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Mindfulness

What advice would you give your best friend?

What advice would you give your best friend?

by Moyra Mackie on April 2, 2018

Most have us have known that feeling when we’ve got a lot on our plates; challenging targets, multiple demands (often a combination of work and home) and tight deadlines.

Yet sometimes this just helps us focus; makes us resourceful, creative, efficient. We’re resilient in the face of pressure.

Sometimes it does the opposite. We feel stuck; as if we’re going to fail at something (possibly lots of things). The pressure overwhelms us.

The impact of Control, Choices and Competence – or lack of it

I held an interactive webinar for the Time to Think group on Facebook to find out what caused them stress and how they dealt with it. Reflecting on the experiences and wisdom, I asked myself what they all had in common.

This is when those three Cs seemed significant.  Pressure is a form of stimulation, which we can use to help us, just as long as we think we have at least one (preferably two) of those elements.

I think that unconsciously we ask ourselves:

  • Do I feel as if I’m control?
  • Do I think I have choices?
  • Do I believe I have the skills to complete the multiple demands being thrown at me?

Notice the role of our emotions, thoughts and beliefs

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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Mindfulness:  powerful coaching for the mind?

Mindfulness: powerful coaching for the mind?

by Moyra Mackie on February 27, 2016

This week my much beloved, but aging, Mini Cooper helped me to find a moment of true quiet and stillness by letting me down.

As I left my car to be repaired, I dreaded what I felt was a long walk into town.  I was conscious of my laptop weighing heavily in my bag, alongside a feeling of uncertainty about spending a day working out of a coffee shop, unsure of how long or how expensive my wait would turn out to be.

I had so much to do, I hadn’t time to slow down

I resigned myself to a walk along a busy road, when I noticed that I could take a short cut along the canal.  This was a bit better.

As I turned onto the canal tow path and headed away from the road I realised that even though I’d lived in this town for more than twenty years, I’d never walked along this stretch before.

I began to notice what a nice day it was

Crisply cold in the shade and unexpectedly warm in the puddles of sunlight. I was all by myself.  I began to enjoy the sight of the tiny gardens of the cottages that backed onto the canal.  A strong contrast to the blue metal industrial buildings on the other side.

The further I walked, the quieter it became, the less I noticed the weight of my laptop

Then I saw a tiny wooden bridge that led from the canal, over a stretch of water and onto a little lane that would take me into town.  Thanks to a sign put up by the town council, I discovered that the water was “an artificial lake” that covered an area that used to be a thriving watercress field in Victorian times.  Watercress was grown and transported all over England using canal transport or the newly built railway.

Still thinking about this – and how much the town had changed – I stepped onto the bridge.  And stopped.

What I could see was beautiful.  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 gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

What gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

by Moyra Mackie on October 17, 2015

When I left work at 7pm on Friday night, it was already dark. Outside, it seemed that everybody’s weekend had begun except mine.

I’d been in a team meeting all day and had spent the last hour frantically trying to catch up on important mails that had arrived during the day.  I was in the middle of negotiating a large contract and I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the paperwork and the process.

My mind was everywhere except in the present

I got into my car, with my mind racing, half wishing the weekend away so that I could get back to untangling the bureaucratic threads.

At least I didn’t have to cook dinner when I got home, as my husband had ordered a takeaway for me to pick up on the way home.  I stopped first to buy a bottle of wine to go with it.

As I reached the check out, my head was still full of work

I scarcely noticed the cashier until the card machine failed to work.  Three or four attempts by the young woman to reset the machine failed and I stood waiting, aware of a growing queue behind me.

Eventually she asked her colleague, who pointed out that she had missed a basic step in allowing card payments.  She blushed and apologised.   In that moment I was conscious of feeling angry at the large supermarket chain for throwing young workers in front of customers without adequate training.

But just as quickly another thought entered my head. 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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It’s estimated that around 75% of change initiatives fail. A failed or interrupted change program is really just disruption. Disruption is costly –  to the bottom line and to the emotions, energy and engagement of all involved.

Change fails because we start in the wrong place

Most change programs start with a reaction – to the market, to what is happening “out there.” Senior management or HR departments see other companies doing this or that and decide, “that’s where we need to be. Let’s get a plan together, let’s add some targets – some carrots and sticks – and let’s get our leaders to sell this vision.”

Wikipedia summarises the literature more formally:

“Regardless of the many types of organizational change, the critical aspect is a company’s ability to win the buy-in of their organization’s employees on the change. Effectively managing organizational change is a four-step process:
1. Recognizing the changes in the broader business environment
2. Developing the necessary adjustments for their company’s needs
3. Training their employees on the appropriate changes
4. Winning the support of the employees with the persuasiveness of the appropriate adjustments”

Change fails because it’s reactive and focused on selling a vision

Vision is incredibly motivating in getting us to move from where we are to where we really want or need to be. But you need to know EXACTLY WHERE you are starting from.

Imagine finding yourself in a strange city where you can’t speak the language, or read the signs, and you’re hungry. You find a wonderful restaurant on Google maps but GPS can’t locate where you are. Knowing where you want to be, and being highly motivated to get there, is not going to help.

For lasting change you have to start with the present – where you are right now

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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Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

by Moyra Mackie on September 1, 2014

In a few days’ time I will be sitting on that seat, by that fire.

In a few days’ time I will be back in Zimbabwe, the land of my birth.

As I listen to the traffic outside my office window, it’s almost impossible to imagine sitting round a campfire in a place that is only accessible by boat or plane.  A place where rush hour means the dawn and dusk ritual of animals coming down to the river to feed.

A place without the internet or a reliable mobile phone connection

I realise that this will be the first time for a very long time that  I will really and truly be unplugged.

In 1989 I spent six months backpacking through Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town.  No phone, no web, no social media.  There were weeks at a time when my family back home had no idea who I was travelling with or even which country I was in.

In 1989 I took that freedom for granted.  Now I worry about not being able to speak to my kids or check my email for a few days.

Which got me thinking about what being connected and available 24/7 does to me, does to us

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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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?

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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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?
read more…

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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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If Yoda can take a vacation, so can you. So can I.

If Yoda can take a vacation, so can you. So can I.

by Moyra Mackie on August 3, 2013

“Switching off.  Getting away from it all. Having a holiday. Taking a vacation.”

However you phrase it, it’s that time of year again.

Daily there are articles about Americans not taking all their vacation time, and just as many asserting what the dangers of not letting go of the office might mean.

As a small company owner, I’ve found myself justifying my constant connections with work, wherever I am in the world, as necessary to the survival of my business.

I’ve developed a habit that comforts me that I’m indispensable

Until my indispensability was challenged by infrastructure.  Or rather the lack of it.
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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