You are here: Home » Sparks

Sparks

Employed or Engaged?

Employed or Engaged?

For some time now I notice a physical reaction in my body whenever I hear the term "to get the best out of our people". It's been bugging me for a while so I was contemplating it on my walk this morning. I think it goes to the heart of the employer/employee relationship - and I might be being a bit provocative here - and to the psychological foundation for that relationship. I believe the words we use are really important and for a long time, I've realised that the alternative meaning of the word 'employed' is something that is 'used'. This...

read more
What is the real meaning of leadership?

What is the real meaning of leadership?

To me, coaching and leadership are a form of questing: going in search of the future life, work, relationships, goals, possibilities and success you truly want for yourself, your business and your family. The original root of both words - coach and leader - means to step forward, to go forth and to travel into the future. In essence, to go on a quest, often into the unknown, to discover more of who you are and who you might become in this world. I’m known for asking the questions that support you on your quest. I hear the possibilities in...

read more
What is the education system really for?

What is the education system really for?

I just saw this great question from Parker J. Palmer - a wise elder, whose posts I follow: What would education look like if its purpose were not to create a work force but whole human beings? What a great question. I'm not an expert in the field, but with a niece and nephew training as teachers, I kinda interested on what the future of eduction might be. During the lockdown we've had an opportunity to experiment with different forms of learning - allbeit as a reaction and not necessarily thought through. I'm sure lots of questions have...

read more
Are you letting your Leader be Human too?

Are you letting your Leader be Human too?

This has been on my mind for some time so I hope this short post will spark some conversation for you. My work revolves around the question of what really defines leadership. I didn't enjoy my own early experiences of more traditional command and control style leaders. It made me want to rebel against the rules. I loved working with my first 'listening style' leader. When I found myself leading my own teams, I experimented with a more people-centric approach to leadership, many elements of which I had discovered in the then emerging coaching...

read more
What will you do with the Gift of Time?

What will you do with the Gift of Time?

I am so enjoying The 100 Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. It’s a well-researched and easy to read presentation of how living longer invites new questions about life and work. The traditional three-phase life (learn, work, retire) is being replaced with a multi-stage life which requires new perspectives on the choices we make and how we spend our time. There are some scary pieces in it - like whether there’s enough money to pay pensions as more people live into their nineties - and there’s lots of stimulating ideas for the...

read more
When has life taken an unexpected twist for you?

When has life taken an unexpected twist for you?

Time has taken on a new meaning for me this past year. There I was, sailing along at the gentle pace my life and work have taken for the past few years, when suddenly I had to waken up to the news that I needed urgent surgery. I am writing more about this in my next book, so it's not my intention to go into much detail with it here. The message I do want to explore here is that life takes unexpected turns. It's really made me think about what we control (or don't have control over). I've never been one for making lots of detailed plans. One...

read more
Employed or Engaged?

What Conversation might lead you to Action?

"Why," asked one of my CEO clients, "do people always want to come and have conversations with me, after they've had some coaching time with you, Aileen?" I smiled. It's true. Coaching is about the one next step that moves someone to action. I've witnessed over the years, that moving to action does indeed often mean having a conversation with someone. A conversation to express an opinion or make a request. A conversation that my client had been avoiding. A conversation to get clarification or understanding that had been missing. A...

read more
What precious thing makes you grateful?

What precious thing makes you grateful?

Dogs have a special place in our hearts. They’re loyal, loving and - going against what I often teach - they don’t ask many questions. They follow their instincts and have their own way of letting you know what they need. And of course, they are the best listener you could ask for. Being listened to by your dog, lets you hear yourself more clearly as you express your thoughts aloud. If you listen very carefully, you can even sense what your dog thinks of what you say. Cody gave us a very clear message yesterday that he was ready to leave us....

read more

My Books:

Our conversation is quality time you likely don’t get anywhere else. It’s for you to reflect, re-energise and refocus. It’s for you to challenge yourself and shift what’s not working for you. To move forward and create life on your terms. It’s a conversation where you uncover your next steps — small starts or exciting leaps — towards the future you truly want. You get unstuck. You find freedom. It starts with questions and listening. It turns to action. You live and lead inspired.