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Empowering Women

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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.

 

The 6 questions you need to answer before making any changes 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, there’s a decrease in daylight and nature replaces the abundant flowers with fruit. Autumn can also be a season of rebirth and renewal. It can be a time to adopt a fresh outlook on your life – no longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings you can actually commit to a chosen path and anchor it.

For change to occur 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 to help kick start a newer and better version of yourself this Autumn.

Question 1: Evaluate 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 appreciate how far you’ve come during 2018 and note the seeds that have come to fruition. Taking stock is a necessary process to ensure your behaviours and activities 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 what your good at instead of attempting to fix chunks in your armour. Focus on the better use of your weapons instead of constant repair. Why? You will multiply 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 significantly changed 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 the power of choice. Where the mind goes, energy flows.

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

This final question invites us to think about 2019 and introducing visualisation, encourages us to think about something that we want to achieve, do 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 (in 2019) and explore how you might achieve this.

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 6 killer coaching questions we have identified to re-wire your thinking and get you focused on achieving results. Good Luck!

 

 

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

From Frazzled to Free

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There’s no doubt the summer break is perceived as a time to re-boot and recharge but what to do if you’re exhausted and are facing into the last quarter of the year completely frazzled and drained? Having the mental ability to manage the existing pace, overcome challenges, create a vision and achieve results requires mental energy- is there something we could be doing more of to cultivate this?

Here are my tips to eliminate  the ‘frazzle’ and free yourself to reap the fruits of the months ahead:

  • Go Back to Basics

Self- care is not selfish, it’s necessary to sustain us both mentally and physically. Be mindful of the change in season ahead characterized by a change in routines and pace. Sleep has transformative power. It renews us.  Healthy eating and regular exercise are also essential. Our needs are individual and no ‘one- size fits all’ but do take a personal pit-stop and evaluate if you are getting what you need.

  • Beware the Smart phone

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.  What’s your relationship like with your smart phone? Do you take it on holiday? Consider turning off after work or charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night. Perhaps, if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in your pocket/ a bag. Earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to remove email from my phone, preferring instead to access email at a time convenient for me. It has proved transformative.

  • Get busy doing nothing

The business ‘epidemic’ is rampant. Yet, given that we are human beings and not human doings- the danger is that by having no time to ‘switch off’ we are actually depriving ourselves of the art of thinking. In fact, the over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect.  We fantasize about having ‘down time’ but how are we using the ad hoc pockets that come our way during the day? Smartphones? Facebook? We all whinge about how busy we are but give us the chance to do nothing and we baulk!! Interesting isn’t it? Lawton Urnsey said “Idleness isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity to keep you at your peak… “ The challenge? Let’s Unplug and Be Idle- it really will make us all more effective!

  • Get Creative

Prior to the internet, an unanswered question would be met with pause for thought: can I work it out? Where can I go to find the answers?  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 20- 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun? I’ve taken inspiration from Julia Camerons “The Artists Way” by journaling first thing in the morning. While I did find it challenging to rise a little earlier initially, I am reaping the benefits of having a clear head as I start my day feeling light and free.

  • A Perfect Pause

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life.  In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Critical to this is pausing to notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you. I try to incorporate breathing exercises into my working day. Anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes can have an impact.  Sometimes, it can be hard to sit still so I will savour a walk. In fact, research suggests that when we walk we are engaging in a bilateral movement (eg moving our right leg, we stimulate the left side of our brain) which enables us to use all aspects of our thinking abilities. Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being.

  • Forge Meaning in your Goals

September is an opportune time to embrace change. Know that you’re statistically more likely to achieve results if the change has meaning for you. You need to understand your ‘WHY’ . Equally, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your plans for the year and ask yourself if the path you’re taking is still relevant for you. Connect with your vision.

To finish…

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ and our forensically focused days are preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself both mentally and physically for the months ahead. Remember, a busy mind is an unhappy mind. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

5 Tips to optimize your coaching session

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5 Tips to optimize your coaching session

Not sure how to prepare for your up and coming coaching session?

While you may be delighted to have ‘made the call’ and taken the leap, now that your first session is looming, perhaps you’re feeling a bit nervous and not sure about what you should ‘say’ or how to prepare. These are common sentiments from new clients.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of the coaching process is to support you, the client, in effecting the positive changes you wish to make in your life. At Change Grow Succeed, we believe that it’s about refocusing passions, values and priorities and invariably, finding clarity. Essentially, coaching is a goal oriented partnership aimed at achieving results.Through the coaching process you will develop an increased awareness about yourself and the options you have to empower you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Hereunder are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your coaching session.

  1. Arrive early. Turn off your phone. This is your time. If this is your first coaching session, have something in mind that you want to work on. What matters most to you at the moment? Ask yourself “what would be the most useful thing for me to leave here with today?”  If you’re in between sessions, review your notes from the last session or any communication you may have had from your coach.

 

  1. Open Up. The coaching process is based upon dialogue. Talk. Be honest. Think out loud. Trust that the relationship you have with your coach is safe and free from judgement. Equally, understand the moments of silence. Your coach may want to provide you with the opportunity to reflect or pause.

 

  1. Creating change takes time. Behind every role we play (employee, mother, father, wife, sister, brother, friend, etc.), there is a person and issues that arise in one sphere are often paralleled in another (do you ever take work home? Or does being worried about the children creep into your day to day?). Again, this is your time so give yourself permission to explore the different roles you play and the impact they have.

 

  1. Stay committed. Ask yourself: “how committed am I to making a change?” Follow- through on any action steps you prioritized with your coach. With a fresh awareness, the ‘real’ coaching can often happen in between sessions. Often, days after your coaching session, there may occur an ‘AHA’ moment as something resonates with you. Committing extra time to new ideas will move you closer and more quickly to your goal or aspiration.

 

  1. Take Responsibility. Just as you have taken the action to meet with a coach. Be accountable for engaging in the session and following through on your action steps. This is the space where the empowerment will come. Relax and enjoy your new way of being! Make that change. Grow. Succeed.

 

 

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, you can reach her at www.changegrowsucceed.com

5 Remedies to cure your Disease to Please!

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Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say ‘No’?

Prompted by several clients who are self- confessed ‘People Pleasers’ and who have a desire to change but are not sure how, I set about researching the topic in more detail.

People pleasers are essentially lovely people who go out of their way to make other people happy. They have a bias towards collaboration and consideration for others. They tend to have highly tuned empathy and find it easy to adapt. The impact? They tend to say ‘yes’, when what they really want to say is ‘no’.  People pleasing may have served them in the past but when it becomes a default mode of being, it can be challenging to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Why not just say no? Fundamentally, it’s a mindset that works against them; some fear conflict, some don’t like to disappoint others or appear to be less than capable. Some feel that ‘ignoring the needs of others’ appears wrong and even rude!  Yet, by and large they report feeling overworked and resentful at saying “yes” to tasks that serve the agenda of others. Moreover, they feel frustrated at their lack of power and control over their own schedule, not to mention their anger at seemingly ‘getting nothing done’.

In a world where work is becoming infinite (just think about your ‘inbox’!) Having the ability to say “No” requires us to cultivate a mindset in which this is ‘ok’. The following 5 tips serve to remind us all how:

  1. Connect

Getting in touch with who you are, your values and beliefs is critical in getting started. Take the time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself ‘how am I responding to this?’ Look at your current behaviours and remember that it is in making the teaspoon size changes that can have the biggest impact.

 

  1. Set Boundaries

Be clear about your limits. Reset and revise your own boundaries if necessary. In setting these, remember, your responsibility is to yourself. If you don’t respect your needs, others won’t. If the receiver is unhappy, coin a mantra or ask a question such as ‘is there another way to look at this?’ Place the focus on something productive.

 

  1. Own your choices

Don’t feel the need to buy into some-one else’s chaos. Consider, if you say ‘yes’, consider what are you saying ‘no’ to? Remember to yield– research tells us that we are most susceptible to saying ‘yes’ in the minutes after a request. Yielding offers us valuable time to position our response!

 

  1. Be assertive

Assertive communication is about directing dialogue to what IS possible. If a situation is not working for you, say it and follow it with “can we put our heads together to figure this out”. Engage the asker! Focus on the substance of your objection over any ‘mud- slinging’.

 

  1. Say NO

Grasp that saying ‘no’ is not selfish and is vital to sustain healthy and functional relationships. In her book “Who’s pulling Your Strings?” Harriet B Braiker says “Conflict can and should be handled constructively. When it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication”. Remember that being nice, is not the same as being helpful.

 

Courage can transform us into the best version of ourselves positively impacting self- esteem and happiness. The good news is that bravery is a skill we can all learn (or re learn). It is an active process so it does need practise. Thus, if you want to be the hero of your own story, practise small acts of bravery and watch life open up before you! And I’ll bet that you will feel a whole lot better and may even have some extra time to devote to something that YOU actually enjoy!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life and business coach and master trainer. For more information, you can contact her directly on http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

3 Tips to get Results from your Resolutions!

2018 is well and truely underway. Have you set any goals or intentions for yourself this year? They say that ‘there’s no timelike the present’ so if you want to make some realistic changes that ‘stick’, have a read of the article I wrote below which was recently featured in the Cork Evening Echo

The start of the year brings with it a sense of change and a general atmosphere of excitement and potential. We might pause to think about our new year’s resolutions, we might ask our friends and colleagues to share theirs.  We might even go a step further and think about what we might achieve if we stick to “a plan”- a holiday? A 10K run? No more stress? Losing a few ‘lbs’? A new job?

Resolutions or goals are tools for focusing our lives and for getting us to take action. They consist of objectives and tend to reflect our priorities and principles. Creating change doesn’t necessarily determine that we will get results. Our success depends on how clear we are about our motivation for change. Don’t be fooled into thinking that any action will move you forward (even a dead fish can float downstream!)

Having identified the goals we want to achieve, we should work back to determine the actions we need to take. For example, if you are looking for more work/ life balance in your day to day- what do you need to do more of or less of to achieve this? “Begin with the end in mind” is one of Stephen Covey’s   author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and it means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired destination. Statistically, goals are more effective if they are supported by detailed action steps or ‘mini- milestones’.

Now that we have discussed the role our motivation plays in achieving our New Years Resolutions, here are my 3 tips to ensure you get results from your 2018 goals!

Tip #1- Ask Questions of Yourself

Great results and accomplishments start with great questions.  When it comes to making changes, the most powerful questions are definitely the ones we ask of ourselves for a number of reasons; you go into the ‘open to change zone’ e.g. “What would I like to do differently this year?”  This question is directed at a positive outcome and it fosters ownership and action as you start looking at what you need to do. Having identified the changes you need or want to make, take time to determine the relevant actions and GO FOR IT!!

Tip #2- Explore Resilience

Life can be tough. There are a lot of daily demands on us, and moreover, we expect so much of ourselves. Having resilience can be a powerful ally in our day to day survival. Resilience and building resilience can mean different things to different people but it usually involves some or all of the following:

  • A shift in outlook (sometimes the way we see the problem is the problem!)
  • Recovery and learning (how we bounce back after a fall)
  • Asking for help (linking in with your supports or network)
  • Adapting to our environment (our ability to just go with the flow) and
  • Diet (healthy body = healthy mind!)

What does resilience mean to you?

Tip #3- Take Time out for You

I read a quote recently that resonated with me (and I’m sure to a lot of others), it said “A gentle reminder that “doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown”. So, start 2018 knowing that you are going to gift yourself with some time. Busy schedules can be sabotaging and by saying ‘Yes’ to the chaos, we are saying ‘No’ to the calm and the benefits that downtime can bring. Taking time out is necessary to sustain effort and productivity at home or at work. Therefore, aim to take some time for yourself during the week- do something fun, laugh, reconnect with friends, with nature, do some yoga, go for a run, or whatever downtime means to you.

So, what do you want to get out of this year? What questions will you ask yourself to kick start the changes you wish to effect, so you can live the life you want?

Make 2018 YOUR Year! Have a great one!

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Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business coach. For more information, you can contact her at http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

Managing Millennials

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The millennial generation has become a media phenomenon that is difficult to escape from. In an era of multigenerational workforces, it’s paramount that today’s leaders consider tactics that will empower and embrace the unique needs of this age bracket.

So, who are the Millennials? Broadly speaking, if you were born in the 1980’s or 1990’s- you fit into this category. While it is important not to over- generalise, millennials as a generation do possess certain traits and behaviours that differ significantly from previous generations such as, they are tech savvy, highly educated, extremely efficient, hardworking and adapt well to change. They also value authenticity and meaningful work, they want to make an impact in what they do. There is also a negative stereotype that surrounds this generation such as, they’re lazy (the ‘armchair activist’!) have a sense of entitlement, can be narcissistic, have a distrust of bureaucracy but most commonly, that they are extremely difficult to manage in the workplace.

Given that there are an estimated 82 million millennials in the workforce today, developing this generation is something that requires investment and a considerable shift in mind set to empower them in their roles. Business leaders play an important role in the process of adapting and supporting this dynamic group and have an opportunity to flex their own style driving growth and development for their staff. Recently, I spoke at an event whereby I shared my tips for managing millennials in the workplace, using the acronym ENGAGE as follows:

E is for Empathy

In order to support this generation, we need to get to understand what drives them. This starts with empathy. Simon Sinek talks about the importance of understanding the environment they grew up in relative to two key points; technology and parenting. While technology has transformed the way we work, it has also transformed the way we connect with each other and our ability to form meaningful relationships and cope with stress has been negatively impacted. Technology has fostered an environment for immediacy reducing our patience and ‘will’ to persevere.

Relative to parenting, the majority of this generation has been in receipt of empowering messages such as ‘you can be whatever you want’ which has contributed to a sense of entitlement that does not transfer to the workplace. In fact, employers report that while this generation will see the ‘summit’, they don’t see the ‘mountain’ and invariably, the millennials ability to innovate and persevere greatly decreases. They can disengage and in some cases, hand in their notice.

N is for New Leaders

According to forbes.com, by 2025, the millennial generation will occupy 75% of the overall workforce. As such, one of the primary responsibilities of today’s leaders is to create a leadership pipeline. While this generation are highly educated, they lack in the areas of soft skill development. Supporting them in the ‘Human Skills’ such as Personal Impact, Influencing, Communication, Situational Leadership and Managing Stress is critical in the development of a  leadership skillset. Bespoke leadership programs add immense value in this space.

G is for Grow Relationship

‘Be a mentor, not a boss’. There is an opportunity for business leaders to evaluate their own role in building relationships with their teams and ask questions of themselves such as, how am I currently communicating? What works well? What’s not working? How can I flex my own style?

Aim to foster engagement with inverse mentoring tactics. This can lead to a more reciprocal relationship and openness when heading advice and guidance from senior team members.

A is for Action

We know that this generation are hardworking and favour results. Leverage from this, provide structure and/or process around achieving short- term goals. Offer them flexibility (where possible) in the manner in which to complete tasks. It is important however, to be mindful of the fact that this generation are characterised by impatience so, they will need support in having patience and perseverance in dealing with any obstacles.

G is for Give Feedback

Research suggests that the annual review model does not empower the millennial generation and that a more dynamic feedback model is favoured. There are some high impact feedback models in existence that we, in Change Grow Succeed support businesses in implementing. The coaching model is also high impact. Not only does coaching inspire action and focuses on results but it is a highly individualised form of learning. Supporting leaders in their coaching skills can often yield high results and allow for richer communication within teams.

In addition, share how their role fits into the overall strategic plan or process, knowing how and where they fit in relative to their role is important to them (indeed, to us all!)

E is for embrace

And enjoy! The arrival of this generation is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and also the world in which we live. So, do take ownership of your role in this process and aim to do one small thing differently to effect positive change within your team and your own leadership style. This generation are here to stay- let’s make the most of it!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. She regularly coaches and supports businesses with intergenerational workforces. For more information, contact her directly on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

4 Tips to Inspire your own Innovation!

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Imagine having the brain capacity to have GREAT IDEAS more frequently?

I attended a fantastic workshop recently on the topic ‘Where do great ideas come from’– it was facilitated by the talented Naomi Fein from the ‘Creative Engagers Community’ . It introduced me to the concept that getting an idea is an actual process, a collision of hunches.  It inspired me to reflect on what I should be doing more of/ less of to harvest and encourage my own thoughts and ideas.

Having the mental ability to overcome challenges creatively or simply achieving those results or dreams requires brain power- is there something we could all be doing to cultivate this?

The Dilemma

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. The over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect. We live in a society of instant gratification enabled by the world wide web. However, it’s the ‘immediacy of the internet’ that more often than not deprives us of the opportunity to pause and consider, all which is critical to fostering  thoughts becoming greater than the sum of their parts!

Did you know that on average, we think 60,000 thoughts per day? And of these, 95% are repeat thoughts from yesterday (the majority of which tend to be negative). Rehashing the past or rehearsing the future only serves to rob us of our mental energy, so what can we do to set the tone to allow our great ideas to take shape? Simon Sinek says that ideas happen when our minds wander, so, here are my 4 tips to reset and invest in our own innovation!

  • Beware the Smart phone

It’s important to manage our boundaries with our cell phones. When you come home from work, switch it off! Sian of Elite Pilates recently shared that she has decided NOT to put email on her new phone, preferring instead to access her email at a time convenient for her. Consider charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night or if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in the pocket/ the bag. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.

  • Negative self- talk

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life- be it our own negative self- talk or external circumstances & then finding new ways to deal with how you feel. In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Ask yourself, do you have a tendency to focus on what’s not working?

  • Get Creative

Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun?

  • Mindful Moments

Let’s be clear here- mindfulness is not about reaching some ‘zen like’ state but rather being present in a moment without judgement . Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being. Take a personal pit-stop and notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you.  Find it hard to sit still?  Savour a walk. Connect with your loved ones. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

The summer time often lends itself to a slower pace, we are in holiday mode, routines go out the window as we enjoy the longer evenings and the infinite possibilities of what lies ahead. Take the time to renew, let your mind truly wander and let those light bulb moments flow!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life & Business Coach & Master Trainer. She runs a successful practise in Cork called Change Grow Succeed.  For further information, you can contact her directly on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com or visit www.changegrowsucceed.com

3 Steps to ensure Interview Success

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I was delighted to have this blog published recently on the EmployMum.ie website.

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You’ve just been invited for interview and the delight that initially hit you is now replaced by pure dread. Sound familiar? You begin to panic as some of the following thoughts enter your head:

  • “How will I answer the question about the gap in my CV?”
  • “I am so out of touch with the workplace, I’ll never survive an interview!”
  • “What do I wear? I have no clothes!”

To offset this mode of panic, it’s important to reframe the term ‘Interview’. Quite simply, it’s a meeting with an objective. One party seeks to find the best candidate for a position on offer. Another party is seeking to impress the interviewer and assess the position on offer.  Mind management is key in this nerve racking process and good preparation lies at the essence. So, here are my 3 tips to ensure that your experience at interview is successful!

Prepare“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

  • Collect and revise all relevant documents for this position. This includes an original job advert, your CV (or application form) and a cover letter (if you sent one in)
  • Research – the organisation and the role. The Internet and social media (LinkedIn in particular) is a fantastic resource. Perhaps you know of somebody already working in this company? See if you can meet them for a chat.
  • Plan your route – Be sure you know where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Aim to arrive 20 -30 minutes before hand. And finally,
  • Prepare answers to questions you’ll most likely be asked. There are three categories of questions that form the nucleus of the interview process:
    • Can you do the job (questions relating to your skills, abilities and qualifications)
    • Will you do the job (questions relating to your interests, attitude and motivation)
    • Are you a good fit for the organisation (usually, your personality)

It’s imperative to prepare for a typical Interview Ice breaker such as Tell me a bit about yourself or “Talk me through your CV”. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself, your skills and experience.

Of course, if you haven’t worked in a while, an obvious answer to prepare for is I see a gap in your CV…” The thought of answering this question is daunting for many. Here, I always reassure my clients to be honest, acknowledge the gap but bring the conversation back to your readiness for the role at hand e.g. “I took time out to rare my young family. It was a fantastic time and we have all benefited hugely from it and now I’m ready to return to work and believe I have a lot to offer for this role, such as …”

Perhaps you have up skilled in that time? E.G. “I used some of this time to reassess the direction of my career and decided to up skill/ re train in …” You can see that the language is very active and positive. Remember, interviewers are humans too and by nature, we are story tellers. This is your story to tell!

Practise – “The more I practise, the luckier I get!”

As with every skill you’ve ever learned, mastering interview techniques require time, practice and perseverance.  Three methods that I find most effective are:

  • Practise in front of a mirror! You will feel a bit *strange* but this technique appeals to all the senses- you get to see and hear yourself talk through your responses. You can also gauge your body language.
  • Mock interview – This is a simulation of an actual job interview. It will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback on your performance. Your coach or a trusted friend can help you here.
  • Breathing – Sit still and engage with your breath. Notice how busy your mind is and take a few deep breaths. This will keep you grounded and supply your brain with oxygenated air.

Whatever route you take to practising, it will all help to reduce interview stress and boost your confidence. Finally,

Present  – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!”

  • Attire – Etiquette can vary from sector to sector. Smart is always preferable (I recommend being overdressed rather than under dressed!)
  • Engage with your own body language and that of your interviewer. Smile, shake hands, make eye contact.
  • Thank the interviewer at the end of your meeting!
  • Ask questions– Not only will this demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm but it’s an opportunity for you to gauge if this role is a good fit for you. Questions on training, reporting structure, profile of staff and next steps are all appropriate at this stage.
  • Post interview- do review your own performance for example, make a note of what went well, what you wish you had said and any preparation for the next stage. If, in the case you receive a rejection letter or email, do request feedback where appropriate and use it!

While Interviews are daunting, they aren’t any great mystery and I hope that my 3 tips Prepare, Practise and Present will help to demystify the interview process and support you in nailing your next Interview!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and is founder of Change Grow Succeed. For further information, please contact her on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

Tribe Therapy

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Do you ever think about the people in your tribe? Who are they? What do they mean to you and how often do you get to connect and I mean really connect with them?

Let’s revisit the definition of tribe for a moment. It’s a group of people who share values and ideas, who listen to and support each other. It’s a kinship. Being part of a tribe is primal. It forms part of our identity. It provides us with a sense of belonging which is critical to basic human functioning. Perhaps a modern take on the term ‘tribe’ is having access to and connecting with those people in your life who nurture you, who make you laugh, who inspire you and who accept you, warts and all! Take a minute- can you identify who these people are for you?

Tribes are dynamic- they change, it’s not humanely possible to hold onto all the friends we make in a lifetime! Our tribe members are congruent with our own journey. The people we move towards (or away from!) tend to reflect our values and priorities at any given time. Think about the people you gravitated towards in your teens, your twenties, thirties- were the colleagues on the work nights out replaced with the ‘parents at the school gate’ for much understanding and support?

If, fundamental to the tribe experience is connection then the challenge is finding the time! How often do you connect with members of your tribe? We all have so many commitments and ‘priorities’ – we can often mistake a ‘What’s App’ message for a connection. In an era where we have access to our virtual connections at the touch of a button, people have never felt so lonely or isolated. In fact, a recent article in the Independent revealed that social isolation is becoming an epidemic particularly amongst young people, newly retired and even creeping in to the lives of stay at home mums!

We are all driving in our own lanes, it’s important to come out of these every now and again as connecting with each other is a core part to our existence. As a working mum of 3 and a solo/mumpreneur, I’m learning that the people in my tribe are more important to me than ever.  Finding those like- minded people who inspire me, understand and accept me for who I am is energizing! It’s invaluable to me and is nothing less than any of us deserve.

Last week, some great friends and I spent a night away together. This is really rare (like once a year rare!) Sometimes, it’s about making the the smaller moments count such as the odd lunch date, a walk or a catch up over dinner! The ladies and gents in my tribe have inspired this blog. Although we may not meet as often as I would like, enjoying some down time (when we can) with those that nurture me is a pure tonic and the benefits are far reaching…And I trust that they would say the same!

So put down the lap top, turn off the phone and arrange a meet-up with a fellow tribe member!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com