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.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

How is the Sun the answer you're searching for?

Encouraged by the feedback from Saturday's live videos from the book launch I started the day with a video blog just before my early morning sunrise swim - water was 12(54), and air temp was 5(41) degrees.

See what you think - and as LinkedIn loved them you'll find me over there live vlogging on a more regular basis - I will also post them on my YouTube Landscaping Your Life playlist, and here.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life - using nature as your coach and her landscapes as metaphors for our lives
Author of Can't see the wood for the trees

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Are you headed for the ocean?

The final chapter of the book Can't see the wood for the trees is Going with the flow.

Going with the flow is the antidote to all the other sayings covered in the book, sayings that we use when we're stuck - such as those shown below:

The main premise of the book is that nature is our coach, and nature's landscapes are metaphors for our lives. Which means the problems are described as landscapes - so too the antidotes. Which means we go from being up creeks, getting stuck in ruts or going around in circles to metaphorically going with the flow.

Not a passive or reactive sort of flow - one of pro-action and making decisions, and certainly not going against the flow. After all, you wouldn't need to go against the flow for too long for all your energy to be drained, and for that inevitable flow back to where you started. 

The problem arises when we are going with the flow and get to a fork in the river, how do we determine which of these options is the flow that takes us towards our goal, and which has the potential to get us stuck again? A frustration anyone who frequently finds themselves stuck will resonate with.

If we follow nature's metaphor the answer is simple - we need to understand which option takes us to the ocean - metaphorically at least.

Having used this 'test' with many coaching clients it's interesting how often people are able to sense which options will take them to the ocean and which won't. You'll have to try it to know to be sure for yourself.

I promise answering the question doesn't need you to replicate what I did on my book launch recently - see video below. I just felt it had to be done ;-) and am very pleased the wind from earlier in the day hadn't yet got to the final landscape we visited for the launch!


When thinking of a decision you're facing between options you may therefore want to ask "which will take me to the ocean?" and notice what you notice.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Unlocking patterns that are keep you stuck - whether of mind, body or soul

You'll find details of stockists of the book hereand more about the Landscaping Your Life process using nature as your coach here.


Friday, 28 September 2018

Fife Book Launch 29th September

(Post event note) The book launch took place on 29th September - find out more about the insights gained here.


Details of the Fife book launch for Can't see the wood for the trees in four landscapes along the Fife coast here or below


Or join me live on YouTubeLinkedInFacebook or Instagram for follow #LandscapingYourLife on twitter or any of the other social media channel

More about the Landscaping Your Life process using nature as our coach here
And details of where to buy it here

Saturday, 22 September 2018

If you can't see the wood for the trees


Can't see the wood for the trees is finally out, and explores a variety of ways of using nature as our coach when we're using her name in vain such as: stuck in a rut; up a creek without a paddle; or any of the sayings shown:
It's origins go back to the late 90's, and using gardening as a metaphor for supplier management, when encouraging managers within the organisation they needed to do more than just leave suppliers to it and hope for the best. Shortly thereafter the gardening expanded to cover nature more broadly, and supplier management expanded to include life, and Landscaping Your Life was born. Using #LandscapingYourLife on most social media platforms will find me.

There's over 10 different coaching tools shared in the book to help you get on track if any of these sayings are curtailing or dampening progress you're making in your life. There's an overview of the book I published when the US edition was published last month. For the more logically minded readers I also wrote a post at that time exploring the molehills we're actually making a mountain of.  

Today on my Landscaping Your Life blog I explore one of these tools as it relates to the title of the book Can't see the wood for the trees.  

Friday, 21 September 2018

Let's hope I'm not headed for the ocean

As I write this ahead of Saturday I have no way of knowing if the weather will get the better of my plans.

I'm due to take part in the Forth Swim - which is 1.4 miles from South to North Queensferry in Fife, Scotland. (Anyone wishing to make donations to RNLI are most welcome to do so on my JustGiving page or simply text 70070 with RBCM47 £x where x is the amount you wish to donate)

Having taken open water swimming up in June last year I've been in the water over 90 times since then. I love it - who knew I could cope with the cold and enjoy it!

My book, Can't see the wood for the trees, was finally published here in the UK this week (It's been available elsewhere since August), and I am however a little worried that the chapters of my book are a premonition.

The book provides insight from nature about what to do when using some very well known sayings that refer to nature - here in the UK anyway.
 
You'll find out more about the book over on my Landscaping Your Life page.

I'll let you know how I got on next week.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Author or Can't see the wood for the trees

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Benefits of Coaching

Earlier in the week I wrote about the myths of coaching. Today I'd like to explore the benefits of coaching.

I could use words like: clarity, improving situations, realising goals, changing lives, inspiring action, and transformation. Which are all words used by coachees about the impact coaching has had on them. The challenge is, it doesn't help you much as they're not very tangible and generate more questions of the coachees than they provide answers e.g. how were you inspired, what did that mean you could do, what did you have more or less of in your life as a result and so on.

As I love using metaphors in my coaching I thought I'd use a journey as a metaphor for what coaching helps us to do.

When setting out on any journey there's some fundamentals.
  • You have to know where you are (A)
  • and where you want to get to (B)
Usually we at least know where we're starting - although not always - and if we don't know coaching can act a little like GPS helping us discover the coordinates of where we're starting from.


If needed, coaching can also help us to open our eyes and to be honest about the state of the current situation - positive or negative, helpful or not, and the inner and outer resources we have available to us.


Coaching can help us get clear about our end destination, making it more likely we'll get there.


Or perhaps that's just about the first stop. With the potential of an even bigger and further away destination as some point in the future that we need to consider now.


Coaching can help us be clear about why we want to get to B,


and even invite us to consider if C or D might be even better destinations that meet more of our needs, or that act as a bigger motivator.


Coaching can help us come up with a route to get from A to B/C or D - that action plan.


It can help us decide when we set out, and when not to.
Who we don't want to come along with us, and who we do.


Coaching can help us prepare for the journey - decide what we might need to do before setting off,


or what we need to consider during our journey.
Coaching can help take the first step,


Monitor progress along our journey, and help us to make corrections to our route, or deal with things that arise.


Of course there's always things that get in the way on a journey, and coaching helps us prepare for them and work around, under, over or through them. To face what might stop us getting there and prepare for success.
Image result for learning to drive




!

Coaching also helps us take action to start covering those miles, and to celebrate when we reach each milestone.

People don't always need help for every aspect of the journey. And sometime they do - from planning, to leaving, to amending, to correcting, to arriving and celebrating.

If you know where you're headed, have an action plan to get there, have taken the first step, and are satisfied with the speed, direction, and progress you're making then you're most likely being your own coach, and may not need any additional support.

If you're: stuck, or unsure where to go, off track, wandering around, hesitant, lost, have no route map, and/or have done no preparation for the journey then coaching might be worth considering to get you on track and motoring along - or perhaps it's flying along that makes more sense.


If coaching is something you'd like to explore the first step is finding and choosing a coach. If that coach might be me then do give me a call +44 (0)7770 538159 or email alison@alisonsmith.eu

Also see the myths about coaching for a more logical explanation about what coaching is. My first book Can't see the wood for the trees is published tomorrow and provides questions from nature who is acting as our coach - particularly helpful for situations when we're in any of the situations below. See Landscaping your Life for more about this coaching tool I've used for the last 20 years:



"Alison is one of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of working with (and I've worked with a few!) She has a highly practical nature and combines it with strong intuition and unconventional tools to guide you to find insights and answers to specific challenges. 

She asks powerful thought provoking questions, but it's not just about coming up with answers in your mind; in my session she used various unconventional tools including something called The Transformation Game to help me connect with my intuition to gain new insights and awareness about my situation. Not only that, due to Alison's skill and patience I was able to experience a profound shift in relation to an ongoing challenge that had been holding me back in my life and I left the session with action steps to enable me to progress further.

As with any transformational coaching, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for personal change and get out of your comfort zone to find the answers you need, but Alison makes this easy with her approach.

Whether you're looking for a personal coach or you're looking for a highly skilled executive coach in the workplace for insights, awareness and more importantly a clear idea of the next action to take, if you're ready to try a powerful alternative, I highly recommend you get in touch with Alison."



Tuesday, 18 September 2018

No pain, No gain


Words have power.
Words have such power, that unconsciously they’re informing our thoughts, feelings and actions in every moment – positively and negatively.
The words and sayings we use can often become a whole universe in their own right – with their own laws of gravity, relativity, and even black holes and worm holes we can get sucked into and lost within. These universes are of our own making, with immutable and often unconscious laws that may bear no relation to how the world really works. Yet they impact our actions, and therefore the outcomes we achieve.
The key is bringing unhelpful words and sayings, and their accompanying laws, into our conscious awareness so that they may be weakened of their power in our lives.
Today's LinkedIn article explores No pain, No gain.

Do get in touch if you’d be interested in a personal, team or organisational audit of the universe of words that might be limiting your progress and success. More traditional coaching and facilitation using a range of conventional and unconventional tools is also available.
Sayings getting in the way of success, that have been covered by previous posts, include: Juggling balls or spinning plates, life got in the way, treading water, needing to be on the same page as others, turning over a new leaf, testing the water and even following our dreams. (Other universes that we can get stuck within include the words we use to describe our roles – more here.)

Monday, 17 September 2018

The myths about coaching


"I'd find that really helpful" said one delegate on a recent workshop when we spoke about coaching.

I hear this often, and yet very few people turn that desire into action.

I wonder, is that because we think:
  • Coaching is something other people do and not us. 
  • It's only about emotions.  
  • We have to know what we want before we can start. 
  • Or know what's stopping us.
  • Or have the answers.
  • Or attend multiple sessions.
  • A quick fix won't solve this.
  • We don't want someone else telling me what to do.
  • It's only for major life events after all. 
  • It's only for those with money to spare.
  • I'm not worth it.
I'm glad to tell you these are all myths, because in reality:
  • Coaching is something everyone can benefit from. 
  • Coaching can cover any or just one aspect of your life - thoughts, feeling, behaviours, actions and can cover physical and mental health, nutrition, fitness, life, finances, relationships, purpose, divorce, bereavement, setting up for own business or even procurement processes. You decide. You just need to find the right coach with experience of the area you're wanting coaching in, and a coaching style that suits you.
  • Coaching helps us understand where we are, where we might want to get to, and identify an action plan to get there.
  • To discover what's stopping us.
  • To ask the powerful questions so you can uncover the answers.
  • It can be one powerful and insightful call or a series of face to face meetings - or any mix in-between. 
  • Coaching may not be able to "fix" the problem. Coaching can however help you take control over your reaction to the situation, and identify an action plan to change your relationship to it.
  • The coach's role is to ask you the questions in order for you to decide for yourself what you want to do.
  • Coaching is for any aspect of your life - any area where you'd like something to reduce, change, improve, or transform.  
  • Coaching is an investment - it's only you who can determine if that  level of investment is worth the reward of achieving your goal. 
  • Everyone is worth it. Everyone.
The first action is accepting you're worth it, and then picking up the phone to explore how a coach might be able to help you. If that coach might be me then do give me a call +44 (0)7770 538159 or email alison@alisonsmith.eu

"Alison is one of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of working with (and I've worked with a few!) She has a highly practical nature and combines it with strong intuition and unconventional tools to guide you to find insights and answers to specific challenges. 

She asks powerful thought provoking questions, but it's not just about coming up with answers in your mind; in my session she used various unconventional tools including something called The Transformation Game to help me connect with my intuition to gain new insights and awareness about my situation. Not only that, due to Alison's skill and patience I was able to experience a profound shift in relation to an ongoing challenge that had been holding me back in my life and I left the session with action steps to enable me to progress further.

As with any transformational coaching, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for personal change and get out of your comfort zone to find the answers you need, but Alison makes this easy with her approach.

Whether you're looking for a personal coach or you're looking for a highly skilled executive coach in the workplace for insights, awareness and more importantly a clear idea of the next action to take, if you're ready to try a powerful alternative, I highly recommend you get in touch with Alison."


Friday, 14 September 2018

Let go of your dreams

Words have power, and this week I realised how unconscious seemingly positive words can be in holding us back.

We don't have to go far to find ourselves encouraged to:
  • Follow your dreams
  • Never let go of your dreams
  • Live your dream 
I get it - visions, ambitions and goals can act as a huge motivator of action. Without them it's easy to find ourselves going around in circles, treading water and going nowhere fast.

And yet - is dream the right word to use to describe what we're aiming for? 

If you're achieving your goals, ambitions or dreams then there's no need to consider whether the word you're using is appropriate. It doesn't matter, because it's either working, or not limiting you making progress. 

If you're wondering what's holding you back, however, you might want to think about what word you're using to describe the outcome you're wanting. 

Here's my perspective on why "dreams" might not work.

"Dreams" are mainly associated with what we do when we sleep - they're surreal, fantasies, intangible, ethereal, weird, and often have no relationship to science fact and make better topics of science fiction! 

Additionally after we've dreamt we wake up and go back to reality, back to real life.  

Why would "dreams" then act as a great motivator?   

In a coaching conversation earlier in the week I heard "My dream is too ethereal and unreal, a nice thought on a bad day of something to come - one day - sometime in the future." 

As I reflected on my own dream come true of becoming a published author I realised it was feeling a little surreal and disconnected from what was happening. Changing being a published author to an ambition realised felt much more concrete, and something I needed to plan for, and take action about. (Although it required a little fantasy when taking this image to help envisage the ambition :-) )


Are you following your dreams or would following your ambition, vision or aspiration get you there more successfully?  

Do get in touch if you’d be interested in a personal, team or organisational audit of the words that might be limiting your progress and success. More traditional coaching and facilitation using a range of conventional and unconventional tools is also available.

Alison Smith

alison@alisonsmith.eu
+44 (0)7770 538159
Author of Can’t see the wood for the trees – which explores solutions to sayings that are keeping you stuck. 
Sayings such as: stuck in a rut; going round in circles; up the creek without a paddle; or can’t see the wood for the trees (or for American readers that might be can’t see the woods for the trees or even can’t see the forest for the trees).
“Alison is one of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of working with (and I've worked with a few!). She has a highly practical nature and combines it with strong intuition and unconventional tools to guide you to find insights and answers to specific challenges. … As with any transformational coaching, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for personal change and get out of your comfort zone to find the answers you need, but Alison makes this easy with her approach.”
Mel Sherwood, author of The Authority Guide to Pitching Your Business

Friday, 31 August 2018

Nature as our coach

As Purchasing Coach I use many different tools to facilitate insight for coaching clients.

Coaching has many different objectives, and the tool used will be determined by the goal the client has on that day.


For example, to get from A To B we need to:

  1. Understand where we are currently - A
  2. Know where we want to get to - B
  3. Understand what we might be stopping us getting from A to B 
  4. Deal with that's holding us back
  5. Have an action plan to get from A to B
  6. Take action
  7. Celebrate progress
  8. Review progress, and amend direction of travel as necessary
  9. Get to B, C or an improved A
Coaching can provide support at any or all parts of that journey. Which means a coaching session might include asking powerful question to help and support you to:
  1. Understand your current situation, and understand why its not where you want to be
  2. Identify your goal/vision or mission, and understand why it's where you do want to be 
  3. Explore the potential barriers, blocks, hurdles, fears that might be holding you back
  4. Release the blocks and barriers to making progress
  5. Identify a plan of how to achieve your goal
  6. Take action every day towards your goal 
  7. Remind you to celebrate your successes however small 
  8. Review where you are, whether you still want to get to B, and what needs to happen to stay on track or alter your journey
  9. Achieve your goals
There are many tools and techniques available to help you along the way. 

For example I recently attended a friend's, Caroline Johnstone, book launch Dare to be Happier: an Introduction to the magic of journaling to transform your life. Hearing her talk reminded me of the power of reflection, journaling and gratitude to help us to move through the 9 steps above.

In my Advent series of posts I introduced 24 unconventional tools in my coaching toolkit that I have available to support people on their journey.


One of those tools - Landscaping Your Life - has it's own book launch coming up very soon. Can't see the wood for the trees by Alison Smith is published here in the UK - although it's already available on Kindle and also in paperback in the US.

Landscaping Your Life uses nature as a coach - with questions being asked in the form of elements of landscapes rather than words. 

These 2 videos help explain it a little more:


Coaching Question from Nature: How can you blow away the clouds or even rise above them so you can appreciate and accept your essence and light in the world?


Coaching Question from Nature: How can you ensure you connect with all that you have in common, rather than what divides and separates you from others?

I've also written many a post here in this blog on the more conventional tools I use in coaching I do. This index of posts includes a number of these - including exploring goal setting, understanding your values, increasing confidence, watching your language to name just a few.  

If you'd like to know more about coaching available from me or nature do please drop me a line alison@alisonsmith.eu or give me a call +44 (0)7770 538159. 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out

If you can't see the wood for the trees, are stuck in a rut, up a creek without a paddle, are treading water, or out on a limb, or perhaps feel like a fish out of water the recently published Can't see the wood for the trees offers coaching advice from the very landscapes contained within these sayings.

Which means if you're stuck in a rut - the rut will have the answer, if you can't see the wood for the trees it suggests the wood will have much to say - after all as David Wagoner in his poem Lost suggests "The wood and the trees ... are not lost .... you must let it find you."

More on stockists of the book here.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Making Mountains out of Molehills


Today is the day when my baby :-) Can't see the wood for the trees: Landscaping Your Life to get back on track is available to download and, if you're lucky enough to be in the US, available to buy a hard copy too! (Unfortunately we'll have to wait till 20th Sept here in the UK to get our hands on one).

The book explores the sayings we use when we're stuck such as: 
  • Stuck in a rut
  • Can’t see the wood for the trees
  • Up the creek without a paddle
  • Like a fish out of water
  • Out on a limb
  • In at the deep end
  • Treading water
  • Going round in circles
  • Missed the tide
It uses the Landscaping Your Life process that I've been using with clients for over 20 years, and if you resonate with any of the saying's above you might want to pop over to my Landscaping Your Life page and find out more about it - YouTube too.

A more logical explanation about the solutions proposed in the book focuses on two other sayings:

Firstly, we need to take our head out of the sand about about inability to solve the situation.



That is, there will be a solution we just need to stay calm and find it. 

We also need to recognise that we might just be:
It's not a phrase we often use about ourselves, and yet that's what we're doing when we're describing a situation as stuck. That is, we're stating we don't know what to do, and we are most definitely stuck and unable to move. 

The truth of the matter is it's likely that there will be part of us that does know what to do. We just need to turn up its voice a little so we can hear it. 

The mountains are the sayings we use - ie we've taken a situation and are depicting it as mountain like rut, tree, creek, limb and so on!

Which is where the molehills come in, because they're the solution:
  1. Motivation
  2. Outcome
  3. Life as it is now (what we’re leaving behind?)
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Head out of the sand
  6. Interference removed
  7. Longitude and Latitude
  8. Start
That is, the solution to any problems we're facing lies in one of the above MOLEHILLS, or more precisely:
  1. To be inspired and motivated
  2. To know what you’re headed towards (B)
  3. To know where you are now (A)
  4. To understand yourself and manage your state
  5. To take personal responsibility for your life
  6. To understand and remove what’s holding you back
  7. To develop the route for getting from A to B
  8. To take the first step
Over the six years I've written here I've covered many of these subjects, and over coming weeks will return to these again to explore how we can use them to get unstuck and back on track.

In the mean time if you're stuck in a rut, and have struggled for some time to find the motivation, you might just want to go and find a rut in the landscape, step into it and out again and notice what you notice. You might be surprised!

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Landscaping Your Life - inspiring change inside and out

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

14 or 44 sleeps to go

Beyond excited that on 7th Aug in the US (aka 14 sleeps) and 6th Sept in the UK (a little longer with 44 sleeps) that my first book:

Can't see the wood for the trees 

is due to be published.


Available to pre-order from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukGoodreadsBarnes and NobleWHSWaterstonesDeep BooksInner TraditionsIndieBound, & Findhorn Press.

Trade orders please see Simon & Schuster.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Have you taken off your rose coloured spectacles?

Before my holiday I gave a talk at a local CIPS branch meeting and addressed my answer to a question posed about 'how to stand out from the crowd'. It was of course a given that the tag line to that question was 'using soft skills'.

Consider for a moment which of the following would you say was the most important soft skill?

The soft skill that would enable you to stand out from others, and enable you to get that interview, job or promotion?

Perhaps the soft skill you're thinking of isn't there.

Here's my answer to that question:

Having taken up sea swimming last year I've signed up for a Firth of Forth swim in September (eeck!).
Since swimming, and certainly since telling people about my 1.4 mile swim to come, I am constantly aware of the different temperature comfort zones we all have:


I've never liked temperatures over 20 degrees but who knew I would happily embrace swimming without a wet suit in 8 degree water with frost on the ground to watch sunrise!!


Aren't we all a little like the weather though with a range of temperaments:

Some of us able to demonstrate a different temperament every hour, and others stuck in one for months on end:

The key, is the predictability of our actions:


With the ability to flex those actions to suit the situation:

and to not get stuck in a fixed way of being:



I'll ask you again, which of these soft skills is the most important?


The accuracy of your answer depends whether you took your rose coloured spectacles off long enough about yourself to assess which of these skills you excel at, and which need a little more TLC and development?


Which was the crux of my answer - I believe self awareness is the key to standing out from the crowd.

Self awareness allows us to bring into conscious awareness the skills we're competent in (our strengths) and those we're not (areas of development).


Self awareness also allows us to understand who we are - our identity - to enable us to ensure we're not trying to be a round peg in a square hole:

On the night, using the Frameworks for Change Process I use in coaching sessions, we then explored strengths we might have:


and also the potential development areas:



One attendee said she was off to speak to her manager to ask them what soft skill she may wish to bring out of unconscious incompetence so that she may develop her competence in that area.

How can you put your self awareness to work in order that you increase the potential of you standing out from the crowd?

Always more than open to discussing how I may help you or your team increase your self awareness, and even release some of those unhelpful behaviours that are holding you back  alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach 
Using unconventional tools to get you back on track 

The FCP process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com.