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Rachel Coffey

Coaching

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Blog of top London Voice Coach and Life Coach, Rachel Coffey

By Rachel Coffey, Jun 13 2018 03:06PM


Sometimes it seems taken for granted that guys are doing just fine as they are. Inside though it can feel like a very different story. It doesn’t matter if you are the shy quiet type or outwardly really successful, we can all find ourselves a little stuck now and then. If you feel as though you could do with a confidence boost or get out of a rut, read on for some useable tips.


Be aware of how you see yourself


We often have a perception of how others might see us, but how many times have you stopped to really notice how you see yourself? Start to notice if you are giving yourself a bad press. Talking to yourself in a negative way. Become your own best mate, instead of your unhelpful enemy. Begin to change the way you talk and think about yourself and you will begin to feel different too.


Take care of yourself


If your sock draw has more holes in it than a football net, its time for a brutal cull! If the last shirt that got hung in your wardrobe was purchased by your mum/daughter/sister or was exactly the same style as the last 20 you bought, go and find something that actually feels like you! If the last time you spent more than £12.50 on a haircut or a wet shave was, well, pretty much never - get out there and do something about it. This isn’t vanity, its about self esteem and self respect!


Stress


Don’t bottle it. It just grows. Find some activities that allow you to let off steam and feel more relaxed. The acid test is to choose something makes you feel good not just at the time, but the day after too. If you are feeling particularly stressed, write that email and book yourself a few sessions with a coach. It will be worth it in the long run. Stress doesn’t just make us miserable, it can lead to all kinds of health complications, both physical and mental. Get in there first and come up with some strategies to sort it out. You will be so glad you did.


Goals


Plodding on seems easy to do, but it isn’t. In fact, its far harder to keep making ourselves do things that we don’t want to do, than it is to get a plan together and find a way forward. Set yourself some goals - at least a few months ahead and figure out a step by step plan of how to get there. I’m not suggesting you won’t need to put some work in, but it will be worth it every step of the way. Not only do you end up somewhere you want to be, you feel good every time you achieve something in your plan. Win win. Again a coach is someone who can help get you started if you want a little direction.


Whether it is relationships, work or just direction in life, we all need a bit of help sometimes. It can be hard for anyone to make the first step and break out of a stuck or downward routine - but even more so for men at times. Remember it isn’t weak to find someone who can help - its actually the bravest and most strategic thing anyone can do. Time to begin moving in the right direction.


By Rachel Coffey, Jun 13 2018 02:39PM

Here are some of the most tricky interview questions that are asked and tips on how to answer;


1) "Tell me a bit about yourself?"


This question comes up in some form in most interviews and can be intimidating as people often feel they are being judged and having to prove themselves. In reality though, the interviewer isn’t trying to trip you up but simply get to know you. Think of it as an opportunity to let them know how well you suit the role and the company. Do your research on the company, read through the person spec and pick things out about yourself that will show that your experience, attitude and outlook match what they are looking for. You are the expert on yourself, so do yourself a favour and highlight the best bits!


2) "What is your biggest weakness?"


Everybody hates this question, but in a way, it is as much about gauging outlook and self-perception than anything else. Interviewers know that nobody is going to sensibly sit there and reel off their worst points. What they want to know is how self-aware you are and also what action you take to improve what you see as a problem. Never pick anything crucial to the job (admitting poor attention to detail when you are applying for a proofreading position won’t cut it!). Choose something instead that used to be a problem, but you have found a way to overcome. Describe how you recognised the problem, your decision to deal with it and what you have done and continue to do to tackle it. By doing so, you will show self-awareness and your positive problem solving skills.


3) "What are your strengths?"


Funnily, this can be harder for people to answer than the opposite. It is often best to prepare by disassociating yourself from the question - almost as though you are preparing an answer for a friend or colleague. Go through the job description and pick out two to three things required that you know you do well. Then come up with an example for each when you used this strength with a positive outcome. Ensure you don’t just describe the circumstances, but also the good effect it had on the people involved. This will make it relevant and real. If these examples tie in with your CV, even better. Once you have done this, practice speaking these examples out loud until you feel truly comfortable. So long as you are genuine and humble, speaking about your strengths is always helpful.


4) "Tell me about a boss you didn’t get on with and how you dealt with it."


Similarly to the weakness question, find an example from the past and make sure you have a solid idea of how it was resolved. You should remain calm and composed while you answer. Stay away as much as you can from blame, but rather describe the facts of the situation. If you found a way to resolve the issues between you, feel free to describe how you contributed to this. If your boss was let go because of their behaviour, focus instead on how you coped and kept things going. If the situation wasn’t resolved or you fell out with them, it is better to choose another less volatile example. What the interviewer wants to know is how well you deal with difficult situations and if you are capable of contributing toward a resolution that is the best for the company as well as yourself.


5) "What makes you better than the other candidates?"


Don’t get drawn in to the competitive element of this question - after all you may not even know who the other candidates are. Instead focus on how your experience fits with the role and your enthusiasm to work for the company itself. Also highlight a couple of personal strengths and maybe qualifications that you feel are specific to you. This way you can showcase the very best of yourself rather than start worrying who the other candidates might be.


The biggest tip out of everything is to breathe in a relaxed way and prepare. Say your answers out loud or to a friend to ensure they feel genuine and you are confident in what you have to say. Remember, they only know what you share with them, so make sure you are showing off your strengths, ability and interest in the company. That way you will feel you have come away doing yourself proud!


By Rachel Coffey, Nov 3 2017 02:58PM

We’ve all done it, made great plans for our well earned time off, then ended up so busy and stressed beforehand that its only three days into our holiday that we even begin to unwind. Fear not! With a little planning ahead we can make the most of all of our holiday. Here are some tips below to help you prepare to relax;



Communicate

Let people know well in advance when you are going to be away, 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Then remind them with a week to go. So many people leave it right up until the last minute to inform others that they are going to be unavailable and next thing you know there is a queue around the block of people making demands and requests, just as you were planning to wrap things up. Get in there first and communicate clearly with them and don’t be tempted to send out a reminder the day before. If they only realise at that point let them know you communicated it twice and, with a gracious smile, point them in the direction of someone else who can help.


Deadlines and meetings

If at all possible schedule your final deadlines for the day before you are going to finish. This way if things overrun you have a day left to deal with it and it won’t end up eating into your holiday.

In terms of meetings, again, no scheduled meetings on the last day. People often do it as they think it will put a nice full stop on things before they have their break. In reality it just leaves a list of action points hanging over their head all holiday. Finish things off and spend your last day tidying up.


Being the last person in the office is a gamble

Its a classic thought, work right up to Christmas eve, there’ll be hardly anybody there, finish early. Possibly. Just remember though, if you’re one of the last people there and things don’t quite go to plan with a job or there are last minute things to do, you will be one of the few people left to deal with it. Working full steam ahead up until the last minute isn’t going to help you switch off.


Have a cut off point

Whenever you actually finish, have a cut off point in your head after which point you will officially be on holiday. If you are going away, it might be from dinner the night before, work is done and you are off. I have seen so many people sitting on a plane, desperately trying to send that last email before the wifi gets switched off. That’s fine if you want to spend your holiday working. If not choose a cut off point beforehand and stick to it.


Prepare your mind

Its fine to rely on your ical telling you you are ‘on holiday’ Ping! the second holiday time hits. What this won’t do, however, is filter into your subconscious mind, well, not until a few days later. In order to prepare yourself properly, do something the weekend before that will alert your brain to the fact you are going to be taking time off. This can be anything from buying a new outfit or luggage to printing off tickets or planning a celebratory meal. This preparation signals to your mind that there is going to be a change. Over the next few days it can start to gear up to it so it won’t be as much of a shock when it happens. It also means that you’ll begin to look forward to it too!



There are other ways too that you can help yourself really enjoy your time off, which I may detail in a later post. For now though, just remember that if you prepare yourself for your time off and manage the expectations of others, you’ll have the very best chance of enjoying all of your holiday right from the start!

By Rachel Coffey, Oct 5 2017 08:54AM

Theresa May Coughing through speech (mirror.co.uk)
Theresa May Coughing through speech (mirror.co.uk)

Got a cold but have to give an important speech? Theresa May had somewhat of a public speaking nightmare yesterday, but she won’t be the only one who is struggling with the sniffles. Interestingly she coped relatively well with the comedian’s stunt, what was lacking was the physical and mental prep required in in such a demanding situation when she had a cold. Here are some speaking tips if you are feeling under the weather;


Don’t just take every medication going in the hope that something will work! If you have a dry cough or throat (as May seemed to) the last thing you want are medications that dry your throat further. Your throat needs to be lubricated in order to work, otherwise you get the same effect as trying to run and engine without oil- choking. Anything that clears mucus, including eucalyptus based products will strip away moisture. Instead, steaming with hot water for 5 minutes whilst breathing deeply and expelling any by products will both clear mucus and lubricate your throat. Then suck a sweet before you go on, which will encourage salvia and further lubricate your vocal chords. Remember to spit it out before you speak!


If your throat is swollen, look toward things that bring down inflammation, again, steaming will help, there are also some good sprays around. The key is to rest your throat. The day and night before speak as little as you can and get and early night if possible. On the morning of your speech, warm your Voice up gently. Begin by softly humming. Direct the humming sound toward your eyes, nose, mouth and chest, to wake up your resonators. Then, still humming with your lips together, siren, like a police car. The rise and fall in pitch will stretch your larynx, getting it ready for action and lessening the chance of sounding monotone.


If you are bunged up spend longer on the humming and siren mentioned above and spend extra time gently moving the sound between your nose and chest on a gentle comfortable hum. The vibration in the hum will lessen tension and start to dislodge the nasties blocking up your nose, helping you sound less like a 1980’s tunes advert, instead increasing volume and clarity.

It can be easy to add physical tension to the mix if we are feeling overly stressed. Your voice works best when your body is relaxed. So stretch out and relax those shoulders, lengthen your back, centre your weight and stand tall.


Finally it is crucially important to feel confident and breathe with a low relaxed breath. Focus on some positive relaxing thoughts, put your hand on your lower stomach and breathe naturally. Make sure that the way you are thinking about your speech is positive and instead of thinking about things that might go wrong, concentrate on solutions and imagine how you might solve the problems instead. If you’ve had a tough time recently, it might be worth seeing a coach to boost your confidence as a lack of confidence can have a dramatic impact on our voice.


These are just some of the ways you can help yourself to be more prepared. Always have a tepid glass of water with you (cold water will shock your throat and may aggravate a cough), keep your speech as succinct as it can be and breathe. And after all, if you get stuck you could always get your mates in the audience to start a standing ovation ... or then again you could just pause, clear your throat away from the microphone, breathe deep, look confident and carry on.

By Rachel Coffey, Sep 20 2017 05:38PM



Business or ‘executive coaching’ has been around for some time. In the early days it may have been seen as somewhat of a luxury. However in our current business landscape, where there is often a great deal of pressure, it can make all the difference to someone with great potential burning out versus truly succeeding for themselves and their company.

Business coaching is about being able to use the knowledge and opportunities around us by putting ourselves in the best position to view them, evaluate them and make the decisions that allow us to take advantage of them.

Crucially business coaching not only helps us succeed in life but also gives us the skills that will allow us to actually enjoy it. It can be lonely at the top (and trying to get there!) and it can be a real asset to have a confidential and objective coach in your corner, whose main aim is to get you where you want to be (even if you aren’t entirely certain where that is yet!). Below are just three areas in which business coaching can help, whether you are an entrepreneur, owner, in the exec team or even working your way up the ladder;


Creating considered changes and good decisions

There are many decisions to be made on a daily basis and being able to make them in a balanced and confident manner is essential. Making decisions because we feel we have to or are under pressure to do so won’t get us the results we want. Coaching can help you keep a level head and see all the options in front of you, ensuring your decisions will be contributing to your success.

Businesses need to adapt and change in order to survive and change can be a wonderful thing, but not everybody finds it easy. Coaching will help you feel balanced in your approach, stay objective and ensure that the changes and decisions you make are supporting your purpose going forward.


Work life balance

Sure we need to put in the energy, be 100% committed and work for success. It needs to get us what we want professionally but it also has to deliver for us personally. Sometimes a business can feel all consuming and I often hear how this has had a negative impact on personal relationships. A good coach will help you to draw that balance. Open up better communications with both loved ones and colleagues. Manage expectations and allow everyone, including you, to get to enjoy the good side of you, not just the stressed busy one.

Of course, there may always be times when work has to take priority, but there is a big difference between that and getting stuck on an ever faster hamster wheel of work. A coach will help you achieve a balance and ensure that your work is supporting your life and not the other way around. They’ll also help you switch off at those important times you have put aside to do so.


Public speaking and communication

If you find the right business coach, they may also be able to help you communicate better in order to more effectively achieve your aims. Whether your knees turn to Jelly at the thought of speaking in front of particular groups or you just need to find ways to put your point across at the same time as getting others on your side, a good speaking and communications business coach should be able to really help you. Much of it is about finding an authentic inner confidence, staying calm under pressure and building a rapport that engages and naturally persuades. Learning how to sound great also helps! If you find the right coach they will be able to identify what needs to change and have the techniques available to allow you to do it as effectively as possible.


There are many other areas in which a business coach can help. It can be a seriously good investment - and surprisingly reasonable when you look at the benefits. Have a chat with your prospective coach, you need someone you can speak with openly and honestly. Let them know what you think you need, but more than that, what you’d like to change or where you’d like to get to. Remember though, this isn’t a job interview. It doesn’t matter where your coach sees themselves in five years time or what achievement they are most proud of. What matters is that they can help you get where you want to be in a way that works for you. The results can be amazing!


Rachel offers business, voice and presentation skills coaching on-site, at her base in Imperial Wharf and at Gazelli house.


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