petal. More beautiful, more strong.

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 19

ALUMNI FOCUS | Maurice Whelan

coaching the With the ever increasing demand on our time and certainly in the current working environment, executives are expected to do more for their organisation with less people and resources. Certainly as a former executive of a large software company, it was very challenging for me to find quality time to just stop, reflect and think.

Coaching can be a powerful change agent in moving clients from merely existing to truly living, and it is a

I called the session “ Sacred “ because it is special, where in complete confidence you have the freedom to be yourself ‘warts and all’ and focus on the areas of your life or business that you feel need to be examined. The skill of the Coach is to partner the client on their journey and for the coach to question and probe, in order to reveal insights into the situation the client wants to change. Through the questioning process and through the use of some coaching techniques such as The Wheel of Life, the Grow Model, and Switching, the client gains new insights and can explore possibilities that can be turned into achievable goals.

privilege for us to share that journey . 20 |

Coaching First Magazine Magazine Edition Second Edition

The establishment of the contract at the start of the process is absolutely critical in ensuring that the client and not the coach is responsible and

Maurice Whelan reflects on the role of the Coach... “C oaching is a sacred space created in a moment of time , where in an atmosphere of complete confidentially, the coach creates a safe place where the client can reveal aspects of his / her life that they wish to change . I n partnership the Client and Coach work together to unlock potential and possibilities that the client decides are useful in order for their goals to be achieved.”

the sacred accountable for setting and achieving the goals. “ effective coaching relationship can motivate clients and unstuck the stuck. People come to coaching for lots of different things but the bottom line is change” P. Sandahi In the majority of cases, clients seek coaching because they realise that they are at some level unhappy with their personal or professional performance and they realise that something is amiss. As mentioned in my own definition of coaching, it is the coach who creates the confidential environment where the client has an opportunity to unburden themselves and an opportunity to look at the situation from a different perspective.

and using their skills can unlock the potential within the client that can support them to make that change. For the coaching experience to be of benefit for the client, the coach must possess some fundamental skills which she or he uses during the process. The Coach must have the ability to build rapport, be an active listener, be intuitive, ask powerful questions and give feedback. These core skills are absolutely critical to the success of the partnership in order to accompany the client on the journey. Without these core skills, the use of the Executive Coaching Tools will be ineffective.

“Your job is to notice and amplify life-giving forces within the client and any sign of constructive change. Become a detective for good things. Develop an appreciative ear, listen to the problems, but listen even more to the opportunity buried within the problem. Use questions that inspire and encourage the client to give positive examples (“Bib. Reference 2; Egan, 2002) The skill of the coach in questioning is paramount in supporting the client’s move through the process in a progressive and constructive manner. Recognizing the power of questioning and when to use specific types of questioning is a key skill.

Perspective is an important word here because at the end of the day, we have no control over anything but ourselves. So why we may not be able to control a situation, circumstance or an individual, we can control the way we react to it. “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing I can control- myself” Stephan R Covay The skill of the coach is critical in partnering the client on the journey

people come to coaching for different things the bottom line is change

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 21

and when to use specific types of questioning is a key skill. At the initial session, the coach might employ some questions designed to identify the area the client wants to work on. Coaches may ask questions such as “What have you done since you called for your appointment that has made a difference to the subject you want us to work on together.” This type of questioning tends to set the tone for the remaining sessions and is designed to encourage clients to rely on their own resources to resolve issues and prevent dependency on the coach. Another area that I am passionate about is that the coach should be familiar with experimentation and how important it can be the future-forward thinking of clients. It helps them to see the possibilities ahead if they chose to make the change they desire to make. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions “ Albert Einstein ( 1879-1955). The coach engages in work with the client to encourage them to look at alternative strategies and experiment with different types of execution of these strategies. “It’s obvious that in order to achieve what you have planned for your future you are going to have to grow, change your thinking and take on new skills.” (Bib.Refernce 3 Mesiti,. 1994. ) Experimentation can involve visualization, a technique that is used to focus the client on the future and to tap into the feelings and perspectives evoked by the experience. “Treat yourself as if you already are what you want to become” ( Bib. Reference 4, Dyer, 2004.)

Andreas advises that to get the best out of creative visualisation, one should do it from an observer’s perspective and position. “From this position it is easy to be a film editor, rapidly running lots of different scenarios, cutting out sections that don’t work well, adding in new segments, until you have a movie that looks good from the observer’s position. From this position you also have some pretty good information about how it would feel if you stepped into it, because you can see the expression on your face and the faces of the other people involved as the finished movie runs“. (Bib Reference 5, Andreas et al, 1999) In experimenting with previous clients, I have supported clients to create a Vision Board. The creation of vision boards are used in order to shift the focus from the current problem to a future state. “You can let your imagination go wild with a Vision Board, and place pictures of all the things you want, and the pictures of how you want to life to be.” (Bib.Reference 6 Byrne 2006 ). At the end of each session, the coach summaries the sessions for the client, offers encouragement and constructive dialogue and agrees the approach for the next session with the client. The use of the core skills together with the coaches ability to offer experimentation /visualisation to the client, which can then be applied to coaching tools, in my opinion ensures an effective coaching relationship. As part of this exploration, I will look at some models that I have experienced myself in peerto-peer coaching sessions. I feel that the experience that I had with these tools will support the position taken by Whitworth, Jkimsey-House, & Sandahi that the bottom line is change. In my opinion, if change does not take place during the coaching process, then it is of absolutely no benefit at all.

v i su a l i sati on can be use d to focus the cl i en t on t h e fut ure 22 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

The Wheel of Life. This is a very effective tool in the early coaching sessions with a client, when the client presents themselves with no clear view of what they want to change, but have a general feeling of being unfulfilled, unhappy or not performing to their maximum potential.

this is right or wrong and the client might be totally comfortable with that. However it is important to bring this into the awareness of the client so that they can make an informed decision on it.

The Wheel of Life is designed with eight empty segments. The client is asked to complete the heading for each of these segments in order to represent the different areas of their life. The client is then informed that the centre of the circle represents 0 and the outer edge represents 10. They are then asked to grade each section from 0 -10 where the closer to 0 represents how unhappy they are with that segment of their life. Once the client has done this, the dots are joined up to create a new outer edge which represents the client’s wheel of life. It is visually a very powerful tool. It highlights straight away the unbalance that may be in the client’s life and can unearth some very powerful feelings when this realisation of imbalance dawns on them. My experience is that as a coach, we need to be always aware that such tools can unlock strong emotional responses within a client when something of significance is revealed. In summary, this tool provides the client with an insight into what needs to be unstuck. The use of questioning is the key in supporting the client on the journey. The tool gives awareness to the client of their current situation. By seeing their life laid out in front of them, it can act as a great motivator and move the client towards changing the aspect of their life that they are not happy with. From my experience in coaching, I think it is a powerful tool for this type of client. So often because of work pressure, the wheel of life of the business executive can become completely unbalanced. Work might be at a 10 but the relationship with family might be at a 3.

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 23

The Grow Model. Grow is a problem solving process that first appeared in corporate coaching in the late 1980’s. The value of this model is that it provides an effective, structured process that helps set goals effectively. There are four steps in the process. The four steps are Goals, Reality, Options, and Wrap up, (Grow): Goal- This is the desired outcome for the client, where they want to be and what they want to achieve. The goal should be clear, specific, and concise and time bound. The coach uses questioning techniques to support the client in being very specific about their goal. When the coach has clarity on the goal, he is then able to better manage the process and to facilitate the client in their quest to achieve that goal. Reality- At this stage in the process, the coach invites the client to tell their story. In this phrase we ask the client what is currently happening and the impact this has on them achieving their goal. This self-assessment allows the client to understand their present state in greater detail. Options- Through questioning, the coach draws out various possibilities that the client feels will help in achieving their goal. These possibilities are uncovered by the use of brainstorming. The coach needs to be highly self-aware and to avoid telling the client what to do. By all means the coach can help the client build on some of the suggestions, but this intervention should always leave the client feeling empowered. Wrap Up- The options that have been uncovered so far in the process need to be converted into an action plan. It is important that specific steps are identified from the options that are going to lead the client to their desired gaol. These steps also involve identifying any obstacles that may exist and exploring scenarios to deal with these obstacles in order to ensure that the client is not deflected from achieving the goal.

24 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

The Switching Model. The principal behind the Switching Model is to help the client to see things from another person’s perspective. This model is particularly useful when there is conflict between team members or where the client has a particularly challenging relationship with a peer or boss. The process involves the use of three chairs. The client is invited to sit in one of the chairs and to discuss with the coach the issues from their personal perspective. Once this is done and the client has been asked some open ended questions, the client is then invited to ‘shake off’ (literally) their own persona and then invited to switch chairs and take on a different persona. They then tell the story from the other person’s perspective. Finally the client is once again invited to ‘shake off ‘ the persona and look at the situation from the perspective of an observer. We have always been encouraged to make these models our own and to change or modify the models to get the best results for our clients. I really love the Switch Model and I used a modified version of this with my external client with powerful results. My external client was trying to come up with a creative marketing plan and in the first chair she described how she was not creative and really struggling with this. Moving to the second chair, I asked her to remember and re-enact a time in the past when she was at her most creativity. Once she has assumed that state, I asked her to switch chairs and take that state into the present and start creating the marketing plan. The results were amazing and she came up with a creative marketing plan. It was an amazing achievement for my client. Once again the client’s mindset became unstuck and this allowed her to complete the task and change her perception concerning her ability to be creative. In conclusion, I would agree with Whitworth et al that people come to coaching for a variety of different reasons, but that the bottom line is usually a desire for change.

T he grow model through questioning the coach draws out various possibilities that will help achieve a clients goals

The role of the coach is to create that ‘Sacred Space’ where, in an atmosphere of complete confidentially and in a safe space, the client can address aspects of their life that they wish to change. The coach partners with the client like a passenger in a car. The coach is not driving but is looking at the road map and presenting options and routes for the driver to consider in order to reach the destination (gaol). In my view, the coaching tools are ineffective if they are put in the hands of a coach who does not have the depth of skills or competencies in coaching as discussed previously. These competencies, coupled with skilled questioning techniques and an appetite for experimentation with the tools, together with an ability to facilitate and lead the client into a place where they can visualise better possibilities, will result in lasting and effective change. For the coaching relationship to be truly motivational, it is critical that the coach has these competencies so that the client intuitively feels and knows that they are in safe and professional hands. The tools described in this paper provide the coach with ‘Process’ which the client may find useful in assisting him on the journey of change. Coaching can be a powerful change agent in moving clients from merely existing to truly

Bibliography: Bibliography Reference 1 ; Stephan R Covay , First Things First, Simon & Schuster Ltd 1994) Bibliography Reference 2 ; Egan, Gerard, 2002, The Skilled Helper, Thomson, Brooks, Cole, USA. Bibliography Reference 3; Mesiti, Pat, 1994, Wake Up and Dream, Schwartz ltd. London. Bibliography Reference 4; Dyer, Wayne, Dr. 2004. The Invisible Force, Hay House, Singapore. Bibliography Reference 5; Byrne, Rhona. 2006 The Secret. Beyond Words Publishing, Sydney. Bibliography Reference 6; Andreas, Steve. Faulkner Charles, Gerling, Kelly, Hallborn Tim, McDonald Robert, Schmidt, Gerry. Smith Suzi. 1999. NLP, The New Technology of Achievement, Werner Soderstrom Corporation, Finland. Each issue of Coaching Magazine we focus on the work of some of our Advanced Diploma in Personal & Executive Coaching Alumni. Maurice Whelan is Managing Director of Unleash Potential. You can contact him at at or visit his website at

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 25

Interview with Paula King

How many years have you held this position? 9 years.

What was your first job?



‘My first job was as a librarian which I was attracted to as I imagined myself spending many enjoyable hours reading and reviewing literature when the reality hit that this was far from being the case, I quickly moved on to working in the financial services area! From there I worked in Sussex University where I was manager of HR. I studied for my degree in HR when I was with the University and subsequently studied psychology and counselling. I completed my MSc in Coaching and Organisational Development with Portsmouth University.’ What is the best business decision you have ever made?

‘Setting up Kingstown College with my business partner has to be at the top of this list. I deeply believe that the Paula’s focus in the organisation is quality of our lives is directly related in the area of coaching and mentor- to the quality of our decisions and being a director in my own business ing. She is Course Director for the European Quality Assured Diploma has definitely added to the quality in Personal and Executive Coaching of my life and created, for me, a real offered by Kingstown College and is sense of doing something I love. My also the President of the European passion is coaching and mentoring Mentoring and Coaching Council in and my job allows me to work in this area every day of my working life.’ Ireland.

= I am working in one of the most dynamic and fastest growing industries in the world and I thoroughly enjoy the challenges every day brings. Living a positive life, achieving our potential and truly becoming the person we were born to be is an aspiration I ascribe to. What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learnt so far? I have learnt, and embrace the learning, that developing authentic relationships creates success in business. People want to work with people they trust and know will deliver to the highest standard. I have made many ‘professional’ friendships over the years that have progressed to personal friendships that I cherish. What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland today?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inade-

I believe that the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland is ensuring that there is the proper skills mix on boards. Ideally there should be a skills matrix in place before any board members are appointed, however, I recognise that there are many reasons why this may not be possible!

quate. Our deepest fear is that we are power-

In five words describe your work style.

Actually, who are you not to be?

Collaborative; visionary; innovative; adaptive and implementer. Who do you look to for inspiration? I think Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspirational people in history. I loved his inaugural speech when he quotes from Marianne Williamson.

ful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do” Marianne Williamson

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 27

ALUMNI FOCUS | Eithne Cusack dIRECTOR NMPD, HSE Dublin North

E valuation of a training programme in personal and executive coaching for senior nurse ’ s managers working in healthcare services in N orth D ublin area

Eithne Cusack looks at the possibilities of coaching in the Nursing & Midwifery Department of the HSE

the irish health service is currently undergoing a major stuctural reform Under the current global economic condition, employees are expected to do more with the same or less resources (Ohman 2000). The situation is no different in Ireland and in particular in Healthcare. Healthcare Organisations are constantly challenged by increased volume, patient acuity and complexity, demands of rising costs, continuous change, restructuring and staff shortages. The requirement for healthcare to develop and maintain leaders in such an environment is more acute than in any other sectors, particularly in Nursing & Midwifery services. Nursing & Midwifery comprises of approximately one third of overall staff in the public health service and have responsibility and accountability for delivering the majority of the care and management of clinical patient services. The need to develop leadership styles and for senior staff to inspire employee to achieve peak performance is critical in this cohort of staff. Personal & Executive coaching has been identified as a powerful vehicle to develop leadership within the organisational context (Law et al, 2007) and has been linked to several positive outcomes including enhanced transformational leadership skills (Abrell et al, 20121) goal selfconcordance and attainment (Burke & Linley, 2007, Grant,2006; Law et al., 2007; self awareness, accountability 28 |

and just in time learning (Turner, 2006) ability to make decisions, keep to time frames and achieve organisational and personal goals (Law & Aquilina 2013). In the healthcare arena there is a dearth of research studies related to nurse and midwife coaching and its implications in healthcare. The Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development unit in HSE Dublin North commissioned a programme on behalf of senior nurse mangers with a view to helping them support their reporting line managers working in Nursing & Midwifery services in the Health Services Executive. This paper provides an evaluation or insight into the perceptions of each participant of the impact of this coaching training on them personally, professionally and organisationally. Context: The Irish Health Care system is currently undergoing a major structural reform amidst an economic crisis that is producing challenges for nurses and midwives in every location of care and practice. This health care reform will require and demands new ways of working. In the midst of this change we need to support nurses and midwives to lead and manage this change by supporting and developing its greatest asset - its people. Senior nurses requested some training / input to assist

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

them to support staff in the current economic downturn. They asked for some programme that would provide them with skills that would enhance supportive relationships with their direct reports and develop effective team dynamics. Managers have an enormous and direct impact in their one –on-one communications with staff. In fact a line manager had the potential to strengthen an employee’s relationship to the job and the organisation – developing and strengthening the psychological contract. Managers need to inspire and influence others who may not share their values, expectations and clinical practices. As the healthcare environment is a dynamic one, it is a constant challenge to manage and change culture within this environment. If a nurse feels that his/ her line manager is supportive of him/her, has his/her interests and goals in mind and can help him/ her optimize their potential, there is a much greater chance that it will impact positively on their loyalty and commitment at work and ultimately impact positively on patient experience and outcomes. This group of senior staff came to this training programme for lots of different reasons including to help, support and motivate staff, to manage more effectively and essen-

The need to develop leadership styles & for senior staff to inspire employees to achieve peak performance is critical tially influence change. The formal programme entailed the provision of knowledge and understanding of coaching systems strategies and approaches including the tools & techniques used, along with the development of a practical competency in these skills including conflict coaching, personal and executive coaching and a knowledge of Cognitive Behaviour coaching and Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP). It also provided them with opportunity for individual one to one coaching sessions and group discussions. The coaching programme consisted of 12 coaching sessions: 8 as a peer coach and 4 as a coachee, a number of book reviews and a written assignment. Training was held one evening per week (3 hours) for 12 weeks in the evening, following work. Methodology: A semi structured questionnaire was given to participants to evaluate the impact the training had on them personally, professionally and organisationally. Of the 26 participant’s who completed coaching training, 19 completed the evaluation study. A number of questions were asked to inform the evaluation (Appendix 1) and the following thematic analysis the following outcomes were identified. Participation in this programme

and evaluation was on a voluntary basis. 26 participants completed the training programme and 19 completed the evaluation: 18 female, 1 male. The participants were aware that at the end of the programme we would be formally evaluated and consented to this. Following completion of the programme the individuals were asked to quantify the impact the training had on them personally, their lives and their practice. A number of questions relating to learning outcomes, the relevance of this skill set to the role of the professional manager and impact on personal and professional development were asked to inform the evaluation. The following themes emerged following evaluation. Findings: Increasing knowledge and skills: Following completion of this programme, managers reported having a greater knowledge and skills necessary to perform at a higher level with a greater capacity to develop and empower staff: ‘I have the tools to enable staff and colleagues to develop and explore solutions for themselves so this has been a massive benefit to me’. ‘The use of appreciative enquiry is a much more powerful intervention for positive change than confront-

ing individuals about what might be perceived previously as shortfalls or failure’s. ‘Change is rife at present and there are many challenges to not only continue service delivery to our clients/ patients but also to be responsive to new developments and find new ways of working. This course provides appreciative enquiry skills, provocative skills and a brief insight into Neuro Linguistic Programming which are of great value in the personal and professional development of staff and teams and towards continuing performance development’. ‘I am pleased with the extent of my professional and personal development. Skills in using advanced questioning, listening and reflection which are necessary for effective conversations and experience for the client were developed and expanded’. Increasing self awareness and performance enhancement: Respondents reported an increased awareness of themselves and how they relate both personally and professionally. Managers by understanding how they relate to others can adjust their behaviour to enable a more positive experience. Participants also reported that a deeper understanding and insight into their strengths and weaknesses’ allowed them to acknowledge andSecond Edition

Coaching Magazine | 29

‘The evaluation of this programme indicates that coaching training has the potential to be a major force in the promotion of manager well being and performance enhancement of the individual manager and the organisation.’ coaching offers a potential platform for facilitating individual, organisational & behavioural change

manage them and thereby reach their goals: ‘The content and skills learned challenged my thinking but also provided me with new ways of dealing with people in a different manner’. ‘I have changed my approach in some situation as this appears to work better for me and the outcome is far more beneficial for all concerned’ ‘I felt most challenged in how I manage myself. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of oneself to examine. What I believe is that only when we are able to examine ourselves in a critical, honest and open way will be begin to effectively manage. This may sound very “slang” and a bit aspirational however when one enters into the process it is amazing what will happen’. Self reflection and Goal attainment: Respondents reported how this training contributed to self reflection and enhanced goal attainment both personal and organisational and how to integrate both. The process of goal setting and attainment may be a valuable tool in managing challenges and achieving change: ‘Yes, I would certainly reflect more on my intentions and have identified different ways of working’. ‘As a result of the coaching course I’m now very conscious as to how best to approach things from the outset’. 30 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

‘….. the course allowed me to challenge my own beliefs and evaluate my values. A large part of the process of learning entailed developing insight into ones own behaviour. Honesty and review of one’s own beliefs and values was a valuable learning experience’. ‘The tools learned will certainly contribute to my management and working with people in the what I need to do differently.’ Improve motivation, performance and capacity: Participants stated that relationship building and the development of an open transparent communication is a highly valued aspect of their engagement with staff within their sphere of responsibility. This programme enabled them to improve their psychological approaches and relate more effectively, enhancing their performance. This they stated had a positive impact both on them as individuals and in the workplace (organisation). ‘I felt my communication and relationship with my direct reports has improved. I was more conscious how I communicated them. My style of questioning changed and I felt in many cases I had a more collaborative relationship with them. I am more in tune now with people in my directorate who may benefit from coaching’.

‘As a result of the coaching course I’m now very conscious as to how best to approach things from the outset’. Behaviour change and personal transformation: Participants expressed how cognitively they adapted their behaviour to a more solution focused approach as a result of this training programme: ‘ I am already putting the techniques and tools into practice with a newly appointed group of Clinical Nurse Managers. My only disappointment is that I would love to do more but find it difficult to fit it all in. However, I am actively looking at how to free up more time. This is very much in keeping with what we were taught on the course – there has to be solutions’! ‘This programme will enhance my professional practice - in the current climate we work in as healthcare professionals, there is always work that is never completed and never will be due to demands and shortages of staff therefore this allowed me the opportunity to look at my working hours and facilitated me to realign my work life balance’. ‘I now have different styles/techniques to help me interact with people........... I am supporting staff and seeking to make changes that will enhance practice. I do think that it up skilled us in challenging staff who are perhaps ‘stuck’ or in need of looking at the bigger picture. We learned a lot through questioning and positive framing of our discussions and use of powerful questions etc. This is helpful in today’s era of cutbacks and work/personal pressures for people’. ‘I think that this programme has taught me a lot about myself. Has encouraged me to look at how I practice in my own work, the time I give to others who work with me and insights into what I need to do differently. I have also now got the skills to support the people I work with and the confidence to provide a coaching service to others in the organisation and for that I would see this as being invaluable.’ I am conscious now of working with the staff in a different way. Being more aware of their learning of what I do in my job........I find I am challenging them a bit more in using their skills and promoting their knowledge in giving them tasks appropriate to their skill set’.

‘I am conscious of now of working with the staff in a different way. The content enabled me to focus on staff finding solutions themselves to issues rather than my tendency to be prescriptive’. ‘I am aware of their learning and of what I do in my job......... I find I am challenging them a bit more in using their skills and promoting their knowledge in giving them tasks appropriate to their skill set’. Leadership & Management skill and competency development: An important feature of this evaluation was its impact on the individual’s capacity to develop new ways of working. Through the coaching process the participants reported that the promotion of a vision along with the plan of how to achieve it will enhance constructive development and facilitate the process of change within the workplace: ‘The skills learned will certainly contribute to my management and working with people in the future. These tools will be helpful with all areas of management from staff, to outside agencies, to family members’. ‘I also believe I now understand better how to bring out the best in staff and yet makeSecond Edition

Coaching Magazine | 31

them more accountable professionally and for their actions’. ‘I just feel that in my current role as a’s the set of skills that we all should have (from the beginning of taking up the role). There were so many tips, techniques, models, tools, etc that added to the competencies I already had going into the course that I now feel more capable of “being an agent of emancipatory change”. This is because I have more skills in helping to be “agents of change” as well!’ ‘One of the key things I learned from the coaching is the importance of the leader being a good role model and sharing the benefits and values of the organisation’. Findings: The evaluation of this programme indicates that coaching training has the potential to be a major force in the promotion of manager well being and performance enhancement of the individual manager and the organisation. While strong skills development and performance enhancement were important features of this programme for the participants, the application of these skills and the ability to communicate and challenge constructively particularly within the workplace was a significant outcome of this work. The dominant impact of the training from the participant’s perspective of this coaching programme was the evidence of effective positive individual personal change as a result of participating on this coaching programme and ultimately within the organisation. The participants identified a number of tangible organisational and personal achievements including increased/enhanced self awareness, identifying areas which require further development or change, identification of leadership strengths, increased ability to take decisions and keep to time frames, cognitive change to a more solution focused approach and to identify and achieve personal and organisational goals and the ability to differentiate between both.

32 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

Conclusion This training coaching programme had a significant impact on developing Nurse Managers’ skills and competencies and helping them achieve both personal and organisational goals. The success of this training programme also suggests that coaching training can contribute to leadership development and performance enhancement of managers within the organisation. It offers a potential platform for facilitating individual, organisational and social change. This evaluation is consistent with other coaching literature that coaching can improve and individual both personally, professionally and their performance. In this evaluation it is evident that these participants experienced huge benefits both personally and professionally. Nursing & Midwifery managers reported that the knowledge and skills acquired on this programme changed their practice and contributes to helping them lead a workplace that truly values, supports and develops its greatest asset: its people. It is my contention that this learning is not only of value to the ‘organisation’ but it will improve the value of the ‘organisation’. Recommendation: It was identified that the establishment of a coaching network in the area would support the development of individual and group coaching for all Clinical Nurse Mangers and its integration into the culture of the organisation. Limitations: Perceptions pre training was not captured The long term effects of this training has not been measured Further Research studies: Measure impact of training from a line managers perspective. References: Available on request Eithne Cusack is Director of Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development at Health Service Executive.

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 33

NEWS | Shelley Crawford

New mental health & wellbeing coaching diploma

Co ac hi n g tool s can provide a uniq ue w ay to a ssi st cl i en ts on t h eir journey of re c o v e ry “ A s R ecovery becomes increasingly more of a focus within the M ental Health and Wellbeing arena , K ingstown C ollege in partnership with MindWise, are set to launch a uni que advanced training diploma” explains shelley crawford I have been privileged to be part of this exciting development and am delighted to see three of my favourite concepts - Recovery, Positive Psychology Coaching and Resilience Coaching combined for use in mental health and wellbeing. In developing this diploma, we have combined Kingstown’s cutting-edge coaching principles, tools and focused experiential learning with the multi-faceted concept of Recovery, to develop a unique coaching model for mental health. The aim is to enable mental health and wellbeing practitioners to use this innovative and dynamic approach to support their clients in a journey of recovery and discovery through coaching. In the past, mental ill-health was viewed largely from a medi34 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

cal model perspective, where illness is diagnosed and treated. And while there is an important place for a medicallyoriented treatment plan for people dealing with mental health challenges, recent years have seen the evolution of mental ill-health treatment, to incorporate the Recovery model as the preferred mode of treatment practice. In addition, there is currently widespread interest by practitioners, service-users and peers in adapting and utilising coaching principles as part of a wellness-focused approach for supporting people dealing with mental health challenges. A coaching model sits extremely well with the Recovery approach and the two concepts share many common principles. Coaching can be described as a way of working and communicating with people to assist them to find balance, enjoyment and meaning in their lives through the achievement of personal goals. Recovery as a process, could be defined as a personalised journey to discover a positive identity filled with meaning and growth, that will enable a way of ‘living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, within and beyond the potential limitations of ‘mental illness.’’³ The course content includes many of the coaching processes and tools that are explored in the College’s other coaching programmes. This content gives the Advanced Diploma in Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaching for Recovery and Discovery a solid coaching foundation. How-

launching as partnership between kingstown college & MIndwise ever, new material that is particularly pertinent to mental health and wellbeing has been added including wellknown recovery tools like WRAP®⁴ and assessment scales such as the MHRM (Mental Health Recovery Measure). Used in conjunction with the coaching-specific questions that follow each tool, the student coach is directed in the process of guiding the client to further insight. The topic of Resilience, currently receiving much limelight in the area of wellbeing is also covered in some depth. Resilience Coaching is particularly relevant to recovery and mental health. Resilience is not a single trait that people either have or do not have although people who have a high degree of resilience may also display strengths such as perseverance, flexibility, confidence, compassion, humour, honesty and bal-

ance. Resilience can be learned and acquired by anyone, especially with supportive guidance. In mental health, recovery is not a once-off event and building resilience skills is an important part of the recovery journey. Recovery is a process that sometimes involves relapse before full recovery is made. However, with each setback and challenge, the person changes through finding meaning and insight. And in this change process, the tools of resilience are gathered for use, to successfully confront future challenges. Building resilience involves changing and developing behaviours, thoughts and actions that can help make a person hardy during adversity. One of the most coachable factors affecting a person’s ability to be resilient is their response and attitude to an adversity. Because attitude is composed of thoughts, emotions and behaviours which impact on each other, resilience coaching can help develop more flexible thinking and allow room for adaptation to a challenging or changing circumstance. Insight and resilience coaching techniques can not only help individuals deal with difficult mental health issues (such as panic and depression), but also help a person to develop a view of themselves as a capable and strong person who has the strengths and resources to navigate through those issues successfully. Within the coaching partnership then the coach

provides a secure and trusting space for the client to gather resilience tools and skills. A significant amount of content in the diploma considers the application of pertinent psychological theories such as Cognitive Behavioural Theory and Positive Psychology to coaching for mental health and wellbeing. Belief system theories, change theories and negative thought patterns are applied to the coaching context and augmented by tools such as the ACE First model (Actions, Cognitions and Emotions) and ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts). As beliefs, change and negative thought patterns can be particularly challenging areas for people in recovery, the clear, step-by-step diagrams and learning material are designed to assist any mental health and wellbeing practitioner assist their client to move forward in their recovery. The rapidly developing science of Positive Psychology is explored in some depth in the course. Positive Psychology and its application to coaching, is integrated with Recovery principles to provide a useful and unique coaching approach for mental health and wellbeing practitioners.

Called ‘The Science at the Heart of Coaching’, Positive Psychology as a relatively new and dynamic science, focuses on issues such as human strengths, hope, happiness, resilience, courage, flow and other positive aspects of

“building resilience involves changing behaviours, thoughts and actions”.

resilience coaching can help develop more flexible thinking and allow room for adaptation to a challenging circumstance Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 35

-human functioning and flourishing. Using scientific methods of representative samples, advanced analytic technique and controlled laboratory studies, Positive Psychology has produced numerous studies drawing conclusions and insights that were previously lying in the realm of ‘faith and intuition’. Positive Psychology applied to coaching uses the development and promotion of character strengths as a way to develop wellbeing and ensure effective goal achievement. There is now substantial Positive Psychology research to support a ‘strengths-based’ model as a cornerstone of wellbeing. Identifying strengths is associated with higher happiness levels and lower rates of depression. In the Positive Psychology content of the course, students are guided in the use of ‘A Positive Diagnostic System’ which provides wellbeing tools to assist the coach and client to understand where they are in their recovery and wellbeing journey. In addition to strengths measures, a client’s interests and resource checklists, life satisfaction, hope and psychological wellbeing, values and situational benefactors measures, together with customised coaching questions for each measure, provide opportunities for broader ranging and deeper recovery and wellbeing coaching conversations. At the core of Recovery for Mental Health and Wellbeing is the minimisation of the impact of mental illness (through framing and self-managing) and maximising wellbeing (by developing positive identity and valued social roles and relationships)8. By incorporating appropriate coaching tools into their journey of recovery, a client can find a unique way of discovering their potential within a supportive coaching partnership. The Advanced Diploma in Mental Health & Wellbeing Coaching provides an excellent platform for this partnership to begin. References ¹ Shepherd, Boardman, & Slade (2010) ² Bora, Leaning, Moores, & Roberts (2010) ³ Anthony (1993) ⁴ Mary Ellen Copeland (WRAP®) Young and Bullock (2003) ⁶ Kauffman (2006) ⁷ Biswas-Diener (2010) 8 Slade (2009)

36 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

Shelley Crawford is an Executive and Wellbeing Coach and Consultant with two decades of experience in the field of education, from primary to tertiary level. She is the Head of Research & Development for Kingstown College for the new Diploma in Mental Health & Well Being. Her Master’s research was conducted in the area of Mental Health and it is in the area of Mental Health and Wellbeing that Shelley is most passionate. In the last few years, Shelley has coached executive and management clients, designed and delivered mental wellbeing programmes, workshops and seminars and consulted on human– workplace systems, communication, performance issues and stress management for companies in Ireland and Bahrain. Shelley holds a Degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, a Post-graduate Diploma in Project Management and Human Resource Management, an Advanced Diploma in Personal and Executive Coaching, a Wellness Coaching Diploma, a Teaching Licentiate in Dramatic Art and a Master of Science in Health Ergonomics. Shelley has been a lecturer, HR manager, programme designer and project coordinator for corporate and private learning institutions in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Bahrain, where she designed and facilitated Management Development Programmes, Human Resource Learnership and Staff Wellness programmes and lectured in Human Resource Management and Economics.

ALUMNI FOCUS | Cassie Moore


C OACHING CAN PROVID E a revolut ionary w ay o f D EALING wi th vict ims of abuse “ K I N GSTOW N C OL LEGE IS DELIGHTED TO A N N OU N C E A N EW L I F E COACHI N G COURSE, TH E FIRST O F ITS K I N D I N I RE L AN D T H AT W I L L G I VE PROFESSIO NA LS CO ACH ING TOOL S T HAT T H E Y CAN USE W I TH CLIENTS WH O H AVE EN D U RE D AB U S E” e x plains cassie moore This Life Coaching Course is the first of its kind in Ireland and is accredited with QQI Level 6. The 6 day programme will be unique in that it will give professionals coaching tools that they can use with clients who have endured abuse. Some of the tools that professionals will learn will include Appreciative Inquiry, which helps clients put goals and an action plan in place, enabling them to gain clarity on the issues they want to address and help them drive forward to achieve the life they envisage. Professionals will also learn about Values and Belief systems. This will help Clients put a stop to self sabotaging behaviours enabling them to develop life altering habits. This is only a small example of what this new Course has to offer. Each module will focus on tools that will empower Clients to keep moving their lives forward in a way they may have never thought possible. As this course focuses on the here and now, professionals will learn a new way of encouraging clients not to dwell on their past but rather focus on building a brighter future. From this Course, Professionals themselves will become empowered and will also gain new skills to help them deal with what can be at times a very demanding profession. This course is suitable for all levels of staff who work or have contact directly or indirectly with those who have suffered abuse.

I really believe that this will be a revolutionary way of dealing with victims of abuse. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises that 1 in 3 people suffer some form abuse during their lifetime. I myself endured child sex abuse and domestic violence for almost forty five years. I eventually sought help from my local Domestic Violence Service. I received counselling which was a vital part of my recovery, it gave me the strength to leave my abusive life behind. I then began a process of self healing through writing my autobiography “Did You Hear Me Crying”. I felt I had progressed but also that something was missing, I was still stuck. I decided to look into Life Coaching, I believed that what I would learn would be very helpful to me as I toured Ireland and spoke about my life’s experiences. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much it would help me in my own personal development. Very early on in my course I realised that I was no longer stuck, I learnt I had the power within myself to live the life that I so wanted to live. When I finished my course I did another tour of Ireland, meeting victims of abuse and the professionals that work with them. It was whilst I was doing this tour I realised just how beneficial a Life Coaching Course designed especially for these Professionals would be for all involved. I spoke with Kingstown College and with their wonderful support we are now able to announce this exciting course. I am living proof of the power of Life Coaching, and I believe that this new programme will give others the tools they need to move themselves

Cassie Moore is a Lifecoach and author of the bestselling ‘Did You Hear Me Crying’. She is a facilitator on the Certificate in Life Coaching for Practitioners that Work with Victims of Abuse at Kingstown College. Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 37

GALLERY | Out & About


Athlone institute of technology

Kingstown College Director Edward Boland (centre) with graduates at AIT Athlone

The Fitzpatrick castle Hotel Killiney

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD joins Kingstown College Director Paula King for the Gaduation of some of the Advanced Diploma in Coaching students. (below)

38 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

GALLERY | Out & About

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 39

GALLERY | Out & About

Gallery Graduation celebration Directors of nursing hse

MInister Francis Fitzgerald TD with HSE graduates of Advanced Diploma in Coaching programme.

40 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

GALLERY | Out & About

Second Edition

Coaching Magazine | 41 (Lo Call) 1890-788-788 42 |

Coaching Magazine Second Edition

Coaching Magazine Issue 2 Spring 2014  

Ireland's Coaching Magazine published by Kingstown College - Issue 2 Spring 2014