Grant: ‘inside out’ coaching is the order of the day By Michele Grant Workplace coaching is entering a third generation of its development, Anthony Grant told the Coaching At Work conference on 2 July, in his keynote talk, which brought the day to a close. Grant, director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Sydney, began provocatively with a gentle poke at the emphasis on systems coaching. “Systems are important, but what about ME?!” The title of his talk was Embedding Leadership Coaching Skills: A New Generation of Workplace Coaching. Embedding the skills isn’t at all easy, he […]

 conference roundup: coaching and mentoring at work annual conference, 2 july, london

  By Ros Soulsby   Internal coaching, and now reverse mentoring, have been introduced at Samsung UK, part of a highly hierarchical South Korean multinational, which just three years ago had no learning and development (L&D) function at all. In an interview with leadership coach and award-winning BBC journalist, Rachel Ellison, Anthony Ryland described the culture at Samsung UK, one of the electronics giant’s top five subsidiaries, as collective, with very little distinction between work and home life. It is very different from the UK’s more individualistic, egalitarian business culture, with small power distances between levels of authority, he said. […]

conference roundup: coaching and mentoring at work annual conference, 2 july, london

By Michele Grant

Shakya Kumar has been meditating more or less every day since 1989, but he is surprised, albeit pleasantly, at the extent to which mindfulness has taken off in the corporate world.

“Mindfulness really does seem to be in the air,” he told participants in his workshop Brief Mindfulness for Rapid Stress Reduction at the Coaching at Work conference on 2 July.

“I was a bit puzzled when I saw mindfulness taking off in the corporate sector,” he said. “How will they find the time?” A ripple of rueful mirth passed through the room.

Kumar has developed a method that allows people to access mindfulness in 30 seconds and to integrate it into purposeful activity. “I was going to call the programme ‘Mindfulness in 30 Seconds’, but I thought people wouldn’t believe me,” he said before going on to demonstrate just that.

The many benefits of mindfulness have been well researched and there is an increasing body of work in the field of neuroscience attesting to them.

Kumar explained that mindfulness increases resilience in the face of the challenges life throws at you, with stress down by up to 30 per cent and anxiety levels reduced by up to 70 per cent.

But all in 30 seconds? It was time to give it a try. The premise of the live demonstration was to experience something we were personally finding mildly stressful and to tap into the experience – first in ‘avoidance-mode’ and then in ‘approach-mode’.

Kumar began by inviting us to notice various bodily sensations. He then asked us to bring to mind the mildly stressful situation, posing questions that typically feed an avoidance response, for example “What are you afraid might happen?”

We then wrote down five words to describe our thinking about the situation and some more to describe the emotion. We paired up and shared.

Next he took us through a second 30-second exercise, this time with approach-mode questions. For example: “What’s the best you have
ever done in this situation?”

We jotted down more words to describe our thinking and our feelings and shared them with our partner. The differences for most people were significant. One participant said: “It was like chalk and cheese – a huge difference really. I was more action-orientated the second time. It became about a solution rather than a problem.”

“I noticed a depersonalisation of the issue,” said another. “It’s interesting how much energy it takes to manage anxiety,” remarked a third.

“This isn’t about solving the problem”, Kumar explained, “it’s about your attitude to thinking about it.”

Of course, we may be able to manage our own attitude to an issue, but what about the people around us who create stress for others? Actually, we can guide others into approach-mode too, by asking similar questions, he told us.

What this session clearly showed was that one 30-second mindfulness exercise (okay, two exercises) really can integrate mindfulness into purposeful activity. By pausing and tapping into what’s going on in the mind and the body we can shift from the stressful effects of avoidance, draw on the wisdom of past positive experience, move towards a positive reframing and make better choices. That’s something the corporate world can make time for.


  Happy, I expect Researchers at University College London have developed an equation that has predicted the happiness of over 18,000 people. Happiness does not always reflect when things are going well; it is often determined by whether a situation is proceeding better than expected, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead author Dr Robb Rutledge said he was surprised by how important expectations are in influencing happiness.   SMEs need old hands Some 86 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) recognise the value older workers bring to their business, […]

conference roundup: coaching and mentoring at work annual conference, 2 july, london

  One Leadership: do we leave legacy or debris? Neil Scotton and Alister Scott explored the potential contribution of working with legacy in leadership coaching, at the conference. “Whether we like it or not, we’re leaving a legacy. Do we leave one we want or debris behind us?” asked Scott. Scotton defined legacy as: “After the words and actions, it’s the ongoing impact it has on people and the planet as seen and defined by others.” He said legacy as a concept has the “power to move people from me to we, I to us…we as an interdependent world”, which […]

AC annual event boosts coaching’s presence in Hungary

Hungary is the chosen location for the Association for Coaching (AC)’s international conference, the latest in a number of milestones for the emerging profession in the country.

The AC’s fifth international coaching and leadership conference, Journey to Coaching Mastery, will be held in Budapest next month (30-31 October).

Speakers include emotional intelligence expert Martyn Newman, neuroscience expert Paul Brown and NLP expert Ian McDermott.

Other coaching milestones have included the formation of the International Coach Federation (ICF) Hungarian Chapter in 2008, while in 2012, the Federation of Hungarian Coach Organizations was established, with eight member organisations representing most professional coaches in the country.

Earlier this year, the Academy of Executive Coaching launched executive coach training in the country.

The ICF is currently the only active professional coaching body in Hungary, although this is now set to change with the AC’s foray into the region. The European Mentoring and Coaching Council does have a local representative, but it has not yet consolidated
its position.

There are now around 70 ICF ACC and PCC-level certified coaches in Hungary, of which Judit Ábri von Bartheld is one (PCC-credentialled).

Two Hungarian coaches are MCC-credentialled, but neither live in Hungary.

Ábri von Bartheld, director of Coaching Without Borders, a training programme for coaches about coaching, welcomed the AC’s initiative:

“For us Hungarian coaches, it is a great learning opportunity that the AC’s annual conference is coming to Hungary. For two days, somewhere between 150 and 200 highly experienced coaches will be in Budapest and it will be wonderful to have professional exchanges with them,” she said.

Coaching Without Borders has also been very proactive in bringing “international coach gurus” over as part of its event series, offering workshops almost every month of the year.

So far these have included John Whitmore, Myles Downey, David Clutterbuck, Robert Dilts, John Blakey, Jonathan Passmore and
many others.

 Next issue: a special report on coaching in Hungary by Judit Ábri von Bartheld


CIPD urges government to back human capital

  Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), has urged the UK government to get behind its Valuing your Talent (VyT) research and engagement project, and potentially legislate on some aspects of it. Speaking in July at the Royal Society of Arts in London – one of the other bodies involved in the programme – Cheese called for the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to stand “full-square behind” the human capital measurement framework that has emerged from the project. He said some aspects should end up as legislation. The VyT seeks […]

Coaching at Work Awards 2014

Coaching at Work Awards 2014: for the pioneers   The Coaching at Work Awards, which we announced at our annual conference on 2 July in London, include a new lifetime achievement category. Liz Hall reports This year’s Coaching at Work Awards saw nine of the magazine’s authors receive accolades in three winning article categories, and a new lifetime achievement category. The winners were Bob Garvey (Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Mentoring); Deborah Price and Tim Taylor (Best Thought Leadership Article); Erik De Haan and Michael Carroll (Best Practical Article); Peter Duffell and Carmelina Lawton-Smith (Best Research Article) and Michele […]

You’re unbelievable

If our clients are to be agents for their own change, they have to believe in it – and not just go through the motions   Lindsay Wittenberg   The annual Agents for Change conference – designed to encourage trainee doctors to improve healthcare – took place recently in London. It embodies the recognition that junior doctors need to be instrumental in the ongoing change in the NHS, medical education and training, and our wider society – and to ensure sustainable change for the better. Some of the doctors at this dynamic event manifested noticeable energy for the personal growth […]

Don’t hide behind: ‘the client wanted it’

A series of columns on our role in tackling the complicated economic, environmental and social challenges we face. It is a place to question, offer, share, explore, challenge, dissent, celebrate, reflect, learn and enjoy. The poet David Whyte asked: “What are the questions that have no right to go away?” At the end of World War II, a set of guidelines, the Nuremberg Principles, were created to determine what constitutes a war crime. One stands out: Principle IV – Superior Orders: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve […]