No Strings Attached…?

No Strings Attached…?

Well Happy New Year!

It’s a funny thing isn’t beginning a new year – my mind likes to get into believing that I should make a ground-breaking discovery on 1st January.  Or I should have this sense of ‘this is it!!’ followed by some sort of epiphany to do less of something/more of something else…

The truth is for me is that I did realise at in the early days of this year that I have been on an incredible, deliberate journey of self discovery during 2019. I really trusted the deep need I felt inside to regroup, re-discover myself and realign with my soul.

And this journey was essentially me shining a bright fucking light on my life, disrupting it, throwing some mental and physical attachments up in the air – seeing what fell back down. The vital piece…my purpose was to get aligned with my soul and my integrity that supports this. This really has been (and continues to be) a profound exploration in getting to know myself with a specific intention to keep looking within. To keep letting my soul guide my leadership and my daily life. 

You see I had a sense of great dissatisfaction towards the end of 2018. I’d been evoked as a result of various life events that I’d experienced – both professionally and personally. It seemed like I was literally jolted into reality, mainly from the big resistance at times to what was happening. Or sometimes what wasn’t happening. Something was ‘off’, something didn’t feel congruent and that something was me!

Sitting here right now remembering, and acknowledging actually, how much I have thrown myself into this intention of unpicking and freeing myself up is very grounding. Getting to know me. Getting connected with what I really want – from a place of ‘anything is possible’ rather than ‘something is wrong and I need to fix it’. 

And so ensued no less that 7 retreats, an ongoing exploration of Buddhism, setting clearer boundaries, more saying no, more being fearless and letting go of behaviours, roles, relationships, beliefs, ways of being that were not serving me – or were not congruent with who I am and what I stand for. 

I spent large amounts of time reading, watching videos, completing courses, reflecting, being coached, processing and debriefing. A ‘drilling down’ if you will on questions like: What do I really want? What am I accepting that is incongruent?  What excites me? What do I really care about? What do I want to give my time and attention to? Who am I and what is my life about REALLY?

This was very painful at times – the loss and grief of letting go and the huge fear of trusting that all would be ok in the end. And there has been amazing moments of utter awe and joy in what I’ve discovered. I’ve been evoked in ways that I never imagined was possible.  

What I didn’t realise in the midst of this – when it was all happening, changing, landing – was that I was in much bigger space of UNKNOWN. Seems funny to share about this now as it seems obvious that everything is unknown, all the time. But for me it has been a pretty fearful place at times – consciously, deliberately letting go of particularly behaviours that I have employed for 30+ years – and not knowing what the fall out would be. It hit me how for most of my life I’ve held onto a number of things purely out of fear of losing something or someone. So I started to consciously embrace loss and go for fearless letting go and TRUST instead. Argggh!   

Tears have come into my eyes now as I recall how I spent a time in hospital having an ‘emotional crisis’ when I was very young. Back then I really didn’t know how to handle my emotions or what was coming up in my life – the unknown of it all. Within this early experience I remember mostly is being frightened, living with a day to day fear of not knowing whether I was safe and whether I would find my way home. 

Working through all of this and releasing, connecting, discovering has connected me powerfully with who I am and what I care about.  I recognise these days that I have an innate capacity for honour, acceptance and huge depth of unlimited compassion for human suffering. This is precious to me as I truly value being able to ‘get in’ with others when I see self limiting beliefs, behaviours or blind spots. And I SEE a lot. This depth has evolved as I’ve been willing again and again to look at my own beliefs and face my fears. I have a tenacious strength and commitment to getting free again and again. Getting back to a YES to myself and a YES to how it is.

So my friends, one of the deeper learnings that I am very grateful for in my exploration (particularly Buddhism) is that when I free myself from ‘attachments’ my mind expands, opens up and my heart is free. I’m willing and open to be with life as it is – not as my mind gets into believing it should be. 

In leadership this is VITAL – the ability to be open, agile, responsive. The willingness and ability to be aware, pull out self insight and thus respond from a ‘clear space’. Not from a space that is pre-conditioned, pre-loaded or fixed. How often do we see or hear leaders that go into the same auto-pilot behaviour or reaction, regardless of the context? Where do you do this in your leadership or life?

One of the biggest, most effective things I have ever learnt as a coach and as a leader is to trust myself, trust my instinct and be brave. This has always served me well. In fact this has created powerful connection, insight and opportunities. The upshot is though – to enable this to happen – we must free up what’s in our way. The unconscious beliefs, the conditioned thinking, the fears. The willingness to look within, to face those fears and limiting beliefs, and to keep doing so is crucial.    

One of the amazing ways I’ve learnt to shine a light on these fears is to become aware of and let go of attachments.  We all have them. So here’s a suggestion and challenge for you…   

Suggestion

Start noticing what you are attached to. You’ll know you are attached when you have a strong desire, physical or emotional reaction to something you want in your leadership or life. There will likely be a physical ‘pull’ or mental tension, drivenness. 

Challenge

Are you willing – right now – to shine a light on and even ‘give up’ one of your attachments? These could be:

  • Results – ‘getting’ something. Could be a yes from someone, winning something, producing something, achieving something…anything. Also ‘proving’ something…who you are…what your capable of…that you can ‘get’ results etc
  • Views/Opinions – hands up who likes to ‘be right’? What we’re looking for here is any attachment to you being ‘right’ and someone else being ‘wrong’. Is your way the right or only way? Could as simple as how you cook pasta!
  • Possessions – having or keeping something. Device anyone? I mean how would it be if you didn’t look at or check your devices for 48hrs?  Another good one here is any kind of ‘status’ possessions…
  • Context/environment – any attachment to your environment being different. This could be things like peace and quiet, noise, how something looks, how someone behaves. Does that man really need to slurp his drink so loudly?   

Interesting isn’t it? 

Start with one small thing. All roads lead to Rome. I remember reading one of my many Buddhism books where one of the monks was speaking about their journey in ‘giving everything up’. The hardest one for her was her views/opinions. This clinging to being ‘right’ – so common for this to be an attachment to our identity or self worth…

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Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching

I specialise in transformational, sustainable behaviour change. I work with leaders who care and want to make a difference. 

I stand for being alongside my clients in their journey, being open hearted, courageous and honouring.

I am the coach for you if:
– You want to develop self awareness, emotional intelligence and self insight to serve you for the rest of your career.
– You want to transform, propel or step up your leadership.
– You want to transform your confidence, self belief and reduce self doubt.
– You know there is much more to you that your current leadership capacity. You want ‘more’ – to reignite your purpose and passion for your current or future roles.
– You want to be more comfortable with your own unique leadership style and how you engage/connect with your team.
– You want to empower your team to step up, thinking for themselves and use their initiative. 
– You want to sustainably increase your team’s performance and ability to be self solving. 

I love to work with leaders who want to propel their leadership growth or who want to step-up to a new level themselves in their leadership. I use my warmth, incisiveness, empathy and openness to provide a ‘fertile ground’ in which my clients explore their capacity and are listened to with an open heart.

I work alongside clients in their growth, sharing my wisdom and empowering them to be free to be the leader they are truly capable of. 

My coaching style is open, direct, encouraging and purposeful…drawing on my depth of knowledge, creativity, enthusiasm and personal wisdom. 

Go on…what are you waiting for? Jump in!

To find out more please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  

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Life Coaching

Life Coaching

I specialise in transformational, sustainable behaviour change – working with the flow of life. I work with people who want MORE of themselves and MORE in their life. 

I stand for being alongside my clients in their journey, being open hearted, courageous and honouring.

I am the coach for you if:
– You want to develop self awareness, emotional intelligence and self insight to serve you for the rest of your life.
– You want to transform the connection and quality of your relationships.
– You want to transform your confidence, self belief and reduce self doubt.
– You know there is much MORE to you that your current experience. You want ‘more’ – to reignite your purpose and passion for your life and what is possible for you.
– You want to be more comfortable in your own skin and be more courageous in your life to go for what you really want.
– You want to be empowered to make your own choices and follow your own path. 
– You want to increase your energy, zest for life and ability to manage your emotions. 

I have a warm, compassionate approach and provide a ‘fertile ground’ in which my clients feel free to be who they are – they are listened to with an open heart.

To find out more please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  

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Facilitation

Facilitation

I specialise in transformational self awareness, sustainable behaviour change and emotional intelligence.

I deliver courses and workshops that facilitate change within individuals and how people collaborate as a team. 

I am the facilitator for you and your team if:
– You want to develop self awareness, emotional intelligence and self insight to improve performance and sense of team spirit.
– You want to transform, propel or step up your team’s ability to take responsibility for themselves and the part they play.
– You want to transform team members confidence and willingness to use their initiative.
– You want to be more collaborative as a team and develop the team’s ability to innovatively co-create solutions.
– You want to empower your team’s willingness to go beyond their comfort zone. 
– You want to sustainably increase your team’s ability to be self solving and self supportive. 

To find out more please email me: hello@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  

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The Art of Letting Go…

The Art of Letting Go…

MY or NO way? How often do we not get what we want…the results we wants, the response we want.

I’ve been pondering this on a much deeper level after experiencing an intense Buddhist retreat a few weeks ago. This notion of REALLY letting go of everything – even if it’s in this moment. I mean everything, every desire, pleasure, want, attachment, aversion, resistance…all of it. 

This was a most intriguing experience, this ability to truly be at peace with everything – just as it is. And of course the crux of all this was being at peace with myself, just as I am. At any given moment that may be happy, sad, excited, anxious, disappointed, joyful, tense, serene, angry…any number of different states or feelings…

I’ve been having a very challenging time personally and professionally this year – on and off – after deliberately disrupting and changing various elements of my life. This has been, and continues to be, a combination of letting go of things that aren’t serving me, taking a stand and honouring myself more. Being more real and authentic. Who knew there were so many layers to this?! 

I realise now that my hope was this was nearing completion – however life has had different ideas. This has meant – especially in the last few months – being in very big ‘don’t know’ space with myself, my purposes and in some of my most precious relationships. At times I’ve found this utterly uncomfortable, disorientating and frightening. And on the flip side this is proving to be liberating, expansive, revealing, exciting – and the thing I’m most enjoying is a growing sense of my self expression and more of ME emerging. As a leader and as a woman.

As part of this I have been consciously practising the art of trusting. And the art of welcoming loss actually. Trusting that things will work out even if I let things I care about go…trusting that all will be well…trusting that the universe ‘has my back’ and the powerful vision I am holding for myself is being created. Even if I cant see it yet.  Que sera sera eh? I made myself really smile yesterday by writing a mantra about what I’m aiming for “trusting deeply that I can master trusting deeply”…

This may seem like a hands off leadership strategy but I tell you what my friends, in a letting go space there is a natural alignment with things as they are. An alignment with the ability to go with the flow of life, event by event, adapting and course correcting. Not being attached to a particular path or how we get there opens up a world of possibilities. This isn’t about being passive but actually actively managing our energy to be allowing, accepting, conscious and responsive. Seeing what emerges. Focusing on the here and now, responding to what’s actually happening rather than being tied to a fixed idea of how it ‘should be’.

I share this partly because it seems to be so ingrained in our culture this push to ‘get’. Get ahead, get something or get somewhere. As if the goal of our lives was to get more and more – and as fast as possible. What’s the purpose of that? How about slowing down and enjoying the ride, being more fully present to the ride. We need a bigger purpose, a bigger vision to see us through – especially when the going gets tough. 

One of the things I LOVE about purpose is that there always is one, whether we are conscious of it or not. One of the most revealing exercises I’ve ever done is to make a list of my actual behaviour with different things and then ask myself ‘what’s my purpose?’. Our real purpose is always revealed in our actual behaviour.

So if your driving, demanding, insisting on having things your way – in a fixed mindset about anything – maybe what’s required, essential even, is some letting go. In that space peace and freedom can be found. The space of awakening to life as it is – not as we demand it to be. 

I’ve worked with many leaders who struggle to delegate, let alone empower their teams. So this is where the challenge eh – letting go and trusting.

And of course this all starts at home. Can you let go and be with yourself just as you are, right now?

You can access your free copy of my ‘Five Leadership Powerhouses’ right here, right now…!

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Coaching for Culture Programme

Coaching for Culture Programme

Would you like to transform your organisation into an empowering, higher performing, innovative place to work?

Many of my clients have deep aspirations to empower their teams. In my experience the most high impact, transformative and sustainable way to do this is through developing a coaching culture. This is now widely recognised by many such as the Human Capital Institute and CIPD, some examples are here:

I am passionate about suporting and empowering organiations to create a coaching culture – so they can transform their leadership and organisations. And my purpose for this is also that this has the propensity to change individual lives, communities and our world as a whole.

My ‘Coaching for Culture’ 4 tier programme has been providing powerful coaching training in various public, private and non profit sectors in the last 3 years. This programme can cover up to 6 days and also can be delivered in line with relevant consultancy and/or 1:1 coaching.

The programme is bespoke and can tailored to be delivered in whole or in parts, depending on requirements. The purpose is to develop a leadership coaching culture which ultimately cascades down to transforming results and quality of service, engagement and innovation.

The programme is usually comprised of training for executives, leaders and managers at various levels within the organisation (including for those with some, little or no experience of coaching). The programme can include:
• Introduction to Coaching Skills
• Developing Coaching Style
• Building an Organisational Coaching Culture
• Advanced Coaching Mastery
• Reflective Practise

This programme can also be tailored to training or provide develop/reflective practise for existing internal coaches.

To find out more about this programme please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  You can also apply for a FREE group taster session HERE.

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Public Sector Leaders

Public Sector Leaders

So you have come to the right place if you’re a director, head of service or aspiring manager in a public sector organisation.

These days being politically astute and being able to get the job done is great but the world is changing, budgets are tighter and tighter and greater commercial acumen is needed to adapt to a more innovative environment – AND empower teams in a radically different way.  Being a public leader requires significantly more than just being able to play policitcal games.  More of you is required!

You may want to transform your leadership behaviour, be better at working across organisational boundaries or be able to make a real difference to delivering whole community benefit – under pressure and whilst creating a better work/life balance.

You get the job done well in your social enterprise or charitable sphere, you have all the relevant expertise and to date this has carried you through.  You’ve made your way up, your team appreciate you and yet you know you can have much more impact if you reduce that self doubt or are able to engage staff and partners in a more powerful way.

In this arena of austerity, how can you bring teams and others on board into a sometimes ever changing agenda? You can do the usual, but this usually ends up with you working silly hours and still you don’t seem to be making the impact you know you are capable of.  You don’t know where to start to reduce working hours or stop the inner critic that is swirling around in your head.  You’re feeling de-motivated, frustrated, put upon, stressed, confused and certainly pressured.

My powerful individual and group coaching leadership programmes will help you develop vital purpose and personal skills that will give life to your leadership and team.  You will find the passion, motivation, release to be the leader and person you are – not fitting a mould or political persona but developing how to build a powerful purpose and emotionally compelling communication techniques that will transform your professional impact.

To find out more about my Public Sector Leadership Programme click HERE or contact me about behaviour change coaching programmes email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  OR you can pop a question or comment into my live online chat box!

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Public Sector Leadership Programme

Welcome to this transformational 18 month behaviour change programme…

This is an intensive, bespoke experiential programme for executive and senior public sector leaders who want to revive or transform their leadership behaviour and develop the ability to adapt to their ever changing organisational context.

This programme is centred on both individual leadership and group learning for 10-12 people.

Purpose: To explore where leaders are in their leadership, their defining style and how current challenges can propel leadership growth. To define a series of proactive choices about their leadership and vision for the future, developing emotional resilience and inner strength to bring this to the fore. Building leadership behaviour changes that will support them as a team to continue to adapt to their wider organisational purpose and context.

‘When you change your behaviour, you have the ability to transform your experience – including how people respond to you’

Programme Highlights
• 18×1:1 online behaviour change coaching sessions
• 8x ½ day face to face group training sessions*
• Online platform to collect and share notes
• Online forum to connect and share learning

Programme Outline
1:1 Behaviour Change Coaching – exploring personal challenges in leadership and empowering leaders as individual’s to bring forward their best. Propelling and dovetailing growth as individual’s learn from group sessions
Current Leadership Capacity* – exploring where leaders are currently in their leadership individually and as a team, including challenges and perceived capabilities. Benchmarking areas for growth or behaviour change
Flexing Leadership Style* – exploring leadership style and how this impacts the day to day environment and results. Learning how to adapt and flex style according to the context
Team Engagement* – exploring how the leadership team is engaged and motivated, and, in turn how their teams are motivated. Exploring how achievements are celebrated and building mechanisms to create a open feedback culture
Purposeful Leadership* – exploring where our inner critic may hold us back as individuals and as a team. Developing mindful techniques to facilitate behaviour change. Learning transforming tools to highlight and build emotional resilience
Personal Integrity* – exploring what it takes to be a public sector leader in the current climate, including how to honour personal integrity in difficult times. Exploring personal and collective values that can be sustained over time
Continuous Improvement* – exploring what it takes to create a culture of continuous improvement, including giving and receiving open and honest feedback. Building a culture which embraces learning and change
Leadership Team Vision* – exploring your individual vision for your leadership and identifying key barriers. Identifying key qualities that you can develop to build capacity and sustainable growth.
• An Inspired Vision for the Future* – exploring the organisational vision for the future and how leaders can make this emotionally compelling and engaging. Identifying how to inspire hope and commitment from teams and other stakeholders.

Benefits
• Increased personal mastery for individuals significantly increasing leadership engagement and capacity
• Increased confidence and purpose in going forward and creating a powerful leadership vision for the future
• Increased ability to adapt to different leadership styles and uphold the context of the organisation’s purpose
• Increased ability for individuals to embrace the leader that they are and build emotional resilience within the current (and developing) culture
• Ability to consciously create a deliberate organisational culture and context which is continuously improving

Quality
The following elements are a core part of the programme to ensure quality of delivery:
• Outline objectives agreed at the start of the programme and reviewed quarterly
• Individuals 1:1 coaching objectives are set at the start and reviewed quarterly
• Evaluations/reviews provided as part of each group session with analysis of participant feedback
• Quantative and qualitative objectives measured and anecdotal feedback sought in all reviews
• Completion review, including measurement against objectives and partner feedback

Commitment/Timings
Commitment and timings are as follows:
• 1:1 coaching sessions – online once a month for 18 months
• 8×3.5hr group training sessions designed to both dig deeper and provide tools to build leadership capacity. Sessions would be spaced over the programme period
• Quarterly review meetings (1hr) – to review progress, outcomes and any adjustments
• Completion review meeting (1.5hrs) – to review programme outcomes and next steps

To find out more about this programme please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  You can also apply for a FREE group taster session HERE.

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The Leadership ‘I AM’ Meditation

The Leadership ‘I AM’ Meditation

Time to – stop – checkin and give yourself 1 hour of ‘ME’ leadership time. Listen to this 30 minute guided meditation designed to relax you and tap into your intrinsic leadership qualities

To find out more about this course please click on the above link.  If you have any questions at all or would like to explore what you would get from taking the courses please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  OR you can pop a question or comment into my live online chat box!

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The Leader Within

The Leader Within

This is a 2 module course designed to raise your awareness of the unique leader within you. This course shares some golden pieces of information and encourages you to identify your key growth area – creating an active purpose and enabling you to create a clear focus on your leadership development.

To find out more about this course please click on the above link.  If you have any questions at all or would like to explore what you would get from taking the courses please email me: nicci@awareleadership.co.uk or call me on 07817 246930.  OR you can pop a question or comment into my live online chat box!

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