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Category Archives: coaching

EchoLive Feature

It was an honor to feature in the Evening Echo recently. In this article I share my personal experience and link my interests and passions with what I do for a living. (Interview script beneath pic.)

Enjoy the read!

echo weekend 2020

Tell us a little bit about yourself :

My childhood was an interesting one as we moved around quite a bit. I am the oldest of three, I was born in Limerick and moved to Cork as a young girl. From there we went to Sligo and then back to Cork. I studied at the University of Limerick which is where I met Con (my hubby and fellow Limerick man) and we are living in Cork for the last 17 years so I like to think that I came full circle!

Going from place to place definitely sparked a ‘wanderlust’ in me which was further enabled in U.L. where I studied languages and was excited to spend extended periods studying and working in both Berlin and Paris. After college, I was lucky enough to spend time in the U.S. and together with Con, we travelled via South East Asia to Australia. Returning to Cork 17 years ago, I was happy to hang up my ‘travelling boots’ and put down roots in Carrigaline. and I am proud to say that we haven’t moved since! We are parents to three wonderful children; Eoin is 13, Katie is 9 and Fionn is 7.

All this moving around not only boosted my communication skills but definitely fostered a curiosity in me about people and returning to college to study Psychology and Life and subsequently Life and Business Coaching proved to be transformative for my career.

Leveraging over 18 years’ experience in training, coaching and people development across multinationals, SMB’s and the public sector, I launched my business “Change Grow Succeed” in 2015. What started as a side hustle is now a fully operational business. I am in a good position to support my clients in becoming ‘unstuck’ in their thought patterns or behaviours and thus unlocking their potential and helping them achieve results. We offer bespoke, client- centric leadership programs and workshops ranging from SME to large multinationals and we also cater for individual clients through coaching. We have an impressive client base and I consider myself hugely fortunate to engage my passion through my work.

*What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night? (out on the town/ feet up at home/ taking in a show/ entertaining…)

I love a Friday night in, it’s quite grounding after a busy week. You’ll find me chilling out, taking the time to make a nice dinner (usually with a glass of something nice in hand!)

*Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you? 

My preference is definitely to get up early to make the most of the day.

*Does work creep into your weekend at all? 

I never meet clients at the weekend but on occasion if I have an important presentation or public speaking event, I will take 2-3 hours at the weekend to make progress.

*If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you? 

Although I was blown away by Lisbon when I visited there in October, I love Paris. I was lucky enough to live there and have fantastic memories of the place. I’ve been fortunate to return there on a few occasions and there’s always something new to discover!

*Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries? (particular beauty spot, walk, beach etc) 

Garrettstown beach is definitely one of my ‘happy places’. I love to walk the beach and pick up a coffee at Diva Café in Ballinspittle on the way home. In terms of our family, we started going to Inis Beg Estate (between Skibbereen and Baltimore) about 5 years ago. It’s magnificent. Lots of walks and cosy fires. The children love the familiarity of the place and the space to run around!

*Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend? 

One of the perks of being self- employed is that I get to schedule my time around my priorities. Weekends are hectic as we are managing and supporting the schedules for three children so I try and catch up with friends’ midweek, usually for a walk or some lunch.

*Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator? 

Yes – I love to tap dance and attend a weekly evening class. I am also an avid Yogi and practise at least once, sometimes twice weekly. Otherwise, I love to read- it’s a complete indulgence and utter escape! I frequently read books that keep me up to date with trends for work but at the moment, I’m reading ‘Milkman’ by Anna Burns.

*Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish? 

I do love to entertain – there’s nothing like having friends around and I have enjoyed reasonable success with some of Rachel Allen’s recipes. Lamb tagine is probably one of my favourites. I think if you were to ask my friends however, they would say that I’m a good baker. I definitely enjoy the creative process of baking (and the end result is nice too!)

*We have so many places to eat out in Cork – where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal? 

If we are out for dinner, it has to be Orso, on Pembroke Street. Otherwise, I love Café Idaho for coffee and treats.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how  do you normally spend it? 

For the most part, Sunday evening’s are spent prepping for the week ahead.
*What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning? 

No need for an alarm clock with 3 children!

Book Review: “Emotional Agility – Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and thrive in Work and Life”

su dave

In her fantastic and relevant book ‘Emotional Agility -Get unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life” Dr. Susan David reminds us of the importance of pausing to connect with ourselves.

We are on this planet for a short time and study after study shows that having a strong sense of what matter to us leads to greater happiness. By knowing who you are and what you stand for, you come to lifes’ choices with the most powerful tool of all; our full selves.

When we connect with our real selves and what we believe to be important, the gulf between how we feel and how we behave closes up.

Enter Emotional Agility. This is a process that allows us to be in the moment, changing or maintaining our behaviours that are aligned with our intentions and values. The goal of Emotional Agility is to keep our sense of growth and challenge alive and is built around a 4 step process. These are:

  • Step 1: Showing Up: Becoming curious about our thoughts and emotions and facing them with kindness. Asking ourselves who’s in charge the thinker or the thought?
  • Step 2: Stepping out: Detaching ourselves from our emotion. As coaches we are skilled at supporting our clients in intentionally creating a space between stimulus and response as therein lies our power of choice. Paying attention to what we are thinking or how we are feeling is paramount in helping us to create that space e.g. I’m noticing that I’m feeling …
  • Step 3: Walking Your Why: In a world where we are expected to approach our day to day tasks like an endless ironman competition, it’s necessary to take the time to evaluate what truly matters to us, otherwise we leave ourselves victim to circumstance. Identifying and acting on the values that are your own is crucial to E.A.
  • Step 4: Moving On: The ability to make small but intentional changes in our motivation, our mindset and our behaviours that are aligned with our values can make for transformational change in how we navigate our world.

Our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ every changing demands is important, however, if we are not taking time to intentionally connect with our priorities or even observe our own narrative, we leave ourselves victims of circumstance or more tragically, randomness!

I absolutely loved this book, being emotionally agile in our lives empowers us to be adaptable, to face our emotions with courage, curiosity and compassion and move on from them!

Focus on Priorities (Workshop in CIT with Network Cork)

Last Wednesday Nov 6 2019, I had the pleasure of contributing at “Workshop Wednesday”, a joint initiative between Network Cork and Cork Institute of Technology (C.I.T.). My workshop, entitled “Focus on Priorities” challenged attendees to reflect on their own priorities as well as equipping them with the tools to allocate their time and energy accordingly. I have captured the essence of the talk in the following blog. Enjoy!

There’s a saying:  “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”. Do you feel like you spend your days running from ‘pillar to post’, characterised by meeting other peoples’ agendas and goals? Perhaps you feel hijacked by the school calendar? Do you ever find yourself saying:

  • “If only there were more hours in the day…”
  • “I need to split myself in two to get around to all of that!”
  • “I didn’t have the time to…!”
  • “Can’t you see how busy I am?”

In a world where we are expected to approach our days like an endless iron man competition, our ability to evaluate our activities and behaviours in the context of what we want to achieve, is an important exercise to ensure that we keep ourselves on track. Therefore, having awareness and being intentional about identifying our priorities is critical.

Why Prioritize? Our ability to prioritize, or choosing how we wish to spend our time and energy ensures that we can make the most of our time, our talent and opportunities. However, by NOT choosing (or choosing badly!), we can bog ourselves down in time- depleting, low – yield projects that prevent us from moving forward.

The good news is that time is elastic and it will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. Here are the tips from Change Grow Succeed to help you evaluate your time ensuring that you are performing and getting results in the areas of your life that you value:

  • Tip #1: Look In

Ask yourself: are you performing in the areas of your life that you value? How would you score out of 10 your satisfaction with your current role, your key relationships, how often you have fun and creative, your social life?  In what areas of your life do you wish to make progress? Be as specific as you can.

  • Tip #2: Audit your time

Analyse your calendar for 3 days and note your appointments, meetings, admin, downtime and other activities and evaluate their importance in the context of what it is you want to achieve. Look at the duration of each task and your energy levels. Ask yourself, what could I do more of or less of to enable me perform or get results? Allocate your time in accordance with what’s important to you.

  • Tip #3: Plan your week

Organise and execute around balanced priorities. Laura Vandercamp a time management specialist and TED talk speaker* encourages us to plan on a Friday afternoon for the week ahead as it tends to be a “low cost opportunity time”, and aim to populate 3 columns: “Work, Relationships, Self” therefore reminding us that there should be something in all 3 columns.

  • Tip #4: Use a Time Management Tool

There are many tools available in the public domain. A favourite of mine because it yields results is called the Priority Matrix. At Change Grow Succeed, we share this tool during our workshops and often through coaching. Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix, this tool challenges us to think about ‘Impact’ (of the task) and ‘Effort’ (from our behalf) rather than Urgent and Important (which, lets face it, everything is). It uses four quadrents, each with a directive ‘do first’, ‘do next’ etc. We list our activities, score them and subsequently plot them in each quadrant.

  • Tip #5: Learn to say no

Once you have clarity on your priorities, placing boundaries around your own time and energy becomes easier and saying no pleasantly & unapologetically (or even “not now”!) to the things that are less important to you will become second nature. I have previously written on “The Disease to Please”, click here for more details.

In a world where change is constant, our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ demands is important. At Change Grow Succeed, we are passionate about helping people to perform and succeed in the areas of their life that they value. Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you in living the life you want with the time that you have!

 

Gillian McGrath is Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facilitator. For more information go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

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What is it about Autumn that invites us to consider change?

Autumn is a season of transition; the temperature changes and there is a decrease in daylight. Autumn can also be a season of rebirth and renewal, a time to adopt a fresh outlook on your life.

To invite ‘purpose’ into our lives that has meaning and is authentic, it’s necessary to evaluate and understand the ‘here and now’. Great results start with great questions and often the most challenging questions are the ones we ask of ourselves. At Change Grow Succeed we have devised 6 Killer Coaching questions to provoke your thoughts and help you evaluate your purpose this Autumn.

Question 1: Review the year so far, what’s going well for you? What’s not working?

Take stock. Autumn is traditionally associated with harvest so take the time to evaluate and appreciate your achievements in 2019, noting any seeds that have come to fruition. Taking stock is a necessary process to ensure your behaviours and actions are aligned with the goals you have set. Remember, the first stage of any change is to face where we are right now, as we cannot change what we don’t acknowledge.

Question 2: If you saw yourself in 3 years time living the same life, how would that feel?

If this image is not a positive one for you- what needs to change? What do you need to start doing or crucially, what do you need to stop doing? This question helps us to create a vision for what we want for ourselves in the future. Certainly, it assists us in evaluating if we are moving in the right direction.

Question 3: What are you like when you’re at your best? What are you doing?

How often do you engage with the activities that you love doing?  How could you do them more often? I often task clients in transition to “reflect on the last time they had fire in their belly” and invite them to note what they were doing. This process prompts clients to bring conscious awareness into their day to day activities for example; at work- emphasis your strengths- don’t fix weaknesses. It’s far more lucrative and fun to leverage better use of your weapons instead of being in constant repair. Why? We are more productive and yield higher results.

Question 4: What gives your life meaning?

This may sound like an obvious question but bringing conscious awareness to what puts meaning into our life is crucial in determining  our priorities. We are products of a very dynamic environment and it’s important to appreciate that what we needed from life 2, 5, or 10 years ago may have been significantly different to now. For example the arrival of children, a bereavement, or general life experience can all alter our view of the world. Taking time to understand this helps us to gauge whether we are on the right path or not.

Question 5: If you could be a role model to yourself, what would you do?

The whole notion of a role- model gets us thinking about who and what inspires us and crucially, why they inspire us. Being a role- model to ourselves challenges us to evaluate our behaviours and intentionally make some changes. Perhaps we want to change how we respond under stress, it can be helpful to examine our triggers and our patterns of responses. With greater awareness comes choice points and where the mind goes, energy will flow.

Question 6: What’s the best thing that could happen to you next year?

This final question invites us to think about 2020 and introducing visualisation, encourages us to think about something that we want to achieve or complete. Napoleon Hill said that “A goal is a dream with a deadline” so, visualise where you plan to be this time next year. Imagine that it has been a fantastic year for you both personally and professionally. Now, make a note of what you accomplished (visualising 2020) and explore how you might achieve this.

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 6 killer coaching questions we have identified to help re-wire your thinking and tap into your purpose this Autumn. No longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings we can actually commit to a chosen path and anchor it. Good Luck!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facillitator. For more information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

How we think about Time…Matters!!

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There’s a saying:  “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”. Do you feel like you spend your days running from ‘pillar to post’, characterised by meeting other peoples’ agendas and goals? Perhaps you feel hijacked by the school calendar? Do you ever find yourself saying:

  • “If only there were more hours in the day…”
  • “I need to split myself in two to get around to all of that!”
  • “I didn’t have the time to…!”
  • “Can’t you see how busy I am?”

In a world where we are expected to approach our days like an endless iron man competition, our ability to evaluate our activities and behaviors in the context of what we want to achieve, is an important exercise to ensure that we keep ourselves on track. Therefore, having awareness and being intentional about identifying our priorities is critical.

Why Prioritize? Our ability to prioritize, or choosing how we wish to spend our time and energy ensures that we can make the most of our time, our talent and opportunities. However, by NOT choosing (or choosing badly!), we can bog ourselves down in time- depleting, low – yield projects that prevent us from moving forward.

The good news is that time is elastic and it will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. Here are the tips from Change Grow Succeed to help you evaluate your time ensuring that you are performing and getting results in the areas of your life that you value:

  • Tip #1: Look In

Ask yourself: are you performing in the areas of your life that you value? Out of 10, how would you score your satisfaction with your current role, your key relationships, how often you have fun and creative, your social life?  In what areas of your life do you wish to make progress? Be as specific as you can.

  • Tip #2: Audit your time

Analyse your calendar for 3 days and note your appointments, meetings, admin, downtime and other activities and evaluate their importance in the context of what it is you want to achieve. Look at the duration of each task and your energy levels. Ask yourself, what could I do more of or less of to enable me perform or get results? Allocate your time in accordance with what’s important to you.

  • Tip #3: Plan your week

Organise and execute around balanced priorities. Laura Vandercamp a time management specialist and TED talk speaker encourages us to plan on a Friday afternoon for the week ahead as it tends to be a “low cost opportunity time”, and aim to populate 3 columns: “Work, Relationships, Self” therefore reminding us that there should be something in all 3 columns.

  • Tip #4: Use a Time Management Tool

There are many tools available in the public domain. A favourite of mine because it yields results is called the Priority Matrix. At Change Grow Succeed, we share this tool during our workshops and often through coaching. Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix, this tool challenges us to think about ‘Impact’ (of the task) and ‘Effort’ (from our behalf) rather than Urgent and Important (which, lets face it, everything is). It uses four quadrents, each with a directive ‘do first’, ‘do next’ etc. We list our activities, score them and subsequently plot them in each quadrant.

  • Tip #5: Learn to say no

Once you have clarity on your priorities, placing boundaries around your own time and energy becomes easier and saying “no” pleasantly & unapologetically (or even “not now”!) to the things that are less important to you will become second nature. I have previously written on “The Disease to Please”, click here for more details.

 

In a world where change is constant, our ability to be nimble to meet lifes’ demands is important. At Change Grow Succeed, we are passionate about helping people to perform and succeed in the areas of their life that they value. Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you in living the life you want with the time that you have! Remember:

the bad news is..

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork Based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and founder of Change Grow Succeed. For more information, go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

 

Are you an Imposter?

imposter3

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”

                                                                                                                 JM Barrie, PETER PAN

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Ever think it’s just a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’? Ever feel that your success in work has been based on ‘being in the right place at the right time’ rather than on your merit? If so, you may be a sufferer of Imposter Syndrome.

I was prompted to explore ‘Imposter Syndrome’ late last year following several (female) clients who were all well accomplished in their careers but who were distressed and anxious about “not feeling good enough”.…They felt like frauds.

Through research, I learned that the term “Imposter Syndrome” is largely a female phenomenon.  It’s a term used to describe women who experience ’imposter feelings’ and worry incessantly that they will “found out . Often, despite evidence of an abundance of workplace skills and achievements, sufferers live in fear that their peers and superiors will realize that they’re not “as good” as they had initially thought.

At this point, you would be correct to think “we all experience feelings of self- doubt or low confidence from time to time” but to help qualify this issue, it’s important to examine frequency and impact.  For example, if you are living under a constant veil of worry and self-doubt, the impact for some women is anxiety, stress, low self-confidence and even depression. Lack of confidence becomes self- sabotaging and FEAR steps in. Sufferers are afraid to explore new experiences. These talented ladies are pressing the ‘PAUSE’ button.

So how can we banish these thoughts?

Quite simply, if you want to stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like an imposter. As Imposter sufferers tend to live in their heads, the challenge is to foster different thinking habits! Here are my tips for taking some control back over those thoughts!

  • Label those thoughts as they trickle in. Acknowledge them and create a distance. Detach yourself.

 

  • Understand the root cause: Eg. In a presentation, you might think a colleague looks so confident and get swept away with thoughts such as “I could never do that! I wish I could be like her!” When you have no idea what’s going on for that individual. It’s therefore possible that you’re making unfair comparisons i.e. you’re comparing your inside with their outside!

 

  • Reframe. Substitute “Oh My God, I have NO idea what I’m doing here” with “this is going to be a great opportunity for me to learn something new- I’ve got this” or replace “I’d say they are sending me on this business trip to test me ” with “I’m looking forward to bringing something different to the table!”

 

  • Focus on the external value or service you are contributing instead of your internal thoughts! Think about yourself less!

 

  • Journal. Identify your accomplishments to date, skills, qualifications, projects etc. Label what you’re grateful for. Over time, this will become a habit a foster a more positive and confident mindset.

 

  • The scariest strategy at all- envisage the worst case scenario! Make a mistake. Get feedback that you were incorrect! Remember being wrong doesn’t make you a ‘fraud’. It makes you human.

 

In summary, none of us chose to feel like an imposter. We all want to feel confident but unless we actively tackle our thoughts on this, progress will be limited. Know there will be good and bad days ahead but as long as you remain focused and disciplined on the thoughts you wish to change, getting yourself back on track will be easier. Over time, this will become your new way of being! Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly at Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

Empowering Women

Cork Chamber Skillnet-Masthead-800px cropped-wp-header2.jpg

Change Grow Succeed are delighted to partner with the Cork Chamber Skillnet to facilitate an “Empowering Women” series of workshops. This unique series will focus on themes such as Personal Leadership, Thought Leadership and Results Leadership.

In addition to establishing a strong peer support network, attendees can expect an insightful and impactful experience that is both pragmatic and empowering. Attendees will also benefit from an introduction to leading edge experts on leadership. Finally, those in attendance can choose to avail of 1:1 coaching to boost their transfer of learning.

Full details can be found here.

About Gillian McGrath

Gillian is an experienced Coach and Facilitator. With 18 years’ experience in Training, Coaching and People Development across the private and public sectors and with qualifications in psychology, training and development, coaching and psychometric assessment, Gillian founded Change Grow Succeed in 2015.

Passionate about supporting her clients in effecting positive change, Gillian offers a strengths based approach – an experience that leaves clients feeling empowered, energised and looking forward. Her facilitation & coaching style is personable, authentic & hugely impactful. She also delivers bespoke high impact programmes to individuals, teams & managers and is skilled at creating environments which enable people to learn.