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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 22 2016 03:09PM



Sometimes it can be hard to find the willpower to stay focused and motivated. Never more so, it would seem when you are in the process of giving up smoking!


There is a fantastic new website I’d like to share with you, in the form of quitza.com, it is a place buzzing with peer to peer support, personalised progress reports and even rewards. It has all kinds of tools to help and inspire you to quit the habit.


Coaching is also a fantastic way to keep you on track and set new goals. Combine the two and, whatever your motivation, smoking will be nothing but a distant memory. You can join online here

quitza.com/settings/quitdata/coachlisttest?JsTime=Europe/London








By Rachel Coffey, May 14 2016 10:50AM

Win through the exam
Win through the exam

Exams can bring fear into the sternest of hearts, but with a little positivity, things can go much more smoothly and give us a far better chance of success. Here are some tips to help you or your loved ones as they head into their exam period:


Get your strategy right

So many people try to cram bits of information in at the very last minute, either staying up late or squeezing revision in with moments to go. Unless this particularly works for you, you need to take a look at your strategy.

Think about your worst exams and what to you did the night before and that morning. OK, this is your list of exactly what not to do. Now think of something that you are good at that someone else might get nervous about. Think of a particular time. It might have been a test, a presentation you were doing or a sports match. Anything that you know others might have been nervous about but you felt confident. Think how you were behaving that morning and what you were thinking. Think about the night before, what did you do? This is a good place of where to start for the run up to your next exam.

Generally, decide what time you are going to finish revising and ensure you have made a crib sheet - very brief - of things to remember the next day. Get everything sorted, pens, pencils, your transport etc. Get people to be helpful (warn others you need the bathroom free at a certain time or it’d be great if they kept the noise down the night before). Don’t rely on others too heavily unless you are certain you can - use them as back up e.g. set your own alarm AND ask someone to wake you too. Then, at least three times, the day and night before, play through the whole exam in your mind, in colour. Imagine it going really well, with ease, knowing the answers, being creative and to the point. Imagine it right through and having a positive outcome. Do this in detail, positive thoughts only. Then give yourself at least half an hour before bed of doing something completely different.

The following morning, give yourself plenty of time, plan it out so that you feel relaxed and happy. Even if it means doing something that you wouldn’t usually do on an exam day, like going to the gym or out for a walk. Whatever it takes to feel relaxed - that will give you the best chance of success. Keep your head together and you will come out on top.


Watch what you are saying

That is watch what you are saying to yourself! You need to become aware of how you are speaking to yourself in your mind. Anything negative, turn it into a positive and if you can, do something about it. So, “Oh, I hope I don’t forget my calculator” turns into “I need to take my calculator tomorrow, I’ll put it in my bag now”. Think of yourself as your own best friend. Make sure what you are saying is both helpful and useful. Hardly any of us would talk to others at a time of stress the way we’d usually talk to ourselves.

The more positive you can be, the better. Carry this through right into the exam. If you hear a negative comment in your mind, ask yourself what the purpose of it is and if it is useful. If it isn’t, bin it, if it is, re-phrase it and act upon it.

Also don’t pick up on others interest or worry. If someone asks if you are nervous, don’t put yourself through the wrangler of feeling obliged to divulge your greatest fears. Instead, inform them that you are staying calm and thinking positively as it will give you the best chance to succeed.

Just before the exam, imagine a little force field around you. How others feel or how they think things will go has no bearing on you. Stay in a focussed and keep your head high.


Breathe

This is really important. Think of something that makes you feel naturally happy and relaxed. Now put your hand on your stomach and close your eyes and really imagine a time when you felt truly relaxed and happy. After a few minutes,notice your breathing. If your tummy is moving slowly in and out, this is your low relaxed breath and it means we are confident and in control.

If at any point you feel stressed or your mind goes blank, go back to this low breath and it will send a message to your brain that you are OK. It will get you out of many a tight spot!



Although exams can seem daunting, if we look at it another way, it is our chance to show what we know. It would be awful if somebody just estimated how good we were and it affected the rest of our lives. Being as calm and in control as possible is the way forward. Even if we don’t think we know the answer, trusting ourselves and going with our gut can mean that we dig something up from the deep depths of our brains, that turns out to be correct after all.


Using these tips will help to give you the very best chance of success. Now, go wow them!

By Rachel Coffey, May 14 2016 10:33AM

Make revision more effective
Make revision more effective

I’m being asked by parents and students alike, how they can manage to revise in the best way to give them a fighting chance of getting the best grade. There are a variety of hurdles to overcome during revision period, including motivation, style and memorisation. These are three top things that can stand in the way and how to tackle them;


Motivation

Often we dread the idea of someone judging and testing us, imagining the worst and filling our minds with worry. Let that go, it will only hamper your chances. Think instead about this being your chance to show off and shine. You’ve understood the work throughout the year. Here is your opportunity to refresh that knowledge and fill in any gaps. If there was something you didn’t quite understand the first time, reach out and ask for clarification, rather than struggling to decipher it yourself.

If you didn’t do the work in class, this is your opportunity to gain as much knowledge as you can before the big day. Forget about trying to ignore it is coming by avoiding the revision. Think of it instead as your chance to see just how much you can learn in a short space of time. Beat them at their own game and get on to it now. It is your best chance to come out on top.


Style

Make sure you are revising in a way that suits you. Prioritise the things that need more work. Think of it as a short term project with a deadline. Get tested regularly. Write out a timetable and work to it. If it isn’t working, be realistic and amend it. If you want to go out and sit in the sunshine to revise, do it. If writing headlines down on different colour post-its notes work or drawing pictures of key figures and making notes under them, do it. If reading aloud and recording your subject, then listening to it in a relaxed focused state whilst lying in the park works for you , then do it! There is no one right way. Make it into a quiz for yourself and maybe classmates. Keep the lines of communication open. Think about the solution to an issue rather than worry about what can go wrong. You need to own this opportunity to recap and make the best of it.


Memorisation

Have a think about how you remember things with greatest ease. For some it is reading out loud and listening, for others it will be remember images or the words on a page and for some it will be more about using the imagination and filling ideas with life and feeling. Think about what works for you most naturally - if you don’t know, test it out.

Always break the information down into bite-sized chunks. Section things off and stop when you get there, then recap and see if you can boil the concept down further, so that you can create small hooks to bring the information back up to the surface easily.

Get yourself into a positive relaxed state before you begin to work and always have a break or stop when you are tired. A tired brain remembers very little. You need to think of yourself as a dynamic and highly focused performer who needs to be in the optimum condition to work. Make sure you reward yourself when you reach a revision milestone. Relaxation and laughter are best.

Lastly, the more positive, focused and relaxed you can be on exam day, the more you will recall.

By Rachel Coffey, Oct 16 2015 01:20PM

This morning I was reminded that life doesn’t always do what you want it to. As, moments before I was getting out of bed, Jasper the cat proudly peed over last years rather nice Birthday gift of a designer handbag. Chance? Doubtful. I’d been working away and I daresay he was giving me a, rather costly, reminder that I belong to him and vice versa.


So what do we do when life doesn’t go to plan? How do we cope? Is it possible to put things right?


Firstly, we need to gain perspective. Where does the thing that has gone awry fit into our lives? If it weren’t even there at all, what would change? If something were there in its place, could that work? Sometimes we find that although something might seem extremely important at the time, actually, in the scale of things our lives will carry on. We can survive without this particular thing going our way or alternatively we might be able to find something, with a little fore thought and action, that might fit in its place.


Next, forget the regret. It’s so easy to immediately start regretting something that has happen and create a big gaping hole in our emotions. I really wanted that or I’ve put all this work in and now it’s gone! It is very difficult to move forward from a place of regret. Instead we need to look at whether there is a way to save or heal the situation, given the right steps. Are there measures that can be taken that might repair the situation? Is it worth it or will it be better to let it go and learn?


Don’t blame, reframe. Okay, Jasper was clearly at fault here. And the immediate suggestion from my other half that I made Jasper into a handbag, didn’t sound too bad in the heat of the moment. Thinking about it another way though, I guess he was just trying to tell me that he misses me and he really likes it when I’m there. And let’s face it, it was pretty clever to pick something that, through his eyes at least, even if I wasn’t there I’d remember him as the pungent fragrance of eau de chat would follow me wherever I went! Seriously though, there is often another way of looking at things other than our own. The reasons people or organisations do things that are unhelpful to us, are rarely intentioned to harm us personally - they are much more likely to be a lack of forethought, skill or awareness of others. Blame just eats us up. Taking a look at the situation from another angle can make things feel a lot less personal and allow us to move forward.


Learn and move on. There is often something to learn when things don’t go our way. It may be about choosing not to leave ourselves open to other’s bad decisions. It may be that it was actually time for a change we wouldn’t have even considered otherwise. It may be that we don’t leave designer handbags on the floor when we get back from business trips! Whatever it is, it will be specific to you and your situation. This isn’t about beating ourselves up, this is about making changes in our decisions so that rather than getting into a cycle of unhelpful repetition, we allow ourselves to be stronger and wiser and in a better position to deal with potential problems.


As for my situation, Jasper escaped the handbag makers (just - after a serious talking to of course!) and anyway, the bag was looking a little tired …and it is my birthday again next month… In the mean time I’m off to the handbag clinic to see what the damage will be to sort this out. Will it be worth it or will I just have to let this one go? I’ll have let you know.

By Rachel Coffey, Sep 18 2015 03:16PM


1.The gift


You have one job when you stand up to speak and that is to invite people to share the knowledge you are about to impart. Imagine then, as you stand up, you carry that knowledge with you in your hands. A gift that you are about to place in front of you, between yourself and your audience. Invite them in, to look, explore and discover. A gift of knowledge that each person can take away with them. The gift allows you to stop thinking about yourself and focus on sharing the knowledge in front of you.


2. The conversation


It isn’t a presentation, its a conversation between you and your audience. You may be the one speaking however their reactions, thoughts and engagement means that this is very much a two way street. Every actor knows the very same play will be different every night, because the audience is different. Forget about pretending the people there to listen aren’t there at all, instead listen to them. Allow for pauses, which will give them space to absorb what you are saying. Invite reaction, by using your whole self to embody what you are saying. Work with their energy and in return you will be on a level enabling them to tune in participate in the conversation.


3. The core


At the very centre of you, you harness all the power you need to truly succeed. This is your core. Within your core is a naturally low, relaxed breath that will transform you from a bag of nerves with a tense voice into a confident, flowing and engaging speaker. Take a moment now to close your eyes and imagine a situation where you felt truly relaxed and somewhat inspired. For some it may be watching breaking waves on a beautiful beach, find your own personal moment. Notice how relaxed you feel and how relaxed your breath is. Use this moment again, before you speak, to allow you to connect with your core. Doing so will give you the breath and energy to naturally power your voice. Tensions will soften allowing movement in your pitch and tone. Crucially your core will send a message to your brain, letting it know all is well. Removing from your mind any thoughts of panic and instead making way for a free flow of thought. Connect with your core for a brief moment before you stand up to speak and you will notice a very positive difference.


Bearing in mind these three concepts, opens up the possibility of you becoming a naturally confident and engaging speaker. You’d best watch out, you might just start to enjoy it!

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