The Perfection of Imperfection

  I’ve been trying today to write about an insight on perfection which emerged from a conversation with a client this week. The struggle, I eventually realized, was that I expect my writing to be ‘perfect’. The very thing I wanted to be free from, was unwittingly getting in my way. Having realized this (eventually) I’m now writing with the intention that this blog will be either imperfectly perfect or perfectly imperfect – are those the same thing? Either way, I’m thinking it’s about letting go of unspoken expectations based on the illusion that someone has defined the result of
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Practice Like Everyone’s Listening

Here’s my latest article in THE VOICE – the newsletter of the International Association of Coaching (this month’s topic is PRACTICE)   One of the things that delights and inspires me about coaching is, that even after twenty years and more, it’s an ongoing practice of practicing. There’s always more to learn. Always something I can be even better at. A new insight.  A subtle awareness.  A new twist to the context I’m in with my client.   It is a living practice where beginners mind, as the buddhist tradition proposes, keeps me open to what is waiting to emerge.  
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Reasons to engage a coach are many…

Why engage a coach? That’s a question you may often wonder about. I don’t expect you wake up in the morning and think “I need a coach today”. You may, however, wake up with any of the following on your mind. You might be:  Feeling stuck on something Facing a new challenge Wanting to accelerate achieving a goal or deadline Shifting a habit or behaviour pattern that is not serving you or the people around you Experiencing overwhelm or distraction and not feeling as productive as you’d like to be Wanting to breakthrough to a new solution Wanting to follow
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My new book is almost here:

It’s a book of questions for every leader’s desk. Given that this week is Question Week I feel inspired to share with you the Introduction to my book – a pre-publication taster of why we need more questions to inspire growth, learning and change in our life and work. I hope you enjoy. Since my book is still in final editing prior to publication, please send me any thoughts, ideas or questions as you read it (or if you spot any typos). Thank you and happy questioning:  INTRODUCTION THIS IS A BOOK OF QUESTIONS. The word “question” contains the word “quest”.
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Right Intention. Right Action

This month’s VOICE newsletter from the Interrnational Association of Coaching focuses on the theme of Intentionality. Here’s my article as published in the newsletter:  As I write this piece today I find myself intrigued by the relationship between intentionality and action. Without action, intentionality is orphaned to the world of make-believe. Now that’s a powerful thought, sitting as I am today with what I delude myself into believing are good intentions to make progress towards enrolling participants in an upcoming event. Yet I find myself paralyzed and taking little action. What is stopping me turning my intentions into action? I
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The Power of NO

It’s Valentine’s day. A day when proposals, invitations, dreams and possibilities invite YES as an answer. Yet today, in my client’s conversation the power of saying NO, is what hits her most. Saying NO to other’s expectations. Saying NO to prescribed pathways. Saying NO to a solutions which might have pleased others, yet which did not sit deeply fulfilled inside her. And from the saying NO, she comes to realize that a new space is opening up. A space which invites her to live more fully. A space where she re-discovers ‘non-career’ yet totally life-enhancing joys: homely activities, family time,
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A Year of Conversation

There’s been a strengthening theme in my work over the past year. Moving beyond ‘coaching’ to the layers of deeper conversation where people discover new perspectives, insights, awareness and understanding of their situation and from where they can take new actions in their life or work. I often hear from clients a version of –  “I don’t get this conversation anywhere else, Aileen” . It’s in those moments that I acknowledge the difference it makes when there is space for a focused, meaningful, conversation, full of questions to explore and held by deep, attentive and compassionate listening. Why don’t we get
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It’s not getting what you want…

As we head into another year, I’m noticing the usual raft of postings relating to New Year’s Resolutions. I’m struck by the underlying perspective that we have to be or do something more than our current state. Do more exercise, have more adventures, learn more, make this your best year yet, be happier, thinner, wealthier, healthier, and on and on… Every year it seems like we have to be MORE. By contrast, I noticed that in many of my coaching conversations towards the end of 2016, my clients were realizing how much they already had. That rather than pushing themselves
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The contentment of 2016

Would you say 2016 was a good year or a bad year? And on what basis do you judge it to be so? I’m noticing a lot of posts reinforcing the headlines of all the ‘bad’ news stories of 2016. Yes many famous people died (more than usual I don’t know) and many of those did touch me deeply, seeing as many seemed to be defining film or music makers of my youthful years and the relationship between their time lines for life and my own are not lost on me. And yes of course there are all the seemingly
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You are not a problem to be solve…

…I heard myself say to a prospective client just over a week ago. “You are NOT a problem to be solved”.  There’s a kind of comfort in thinking you are a problem to be solved. That you can’t achieve what you want to achieve until you have first fixed all the reasons/problems that you believe are holding your back. That you have to stop or get rid of the patterns, habits, beliefs that – in your mind – shape you and how you respond to the world around you. In many of my coaching conversations recently, I’ve come to see
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