Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

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Working Out Loud

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.”

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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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’s the difference between management and leadership?”

A variation of that question is keyed into Google more than 1.2 million times a month.

Do people want to know the difference or are they asking how to be better at what they are doing?

Leadership steps that managers must take to get better at what they do include:

So here’s a true story of one of the managers I worked with

Perhaps you could assess this manager against those leadership steps?
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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Why nobody cares what you DO

Why nobody cares what you DO

by Moyra Mackie on April 26, 2013

I have a friend who is a career coach, though he would hate to be pigeonholed like that.  He says when you’re asked the “What do you do?” question, you should never answer with a job title.

I know why he says that. When you allow your job title to define you, the enquirer will decide what you do, the value you add and sometimes even the values you have.

And that interpretation of what you do may well be based on their experience of  – or even assumptions about – someone who shares your job title, but very little else.

I’ve seen this myself. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said:  “I know you’re a coach but what do you do?”

People have all sorts of ideas about what consultants and coaches do, ranging from borrowing your watch to tell you the time to waving crystals or burning incense.

Move from what you DO to how you HELP

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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“You’re a good writer.  You write with personality, but I’d like to see more of YOU in your work”.

So said my tutor, as he reviewed my learning journal for my Masters’ Program last week.

And his view probably holds true for what I write here.  So I’m putting his advice into practice.

This is only the 10th week I have been publishing  – so seasoned bloggers feel free to smile knowingly here. But I thought I would talk about what I have learnt so far, how it FEELS and my thoughts on how you could help me to get better.

So what have I learnt about writing a weekly blog?

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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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Do you remember your first day at school? The fear of the unknown? The big, unfamiliar building? Worrying if you would fit in? The fretting about wearing the right clothes? The anxiety about whether the teachers would like you and you would like them?

I remember those emotions, oh so well. But I probably have an advantage over you. My first day of school was in December 2012.

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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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