Category: Coaching

The framework or model of Emotional Intelligence can be broken down in a few ways and variations have been brought forward over the last 25+ years. To simplify it, the 2 main components are getting to know yourself (intrapersonal) and getting to know others (interpersonal – social & relationships)

Getting to know yourself better involves developing self-awareness and improving how you self-manage. I believe it’s essential to do this work first before you really start to focus more on how you interact with others. You can do both at the same time, however, as the old saying goes, learn to love yourself before you love someone else. While ‘loving’ yourself is maybe a strong word, at least finding ways to get along with yourself helps :)! 

If you’re comfortable in your own skin, the next area for massive personal growth and happiness can come from social interactions. As another truism goes ‘we’re social creatures’ and the more effort we put into social connection, the better we are for it. It’s not always easy though.

As someone who identifies more on the introvert side, it can be very difficult to dive into social settings without feeling anxious, insecure and socially awkward. It’s possible, it just takes a bit of planning.

Over the last 7-8 years, I’ve been involved in a number of volunteer roles with non-profit committees and boards. Initially, I had to force myself to do this. I had to stretch myself outside the comfort zone, not let the overthinking or negative self-talk win, and just put my hand up! The key was to take on some responsibility, something meaningful. At least then I knew I’d have a focus and a purpose. Just having a defined role and something I could add value with, in a deliberate way, made all the difference.

Once I ‘owned’ something, my levels of self-doubt dropped, and I could connect better with others. I figured this out through the self-awareness work done earlier. That allowed me to be more planful and self-manage better.

All through this month, as I was writing the daily pieces, this idea of being a giver more than a taker has kept coming up for me. As I reflected on my own volunteering work, the value and return on investment I’ve gained through giving something back, by just giving up your time, has been huge. I’ve got the opportunity to develop certain skills I really wanted to improve, and, at the same time, I’ve helped move the groups forward. A real win-win scenario.

One of my big goals for 2020 (and beyond) is to continue to give back more. In different areas that I’ve done so far. Being deliberate, instead of random, about exactly what to give and who to contribute to is totally fine too. For some of us, having the plan is essential for it to happen.

Is this something you’ve thought about as a 2020 commitment? There are so many great groups and organizations out there that could do with your time and expertise. And you will grow and learn from the experience more than you think! Through the social interaction alone, you’re developing your emotional intelligence, and this is some of the greatest currency you can have in the years to come.

That’s the second last of the daily December blogs. I hope you found these useful. Tomorrow, I’ll do little lessons learned post and see what comes out of that.

Till then,

Rob


If you’re interested in joining the ROTG 1% Better Slack Community where we hold monthly challenges, and support each other through them, sign up here! It’s free and aimed at helping you improve.

Have you ever reflected on something bad that’s happened to you and found some positives from it? Earlier this year I put together a piece on some of the surprising ways Type 1 Diabetes has made me Better and it was published on a diabetes focused site called Thriveabetes. So I thought it would be worth sharing out here. Now don’t get me wrong, managing type 1 diabetes is not easy, however having it, and knowing there is no cure (yet) means you have to take control and face it head on. Here’s what I wrote. Hopefully it might get you thinking about something in your life that’s had some hidden benefits.

My grandfather used to say, “your health is your wealth” and like most of these common sayings, there is a lot of truth in them. However, like most twenty or thirty somethings, I took being healthy for granted. I might hear of others getting sick or being diagnosed with this or that. But never thought that it would happen to me.

When I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2012, it all of a sudden became very clear that the wealth I was chasing, financially, at work, and in all those other material pursuits were in fact not the real wealth at all.  My real wealth, my health, now was at risk! It took this diagnosis, this wake-up call, to bring it firmly into focus.

Denial

At first, I was in denial. Surely there must have been a mistake? Then, I convinced myself I could find a cure. But after a few months, I started to realise that the only way forward was to embrace it: Talk about it and, if possible, start looking for the upsides, or positives, in my broken pancreas syndrome.

Now, 7+ years into my own Type 1 Diabetic journey, my life is a whole lot better than it was back then. The diagnosis marked a very real turning point in my life. A catalyst for real positive change. I’ve been reflecting on this for a while so this piece is a great excuse to get what the benefits have been. And as I put this piece together, I took to twitter to ask if others with Type 1 Diabetes can relate or if I was just crazy. The response was (and continues to be) huge. Benefits like improved patience, greater empathy, better planning, increased compassion, more responsibility, project management skills, and connecting with other like-minded & like-pancreas people are just some of the other benefits that came back. Here are the key ones I’ve notice.

  1. Developing a Better more Positive Mindset

Nobody wants to get Type 1 Diabetes and, of course, I’d prefer not to have it at all. It’s not fair, but it could be worse! I consider myself lucky in lots of ways. We live in a time when the disease was (and is) more manageable then ever. Technology breakthroughs have advanced management and control drastically and with more exciting advances on the horizon. Getting the disease gave me a bit of a wake-up call. I’m not immortal after all but I can still lead a full life. That’s a positive. It’s made me realise much more what I have and look for the positives. This mindset takes practice but if you look for the bright spots, you’ll find them.

  1. A Better Whole Life Grid

Diabetes was a big factor in making me step back and create a better life balance. In the coaching work I do, I like to use a tool called the ‘whole life grid’ (check out more on it here). I would have struggled to populate half of this in 2012. I prioritized work over everything else, yet it wasn’t making me happy. I was pushing hard, close to burn-out but I didn’t have a clear understand of who I was and what I valued. Getting diagnosed was a point on my timeline where things started to turn. It made me re-evaluate and look at other areas of my life that were suffering and needed to be addressed. Since then, I’ve made a much more conscious effort to have a focus on the 9 boxes that make up my whole life and it’s turned out great.

  1. My fitness is better

Exercise and keeping fit were always on my radar. I had started running long distances about year before the diabetes blessing but after coming to terms with the news, I realised now that keeping fit and healthy were no longer optional. It became a must do! Since then, I’ve completed 3 Marathons, many adventures races, and learned to swim properly (at last). I get to exercise 4-5 per week. When the only real choice is to exercise on a regular basis, my inner gremlin voice doesn’t get much of a look in either.

  1. My values & sense of purpose is better!

Having Type 1 Diabetes motivated me to get a better and clearer sense of purpose. It forced me question what I stood for more and to challenge my own limiting beliefs. In 2015, through some professional development, I worked with an executive coach. This was a transformative experience. The work encouraged me to understand my ‘why’ better, clarify my values, and helped in identifying my identity and purpose. It also gave me a greater sense of self-confidence and self-acceptance. It further helped me realise that diabetes was something I should embrace.

  1. My Dry18 (and Dry19) journey

I’ve always (from the age of 18 of course) been fond of a few drinks. Thankfully, I had the vast majority of craziness out of my system by 2012. When I was diagnosed it didn’t impact my social life too much. I still gave the nights out a good go over the following few years. However, the downside of the day(s) after began to far outweigh the upside. Add in the challenges of managing blood sugars on a night out, and the day after, made drinking less and less appealing as time went by. So, I decided to make that ‘I’m never drinking again’ statement a reality and since 1st January 2018, I’ve stopped drinking completely. It began as year-long challenge with a good friend. This became a two-year-long abstinence. Having Diabetes, while not the main reason, was a contributing factor in helping me achieve this goal. (I tracked the Dry18 journey in a series of posts that I shared out in an eBook – it’s free here).

My 1% Better Podcast Idea

Getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes set off a chain of events that have put me on a different path since 2012.

Having a more positive outlook helped me take on new challenges. This led to an increase in exercise. As I exercised more, I started to listen to more podcasts. I was hooked. I learned so much, all helping feed my curiosity. In parallel, after embarking on the coaching journey, initially as a client and them becoming an executive coach myself, my confidence and self-belief grew. I started to play with the idea of starting my own podcast, instead of just consuming them. It was a big audacious goal. One that scared the hell out of me but one that I felt I might be able to pull off.

So in early 2017, after months of planning and despite being wracked with self-doubt, I launched the RoboftheGreen platform and with it the podcast ‘1% Better’.  Now, 140+ episodes later, still dealing with and pushing through the fears on a weekly basis, the podcast is growing bigger and better. It’s given me a platform to share stories, lessons learned and insights from a broad range of leaders across the globe. And also it’s been an channel where I could share interviews with other Type 1 Diabetics like Eoghan Quinn and Emma O’Toole. Both clearly show that Type 1 Diabetes can be an enabler instead of a disabler.

If I wasn’t podcasting, I wouldn’t have connected in with Thriveabetes. It was that connection that lead to this post. I’m really glad it happened as it’s helped me clarify a few things that were rolling around in my head. There can be a lot of positives to be taken out of almost any situation that might seem negative or bad initially. It will probably take work, effort, soul searching, but if you challenge yourself to look at things from a different perspective, I believe you’ll find a positive or two.

So, as it’s nearly the end of 2019, and a time for some reflection, what one thing could you identify that is your Type 1 Diabetes? That’s had some upsides from the initial downs?

Thanks for reading & till tomorrow,

Rob

Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one! Rob recently published an eBook on giving up alcohol for 2018 called ‘Dry18’ and can be downloaded for free here.

Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below:

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3 years ago, today (24th December 2016), I registered the domain www.robofthegreen.com. I remember very clearly going on to the domain registration site and paying something like €5 to park the domain. Not surprisingly, it was available. Looking back on it now, this simple task acted as the lead domino in what was to follow since with the podcast and content shared, including this blog post.

At that time, while the idea and high level plans for setting up a site and podcast had been in the works for a number of months, and some money had already been invested in some kit to get the ball rolling, it was all very much in my head. To get really moving, I needed a spark or something concrete to move forward. It came in a reply from an email that morning.  

You see, while I had a lot of ideas swirling around about what the podcast and content would focus on, to this point I hadn’t actually formally approached anyone to be a guest on the as yet unnamed show. Something was holding me back. Maybe it was procrastination, fear, or both.

I had been (and still am) a huge fan of an Arsenal podcast called ‘Arsecast’ hosted by Andrew Mangan and on that Christmas Eve Eve, I found Andrew’s email address and sent him a very hopeful note. In between the part where I outlined my love for Arsenal and his work, I asked him if he’d be willing to be one of my first guests for this podcast idea I had.

Also, around this time, I was ramping up my coaching practice. Building up hours and experience. One of the most powerful questions you can ask when coaching a client, when they’re facing inertia or some sort of mental block, is ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. It was this question that was in sharp focus when I hit sent on the email. Self-coaching can be harder to do than coaching someone else. So, overcoming the fear of a negative response, and being comfortable with a worst case scenario being no worse than things currently stood helped!   

The next morning, just before hitting the road to drive home to Longford, the incoming email ping sounded on my phone. It was Andrew. He was onboard. In fact, he offered to record the interview in his studio in Dublin the next time I was in town.

As soon as I got over the fear and excitement of my first confirmed guest, I realised this now had become real. If I needed an incentive, which sometimes I do, this was it. The first real action was taken. The first steps forward. I had a guest to interview. Incremental progress. 1% better.

Looking back, I’m very grateful that it was Andrew I emailed first. Since then, I’ve emailed many others that never replied. In the podcast game, when you’re coming from a very low base (in my case a zero base), be prepared for a lot of non-responses. I would say expect it to be the norm. However, don’t lose heart, get clear on your objectives and keep pushing forward.

For me, the focus was the podcast. Taking the leap of faith and realizing the worst-case scenario isn’t really that bad after all was key and that there is potentially much more upside than down, if you get the reply you’re hoping for.

For you, the goal might be different. Tt could be a book, a blog, a date, a new job, a presentation, or whatever. However, the question should still be the same. Are you holding back in fear it may not work out?

Take a step back and think about what the worst case scenario really is? And then just hit send!

Till tomorrow,

Rob

PS – Happy Christmas if you’re reading this on Christmas Even or any time over the next few days! Thanks for taking the time to read the daily posts. While I aim to share one daily over the next few days, if I don’t, the worst case scenario isn’t that bad really!


 

There are two listening exercises that are very effective in developing this hugely important and impactful skill. And to be clear, listening is a skill that can be improved. With practice.

 

First, let me start with a quote that I recently read on listening that has stayed with me.

 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

 

Take a second to think back to the last conversation you had. Were you listening to reply? Or really listening to understand?  Chances are you weren’t even thinking about one or the other.

 

A few big lessons I’ve learned over the last few years has been around listening and how to get better at it.

 

Listening is a key fundamental skill needed to be a good coach and mentor and it’s something you get to practice a lot of when in these positions.

 

The first useful exercise that’s worth sharing is around ‘Active Listening’. It’s simple, powerful, difficult and fun.

 

Find a teammate or friend that you can practice with. Have them agree to talk about something important to them for 2 minutes. During this time, you are only permitted to listen, completely. That means no words back, no nodding. Nothing. Just 100% listening in an active engaged way. Try it and see what happens?

 

Two interesting things emerge. Firstly, you will find it very difficult to keep silent for period. You’ll have to resist the urge to jump in so many times. That’s normal. Because the default is listening to reply or solve. With practice, you’ll get more comfortable with the silence. Even when the other person pauses, which can feel like forever, just sit with it. This is giving them space. The second takeaway normally comes from the talker’s side. They typically don’t get the opportunity to talk uninterrupted for that length of time. They feel they’ve been truly listened too. And in so many cases when people talk, this is all they want! Listening actively to what they’re saying can be very powerful. It also forces you to fully understand and doing so helps you remain present.

 

The second exercise is where empathy comes into play and is bringing your listening to another higher level.  It’s called ‘Empathetic Listening’ and the set-up is the same as before. 2 minutes between you and a colleague. Only this time, you as the listener are studying what the person is feeling. You’re listening to the words and taking into consideration body language, expressions, and tuning your senses into their emotions. You are to bring an awareness of what feelings you’re experiencing from listening to them. Imagine yourself tuning a dial into their radio frequency.

 

When the time is up, the listener then feeds back to the speaker what they sensed they were feeling about this situation. Rising above the words. With empathy. With practice, this can be developed and brings a new superpower to your ability to listen.

 

That’s just 2 quick examples. I’ve been so lucky to have the chance to practice and develop the art of listening through the coaching work and also from the podcast interviews. As an interviewer, listening both actively and empathically has become something I get to do opening and share with others. That’s great real-time practice that has been a huge learning.

 

Statistics show listening is one of the most underrated and underdeveloped skills we have. However, it’s one we can improve if we become more aware of how we currently do it and take action (like the exercises above) to deliberately practice it. Chances are you have, if you’re like me, about 6-8 meetings every day. So, you’re not short of opportunities.

 

How do you get better at listening? Would love to hear about that.

 

Till tomorrow,

Rob

How can I help? – Day 16

From time to time, I get asked on guest on another person’s podcast. Generally, to talk about coaching, project management, or even just about the podcasting learnings. It’s always fun to be on the other side of the mic and get questions thrown at me. If at all possible, I’m always happy to help out and share something *hopefully* valuable to their listeners. I always learn something new from talking out loud about these things too! It’s a win-win.

 

At the end of one of these recently, just after the recording ended, the host asked in a very genuine way ‘How can I help you?’. He wanted to see if he could be a help to me! It struck me for 3 reasons:

 

  • The power of a genuine offer to help, when least expected, is huge
  • Always have an idea or ask ready in case it comes you way!
  • At the end of my own recordings, it’s not a question I was asking regularly enough

 

Ever since, this question has been floating around in my mind. The interviewer is a marketing expert with almost 2 million followers on social media. By being a guest on his show is already help enough, however I didn’t quiet articulate that at the time.  Also, as I thought more, I realised while the podcast and content I share out is aimed at helping others in an indirect way, offering help more directly is something I could do more of.

 

In what might be a case of frequency illusion (post on this coming soon), the importance of being a giver more so than taker has popped up a few times since. A work colleague of mine is currently reading Adam Grant’s Give and Take book. He’s waxing lyrical about the message here. To offer help, to give more, and to take less. In the long run, this is a better approach. Adam has popped up on a bunch of podcasts recently too, so I feel the universe is conspiring to tell me something! At the very least, to read the book in early 2020, I guess.

 

Offering help and giving more than you take are strong messages. Especially around this time of the year they’re probably more in focus. However, they should not become just a seasonal event, instead, an ongoing deliberate practice, done in an authentic way. Research and experience shows the benefits are great.

 

When is the last time you offered, in a genuine way, without expecting anything in return, to help someone? Is this something you could look to practice more in 2020. And test out the promise that, by doing it more, your own success could grow.

 

I feel it’s worth the effort.

 

Till tomorrow,

Rob

 

PS – how can I help you? Get in touch if I can be of service.  


Check out the full list of Daily Blog December posts on www.robofthegreen.ie/blog

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Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one!

Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below:

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

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