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Vulnerability

How much are you worth?

How much are you worth?

by Moyra Mackie on August 6, 2016

If I asked you the question “How much are you worth?”  what would you take into consideration?

Would you think about how much you earn or how much you own?  Would you think about what’s in the bank, or how much you owe the bank?

Or would you dwell on what other people might think you’re worth?

How long did it take you before you valued yourself?

Not just in this exercise above, but in your life?

The trouble with external valuations – like everything in a market – is the value can rise or fall without really having anything to do with you.

We’ve been judged and labelled all our lives 

Sporty, smart, arty, eccentric, funny, beautiful, introvert, extrovert, people person, shy, bossy, go-getting.  These (e)valuations are set by other people, or agreed by us in some kind of unconscious negotiation with other people.

 http://www.coachwiththegreenhat.com/growth-mindset-how-much-you-worth/After a while we may even take on that label; wear it like a suit of armour.  You might begin sentences with:

“you see, I’m an X kind of person.”

We limit our worth by overlooking our value

Being an “X kind of person” makes sure that we limit ourselves before someone else does.  It’s a bulwark against rejection.

It’s why I think psychometric tests are such comfort blankets for corporations; they’re grown-up labels where it’s ok to put people in boxes.  The focus is on a fixed point. Nowhere are we considering our value; what we’re offering or what we have in common.

Most of the coaching conversations I’ve ever had – whether I have been the coach or the one being coached – has begun at the point of being frustrated or comforted with a label.

The biggest value of coaching or therapy is that it allows us the space to examine our own assumptions and unpick the tapestry of labels and self-limiting beliefs we’ve stitched together over time.

How to set your own value

Setting our value, establishing our own sense of worth, is not an easy task.  Especially when we’ve got used to other people doing it for us.

We could all value these things more:

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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That’s what vulnerability feels like according to Brené Brown.  She also says:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness….The intention and outcome of vulnerability is trust, intimacy and connection.”

The problem is we all have our naked in public memories

This is mine:

When I was at junior school I loved to spend school break times on the climbing frames in the playground.  I grew up in Zimbabwe and my memories are that climbing trees and building forts were equal opportunities activities – we weren’t locked in a pink ghetto back then.

However, being a girl did present some challenges.  This was the seventies and school uniform was a very short blue and white checked dress.  The answer was that we all also wore school issue matching “knickers” to preserve our dignity, if not our sense of style.  This allowed me to indulge my eight year old passion for hanging upside down or swinging round and round on high parallel bars.

Except one day, as I flung my legs over the bar and let myself fall upside down, I realised something felt different. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How do we get to trust?

How do we get to trust?

by Moyra Mackie on April 23, 2016

“I don’t trust you”, she said.

A colleague and I were working with a group to understand more about their responses to an employee engagement survey.  We’d been hired by the management team because we had coached them and they, well yes, trusted us.

So how would you respond?

When it comes to trust words don’t work

I could recite the code of ethics I sign up to as an Accredited Coach.  Or I could point out that we wouldn’t last very long in this business if we couldn’t keep what we were told confidential.

I begin with the truth.

“Thank you.  That must have taken  a bit of courage to say that to us and in front of the group”

Don’t get me wrong, as she had said those words, I feel a sharp pain in my stomach, as if she’s physically punched me.  I’m aware my chest is tight and my palms are sweaty.

This person, who I will call Verity, had struck at the heart of who I believed myself to be.  As a coach, building and maintaining trust are essential for my work.

Yet feedback is always a gift.

What gets left unsaid is more toxic than what is brought into the open. Raising tough issues, especially about negative feelings, takes courage.

As I say those words of thanks I can feel my stress reducing.  I now process the thought that something about how we are as coaches and how the group is, has allowed Verity to take a risk and speak out.

Trust requires personal risk

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Vulnerability AND strength: The walls we build

Vulnerability AND strength: The walls we build

by Moyra Mackie on March 21, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about defensiveness this week. About how and why we build the walls we do and what the impact of this is on ourselves and our relationships at home and at work.

We build walls because they protect us

The town I live in has a castle dating back to the 11th century and spending some time there yesterday it struck me that groups of people have been building metaphorical and actual walls for centuries.

Before I continue, you might be expecting a castle like this:

Vulnerability, the walls we build

When Berkhamsted Castle actually now looks like this:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berkhamsted_Castle_Jan_2007.jpg

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons. Attribution: Winstainforth at the English language Wikipedia

Its current state belies a muscular history that began when the victorious French king, William the Conqueror, accepted the English surrender after the Battle of Hastings.

We build walls out of a desire to both control and protect

Yesterday, as I stood against the rough flint exterior, I noticed the cold in the shadow of the high stone wall, eclipsing the view of the sky above. These walls, together with the moat and the other earthwork defences were designed to keep people safe at a time of great doubt and insecurity.  And it must have been formidably difficult to attempt to attack this place.

The trouble is your protection can become your prison

Which is what happened in Berkhamsted in 1216 when the castle came under siege for two weeks and eventually the occupants had to surrender.

As I sat on the hill overlooking what is now a rather benign scene I remembered a client – who I will call Daniel – who came to my office for coaching.

Change and insecurity trigger defensiveness 

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How to make filing inspiring

How to make filing inspiring

by Moyra Mackie on May 24, 2014

I hate filing and I love TED Talks.

So in an effort to motivate myself to keep up with all the necessary admin involved in running a business, I make sure I listen to a TED talk whilst wrestling with paperwork.

Sometimes it doesn’t work.  Because sometimes the talks are so compelling that I have to watch as well as listen.

I’m far from on my own. The TED website estimates that they receive 17 page views a second.

This is TED’s mission:

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearing house of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

My 100 inspirational minutes

So this week I thought I would post my all time favourite top 5 TED Talks and see what you think. In total, they add up to 100 minutes of inspiring and thought-provoking ideas.

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Feedback is the canary in the cage

Feedback is the canary in the cage

by Moyra Mackie on May 17, 2014

Into the 1980s, miners in Britain would carry canaries in cages when working deep underground.  A dead canary served as an early warning sign of dangerous gases.

In organisations today feedback is the canary in the cage

If a feedback culture is alive and well, then it’s a sure sign that the organisation is pretty healthy.  Lack of feedback is an indicator that managers aren’t leading and that trust and engagement are low.

Watch here for what feedback really is and how to encourage it in your organisation.

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The hippo, the salesman and the significance of shoes

The hippo, the salesman and the significance of shoes

by Moyra Mackie on November 8, 2013

This week I’ve been asking myself how bad things have to get before we ask for help.

I’m thinking of all the people who struggle with a relationship without seeking counselling. Or those who wrestle with a problem at work and try and solve it on their own, rather than ask for help from managers or peers, or even a coach. Brené Brown, in her research into relationships, discovered we have a strong social imperative to appear strong and avoid feeling vulnerable.  Yet she believes:

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Which reminds me of an extraordinary day I spent back in Zimbabwe

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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View from the (l)edge

View from the (l)edge

by Moyra Mackie on October 18, 2013

One bright Sunday this June when I stepped briefly onto the glass platform in The Shard, 244m (800ft) above south London, it hit me that the older I get, the more afraid of heights I become.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about fear this week

Fear can be immobilising. It can stop us from having tough but necessary conversations and from taking necessary decisions and risks.

Effective leaders confront fear every day; in having challenging conversations, in making decisions and taking risks. Which is why leadership can be so hard and so lonely.

Leadership requires stepping onto the ledge

One of the roles of a coach is to work with leaders to help them manage their anxiety, to model a way of reflecting, talking and listening that they can take back with them to form more effective habits of responding and communicating with those around them.

Coaches work with leaders to step out of their comfort zone

Mary Beth O’Neill puts this most eloquently in Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart, when she says that all coaches need to develop a “signature presence”. This takes both professional training and years of practice. Ideally this practice should be both inside and outside the coaching room.

“Having signature presence is critical for coaches. Presence means bringing your self when you coach: your values, passion, creativity, emotion and discerning judgment to any given moment with a client. Presence means developing and sustaining your tolerance for a host of situations many people actively avoid; ambiguity, daunting challenges, the anxiety or disapproval of others, and your own personal sources of stress.”

And the last few weeks have certainly provided me with plenty of practice of all of the above  

Not in the coaching room, but in my attempts to bring a little bit of the coaching room into other people’s every day routine. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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What lies beneath: Why we avoid difficult conversations

What lies beneath: Why we avoid difficult conversations

by Moyra Mackie on September 20, 2013

Recently I was coaching a client – let’s call him Joe – who told me he was seriously considering leaving his company.

When I asked him why, Joe didn’t mention anything about the merits of his company’s competitors.

What he did talk about was his boss

“I don’t get any feedback.  I’m told no news is good news but I don’t know what I’m doing right and I don’t think I can learn and grow if I don’t know exactly where and how to improve or challenge myself.”

So I asked him what he could do to change this situation

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Lessons from the sun lounger

Lessons from the sun lounger

by Moyra Mackie on September 6, 2013

How do you feel asking other people for help?

What happens if you’re struggling to find your way and GPS or a plain old-fashioned map fails you? Do you hesitate to ask for guidance?

Or perhaps you’re not physically lost, but you feel out of your depth or overwhelmed? Do you reach out and ask for help or continue to struggle?

To the eternal embarrassment of my teenage sons I have no problem asking strangers for directions, no matter where I am in the world.

I’m afraid of asking for help in other ways

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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