Charmaine's blog

E is for ethics
First, seek to do no harm. Second, work on the assumption of the infinite potential of others, third, maintain integrity even when it is uncomfortable to do so. A simple life and business code of ethics which guides me in my conduct with clients.

Helping my clients to achieve clarity about their own developing code of ethics supports the everyday leadership of self in relation to aspirations and goals. It also supports those who have a leadership role in a team or across an organisation to build trust and credibility.

Nothing undermines you more than lack of awareness of the code of ethics embodied in your daily conduct. When that daily conduct is a mismatch with the ethics you claim to up people lose belief in you. Holding ourselves accountable for inconsistencies when they arise we can still retain trust.

F is for flow
Positive psychology has, through the work of eminent psychologist Mihail Csikszentmihalyi, and others like him developed knowledge and tools related to the science of happiness. Csikszentmihalyi has dedicated his adult life to understand what we can do through our own informed efforts, to maximise our sense of joy, well-being and fulfilment.

Inspired by this field of human knowledge one of my coaching goals is to support people to create the conditions in which they can experience more flow in their lives. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as when “a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."

In addition to describing flow, he identifies the barriers to our ability to experience it. Through my work with clients and drawing from my work as a leader and educational professional, the most common barriers are:
  • Lack of sense of meaning and purpose in our life or work
  • Inability or unwillingness to manage our relationships or environment in ways that promote the best conditions for focused attention on complex and challenging tasks or goals.
  • Risk avoidance, low tolerance to uncertainty or ambiguity which means too much time spent in our comfort zone with an underdeveloped ability to learn from mistakes with few opportunities to persevere through false turns and setbacks.
  • Lack of honest, evidence-based, developmental feedback that enables you to make the most of our strengths, and talents diving into unrealised potential, minimising time on things that drain us or robs us of energy and motivation.
  • Poor match between the tasks we spend most of our time and our interests, strengths and talents.
  • An unsafe and ill-equipped environment in relation to the tasks or pursuit we are engaged in. Safety here is related to both physical and psychological safety.
My aim as a coach is to support my client's work on their internal barriers, they will transform their environment themselves once they have gained clarity about what in their lives they wish to commit to change, to become the worker or leader they aspire to be; to live a happy and more fulfilled life.
G is for Goal Setting

Goal setting is so pervasive in our culture that we take the process for granted, thinking that a SMART goal is the most important outcome from session one of coaching. However, I have come to understand in my professional work as a coach, whether working in an organisational context or with private clients, that goal setting is anything but simple. One of the negative results of rushing too soon into the setting of goals is coachee procrastination or lack of commitment to the action plan.

Anthony Grant's article on this subject “An Integrated Model of Goal Focused Coaching”, was a game changer for me. Drawing on goal theory he introduced me to a much more sophisticated and professionalised approach. Here are my top five guiding principles in what is a complex and dynamic process.

1. You will not be rushed into goal setting, you will be given the time to explore and understand what values and core beliefs underlie your motivation towards the change you are seeking. We will surface any conflicting or unconscious goals.

2. You will be supported in aligning your goals with your evolving sense of authenticity, shedding light on where aspects of self, values and beliefs may be getting in your way.

3. You will be challenged to articulate your long-term vision as well as to formulate the short-term desired outcome from the coaching engagement to create the momentum for self-coaching after the engagement is over.

4. You will be encouraged to question the assumptions you are making about what you can control and what you can’t control to clarify your field of action in relation to the goals you wish to achieve. In this way, your actions will have the most leverage, will call on your strengths and resources while at the same time stretching you. Opening you up to spending more time in a state of FLOW.

5. You will be held accountable to yourself for the steps you have agreed to take toward your goals.
In future posts, I will come back to other very important aspects of goal setting.