Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

Twitter Thursday #10: Twitter Management Tools

You will not be using Twitter for long before you start to feel overwhelmed by all those tweets. There are several third-party twitter management tools out there, and I’ve had a lot of questions asked about them. So let’s take a look! Here are some of the most notable tools:

HootSuite.com: This is a great tool for managing multiple Twitter accounts as well as Facebook, LinkedIn and others. You can set up personalised columns for these feeds, and you can also compose messages before choosing which social account to post them to.

CoTweet: This comes in a standard free version and a paid premium version, and is aimed at the business market. CoTweet manages up to five Twitter accounts, allowing brand and keyword monitoring using Twitter search. There are useful workflow management capabilities for use with a group of co-users.

TweetDeck: This is your personal, real-time social media browser. It connects you with all your important contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google, Buzz and others. It’s also great for managing multiple Twitter accounts.

There are many other Twitter management tools such as EasyTweets, Seesmic, splitweet, Tweet-visor, Echophon for Firefox users and Silverbird for Chrome users. There is also MarketMeSuite, which I will return to later as it deserves special mention.

The extremely helpful Tweetdeck welcome screen.

My ‘dashboard’ of choice is TweetDeck, so that’s the one I’ll look at in more detail. It is also important to note that as of May 2011, TweetDeck has officially become part of Twitter after Twitter recognised its potential by purchasing the company.

Iain Dodsworth, a London-based programmer, set his mind to organising everything that was happening on Twitter. the result, in 2008, was TweetDeck, which comes in the form of a ‘dashboard’, allowing users to monitor in real-time what others are saying. Particularly useful for power-users, TweetDeck provides a platform from which to monitor and track all the real-time conversations that matter most to them. This makes true engagement with other Twitter users much easier.

The principle feature of TweetDeck is that the user can create groups and so extend the Twitter service. Through these groups, it is possible to check the Tweets of a subset of the user’s followers. These groups appear as columns on the screen, and they can be used to display Friends, News, Mentions, Business tweets or whatever group heading the user chooses to set up.

Additionally, TweetDeck now has the ability to synch groups and settings between the Desktop standalone version of the program and the free iPhone app. Thus you can access the same TweetDeck information at home or on the move.

I mentioned MarkMeSuite earlier. This is another Social Media marketing dashboard designed with business users in mind. As a great bonus, its premium service is now completely free. This application not only allows for Twitter management, but has a wide range of other tools, allowing such things as brand management and unlimited team members (multiple users). It is well worth a look for serious business users.

Young People: Our Promise For The Future

For a while now, our youth have been dominating the media headlines. All too often it appears that they are presented in a negative way. This has been made worse since the recent riots in London and around the country. Far too many adults have become armchair sociologists, who all seem to know exactly the reasons why our young people have lost their way. Worst of all are the ‘professional’ amateur sociologists (e.g. politicians) who are generous with their opinions and their distribution of blame!

There is a reckless presupposition involved here. Are they ALL so bad? Over recent months, while young people in general are being marginalised, my life has been touched by several amazing young people who prove the stereotype wrong. They have not so much restored my faith in our youth (I had never lost it), but they have shown me that in their hands, the future of our society is looking bright.

I have also come to realise that many amazing young people are being ignored in favour of their less focussed peers but they deserve better!

As a school teacher I feared that the education system was failing our young people. As a coach I have had the privilege of getting to know a variety of young people who have proven to me that, given the right attitude, they can achieve whatever they desire. It is also clear that they can do this either in, or outside the education system. In fact, I am convinced that our tertiary education system has been so hijacked by commerce and politics as to disable it. Our colleges and universities are being forced to turn out students who are ‘fit for purpose’ (commercial) but who are often not fit for life in a rapidly changing world.

I know I am venting here, but I am at heart a believer in action, so let’s look at some examples of the kind of young people who I see as shining beacons for the future. Then I want you, dear reader, to look about you and find other examples to be proud of! Let’s move to a culture of positive thinking about young people and their potential.

I have had the honour of coaching, mentoring or befriending several young people who are moving towards a goal oriented future whether through focussed study or on the job training and experience. None of these come from a privileged background, nor are they being groomed by pushy parents. In fact it appears that they are following their chosen paths in spite of their histories and not because of them! I will give details for some of my examples in the hope that you might look in on their work or achievements. Others will be allowed some anonymity for reasons I am sure you will understand.

First among these are my own wonderful nieces all moving through school and into university one by one to follow their dreams through careful planning and sheer hard work.

Next the spotlight shines on an amazing, hardworking young Irishman. Sean lives with his family in a small town in Ireland but there is nothing small about his ambitions. Sean is passionate about literature and writing and is an aspiring author. I have read a good deal of his work and the teacher in me has been mightily impressed by the quality of his work. Sean graduated from a prestigious Irish university this year with a great degree and was immediately offered a place on their post grad MA course. After testing this opportunity against his personal goals, Sean decided that what he needed was time to write and polish his craft, not more studies. Like many of his generation Sean has immersed himself in the internet and is a regular contributor to his own and other blogs and web based book review sites.

Sean has now found a job to support himself (no mean feat in present day Ireland) and he makes time to write every day. His first full length novel is almost finished and I wish him every success with it. While many of his peers might choose to riot, Sean’s strong opinions are delivered from his keyboard and are well worth reading.

Now the spotlight shines on a young Arab with a remarkable story. This is a profound example of one’s past being no model for any goal driven future. Safaa is a young Iraqi lad whose parents feared for his safety in Bagdad during the Iraq war. A bright intelligent 17yr old with a passion for music and sport he could have carved out a future in either arena at home. In fact he was well on the way to being able to represent his country playing tennis. This was not to be since his family sent Safaa into exile rather than risk his life at home. This was a huge wrench for a boy devoted to his family but Safaa travelled to Syria and started university where he too graduated this year with a great degree in IT engineering. Of course living in Damascus he is once again in fear for his life but his ambitions are undimmed and he has not left his goal driven path. I find such strength, self-motivation and drive in one so young, to be truly inspiring!

Now I want to highlight a newer breed of young person. There are a growing number of passionate, young entrepreneurs who are not following any traditional path. Instead from an early age they are carving their own way and inspiring everyone they meet. I am not referring to any bright young things working in ‘the city’ earning huge salaries and leading cash hungry lifestyles. Instead these are the kind of young men and women who each have a personal mission. They have huge ambitions, but serious goals and an action oriented work ethic.

The first of these young entrepreneurs is Jamie Dunn from Birmingham. This remarkable teenager is already Managing Director of his own company called Made By Young People. Jamie is already an international speaker, a Youth Ambassador for BXL charity and has been recognised with a prestigious Youth Excellence Award. It is well worth reading Jamie’s story on his website, from his first business at the age of 12 to his current venture challenging and inspiring fellow teenagers. Jamie also uses social media, but unlike so many he does not just broadcast on Twitter. He truly engages with his many followers. This young man is just the kind of role model we need to promote!

Finally we come to Josh Chandler from Lincolnshire in the east of England. Josh is the founder of ‘Windows Media Player Updates.com’ a truly excellent user support website. However Josh is so much more than a clever IT guy. His real passion is social change and Josh has a real desire to highlight issues and to influence both community development and social change. Having already established his online credentials and his credibility as an entrepreneur, Josh has decided to now further his education and is about to study business management at Leeds Met University.

Both Jamie and Josh are well aware that real success cannot be based on luck or a youthful smile. Over this last weekend while so many of their peers were out enjoying the last holiday weekend of the summer, both lads were hard at work, mostly alone, writing business plans, goal setting and strategizing for the future.

Let’s stop looking for reasons to knock the youth of today. Look around and search out those young people who are carving out their own positive futures. Congratulate them, support them and be proud of them! Do let me know of any individuals worth highlighting and watch out for planned interviews with some of these beacons for the future.

Links:

Sean: www.seanwills.com Twitter: @seanwillsalt

Safaa: http://www.facebook.com/Safaa Al-dulaimy  Twitter:@safaa_Aldulaimy

Jamie: http://www.madebyyoungpeople.co.uk/ Twitter: @JDEntrepeneur

Josh: http://twitter.com/@joshchandler Use this link while Josh’s main site is being rebranded.

Book Review: Do It! Or Ditch It by Bev James

Today sees the publication of a book written by Bev James, a good friend and mentor of mine. I was proud to be asked to endorse the book prior to publication, and I found it to be genuinely great in its content and its philosophy. Bev truly cares about helping people to achieve their business goals and her book is a perfect example of the application of her “Coaching heart, Commercial mind” philosophy. If, like me, you are attempting to build a solid business from a set of creative ideas, then Do It! or Ditch It is just the kind of guide book we need. It offers a fresh approach to business success from someone who has made success her business. Why ‘fresh’? What makes it stand out from the plethora of business books on the shelves? Do It! Or Ditch It is a real how-to book and by following Bev’s no-nonsense approach, any business owner could take their idea and grow it into a solid success.

The book sets the scene with some very pertinent, factual information. This creates a context for the book, as Bev tells us “Do It! Or Ditch It was born of a frustration of seeing too many good business ideas go to waste while bad ideas take up valuable time and resources – and from a strong desire to show that we are always in control of our own decisions and can choose to make things happen if we wish. The approach can be applied to all situations.”

To begin with, Bev highlights the need to develop the right mindset for running your own business, setting the right goals and then committing to those actions needed to reach them. This book is all about taking action and never letting life ‘just happen’.

The book is presented in two parts, the first of which is called ‘How to develop a Do It! Or Ditch It mindset’. This takes us through 5 powerful but easy to follow decision-making tools. Here Bev applies her coaching heart and shows how to gather the mental resources needed to prepare any entrepreneur for success. Part 2 is called ‘Turn ideas into action and make decisions that count’, which guides the reader through 8 steps to business success. Now it is Bev’s commercial mind which brings clarity to the daunting process of bringing an idea to fruition as a well-planned, carefully structured and solidly implemented business.

Bev’s approach is fast paced and anyone who has met her will recognise her shoot-from-the-hip style on every page. Definitely not a ghost-written celebrity book here! Bev’s writing is direct and its time is now, with more people than ever trying to turn their own ideas into working businesses. Alongside the book itself Bev has launched a great website full of additional business tools and ideas at www.bevjames.com You have the opportunity to sign up for daily business tips and also to download useful planning materials for free. Whatever your idea, this book will take you by the hand from one stepping stone to another to reach your business goals. Of course at the end of the day only you can decide to Do It or Ditch It.

What Is Coaching: The Wheel of Life

Since I first started this blog series, I’ve been asked many questions about the coaching process. One recurring theme in those questions has been ‘How do I choose my goals?’ or ‘How do I know which areas I need to work on in our coaching sessions?’ To answer these concerns, I’m going to look at a tool which I like to use with new clients early in the coaching conversation.

It’s called the ‘Wheel of Life’, and is a simple but effective tool which can quickly determine the level of balance (or lack thereof) in your life. This will also expose those areas which are less balanced, and which can be focussed on during coaching.

The Wheel of Life is probably the most widely used of all coaching tools. It has been adapted into many forms. The version I will use here is a generic wheel which you can use at home to achieve quick and useful results.

We will take 8 aspects of your life to measure on the wheel. In no particular order, they are:

  1. Career (e.g. work, business, school/university)
  2. Money (personal finances)
  3. Health/Fitness
  4. Friends and Family
  5. Relationships/significant other (partner, spouse or single status)
  6. Personal Growth (education, development, ambition)
  7. Fun and Recreation (leisure, hobbies, vacations)
  8. Physical Environment (home, office/workspace, desk)

These can be changed to suit the individual or circumstances. Occasionally clients like to add or even replace some headings, for example with ‘Creativity’ or ‘Spirituality’.

Draw your wheel as shown here, or e-mail me for a blank copy. Whatever version you prefer to use, it should have 8 ‘spokes’ and 8 segments. The spokes need to be numbered from 0-10, with 0 at the centre and 10 at the outer circle, so that the whole diagram forms a series of concentric circles. Now fill in the labels for each segment around the outside, and you’ll be ready to begin!

This wheel is a measure of your level of satisfaction with each of these areas. Grade your yourself in each area according to how satisfied with them you are right now. be honest with yourself and you will end up with a good snapshot of your own life balance as it is now.

Look at the wheel you have drawn and ask yourself a few simple questions. How round is your wheel? How large is it? How bumpy a ride will your wheel give you? Is a large or a small wheel more stable? Which will be knocked off course most easily?

The really important part of this exercise is what you now do with your wheel. You should look at those areas where you wish to improve your level of satisfaction. Begin to think what you might do about it and set some action Goals.

Weekly Newsletter

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying all of the content posted to the blog so far. If you find yourself missing new posts, don’t worry! You can subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed using Google Reader or your favourite news aggregator, or you can follow @timorahilly on Twitter and put some of my Twitter Thursday advice into practice.

But if you’d like to get more than just news of the latest blog posts, why not sign up for a FREE weekly newsletter? It will contain links to any blog posts made during the week, as well as news and information on the latest developments in the exciting world of Life Coaching. If you’re interested, just go to the front page and enter your name and e-mail address in the fields on the lower right-hand side. I look forward to hearing from you!

Coaching: The GROW Model

I am frequently asked about what form my coaching takes. My usual response is to ask more questions, as there are so many different factors involved in the coaching process. These will be influenced by the individual, their circumstances and the type of coaching they are looking for. That said, whether I am coaching one-to-one or in group/workshop sessions I will usually follow the GROW Model, or some variation of it.

GROW is an acronym for Goals, Reality, Options and Way forward (or Will). The model was first used by Graham Alexander in the late 1980’s before being refined and made more widely known by Sir John Whitmore in his 1992 book Coaching For Performance. This model provides a structured framework which helps to set powerful goals and also enables an effective problem solving conversation.

Once a coaching topic has been agreed upon by coach and client, the most important first step in the process will be the setting of end goals. Clear, clean and powerful goals need to be in place for the coaching process, and also for each individual session along the way. I have discussed goal setting in more detail in a previous blog post, but they should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-framed.

The Reality stage is the ‘now’ in the process. How far away are you from the end goal, and how far have you already moved towards it? At this point it is essential that time is taken to better clarify the goals and engage with them.

At the Options stage, we do not attempt to resolve the topic immediately. Rather, we come up with as many options as possible. These options should be in the form of action steps towards the goal. This can take time and needs to take into account another ‘O’, namely Obstacles. Is is not unusual at this point to revisit ‘Reality’ or even ‘Goals’ again. At this stage the coach will ask many questions to aid the client’s thinking. Things to consider might include:

 

  1. What knowledge or resources do you already have?
  2. Where can you get additional knowledge or resources?
  3. Can the obstacles in your way be minimised?
  4. Have you dealt with any similar obstacles in the past?
  5. How might someone who could deal effectively with such an obstacle go about it?

At the end of this stage there should be one or more agreed options to take on to the Way forward.

At the final stage, goals will be firm. The’ reality’ stage will have defined a need and we will have chosen options to put into action movings towards achieving the goal. Along the way it is the coach’s task to help the coachee recognise WHAT they are going to do and WHEN they are going to do it. We will consider HOW these actions will get the coachee closer to their goals and WHICH obstacles need to be overcome. It is also important to establish WHO they can ask to help with the journey.

Any internet search will produce other coaching models and even other variations of the GROW model. I have a preference for this model because it is flexible around specific needs. It also starts with a rigorous goal-setting stage before committing to clear action steps for achieving those goals.

Managing Stress

This posting was edited, updated and reposted on 13th May 2015 as part of the Mindful May series.

Goal Setting

Or – Tell me what you want, what you really really want.

In my blog post ‘What is Life Coaching?‘ I talked about how we live in a rapidly changing world and how it can generate a feeling of helplessness when we are not in control of our own path through the craziness!  The job of the Life Coach is to be your guide on that journey. The first thing we must establish are the goals, so that your journey has a destination.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going, so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.

-Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Without Goals we cannot be in control of our own destiny and we will tend to drift from crisis to crisis on waves of uninspired intuition. Once we set some goals we have purpose, drive and we can make good choices. We can start to develop our own path towards happiness and fulfilment. These goals must not be vague or woolly. So often when we ask anyone what they want the first response we get is a list of what they DON’T want! We need to delve deeper and ask searching questions to get to ‘what you really really want!’ It is essential that your goals are challenging, achievable and measurable.

Are you in earnest, seek this very minute. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Just begin and the mind grows heated. Continue and the task will be completed.

-Goethe, Faust.

I like to think of SMART goals as being:

SPECIFIC – This can be the most challenging part of the process, requiring deep questioning to arrive at one clear phrase or sentence which is personal and  positive so that it fires the imagination.

MEASURABLE – It makes sense that any meaningful goal must have some measurable objective, such as weight loss achieved or salary earned. Some goals may not have such a clearly defined end point, but it may help to set the goal in the present tense so that you can say that the goal is achieved “When I am …” One example for a confidence goal might be “When I am speaking to people in a much more confident and relaxed way”

If you think you can, you can. Henry Ford

AGREED – Goals should be written down. They must be congruent with your personal values and beliefs and they must be morally and legally acceptable. There should be an understanding of why your goals are important to you. Of course, just setting goals will improve nothing unless there is a commitment to action. Part of the process must be a set of actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goals.

REALISTIC – There is nothing to be gained by setting goals which are not achievable. If you are a heavy smoker, very overweight and not used to physical training, would it be realistic to set a goal to compete in next years Olympic games?

TIMED – All goals should have a start date date and a finish date in order to focus the mind and fire the imagination. It may also be useful to set specific  ‘step goals’ along the way in order to measure progress towards the end goal and fulfilment.

Going through life without goals is like trying to sail a boat without a rudder. You will be at the mercy of outside forces controlling your destiny for you.  How often have you heard the phrase ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail’ ? Take all the time you need to set meaningful goals which have emotional power for you, then take action to achieve your dreams.

I dream my painting and then I paint my dreamVincent van Gogh

Life Long Learning

One of the most consistent themes of my life has been a profound belief in the value of life long learning. We live is a world of such rapid change across all facets of our lives that unless we make a positive decision to keep up, we can be left feeling overwhelmed by the world around us. Real learning has to be a conscious effort, since we are daily bombarded by so much information that we can easily drift along observing life at a very shallow level.

Learning can come from books or from academia but it certainly does not have to. The internet provides a wealth of learning opportunities and is without doubt the most powerful and flexible research tool which has ever existed. The Internet is also a truly universal tool in that it can be used regardless of national boundaries, social class or age.

It is my firm belief that we can gain priceless knowledge and skills from each other too. Follow those who inspire you or have earned your respect and try to learn from them. Maybe they have the wisdom of years, experience of life or, success in their chosen endeavors. Above all surround yourself with positive, purposeful, passionate people. I am still learning from people like this all the time! This last weekend I had the good fortune to attend an event in London hosted by the Entrepreneurs Business Academy (EBA). The speakers were all millionaire business men and women who have chosen to share their success with others by passing on their knowledge and considerable experience. I learned a lot by listening to these people and I look forward to working with some of them in the coming months. The most charismatic of the group was the millionaire ‘Dragon’ James Caan who shared his own remarkable story with us. Here is a man who is truly passionate about what he does and who is so much more than just a TV personality!


I could not write about Learning and not set some homework so here are your 3 tasks! First if you have enjoyed reading this add a comment or any questions you might have? Second. Google The EBA and learn more about their work and events. Lastly check out the Wikepedia entry for James Caan to see why I admire the man.
I will return to the topic of life long learning in future blogs so do check back regularly. Also please choose your path through life. Are you going to be somebody who makes things happen? Will you just stand on the sideline and watch things happen or, will you look up one day and wonder “What happened?”

Welcome!

Welcome web friends! This is the first of a regular coaching blog, through which I aspire to inspire. I will present my thoughts and feelings about a wide range of topics related to developing human potential. Our modern world appears to press on us from all directions, but we can still take control of our own destinies and strive to be the very best we can be at whatever we choose to do. I hope this blog will be inspirational, challenging, fun and supportive. It will very much reflect who I am and what my passions are, presenting another layer of information for those who wish to use my services as a coach.

I am committed to blogging at least once every week, so do look in regularly – or, better still, set up an automatic feed to keep you up to date with posts. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

I also welcome feedback on anything I say so please post comments or questions and I look forward to hearing from you all!

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