Category: Coaching

A TIME FOR TRANSFORMATION

What is most important is our ability to deal with the challenges we are given, whether in our personal or work space.

During these current uncertain times, many of us have taken time to reflect on our priorities. From a place to call home, our families and relationships, safety and health, we may also be struggling with finding the confidence to make changes in our lives and look again at our personal purpose and our motivation for what we do.

I believe what is most important is our ability to deal with the challenges we are given, there will always be calm seas, rough seas, winds, rain and sunshine!

Coaching can be a really useful tool in learning to manage ourselves and our thinking so we can stay resourceful.

I work across career coaching, business and personal development. Right now career coaching has become relevant for many people as they have lost their job or the job they had is no longer what they want. Many of us are feeling more vulnerable. If we are looking for work then we need to be able to stack up our transferable skills to go for a new job and be clear on our value proposition.

I work with MyCareerBrand to coach professionals and I’m committed to coaching a balanced career progression through leadership and personal development, lifestyle and professional alignment.

My Career Transformation programme is designed especially for these times of uncertainty to be proactive in managing change, working through career transition, dealing with redundancy, addressing burnout and eliminating any beliefs that are holding you back.

I work with you to express your personal brand, find your authenticity and confidence based on aligning your goals and values with where you want to be in your career. I support you to gain clarity and conviction around your purpose combined with your transferable skills and track.

I also work in personal development at The Breakthrough Depot. You can see more about what I offer here on this website.

Why not give me a call for a chat?

When it comes to getting a new job, how ‘dinkum’ are you?

Looking for the perfect job is not just about where you have been but where you want to be. If your attitude and narrative points into the past – then that is where you will end up. Our Career Transformation programme focuses on how to pivot with transferable skills and be absolutely confident and authentic. That requires some reflection about the dinkum you.

Seems the word authenticity is top of mind these days. Can we be authentic across all of the roles we have in our lives: an employee, partner, friend, with whanau? Sometimes the idea of being authentic seems like it is impossible to co-exist as we play various roles in our lives.

One of the definitions of authentic in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character”…and ….”dinkum” – a synonyn in NZ and Australia!

In our Career Transformation programme we explore this idea, and how to deepen our self awareness to know and articulate our “dinkum’ self in whatever role we play.

Developing a value-first” mindset is all about standing out when applying for a job in a competitive space, and this will be based on knowing exactly what we stand for and what our value proposition is.

But being authentic runs even deeper, to our identity – and if there is not congruence between our values and beliefs, and our actions, there will be non-alignment; certainly in an interview a candidate is not going to come across as authentic.

This is often the case when a person’s CV demonstrates a track record of achievements, skills and competencies, and yet the candidate is seeking a different sort of job. This requires pivoting transferable skills to the new sought-after area and more importantly to be able to be authentic in that repointing.

Chances are if you have been made redundant, you want to try something different, or simply there are no jobs in your usual field of expertise, then there’s no choice but to pivot with your transferable skills. The recruiter needs to ‘hear’ the new narrative and second to believe the candidate is authentic and in scope!

Looking for the perfect job is not just about where you have been but where you want to be. If your attitude and narrative points into the past – then that is where you will end up.

The good news is as we become more authentic, we are less likely to look to others for approval but instead develop an internal validation compass that helps us maintain our wellbeing even in the face of challenges – for example being out of step with peers, or being an ‘outlier’ at work and instead be our real selves. What a relief.

Susan M Warren
I coach people to make changes in their lives so they can achieve professional and lifestyle solutions

Courage to be authentic in the face of change and scrutiny

How courageous are we to reflect and make changes in our life if we know our values are conflicting with where we are heading, and our personal purpose seems off grid. Getting back on track, even when that means dramatic change and uncomfortable scrutiny , finally we can only each make the call for ourselves.

Once again here in NZ we have woken up to dramatic news of political change with the announcement from popular and hardworking Auckland Central MP, Nikki Kay, that she will retire from politics.

Nikki Kay has survived a traumatic series of events with breast cancer. She says she does not take anything for granted, life can change at any moment. “I don’t see life as a situation you can always plan. You have to know when your time is up. Trust your own instincts.”

Whatever our politics, events this week provide insights. In my line of work – professional and personal coaching – the first step in thriving, even in very difficult circumstances, is to check our sense of purpose and reflect on what we stand for; and whether our goals are congruent with our values.

When our values are crossed or undermined the result is personal incongruency. We can ignore this. But sooner or later at our personal cost.

Life happens – and all we can control is how we deal with it! We have seen people in the past few days who have taken dramatic steps to control how they deal with their lives.

Interviewed this morning Nikki Kay was asked what has motivated her, in her life and a demanding political career. She described beliefs which drove her:

§  Sense of compassion

§  Fighting for freedom

§  Progressive…

§  Being able to help people – a life calling of public service.

§  …Yet pave the way forward for people coming through..

We are all valuable yet no-one is indispensable. Nikki Kaye has taken a decision to get her life back and Amy Adams too, this morning describing herself feeling like the AJ Hackett of NZ politics, yet demonstrating you can change your mind! And that’s okay.

In this morning’s RNZ interview Kathryn Ryan questioned whether there is a time in life where major pivots are possible.. a time for reinventing…to reflect… There’s no doubt the Covid-19 environment has opened up this space for many of us.

Now the question is how courageous are we to reflect and make changes in our life if we know our values are conflicting with our goals, and our personal purpose seems off grid. Getting back on track, even when that means dramatic change and uncomfortable scrutiny , finally we can only each make the call for ourselves. That takes honesty and courage.

#courageousleadership

#beingauthentic

#committedtoexcellence

#changeyourlife

The Pains of Transformation

Working with my clients in the area of transformation, in particular in personal branding and change around career search and acquisition, this is a great post on understanding how to move forward through the pains of transformation with courage.

Working with my clients in the area of transformation, in particular in personal branding and change around career search and acquisition, this is a great post on understanding how to move forward through the pains of transformation with courage.

Stéphanie Mitrano-Méda asks: “how do we acknowledge the pains of transformation?
Start by asking the following questions and be sure to listen to the answers, however “annoying” or “irrational” you might perceive them to be:
1 How is this transformation affecting your daily life? On a physical, practical and operational level?

2 What skills or competencies do you already have that can support the transformation? What will require an effort for you?

3 What skills do you feel you need to develop so you can be confident about your new mission?

4 How is this transformation aligned, or in conflict with your values?

How do you feel about the transformation? What are you worried about? What do you find frustrating? What do you feel you might lose? What motivates you in our proposed transformation?”
Read the full article here.
#personalbranding #transformation #careercoaching

What do Albania’s Taken marketing campaign and personal branding have in common?

Personal branding is the intentional discipline of telling the world who you are. Whether it’s place branding or personal branding, the issues are the same: you can’t afford not to brand because people are branding your country or you anyway.

Personal branding is personal marketing. It the process of purposefully putting your brand “out there” in a way that aligns with your true self.

My career before I retrained as a change and transition coach was primarily in place branding and sustainable tourism. It is amazing how the issues and the disciplines are the same when we look at our own branding and working out what our personal assets are. As we would say to a Tourism Minister, you can’t afford not to brand because people are branding your country anyway. And this will frame up positive or negative equity before you’ve even begun your marketing campaign about what a great place you have!

Understanding our personal brand is critical to our career and that self-reflection, perhaps in the past seemed discretionary or ‘soft’ in the ‘real’ world of business.

However now executives as a) they are reassessing where they want to head in their careers after such a major time of self-reflection b) are being forced to re-evaluate themselves to deal with a changed work situation, perhaps their job has changed or they are being transitioned out.

How to take charge?

Either way if we don’t develop our own personal brands, others will do it for us. Everything we do and say establishes or reinforces our personal brand in people’s minds. These perceptions determine what people feel, think and say about us – online and in person, even when we are not around.

So to my mind it’s a no brainer to proactively develop our personal brand when it comes to our careers.

We must manage our personal brand just as we would our finances or product development.

I am passionate coaching in this area, asking those questions to my clients. Sometimes it’s tough and we can feel exposed and vulnerable, but eventually we get to a place where we are very clear on aligning who we are with what we do.

Skipping this part of personal development in our career search process is a mistake as with this clarity we can go after jobs, go into interviews with the confidence that we really are exactly who we want to be, and have a narrative that is authentic, not some to go bac to the tourism analogy, slick promotional campaign with no connection to what is on the ground. Simply not sustainable.

Personal branding is personal marketing. It the process of purposefully putting your brand “out there” in a way that aligns with your true self.

Before I retrained as a change and transition specialist my career was primarily in place branding and sustainable tourism. It is amazing how the issues and the disciplines are the same when we look at our own branding and working out what our personal assets are.

As we would say to a Tourism Minister, you can’t afford not to brand because people are branding your country anyway. And this will frame up positive or negative equity before you’ve even begun your marketing campaign about what a great place you have!

Understanding our personal brand is critical to our career and that self-reflection, perhaps in the past seemed discretionary or ‘soft’ in the ‘real’ world of business.

However now executives as a) they are reassessing where they want to head in their careers after such a major time of self-reflection b) are being forced to re-evaluate themselves to deal with a changed work situation, perhaps their job has changed or they are being transitioned out.

How to take charge?

Either way if we don’t develop our own personal brands, others will do it for us. Everything we do and say establishes or reinforces our personal brand in people’s minds. These perceptions determine what people feel, think and say about us – online and in person, even when we are not around.

So to my mind it’s a no brainer to proactively develop our personal brand when it comes to our careers.

If we want to stand out in a stack of resumes or if we are going after a major job shift or a career change, we must manage our personal brand just as we would our finances or product development.

I am passionate coaching in this area, asking those questions to my clients. Sometimes it’s tough and we can feel exposed and vulnerable, but eventually we get to a place where we are very clear on aligning who we are with what we do.

Skipping this part of personal development in our career search process is a mistake as with this clarity we can go after jobs, go into interviews with the confidence that we really are exactly who we want to be, and have a narrative that is authentic, not some to go back to the tourism analogy, slick promotional campaign with no connection to what is on the ground. Simply not sustainable.

https://youtu.be/hoH2EiQc3ms

 

THE CONUNDRUM OF EMPATHY

“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself” 
Moshin Hamid

“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself” 

Moshin Hamid

First it is important to note the difference between empathy and sympathy. I love Brene Brown and believe she explains it best:

“Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.” Brene Brown

According to Brene, there are four qualities of empathy:

Perspective-taking. The ability to take the perspective of another and recognizing it as their truth
Staying out of judgment – not as easy as it sounds
Recognizing emotion in other people and ourselves
Communicating that emotion, judgment-free – again, not as easy as it sounds, we all bring personal bias

Empathy is feeling with people; it is finding something within yourself that can create a connection and say, “you are not alone” – it could be as simple as “I see you are hurting and I don’t know what to say, but I am here for you.” 

Sympathy is feeling for the other person and quite often needing to say something to put a silver lining around their experience or pity them. It is casting your experience over theirs like a shadow and almost diminishing what they are going through. 

Love this article by Simon Young...printed in full in case you dont have access to LinkedIn.

We are in a global pandemic, the first in over 100-years, yet we seem to lack leaders that show empathy – why? Countless articles are purporting to ‘educate’ any and all on what empathy means and how to become empathetic. Many studies show that an empathetic leader is more effective than one who is not – yet we see less and less of it. The world of division and institutionalized partisanship is with us. So why then, with so much literature and ‘top ten’ lists on how to be an empathetic leader, do we struggle so much?

Jacinda Adern projected onto the Burj Khalifa

I am a New Zealander living in Los Angeles and also working for the New Zealand Government. Jacinda Mania has hit the world, and everyone is looking towards New Zealand as a shining light, a beacon as you will. Jacinda Adern (Prime Minister of New Zealand) showed the world in March 2019 what a strong and empathetic leader looks like.

In an opportunity to turn a tragedy into a political chalice and blame game, she showed the world that empathy and stepping into the shoes of another is far more effective. Her ‘they are us‘ comment cemented that while we may be a nation of many differences, we are all New Zealanders – and that is more important. Jacinda showed us all how to show up with dignity, empathy and love. Many other nations would have played the blame game and issued the threat of retaliation. Instead, she refused to say the shooter’s name; denying him that which he craved the most – fame. She dressed in the attire of the culture affected and showed extreme empathy and strong, decisive decision making abilities by introducing some of the worlds toughest gun laws. Had it not been for her empathy the people of New Zealand may not have rallied behind her so effectively – we all felt and shared the weight of what had happened and New Zealand embraced the Muslim community.

No alt text provided for this image

Now in COVID-19, she has crossed party lines and aligned a nation – Jacinda is strong, decisive, and in her way vulnerable and kind – words used a lot by this government ‘be kind’. So much so that driving down our freeways, you will see COVID-19 warning signs, and the top line is always ‘Be Kind.’ Jacinda will often do a FaceBook Live event from her bedroom, having just put her daughter, Neve, down for a nap. She is not behind a podium, and she is often in a sweater looking as comfortable as she can – yet the country listens. Jacinda is articulate, well-spoken, and a storyteller at heart. She is disarming and wears empathy on her heart and face.

SO, WHAT IS EMPATHY?

If we take Jacinda Adern as our shining light, you would think we could dissect empathy. First it is important to note the difference between empathy and sympathy. I love Brene Brown and believe she explains it best:

“Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.”

Brene Brown

Anyone who knows me knows I am a Brene Brown fan; I trust what she says as it is not gut and intuition – it is backed by countless hours of peer-reviewed research. Plus, it aligns with my belief system.

Borrowed from Brene Brown

According to Brene, there are four qualities of empathy:

  1. Perspective-taking. The ability to take the perspective of another and recognizing it as their truth
  2. Staying out of judgment – not as easy as it sounds
  3. Recognizing emotion in other people and ourselves
  4. Communicating that emotion, judgment-free – again, not as easy as it sounds, we all bring personal bias

Empathy is feeling with people; it is finding something within yourself that can create a connection and say, “you are not alone” – it could be as simple as “I see you are hurting and I don’t know what to say, but I am here for you.”

Sympathy is feeling for the other person and quite often needing to say something to put a silver lining around their experience or pity them. It is casting your experience over theirs like a shadow and almost diminishing what they are going through.

No alt text provided for this image

HOW DO WE DEVELOP EMPATHY?

No alt text provided for this image

So now we have cleared that up – where does empathy come from? Do I have it? How can I get it?

A Psychology Today article called: Men Systemize. Women Empathize states it is a male v female ability. The article states as babies, women are more stimulated by faces and what is going on around them (empathy). Male babies are more interested in physical objects and how things work, like the mobile above the crib (systems). I am not sure I agree with this being wholly male v female – we are not binary; we are a balance of feminine and masculine traits. It is not a male v’ female equation nor a feminine v masculine one. However, I do believe nature and nurture play a big role – some of the most empathetic people I know are men and some of the least are women.

Empathy is rooted in our emotions and our ability to connect. Connection is the one thing that drives all humanity; we crave it and will do anything to keep it. We keep secrets about ourselves, so our families and communities don’t judge us or worse yet cast us out. We bottle emotions so we don’t seem weak and a target for the bully. We will cover up mistakes at work to keep our job and not be embarrassed. These experiences though are forming the foundations of understanding – suddenly we can empathize with others going through a similar experience. First though we need to overcome our own experiences – sometimes we need to have empathy for ourselves.

Emotional vocabulary comes in here – we articulate our emotions through language; even in our own heads. If we cannot communicate how we feel, we struggle to be able to handle it and move on. From a baby’s first cry to an angsty teenager, it is all about developing our emotional language “hey world; I need you to know how I am feeling right now.” It is through this language that we can then form connections with those experiencing their own emotions. “Hey, I feel you, I know this emotion, and I am here for you” – that is true empathy. So when we tell our boys (or girls) to not feel emotions, we shut the empathy engine off – we take away it’s power source.

There is so much to this topic – the ‘top ten’ lists and ‘four traits you must have’ articles do not help and potentially set us up to fail, they drive a false sense of security and confidence. Through my next articles I will endeavour to explore and unpack where empathy comes from and what limits us; from masculinity, cultural backgrounds, socio-economic and shame/fear. I will look at how it exhibits in leadership, how we can power up our teams through empathy and ultimately develop our networks. It drives an organization to be diverse, seeks diverse thought, and enables a level of understanding that brings true belonging – but it is not ‘that’ easy.

I hope you stay along for the ride. To be a genuinely empathetic leader, you must first know yourself before you can ever imagine knowing and empathizing with someone else.

Simon Court

Susan Warren Joins MyCareerBrand!

Based in our Auckland office, Susan brings significant local and international coaching and marketing experience to our team. As a change and career transition specialist, she is ideally suited to guide our clients through their career journey, develop their value proposition, CV, LinkedIn and go-to-market strategy.

“Based in our Auckland office, Susan brings significant local and international coaching and marketing experience to our team. As a change and career transition specialist, she is ideally suited to guide our clients through their career journey, develop their value proposition, CV, LinkedIn and go-to-market strategy.”  


Thanks to Craig MacAlpine for placing his confidence in me to work within his business. It’s a leader in career coaching with a fresh 360degree approach to career coaching that I’ve not experienced before. As someone who has been searching for the right job I’m in an ideal position to know how challenging that journey is, and good coaching on the way makes a massive difference!

Know that I'll still be doing some Life Coaching for mental wellbeing for my clients. Otherwise we'll be running fantastic programmes for people seeking guidance in their professional development at #mycareerbrand  Get in touch for a free discussion. Face-to-face or video link coaching.

https://mycareerbrand.net/pages/about

 

COVID-19: Eight Steps to Empowerment

How we act now makes a huge difference to whether humanity can use this time to evolve. I passionately believe this is an opportunity for humanity to evolve together and create a connective tissue that enables us to collaborate and grow a collective body for our challenges to ground and create a new future we can hear wants to emerge.

This post  written by Louise Marra, Programme Director of The NZ Leadership Programme, calls us to action on how leaders can use this time to reflect deeply on humanity to evolve together.

How we act now makes a huge difference to whether humanity can use this time to evolve. I passionately believe this is an opportunity for humanity to evolve together and create a connective tissue that enables us to collaborate and grow a collective body for our challenges to ground and create a new future we can hear wants to emerge.

Below is broad caretaking – some of which is evolutionary. I have attempted to keep it simple. 

1.      Prepare and communicate – take the practical steps you need to keep you and those around you safe and have a regular communication process in place to update as things change.  There are so many sites and news to look at, but you only need so much of this. Keep talking to your children, partners, broader family, friends and workmates.  Set up processes for regular connection.  Your children need you to co-regulate with them which means help them feel and keep reassuring them.

2.      Build your immune system – get outside, start to observe and relate to nature, ground your body; rest, sleep and meditate. Exercise but not in excess, get out in the sunshine to increase your vitamin D.  Eat healthy fresh foods and nourishing warm foods to support your body and consider supplements like vitamin C, probiotics and minerals such as magnesium for the nervous system.  Practice relaxation – it really supports the immune system. There are many sites offering information on immune system, take a look.

3.      Grow your connection to others – physical distance does not mean emotional distance.  We have been physically close and emotionally distant, see if you can reverse this as we are physically isolating. See if you can practice emotional connection and vulnerability more in this.  Set up online times with friends and whanau to share and feel together the shock, fear, potential anger and frustration, uncertainty and also the silver linings together.  So we all build the relatedness we need to as humanity.  Set up a regular circle of support for those you know and love to mutually support each other.  It is important to be aware of when you also need to reach out to trusted peers or whanau for support, share own vulnerabilities and give peers and whānau the opportunity to do the same.  This is a vulnerable time for all, reciprocity is important as then we are in it together.

4.      Grow your connection to your soul and the essential – this is a time of slow down, a pause, see if you can use it as a time to enrich your connection with yourself. Our soul has needs also and wants to connect with us more deeply.  Write, journal, draw, dance, inquire and contemplate your deeper nature and how it wants to live its full potential in your life. Dream and imagine. Connect with nature, a tree, a rock, a place and let yourself feel your natural connection with the environment, it nourishes you.  Meditate and practice presencing yourself often, so that you come into congruence with yourself and keep digesting moment by moment.

5.      Connect to your body and notice your nervous system – Pay attention to what you’re feeling in your body and how you’re reacting to things. Notice your body and the space around it – allow your body to move or shake off physical sensations. Keep bringing  yourself back into the moment and see how you feel in your body, and what is around you – it helps us ground where we are and realise in this moment and in this place we are safe right now.

6.      Integrate your regressive patterns – much of what comes up in us in these times, when much of the unconscious is being made conscious, is from the past.  Our fears are often from our past lack of safety and our retractions from our lack of true love and connection.  See if you can use this time to revisit your past and its hurts and wounds and the adaptations you intelligently made but can be healed and integrated now.  So much is about feeling what couldn’t be felt and became overwhelm. Also consider supporting  yourself in this, many therapists and coaches are doing online and we have access to many to help including us in Leadership New Zealand team and also throughout the country. Healing allows so much more vitality and radiance into our system. Healing is feeling, and you can do that feeling in small doses, coming into your essential and then back into the feeling – titrating your experience so it doesn’t overwhelm.

7.      Help your wider community – we all have something to bring, something to offer, something to ground for the whole. Think of the small things you can do that are in line with your gifts and purpose. Don’t do this to fill your own gap and fear of stopping.  Do it to bring yourself more fully into your purpose .

8.      Evolve – what is it our finest moment for – this such a unique time and as such we can all evolve into our highest potential and not stay in patterns that keep us from our full vitality – as individuals and as humanity.  Humanity needs to evolve and this time is an amazing opportunity to relook at our relationships to each other, other beings, and the living planet.  Let’s not create the future from the past or fear, let’s reimagine collectively what now can change.  We would not have foreseen that this much could change this quickly.  What is it our finest moment for? In Aotearoa let’s look back to the treaty partnership and partner with tangata whenua as tangata tiriti under the principles of partnership, protection and participation.  Also working with the deep values of whanaungatanga – a relationship to the human and non- human world and kaitiakitanga – guardianship.  How does NZ take a leap and co-create a different future based on the treaty – an awesome challenge for us.  Consider your own, your organisation and your community potential in evolving right now – dream what is possible as when everything is uncertain, leadership can ground a new future far more easily.

 

The brain-changing effects of exercise

What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Thoughts for the New Year

As we shut down 2019 and welcome 2020, I want to thank all of you for your support, questions, challenges, teaching, and community-building.
We don’t need to do awkward, brave, and kind alone. We were never meant to.”
-Dr Brene Brown

“These aren’t easy for me – especially if being predictable and consistent are important. But I’m going to keep crawling my way back to them in 2020. Especially when I’m tempted to act cool OR choose comfort over that crappy, hard conversation OR when I’m dying to be judge-y and blame-y instead of empathic and compassionate.

I’m going to try a lot of new things in 2020 and that feels scary which is often the necessary springboard for awkward and brave. It’s easy to get to that place where we only do things that we’re already good at doing. I love that place. But it’s not good for me. So, I’m choosing to go back to the 7th grade cafeteria and carry my tray as best I can given my sweaty hands and anxiety-prone introversion. I need to seek out a couple of new tables with new challenges and opportunities. Dammit.

As far as kindness goes – that will need to start with a healthy dose of self-kindness. I know. Sounds cheesy. But, I’ve learned that it’s easier to dismiss that concept as woo-hoo bullshit than it is to actually practice it. After I wrangle on my oxygen mask, I’m committed to extending that same imperfect grace to others. I’ve learned that gasping for air while volunteering to give others CPR is not heroic. It’s suffocation by resentment.

As we shut down 2019 and welcome 2020, I want to thank all of you for your support, questions, challenges, teaching, and community-building.

We don’t need to do awkward, brave, and kind alone. We were never meant to.”
-Dr Brene Brown

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