Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

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Coaching

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

by Moyra Mackie on February 2, 2014

Nick Pugliese must have given his mother quite a few sleepless nights. When he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, with a degree in political science and philosophy, Nick decided he’d like to gain some interesting and challenging work experience.

So he chose a telecoms company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At college he’d been captain of the football team – or as they say in his hometown of Rochester, NY – “soccer”.  So it wasn’t long before Nick started playing the game at weekends with his Afghan colleagues. It was a mental and physical escape from the restrictive, claustrophobic world of the small expat compound.

And then he got offered the chance to play for Ferozi FC, a professional club in the 14-team Kabul Premier League.

Nick had to choose between his $3000 a month job with the telecoms company and the $300 a month wage at Ferozi FC and a life outside the safety of the compound.

Nick chose the life outside

He became the first American player in the Afghan league since the 2002 invasion.
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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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Room for reflection: How coaching leads to real change

Room for reflection: How coaching leads to real change

by Moyra Mackie on January 12, 2014

“In coaching the client learns and grows through reflecting on their own experiences and intuition via thought-provoking and insightful inquiry from the coach in a trusting and supportive environment.” 

~ Coaching Relationships: The Relational Coaching Field Book

In order to be consistently effective, it helps if coaches first go through the same process “reflecting on their own experiences and intuition”

And that is just what I have been doing for the last 12 months;  Year 1 of my MSc in Executive Coaching at Ashridge Business School, a program that aims to “develop your ability to respond to, initiate and enable change through the coaching process.”

In addition to attending a series of two-day experiential workshops, I have also been writing a 12,000 word personal reflection journal, answering a series of questions that require me to apply psychological models to specific coaching cases and to my coaching approach.

It’s not abstract, it’s highly personal

The assessors are not looking for evidence of someone who can understand and recite reams of academic theory and research, they want to see how deeply I can inquire into what makes my clients tick and how self-aware I am about my own patterns of behaviour.

Coaching is all about the relationship

Research shows that the most important factor in determining whether coaching is effective or not, is the quality of the relationship between coach and client.

And if this is the case, then it is vitally important that I understand what baggage I bring to the coaching room – what are my triggers, my drivers, my biases?

Effective coaches are always learning and reflecting

As Mary Beth O’Neill says in Coaching with Backbone and Heart:

“If you do not develop yourself enough to withstand a client’s stress, you default to actions that handle your own discomfort but are not useful to your client.”

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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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Rebecca  arrived at our first coaching session apologizing that she had a headache and sore neck and shoulders.

Ninety minutes later her headache had lifted and the pain had gone. She left my office elated and incredulous.

I know what you’re thinking.

How did that happen?

For those cynics in the room, who may not be that charitable, please keep reading.

But the answer to the question above is: we had a trustful coaching session and then we ended with seven minutes of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

mindfulness, coaching, Moyra Mackie

How can “paying attention on purpose” ease physical pain?

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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 capture YOUR coaching moments

How to capture YOUR coaching moments

by Moyra Mackie on October 11, 2013

As a professional coach perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this, but:

 “Anyone can be a coach.”

And what’s more, you don’t have to be shut in a room one-on-one to flex those coaching muscles.

Coaching moments happen all the time

You might be having coffee with a colleague or friend, leaving a meeting, picking up the kids or sitting down to dinner with the family.

In any of these moments, someone is bound to say something that describes their situation – “I’m stuck” – or their emotions – “I’m sad, mad or surprised”.

Sympathizing is not the same as listening

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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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What Tolstoy could teach us about change

What Tolstoy could teach us about change

by Moyra Mackie on October 4, 2013

How many times have you tried to change something in your work or personal life, only to find yourself drifting back to your old habits?

Even when we know that the change we want to see makes logical, rational sense – giving up smoking, exercising more, balancing work and life – we often fail to make the change.

Why do we act against our own best interests?

Well the answer came when I was handing out these postcards this week.

Change Ninja, making change happen

The Tolstoy quote has resonated with most people, but one conversation in particular stands out.  On seeing the quote one of my clients said:

“small changes…that’s so true.  Except that I usually make big changes.”

“And how does that work out?” I asked.

“Well sometimes it works, many times it doesn’t and sometimes it’s chaos.”

Which is an answer Tolstoy, a master of observing the small details of peoples’ actions and attitudes, could have predicted.

So how can we make change stick?

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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 Power of Living in the Now

The Power of Living in the Now

by Guest contributor Richard Smith on September 27, 2013

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon

Where do you spend your time?

Is it dwelling on the past and recalled experiences? Is it anticipating future events and how they might be influenced?

Or do you prefer the present – experiencing each moment with full contact and a raised awareness?
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Guest contributor Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a leader in the environmental industry, consulting with the University of Hertfordshire. His role includes consulting, management training and executive coaching. He is a believer in development and learning, especially in relational settings. The day we stop learning is our last on Earth, until then we never know the limits of how much we can grow.

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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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Why I need a coach

Why I need a coach

by Guest contributor John Stepper on August 30, 2013

From the age of 5 to 23, I spent much of my weekdays with teachers. People I could learn from or rely on for help or guidance. Then, for decades after, I stopped.

As I struggled through some of the most difficult times in work and life, I almost never asked for help at all.

Isn’t that odd? Why would I get more instruction and assistance for trigonometry than for making work and life more fulfilling?

What is coaching, anyway?

For sure, there have been helpful people in my life.

My parents were supportive but lacked the experience to help me at work.

I’ve had the occasional good manager, but most lacked the empathy and emotional objectivity you need in a good coach. After all, you can’t reasonably expose your fears and weaknesses about work to the same person who’s paying you for that work.

If these people can’t coach you, who can? And what would they do?

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Guest contributor John Stepper

John is changing how people work at Deutsche Bank using collaboration platforms, communities of practice, and public social media. He writes about making work more effective and fulfilling at johnstepper.com and on Twitter as @johnstepper

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Are you an accidental or intentional leader?

Are you an accidental or intentional leader?

by Guest contributor Sheri Spencer on August 16, 2013

We are all leaders

Leading is the way we motivate and move others and ourselves into action.

We all lead in every area of our lives, either intentionally with purpose and passion or by default, unaware of our influence and impact.

What kind of leader are you?

Every day there are endless opportunities for all of us to lead and to harness the powerful energy that exists within and around us.

This energy shows in our thoughts, emotions and actions. Individuals exhibit energy, but so do groups. These forces can be destructive or constructive.

The founder of the Institute for Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), Bruce D. Schneider, categorizes within Energy Leadership ™ the types as either:

  • catabolic (destructive) or
  • anabolic (constructive)

These energy categories are further divided into 7 Levels of Energy

Each level is characterized by a set of thoughts, emotions and actions.

The Individuals or groups that are primarily catabolic react to their circumstances with worry, fear, doubt, blame and anger.

Those that are primarily anabolic take responsibility for their thoughts, emotions and actions, look for and create opportunities that engage, enable and empower all, with an authentic ability to motivate, inspire themselves and others to be extraordinary.

An Energy Level is not good or bad; there are advantages and disadvantages at each level. It really depends on the situation and the desired outcome.

What can you do to engage, enable, and empower?

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Guest contributor Sheri Spencer

Sheri Spencer practices Energy Leadership Coaching. This partnership enables and empowers you to connect your inner purpose and passion with your outer goals to fulfill your aspirations and potential. As a coach, her only agenda is to help you achieve and sustain what you most deeply desire, so that you grow from good to great.

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Ending or beginning.  How do you see change?

Ending or beginning. How do you see change?

by Moyra Mackie on July 26, 2013

 “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~ T.S Eliot

And this is the end where I start from

At the age of 10 I helped my family to sell everything we owned and almost everything we treasured.

It took hours for me, my brother and sister and my mum and dad, to carry the contents of our house outside and arrange them neatly on the lawn.

I remember seeing the dinner service my parents had been given as a wedding gift, my mum’s wedding dress and assortment of hats, handbags and shoes.  I remember the beautiful walnut drinks cabinet with mirrored inlay and our wooden trunk of toys.

I can still see the people from Victoria Falls (pop. 16,000) coming to wander round our garden; inspecting those things which had so little monetary value, but meant so much to the five of us who named the price and took the Rhodesian dollars.

Then we packed up our lives in eight metal trunks and began the journey south by rail to Cape Town and north by sea to Southampton.

Our family began our new life in England on July 4th 1977

My parents had four children under the age of 11, one thousand Rhodesian dollars, no work and no credit history.

It was quite a beginning

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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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