Ms A P Almeida

Words to describe how I felt at the start of coaching – Willing to change

Words to describe how I felt after coaching – Empowered to change

I decided to start this exciting coaching journey because I really wanted to review my career and gain the necessary confidence to embark on my first business endeavour.  The 3 sessions with Jennifer allowed me to reflect and re-connect with my values and skills, to understand which working areas highly motivated me and to recognise that my narrow definition of success was undermining action.  At the end, I felt fully empowered to make the necessary changes in order to start developing my business idea.

Pitch Perfect

Pitching yourself, some love it, some hate it.  When attending a network event or a new business opportunity presents itself, its beneficial to have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch to pull out the bag in an instant and make you stand out from the crowd.  People build an impression of you in 30-60 seconds, so you need to get your message across quickly and with confidence.  So by the time you’ve finished reading this paragraph they’ve possibly already formed an impression of you – make the time count.

So let’s start to think about what you need to get across.  It’s not just about what you say, but also about how you engage with the other person and displaying the right behaviours to build rapport instantly.  People will support you if they like and trust you.  Take some time out and consider the following:

  • What do you want them to remember about you as a person and what can you offer?
  • How could you fit in with their organisation or clientele?
  • Consider how you can hook them – think about 3 areas of passion, interest or objectives
  • What are you working on now and what’s your aims for the future?
  • Engage with them by asking questions – remember you’re not quoting your CV but engaging in real conversation
  • What’s your call to action that’s value-add – perhaps it’s to stay in touch or offer something to them?
  • Remember the behaviours and the rapport building:

o   Do –

  • Match their body language
  • Make eye contact
  • Use their name at least once
  • Really listen and show genuine interest in what they have to say
  • Be enthusiastic

o   Don’t –

  • Corner them and keep them too long
  • Get hung up on your job title – it says nothing about who you really are
  • Forget it’s a real conversation and not a speech

Once you’ve thought about this, start to formulate your pitch and reflect on the required behaviours.  Then get yourself in front of a mirror, camera, or voice recorder and practice, practice, practice.  You’ll learn so much about your mannerisms, buzz words you always use, and tone of voice, so don’t skip this part no matter how uncomfortable this may feel.  If you’re feeling brave, and to get maximum benefit, enlist the help of a trusted friend or colleague to pitch to.  Ask them to be completely honest in their feedback, what’s the point otherwise.  If you’re feeling really brave, ask them to ‘step into your shoes’ and copy both physically and word for word how you introduced yourself.  Just 10 seconds of your greeting as they see and hear you will tell you what no amount of practising in front of a mirror will.  Do it, you’ll learn something about yourself you didn’t know.

By putting in the time to create your pitch in advance, practice it, refine it, and practice some more, you’ll set yourself up to deliver a perfect pitch with confidence and get your message across.  Good luck!

“Remember, if you don’t promote yourself, then no-one else will!  Likewise, believe in yourself or no-one else will either” – Donald Trump


The Generation Game

Cuddly toy, toaster, decanter.  No, not the TV gameshow that started in the 1970s! I’m talking about the game of managing and motivating the Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Gen Ys and Gen Zs.  Which one are you?

Right now many businesses have a workforce spanning decades, bringing with it some puzzling questions about how to keep these diverse groups engaged, motivated and valued.  “I just don’t understand them” is a phrase on many people’s lips. So how can people get what they need to be at their best when everyone wants different things from their employer and in life?  Whether you’re an employee or an employer, recognising and understanding generational differences can be hugely beneficial to our culture, bring harmony, and get you ahead of the game.

So you’ve got Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1979), Gen Y (1980-2000) and Gen Z (2001-present) all with different aspirations, beliefs and values.  Each have grown up in very different environments and experienced mixed fortunes economically.  Technology has played a huge part in generational differences with today’s children never knowing anything but a digital world.  The phrase “a job for life” no longer applies. Many roles performed today wont exist in the future having been automated or become redundant, and businesses that are just a seed in someone’s mind right now will create jobs we’ve never even heard of.  The demand for more flexible working arrangements are higher than ever.  Interesting times.

Whilst this is a challenge for employers there’s lots that we can do as individuals to better understand each other and get on the front foot.

  • Be aware that generational differences exist and commit to some internet research to understand how each are characterised, and help avoid inter-generational conflict
  • Ask your employer if they have a plan for engaging, motivating and valuing their people across all the generations and to share their learnings with you
  • If you’re thinking about a promotion or going for interview, being forearmed with knowledge of how other generations approach life and the world of work may be to your advantage and help build rapport quicker – chances are a different generation will be interviewing you!
  • And if you’re doing the hiring bear in mind that not everyone is driven by salary alone, so be aware of other generational drivers such as flexible working, coaching and mentoring
  • If you’re a line manager or working towards management then strong leadership skills are becoming increasingly important, so perhaps consider some leadership development

We all have different goals, aspirations, drivers and work ethics, and finding a way to work together and thrive together isn’t easy.  But if everyone got to know themselves and each other that little bit better we could achieve great things, and coaching is just one option to help you explore what can be a delicate topic.

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it” – George Orwell

Inhale Confidence, Exhale Doubt

Confidence.  To some people it just comes quite naturally, to others like me it requires a bit of effort!  Wherever you find yourself on the confidence scale there’s some steps I’d like to share with you to help make it more effortless.

Firstly, confidence means different things to different people, so as you’re reading this article consider what being confident means to you personally.  Notice I use the word ‘being’ confident.  To one person that might simply mean being able to say hello to someone they don’t know in their department or gym, or to another it might mean confidence going for a promotion or pitching their ideas. Whatever it is you want to be more confident being, start to think as we do in NLP terms by focusing in on how you see, hear and feel confidence – the ‘being’ bit.

So let’s get the uncomfortable part out the way now and think about times when you felt at your least confident, are there any obvious triggers eg tasks, people, places or missed opportunities you can recall?  Note them down and keep a log if it helps you for future reference.  But now the pleasant part – ask yourself “What will it look like when I’m being confident, picture it?  What will I sound like when I’m being confident?  What will it feel like when I’m being confident?”  These are crucial first steps – identifying clearly what being confident means to you, possible triggers in your confidence levels, and your vision of what confidence is.

Here’s some suggestions to get you started:

–  Know your strengths and limitations, notice I didn’t use the word weaknesses.  There are some companies out there who will profile your strengths for you, so worth checking out.

–  Jot down what you enjoy both in and out the workplace. I bet you feel pretty confident doing things you enjoy.

–  Write down 5 things you are good at and 5 things you’re not as good at.  Ask a trusted friend or colleague to do the same and compare.

–  Trust in your capabilities and maximise on those opportunities to turn up that confidence dial.

–  Expect success, not something we’ve necessarily been brought up to think – this requires positive thinking and self-belief.  Take time to work on this, practice over and over.

–  Acknowledge praise, another thing some people struggle to accept.  Try to look at praise as a gift.  If someone gave you a physical gift which you struggled to accept what impression is that giving, it’s no different with the gift of words.  Keep it simple, say thank you.

–  Embrace the unknown – this takes practice moving out your comfort zone, take some risks.  Consider reading ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ if you haven’t already, it’s a great read.

– Grow your network and make new connections, but think quality contacts not quantity.  Do your research beforehand and arm yourself with open ended questions to support those first encounters.  These opportunities could open new doors for you.

– And breathe – we do it 24/7 yet focusing on the breath alone in any given challenging situation can really help with confidence.

Give the above a shot, give it time, and practice.  Talking all this through with a qualified Coach/NLP Coach, practising Mindfulness can all support you to build your confidence and really are worth the investment.

“With realisation of one’s own potential and self confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world” DALAI LAMA