Archive for coaching


On Winning and Playing The Game

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This morning I received this email and thought it a paradox worth pondering on . . .

I am trying to assist my son in understanding a couple of distinctions, which seem to be a bit paradoxical.

I would like him to not focus so much on “outcomes” of games, situations, etc. and enjoy the ‘game’ itself..

On the other hand, trying to teach him to turn ‘not so fun’ tasks or situations (cleaning room, chores, etc.) into games to make them fun, but then these turn into ‘outcome’ games (winning, finishing first, etc..)

Is there a ‘simple’ way to demonstrate the two distinctions without this paradox?

Here’s my reply:

Your paradox got me thinking . . . and I realised that this is exactly the same thing that I am experimenting with, albeit in a different form.

Why can’t your son/you/we focus on the outcome of the game – winning, as well, if that’s important – AND enjoy the process? It’s not an either/or but a both/and.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with winning itself. It only becomes a problem if that’s the only thing you’re focussed on or you NEED to win in order to feel good about the game/yourself.

How about talking to your son about this paradox and asking him to help YOU learn about it. He may well “get” it faster than you as his ideas are likely to be less entrenched than yours. Set up games together where you play and explore and there are no right or wrong answers. Have a competition to see who can clean up their rooms first and then talk about what it felt like, what still puzzles you. How you could do it differently next time.

It always frustrated me how my son’s infant school had this non-competitive sports day thing. It just doesn’t reflect real life. I was always banging on about letting them compete and have the experience of winning or losing and then help them with the feelings that result. That would be so much more useful than trying to wipe out the idea of competition in the adult world they will find themselves in. Not even adult, as soon as he got to age 7 and he went to junior school, winning was back on the agenda again anyway.

So, what am I trying to say here . . .

It’s not the outcome itself that’s the important thing but how we feel about the outcome. And our thoughts dictate how we feel.
And, as George says enjoying the process is what it’s really all about. But it’s not an either/or.

What a wonderful opportunity to introduce your son to the idea of both/and and for you to learn this stuff together.

Oh yeah . . . and if winning matters it’s better to fess up and play with that than to pretend it doesn’t. It’s the difference between storming out of the room pretending you’re frustrated with the stupid game and winning £3 in a bet you really lost. I know. I was that winner.

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Stop Trying To Break Bad Habits

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Most of us have had the experience of trying to break a “bad” habit but I wonder how many of us have had the experience of succeeding. We start with the best of intentions but soon find ourselves lapsing into old ways and, often, we end up feeling worse about the situation because now, not only do we have the “bad” habit but we’ve also failed at trying to change it. Trying to break a habit always has an element of force to it and, let’s face it, we don’t like to be forced to do anything so, sooner or later we are likely to rebel.

When I’ve wanted to change a habit I have found a much more successful way to approach it is to replace what I want to change with something better. “Bad” habits are formed because they serve us in some way. So, for example, I regularly fall into the habit of eating more refined sugar than is good for me. This takes the form of cakes or chocolate in the afternoon and then again after dinner. Partly, I think this is an energy thing and also a reward thing. I like cakes and chocolate.

When I label this habit as bad, and then try and give up the cakes and chocolate I’ve found that I end up feeling deprived and don’t succeed. But, in the times I’ve changed my focus from stopping eating cakes to eating 5 pieces of fruit a day before I eat cakes or chocolate, I’ve found that I’ve succeeded in cutting down and then eventually cutting out these foods. The fruit takes care of the energy side of things and allowing myself the option of eating cakes and chocolate should I so desire, albeit after the fruit, takes care of the reward side of things.

This video show’s a great example of how to change undesirable behaviour with something better by changing the focus to something fun that will replace it.

Categories : Creating My Life
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Improving Goals Setting Success

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Throughout my life I’ve had a mixed experience in relation to setting goals. I’ve tried numerous strategies but, until recently, none of them worked very well.

During the times I felt I should knuckle down and focus I set rigid goals that I tried to force myself to achieve, but unsurprisingly, I was never successful. Often these goals were so big, or so far in the future that I couldn’t relate what I was doing in the present to their eventual outcome. And there was always a big “should” connected to them which, inevitably, led to stress and resistance on my part.

Another approach was to break the goals down into manageable steps, a sort of mini-goal, and then focus on achieving each small step, one at a time. There were a couple of problems with this approach. One was, I still couldn’t really keep the connection with the big goal, even when I drew charts, plotted my progress and ticked boxes. The other problem was I often found myself at a completely different destination from the one I had intended, scratching my head and wondering how I got there. That, perhaps, was a big clue as to what was really going on.

A completely different approach was the one I followed in my “going with the flow” periods, a sort of anti goals setting method. Basically I sat around, completed abdicated responsibility for creating my life and used the fact that I achieved very little, as evidence for this relaxed approach not working. Relaxed? Ha! I was comatose.

So, since I’d spent many unsatisfying years spinning my wheels and getting nowhere fast I began to look more closely at the actual goals themselves and at the possibility of finding a happy medium. I think the fundamental problem with both approaches was that neither approach was strongly seated in my main life goals. My primary life goal is not about doing particular things or being a particular way but rather to consciously create my life so that each day is better than the last and each day I am better than I was the day before. (Not sure about the word “better”. Defining my primary life goal is a work in progress). Now there are a number of other goals that I think might contribute to that but I am not longer attached to them and am willing to drop/replace them if I disover they don’t contribute to my main goal.

One such goal is to create a prosperous coaching practice but I’m only willing to focus and put energy into that goal if it can be done in such a way that serves my bigger life goal. In order to create a life that really works for me it needs to be, amongst other things,  fun and contain lots of unexpected moments. So building my coaching practice also needs to be fun and grow out of unplanned moments. The same is true for any goal I set myself. If it doesn’t support my primary life goal then there’s no point in setting it and this will lead to an improvement in my success rate.

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There Are No Unimportant People

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Recently, I’ve been reading The Joy Of Selling by Steve Chandler. It’s not at all what I imagined it would be and to my great surprise I am thoroughly enjoying it. If it wasn’t written by Steve I wouldn’t have even picked it up but that, and the fact that it was a gift, led me to read it. What I’m finding though is a whole new way to look at the process of selling. And, true to form with all Steve’s stuff, success is more about me than about tricks and techniques – even when it comes to selling.

I suspect I will be sharing more than one little gem from its pages but here’s the first one I paticularly liked:

“Make Some Friends In Low Places” – Courses on ‘how to sell’ often emphasise the need to get to the decision-makers at the top of the companies you are targeting – to go for the people in “high” places. But Steve turns this on its head and demonstrates the power of talking to people who, on first look, don’t seem to have much power.

He tells the story of his conversations with Marie, a woman that worked on the front desk of an organisation he wanted to sell to. And how, through his relationship with her, he was able to get insider information that led to his having an informed conversation with the big boss at a time when the boss was most receptive and in the language that the boss was most receptive to hearing. The boss trusted him because of the obvious “research” he had done on her company. But as Steve points out his only research was Marie. The consequence of the meeting was lots of work for Steve.

When I read this I breathed a huge sigh of relief because, if I apply this to building a coaching practice, this allows me to just talk to people and trust that conversations will lead to clients. I don’t have to try and sell to the people I think I want to coach. I just have to turn up, be present and be my usual curious self about all the people I meet.

This is pretty much how I built my original coaching practice, through conversations with people I met in all sorts of unlikely places such as the library or at a neighbour’s barbecue, or through referrals. No selling. Just being with people.


“There are no unimportant people. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle of life. Everyone plays a very important part. Everyone has power.”

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Gillian Pearce – Life Moves


About Life Moves

Life Moves is an unfolding story of my journey to discover and create what I truly want from life. I hope you will find my writings helpful, inspirational, encouraging, amusing or, at the very least, usually worth reading. Please feel free to comment on any posts about which you have an opinion. Or make one up. I do it all the time and it can be very dull, alone in cyberspace.

Bon Voyage!