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My Top Ten Tips for Building Organisational Relationships

15th February 2018

organisational relationships

Top ten tips on building organisational relationships

The world of work today is more complex than ever. More tasks and processes are outsourced, digitalised, interconnected and often in another part of the world. There are many challenges for you as a leader to manage these situations.It’s easy to loose sight of the relationships that need to be built and maintained to ensure things run smoothly.

Here are my top ten tips to building (and maintaining) organisational relationships:

Top Ten Tips for Building Organisational Relationships

  1. Cultivate a network inside and outside of the organisation. Networks are webs of people bound by a mutual need and compatible goals. They provide support, information, advice and practical help when needed. Identify the networks you are part of. Where are their gaps? Are there any you have been neglecting? What action can you take to exchange ideas and stay in touch with the relationships you already have?
  2. Relate well to bosses, direct reports peers and colleagues. No man is an island! You need to utilise people in different ways to get your job done. If you relate well with them you will know what motivates them and therefore how to engage with them. Be approachable, listen well and give feedback.
  3. Respect and appreciate differences. We are all different. We each bring our history to work (consciously and unconsciously) and we have different perspectives. There are differences in status, expertise, gender, ethnicity and sexuality. Unite people behind a common vision and set of values and play to everyone’s strengths. Build an environment of acceptance and champion diversity.
  4. Recognise and respond to the needs of others. “Seek first to understand then be understood” (Stephen Covey). Learn about other people’s preferences and adapt accordingly. If they need help, do what you can to support them. This doesn’t always mean ‘getting your hands dirty’, advice or a listening ear may be all that is required.
  5. Promote collaboration and remove obstacles. Most initiatives require the cooperation and combined effort of teams across an organisation and, in my opinion, not enough time is put into developing teams. Stand out from the crowd and promote teamwork across the organisation. Find ways to unblock the blockages to getting things done.
  6. Ask for feedback on what blocks or hinders your effectiveness in building relationships. Be courageous! Most leaders are poor at offering up constructive feedback and in asking for it so this is your opportunity to lead the way. Ask people what is important to them about working together. You’ll get some great insight into their values. It’s also a great way to start building a working alliance.
  7. Be consistent and act in ways that demonstrate your beliefs and values. You are on show all of the time and people are watching you all of the time. You therefore need to be consistent in everything you do so be really clear of your values and beliefs and role model what you expect, even under pressure! You set the standards for what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  8. Act to preserve relationships, even under difficult or heated circumstances. Relationships do not stay at a constant level all of the time – if only. Even the closest relationships can be strained at times. I always advise my coachees to at least maintain the relationship at its current level. Ideally you always want to be building a relationship so, when there is a heated exchange, make sure you circle back and affirm the importance of the relationship and if necessary apologise!
  9. Seek to improve how the management team works together. As a leader you are a member of at least two teams, the one you lead and the one your boss leads. These two teams are the ones you can impact on the most. The easiest will be the team you lead. Strengthen the teamwork of your direct reposts and be comfortable with using an external facilitator or coach to help you with this. You are not magically expected to know how to build a team! With your boss encourage him/her to view you as a team and raise issues that require collaboration. Use your colleagues as sounding boards.
  10. Reflect on how you show up – constantly! For me, this is probably most important. One of my founding principles is that you cannot lead and develop others until you first learn to lead and develop yourself. Set aside some time in the week to reflect on how you have shown up as a leader. Where were you amazing? Where could you have done things differently? What will you do to continue to build your reputation and presence.

More leaders derail because they have not developed relationships than because they are technically weak and in today’s work environment it’s easy to become disconnected. What one thing can you do tomorrow to build at least one relationship?

“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” 

Miguel Angel Ruiz 





One of the most under used influencing strategies by leaders

25th January 2018

Influencing Strategies

As a leader one of your main jobs is to influence others and engage them to deliver on the business strategy.

The mistake many people make is they believe this means they have to be on transmit mode most of the time, telling people the direction to go in, setting the goal and time line and explaining their position. If questions are asked it’s usually to gather information to support where you want to go or to find out the blockages that are getting in the way.

If you are on the receiving ended of this it can sometimes feel as though you are being pushed down a road. It may even feel like an interrogation, forceful and occasionally intimidating…

Be an explorer not an interrogator

So what is this underused influencing strategy that will make the difference?

It’s listening!

By this I don’t mean listening so that you can find the right place to speak and share your views. I mean listening with a real curiosity. Listening to explore the other person’s agenda. What do they really think? What direction do they want to go in? What’s the tone and energy behind what they are saying?

Be open and prepared to explore what they are saying so that you really understand where they are coming from. If you are open to others they tend to be open with you.

Listening is a great influencing strategy

 Listening means you have to be on receive mode. Absorbing what the other person is saying and putting aside your own personal needs.

How is this an influencing strategy I hear you ask? Before I answer that let me ask you a question. Have you ever been really listened to? If you have then you will know that you feel safe, that the other person is really engaged. You just get a sense that they are with you and not distracted by what’s going on around them or what might be coming up next.

My guess is you also shared more and there was a degree of trust built. Listening builds trust, particularly if all you are interested in is their agenda not yours.

A core part of influencing is about building relationships. That’s why this is an influencing strategy, because it greatly helps build relationships. Influence comes from interaction.

Extend your range

We are often blind to how we come across and finding out how you affect others is part of your growth. Have someone reflect back how you are showing up. Use someone you know will give you quality feedback. Ask them for feedback on these areas:

  • Eye contact. Were you looking at the person you were listening to?
  • Being fully present. Did you remain interested? Did the other person feel you were engaged?
  • Asking questions for clarity.
  • Open body language.
  • Voice tone. Did it match the other person?

If you want to influence others show they have influenced you. Share how your position or perception has changed and how you’ll adjust your proposal.

If you know you could improve your impact and influence email me to set up a free discovery call to explore how I may be able to support you in your growth.

“The best way to persuade people is with your ears — by listening to them.” 

Dean Rusk



Personal Impact – What’s it like to be on the receiving end of you?

11th January 2018

Personal Impact


What is it like to be on the receiving end of you?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

As a leader you are on show all of the time and one of your key roles is to take people with you. To do this you need to employ a variety of influencing skills using both push and pull techniques. It’s an art form and takes lots of practice to master.

The mistake that most people make is to focus on the outcome – what they want, with very little consideration of where the other person is and what they might want. The last thing you think about is how do I need to show up!

You are judged by the impact you have on others, what you say, how you say it, what you do and how you act.

Be honest with yourself. How often do you consider the impact you want to have with someone, and when I say consider I mean really stop and ask yourself this question as part of your preparation strategy?

Always, sometimes or never?

I know I don’t always ask myself this question, however I know there are certain circumstances when I always do; for example when meeting a client for the first time, running a workshop and preparing for coaching sessions.

What occasions do you consider the impact you want to have and how can you do more of this?

So how do others experience you?

To be an effective leader your actions have got to match your intentions.

If you are thinking one thing and saying another people pick up on this. When was the last time you asked for feedback about the impact you have, your communication style and how you interact with others?

Without feedback you will never know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of you and the recipients experience.

Leadership is about connection, so you need to be sure you connect and engage   with everyone you meet.

You have to take the other person into consideration. So when you’re thinking about your intention for a one to one meeting think about these four things:

  • What is your current relationship with them?
  • What history is there between you (or their department)?
  • How do you want this relationship to develop?
  • Knowing this, how do I need to BE in this conversation?

Give some thought to the energy you want to transmit, your posture, your voice tone and your language.

Leaders who create the ‘right’ impact create a following. They are the ones who create an engaged workforce to get results.

My free mini coaching series will give you some ideas on what to do and provide some exercises to practice. You’ll find more information here.

“Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.”

Nkosi Johnson




Authentic leadership – What does it mean?

20th December 2017


The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” C G Jung

We often hear it talked about but do we truly know what authenticity means? Particularly within the context of leadership in the workplace?

To be an authentic leader you have to be true to yourself. If you’re pretending to be someone different in the workplace than at home, you will eventually get found out. No-one can keep up a fake façade forever. If you don’t believe in who you truly are, why would anyone else?

Your team and stakeholders are watching you all of the time. There is no down time as a leader, so wearing a mask that is not you can be wearing and it’s likely to slip now and again.

How are you showing up as a leader?

Are you being true to who you are?

Here are some of the key qualities I think authentic leaders should model. How do you stack up against them? Are you being the best that you can be?

Integrity and Honesty

 This is the foundation of every great authentic leader. Without integrity you have nothing. If you’re not honest and genuine no-one is going to want to be led by you. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities. We all have them so why hide them. It show’s your team you’re no different to them and confident of your identity.

Impact and Inspiration

 All great leaders want to have a positive impact and inspire others. The impact you make determines how your team perceive you and how far they’re willing to go to realise team goals and objectives. The sad truth is we often don’t take time out to understand the impact we are having. We may have the best intentions but if our impact doesn’t align with these we are not going to take people with us. Inspiration can take on many guises. So be clear about who your audience is and what might inspire them.

Positive Attitude

 Attitude is everything. Who is going to want to work hard for a miserable, grumpy, unappreciative leader? Yes, we all have our moods, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However, when you’re a leader you have to play down your moods to some extent and make sure you come to work with a positive attitude. Be consistent, even if it seems like everything is going wrong. Your team are depending on you to keep up the momentum.

Authentic Communication

Communication is the key to pretty much everything in life. We all react differently and we all interpret things through our own filters. Find a style that works for you and flex this so you can engage others. Teams work best with honest, open communication even when it’s bad news. Panic, worry or anxiety doesn’t help anyone, as others will pick up on this   Remain calm in a crisis and be open – if you’re not sure what to do next say so.

When things go wrong, focus on the positives of the situation rather than the negatives. Seek out that silver lining!

If you’re true to these basic character traits your team will respond favourably. Faking it doesn’t work for anyone, in any circumstance. The truth will always come back to bite you in the behind. Start as you mean to go on and your team will flourish under your authentic leadership!

“What you get in your life is not a result of what you want, it is a result of Who You Are.”

Marlon Smith



Are you a Chameleon or a ‘True to Selfer’ type of Leader?

6th December 2017

Authentic Leadership

Are you a chameleon or a ‘true to selfer’ type of leader?

This is not a trick question. If you answered a ‘true to selfer’ than that is great news. It say’s that you are clear about who you are as a person and not trying to be someone you are not.

You’re likely to act with great personal integrity and make choices according to your values.

If you answered a chameleon then that is even better! Why do I say that? Well, it’s because you are able to adapt to your surroundings.

To be a great leader these days you have to be able to read what is going on around you and act in a way that is going to take people with you. If you walk into a room and ask “How do I need to be in this situation?” You are likely to get a better result than if you walked in without any forethought and simply reacted to what was going on around you.

Adapt and flex

This requires a degree of flexibility and you can only do this well once you are a ‘true to selfer’. It’s not about blending in so no-one can see you – which typically is what a chameleon does. It’s about blending in in style and how you behave.

For example; if you are normally a highly energetic person who takes the lead and the situation in front of you requires a more thoughtful, reflective and calm approach, you need to able to adapt and respond easily and very congruently.

Moments of conflict are the best situations to look at. Do you rush in to get your point of view across or walk away? Neither of these are great options.

Better still, do you take the time to go to where the other person is and understand their position and then discuss a way forward from there?

Being able to blend coherently is an art and requires practice, a huge degree of self awareness and awareness of others.

How can I be more like a chameleon?

To develop these skills become more playful with yourself. We have a natural tendency to criticise ourselves and beat ourselves up when we get something wrong. STOP! Instead take a playful approach and be more curious.

  • Consider some situations in the past and how you could have acted differently.
  • If there is a relationship you know needs building, consider how you can act differently.
  • If there is a regular meeting you attend and you know you have challenges with it, consider how you may show up differently.

Try it out, see what works and then adapt.

Leadership is a life long journey so keep playing and practicing.

“Adults are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking that to think their way into a new way of thinking”

Richard Pascale

If you feel you’ve explore all your options and need some additional support email me for a free discovery call to explore how we may be able to work together.

Photo by sanjiv nayak on Unsplash


5 reasons why you should invest in your Personal Brand

16th November 2017
Personal Brand

What does your brand say about you?

As a leader you are on show all of the time and people are watching you, even when you think they aren’t!

Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room, the impact you make and the qualities people see in you.

Getting to grips with your brand begins with self-awareness. It’s understanding what motivates you – your values, your strengths, how you are perceived, and then utilising these to your advantage.

It is essential that you invest time to cultivate your image – remember that others perceptions are their reality. When you take the time to understand who you are and present this definition to the public, your will reap the benefits that come with taking control of your personal brand. Being your own marketeer and PR agent!

Invest in your Personal Brand

Investing in your Personal Brand will allow you to:

  1. Positively manage your impact

When you are clear about your identity and the impact you want to create you will more consistently behave in a way that is aligned to your brand and connect with the right people.

  1. Clearly articulate who you are and what you are about

When you are clear about your brand you will be clear about your values, your purpose, your skills and the value you bring to any organisation, or team.

Identifying your values, passions, and strengths will help you realize what you need to communicate in your brand. Once you understand what you have to offer, you will create a brand that is both honest and positive. It will allow others to see you in all your glory.

  1. Connect your ability to the reputation you have/want

When you are clear about your brand you can clearly express what you are expert at. What you do best and what you are the ‘go to’ person for in terms of your experience and skills?

  1. Identify areas in which you may need to develop and/or manage yourself more effectively

When you are clear about your brand and the reputation you want to create you will easily be able to identify skills, experience and behaviours you need to develop to fulfil this on an ongoing basis.

  1. Differentiate yourself from others

When you are clear about your brand you will easily be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You’ll communicate what makes you unique.

Take Action

Committing to your brand requires you to take action every day. It is about being consistent. Every interaction with your brand needs to build a sense of reliability. Taking daily action is the only way to make this happen.

Everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.

If you are interested in discovering your own brand with ease call me and I’ll share with you my approach to achieving this

If you would like a free copy of my Demystifying Personal Branding simply complete the sign up box at the top of the page.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernhard Shaw.

5 Myths about Personal Branding

31st October 2017

Personal Branding

When I introduce the topic of personal branding I often get blank looks, resistance or people start talking about social media.

As the conversation progresses the following objections are often revealed:

  1. Branding is only for products.

Whether you like it or not you have a brand. It’s the reputation you have. The question for you to consider is: is that reputation aligned to how I want to be known? If it’s not then there is some work to do.

You can choose to understand your brand and maximize it to achieve your aspirations; or let it manage you and wonder why the same things seem to happen to you!

If personal branding was only for products, it wouldn’t be something recruiters are interested in understanding about possible candidates.

  1. Personal Branding is inauthentic, “you can’t possibly pigeon hole people!” 

That is correct, you can’t pigeon hole people. What you can do is discover what your real assets are and how to best utilise these so you get to do the work you love. It’s more about how you stand out.

When you take the approach I do, which is to discover you from the inside out, it can only be authentic. It is being authentic to who you are that stands the test of time. This is how great brands last!

  1. Personal Branding is all about your online presence.

True. There is an element of this that will link to any online presence you have. The art is to be consistent in how you come across both online and offline.

If you appear one way online and when people meet you you’re different they will be confused and potentially suspicious.

  1. I’m too busy Personal Branding is not important right now.

Well you may be busy and it may not seem important right now, AND you are communicating a brand already! You could be doing this inconsistently so people don’t really understand what they get from working with you.

Spending time on your brand will help you focus your efforts more effectively and be noticed for what you want to be known for.

Personal Branding IS important.

  1. Personal Branding is far too difficult and I don’t have the time or money to invest in hiring a Marketing consultant.

Personal Branding doesn’t require an awful lot of investment. During the process you’ll get some valuable feedback that reinforces all the good that you do.

It doesn’t require a Marketing consultant either.

I have a process that will allow you to get to the heart of your brand within a day. Having achieved that you’ll be motivated to do more and find it VERY easy.

So… if you are ready to own your brand and stand out send me an email. We can set up a complimentary discovery call to assess how best you can move forward and be the leader you were born to be.

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” 

Henry David Thoreau 


3 Simple Steps to Emotional Mastery

18th October 2017

Emotional Mastery

Since Daniel Goleman popularised Emotional Intelligence with his book of the same name, it’s been a core part of any good leadership development initiative.

And yet, I wonder how well these programmes are executed and how seriously it is taken compared to getting the job done. I am sure you can all site emotionally charged conversations and situations in the workplace. How many of them could have been avoided if the individuals concerned were more emotionally intelligent and emotionally self-aware?

Emotional Mastery, as with all things in the leadership domain, is work in progress. We are continually faced with new situations and ‘tested’ on how we respond. After all it’s out personal impact that is assessed more than our competence!

As humans our emotions drive our behaviour and help us make sense of the experiences we are having. Because of the way our brains are wired we can also recognise emotions in others and the moment we move into a management or leadership position the focus of our work moves from the technical to the social. This requires us to be much more alert to the emotions of everyone at play.

Emotions predate thoughts in the evolution of the human species. Emotions condition our actions and our experience and define the range of possible behaviours we exhibit. Consider for a moment how you respond when you are feeling fearful, excitement or calm.

In each of these your body will react in a different way. You may sit of stand slightly differently, your breathing may change, the muscles in your face will be different and your heart rate may vary. Every emotion affects us physically.

If leadership is always work in progress, and emotional intelligence is a core competency, how do we become masters of our emotions?

Toward Emotional Mastery

Here 3 simple steps of how you can become more masterful in understanding and managing your own emotions:

Self-awareness. Become more conscious how about how you are feeling at any point in time and name that emotion. You can do this at any point in the day, when you wake up, as you walk into a meeting, on the way home or after a phone call. There are endless possibilities throughout the day.

In those moments become more aware of how you are physically and the behaviours that you display. Be objective. Become an observer of yourself rather than being hi-jacked by your emotion. Name it and accept it without judgement.

Self-regulation. Be in control and regulate your impulses. Direct your emotional energy appropriately. It is not always appropriate to express how you are feeling there and then! Recognise and personally acknowledge your impulses without having them take over. Treat them as good advisors and decide when and where is the best place is to express how you are feeling.

Self-expression. Most people I know can, and will, express positive emotions however, find it more difficult to express negative emotions. This is usually because they are associated with negative experiences in the past that have caused pain. When explored these experiences often go back to when we were a child and interpreted the world differently to how we do as adults. They may well be distorted so it’s always worth exploring the stories behind how you are feeling to determine if they are true.

Healthy self-expression is a way of responding to what life throws at you both positively and negatively.

If you are still unsure about the value of negative emotions read this poem:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

Empty of it’s furniture,

Still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing out

For some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

Meet them at the door laughing,

And invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

As a guide from above.


(taken from Conscious Business by Fred Kofman)

Where are you on your personal journey? If you feel you would like some personal support to enable you to be the best that you can be email me to set up a free discovery call and explore what might be the best next steps for you.

‘The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become.



Personal Mastery – Becoming Intelligent about Yourself

5th October 2017

personal mastery

It’s easy to go through life comparing yourself to other people, wishing you could be like John or Ann, or criticising yourself for the way you do things, or the way you look. However, it’s not helpful.

It tends to put you in a negative loop with a focus on others rather than on yourself.

One of my fundamental beliefs is that you cannot lead and develop others until you first learn to lead and develop your self.

To do this you need to get to know yourself and understand who you are so you can play to your strengths and embrace your limitations. The more you do this the more authentic you will be and it will ooze out of you!

This is easier said than done. We are all human and none of us are perfect, so being able to recognise strengths and limitations can take time and a degree of humility. It requires a commitment to personal growth and mastering who you are.

It is worth it in the long run. You’ll feel stronger and others will recognise your inner confidence.

What does Personal Mastery mean?

Personal mastery requires you to establish an intimate understanding of who you are.

It is about learning how you operate when things are going well and how you operate when they are not going so well. It is about being clear about what is important to you, and it’s about knowing what will really fulfil you in your life.

It’s all about you!

It’s the degree to which you own your reactions and make yourself accountable for every emotion, feeling and thought you have.

A good test to how well you have developed is to consider how you handle adversity. Do you become emotional or do you pause, reflect and take everything in your stride – responding to what is best for the common good.

Deepening your self-awareness – the foundation to personal mastery

Embarking and facing into who you are can be scary. Occasionally you may not like what you see in the mirror. That’s often because you start by looking at what ‘is wrong’ or what you don’t like. If you find yourself doing this STOP!

Start by looking at all the things you like and all the things you are good at. Then, and only then, look at what is less ‘loved’ and consider how you may use that as an asset or manage it more appropriately.

The path to being the best you can be guides you to being more aware of your beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. It enables you to accept yourself and be responsible for your action, attitude, thoughts and the impact you have.

This will make you a better leader who inspires others to grow and your improvement will influence others and eventually change the world!

Learning to lead your self is an evolutionary journey. Every time you raise your self-awareness you will shift the way you handle situations.

Wherever you are on your leadership journey there is always something to learn as you face new situations.

Become a masterful observer of your self!

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.” 

Barbara Geraci


Get Connected!

20th September 2017


Connected teams


Can you recall a time when you were working in a team and had the feeling that everything was moving along brilliantly? The team was working well together. There was a sense of creativity and fun and you were producing great results. As you remember that time, ask yourself:

‘What were the factors that made it all happen? How did it feel like to work with this team?’

My guess is you felt connected to the moment, the challenge, the task, the team and to yourself. It might have been a big challenge and at the same time it was all manageable. Everyone felt connected!

How can you recreate the circumstances that resulted in such a successful and fulfilling work experience?

Creating the right environment 

Many leaders are waking up to the fact that the most important factor for the success of their team or organisation is culture. The way you behave together can make or break the organisation or team.

Creating the ‘right’ culture is not like installing a process or system. It is not static. It’s dynamic, something that is growing, very much like a garden. To grow a successful garden you must prepare the soil, plant the right seeds, and then maintain an environment that optimises the growth of healthy plants. For example ensure adequate water, sunlight and compost to stimulate growth root out the weeds that impede the growth of the desired plants.

This work involves everyone. You need to invest time to connect to your team. Then you must make sure that the systems you have and the structure is aligned to the environment you want to create. Most important of all is that you walk-the-talk and give recognition to positive and wanted behaviour as well as acting firmly on unacceptable behaviour.

Recognising when things are not aligned and connected

When everyone and everything is aligned things happen easily and effortlessly.

When there is little alignment the following can happen:

  • Conflict(s) within team, with customer, with Steering Committee, with the line organisation
  • Conflicting needs/demands
  • Lack of trust among stakeholders
  • Your stakeholders don’t share the same agenda
  • Different view on deliverables
  • Conflicting requirements/directives
  • Lack of aligned line management commitment
  • Team members unhappy – leave the
  • Communication problems:
    • Lack of open and honest communication
    • The team members and/or different sub-teams do not co-operate/communicate
    • Information hoarding
    • Relationship conflicts and / or political agenda leading to blame and manipulation in communication

By investing in activities that clarify our relationship issues up front and throughout the team life cycle, we will enable the team to better focus on the task and work more effectively.

Successful leaders focus on communication and empowering their teams to deliver both the long and short-term strategy.

How aligned is your team?

If you want a harvest in a year, grow a crop…

If you want a harvest in ten years, grow a tree…

If you want a harvest that will last for a life time, grow people.

-Chinese Proverb

If you feel you need some help in aligning your team and creating an environment for success email me to set up a free discovery all to see what could be done.

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