Coaching for 2018

With instant and global connectivity there's really no limitation on coaching sessions - to celebrate the launch of my first book I'm therefore allocating more time in my diary to providing coaching sessions.

Contact me now if you'd be interested in finding out more about what's involved - whether for a one-off kick up the ... session, a retreat like weekend, or a more gentle programme of coaching sessions.

Or first read about the myths and benefits of coaching.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 1: Problem Reversal

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight

Window 1: Problem Reversal

Level of unconventionalness out of 10 = 2
  • Identify as many ways of making the current situation worse - ie how can you have more of the problem, 
  • Have fun and get absurd, 
  • Mind maps on a flip chart are great for this with everyone contributing (as you'll discover below, it's not such a creative process with one person doing it alone!)
  • Once you have a lovely long list identify mitigating actions to ensure the suggestions don't trip you up, nor are the reason for your future or continued failure.  
Festive/Holiday season example: 

How to have the worse Christmas/holiday ever.

Before the holiday
  • Leave everything to the last minute
  • Be very unclear with others about your plans 
  • Don't listen to what others want
  • Steam roller ahead with your own plans
  • Say yes to everything - work and personal 
  • Say no to everything 
  • Say yes to things you don't want to do
  • Say no to things you do want to do
  • Set unrealistic deadlines 
  • Focus on one task to the exclusion of everything else on your to-do list 
  • Have no idea what preparation you need to have done
  • Do no preparation
  • Put pressure and stress on everyone around you ahead of their holidays 
  • Start to erode into other people's holidays by giving them work at the last minute (e.g sending out a tender on Christmas eve with a deadline of 2nd Jan - but you'd never do that would you?)
  • Party hard every day running up to the holiday (although I realise for some this might make for the best holiday ever)
During the holiday
  • Read your emails daily
  • Interrupt other people's holidays with work
  • Ignore and don't speak to anyone (again this might be someone's idea of bliss)
  • Spend most of your time head down in social media 
  • Do nothing you enjoy 
  • Ensure only those that don't get along are invited to the same party/meal
  • Focus on the negative to the exclusion of any positive
  • Spend lots of time with people you don't get along with 
  • Be ungrateful for everything
  • Eat and drink nothing you enjoy 
  • Play at being Scrooge
  • and so on.
Solutions might include:
  • Be grateful every day 
  • Plan to do what you enjoy doing
  • Be clear about the criteria for success for you for the holiday
  • Understand other's criteria for success
  • Plan ahead
  • Develop and prioritise a to-do list - NOW
  • Identify things you can do in spare moments throughout the weeks running up to the holiday
  • Delegate if possible
  • Say no, or ask if it can wait till Jan
  • Use your out of office to manage expectations
  • Ensure people know now when you're planning to be away.
  • Don't go cold turkey with your emails - wean yourself off them slowly over December (other suggestions for email management can be found here)
  • and so on
If there had been a few of us doing this exercise we would have had a little more fun with it, and have identified some ludicrous suggestions that no one would ever do - and yet ......

You may also find that these suggestions could be applied to a challenge you're facing. As you reflect on that challenge review the above suggestions and notice what you notice. You may just be surprised with what you discover.


Benefits: Fun means of finding solutions without the defences going up about the reason for the current situation. Great way of uncovering the obvious we're ignoring/have forgotten about!

Uses: Strategy and Vision Setting, Coaching, Problem Solving, Creativity & Innovation

Participants: Better when there's a few of you to bounce ideas off each other and have fun together.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here. Otherwise, I wonder what will be behind window 2, and what tool will get the coveted 10/10 on the unconventionalness scale!

NB: Conventional thinking can simply give us more of what we've already got which is why I always consider the applicability of an unconventional tool or two in any situation.

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