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The stress professor

World-renowned counselling and coaching psychologist, founder of the Centre for Stress Management, Centre for Coaching and the Coaching Psychology Unit, Professor Stephen Palmer’s boundless energy has helped add many strings to his bow – just don’t put him in a box, he tells Liz Hall

As we talk, Stephen Palmer watches tanker ships on the horizon, waves crashing against the walls on the beach below his house in Cornwall. Other times he might see dolphins. But “always there’s the sound of the sea, which I love”.

Palmer is well-known globally for contributions to coaching psychology, stress management and Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (CBC). He’s known for his involvement in many projects and professional bodies, and for his high energy levels. The artistic, reflective and nature-loving side is less well-known.

Palmer does have fingers in many pies. Even in Cornwall, where he comes to reflect and to write, he is very productive. He has written and edited more than 40 books and more than 225 articles. He also produces seascape-inspired semi-abstract paintings and often explores the coastline.

Mind and body
Biology is one of many recurring and long-standing interests in Palmer’s life and work. Psychology is another. He’s been interested in human behaviour since childhood.

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How low can you go?

Persistent and widespread poor self-confidence is proving a major problem for one consumer goods firm. Coaching has worked before, but the problem is creeping back. What next for its HR manager? Harry is a senior-level HR practitioner in a large, fast-moving consumer goods organisation. The business has an ongoing problem of low self-confidence among staff, marked by a wide range of unproductive attitudes, feelings and behaviours. When setbacks or failures occur, staff confidence often buckles, which becomes an insidious and challenging source of interference to effective performance and wellbeing. The individuals demonstrate self-doubt, indecisiveness, isolation, disengagement and frustration, resulting in […]

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The remotest idea

Viewpoint Dr Suzanne Edinger How can virtual teams forge relationships without ever meeting? Perhaps coaching can bridge the gap. In my current research, I am investigating the role of different types of relationships among remote members of a virtual team – who don’t meet face to face – and also with their leaders, and how these particular relationships might lead to better team performance. If there’s no chance of members meeting in a single physical location, then trust and connection between those team members becomes particularly important. Of course, building trust among members is a key issue in any team. […]

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All is energy: transformational models use quantum physics

By Ros Soulsby Alan Seale, director of the Center for Transformational Presence, shared two models for cognitive and ‘energetic’ transformation in clients. His work is based on principles from ancient traditions and quantum physics: Everything is energy, constantly in motion, changing and how it is supposed to be Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. A problem is not something to be solved, but to be interested in. This means letting something show itself on its own terms. The universe is built on relationships – we coach a relationship; between the client and the organisation, not a situation. His […]

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Greater awareness of emotional styles can improve resilience

By Ros Soulsby More than any other factor, resilience determines who succeeds or fails, said Dean Becker at the ICF conference. Becker, managing director and co-founder of Adaptiv Learning Systems, drew on 30 thirty years of research in his session on resilience and connection. Adaptiv’s Resilience Factor Inventory (RFI) measures seven factors (emotional regulation, impulse control, causal analysis, self-efficacy, realistic optimism, reaching out and connection) and seven skills (discovering emotional radar, avoiding thinking traps, navigating problem icebergs, getting flexible around the style, harnessing positive emotions, tapping into positive icebergs and creating connection). The core of the work is credited to […]

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Brown: Embrace your vulnerability – it’s what makes you good enough

People who feel they are ‘good enough’ have in common an ability to feel and give love, to be vulnerable, to do creative things – and to take rest and play at least as seriously as they do work, said Brené Brown at the ICF conference. Brown carried out research to discover what allowed people to be ‘wholehearted’ (‘loving with their whole hearts’). She was surprised to find that a deep sense of love is the only variable in what allows people to feel they are ‘enough’. “This drove me crazy. I thought how can this be the only difference? […]

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Uncoachable? That’s so uncool!

International coach federation global conference, 3-6 October 2012, london Coaching is seen as ‘cool’ by JOEY Restaurant Group’s employees – and as the average age of its staff is only 25 years old, cool is all. Redefining coaching as cool, and gaining senior buy-in, were key in getting a coaching culture off the ground, said Marjorie Busse, lead coach/trainer at Essential Impact, which worked with JOEY to take its leadership development to the next level. The 25 most senior leaders in the Canada-based organisation are accredited coaches. “It’s almost uncool to be uncoachable,” said Andrew Martin, vice president of HR. […]

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Words of wisdom

Freud was a wonderful observer but a rotten model builder. There is no id, no super ego, no unconscious, etc. This is a set of metaphors for how the brain works…not facts PROFESSOR PAUL BROWN, AC CONFERENCE People have more potential than they think and they interfere with that potential more than they like to think TIM GALLWEY, AC CONFERENCE Evidence-based practice is becoming a bit of a plague for us REINHARD STELTER, EMCC RESEARCH CONFERENCE Preventing relapse in health coaching can be a problem for a stressed person. They may say to themselves: ‘One cigarette and/or drink won’t hurt. […]

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The health coaching toolkit: Part 3

Health coaching expert Professor Stephen Palmer focuses on the cognitive behavioural approach to health coaching.

The cognitive behavioural approach (Ref 12) to health coaching is based on helping a client to examine Health Inhibiting Thinking and strengthen Health Enhancing Thinking so they can achieve their desired Health Enhancing Behaviours and goals. It uses an overall structure to coaching meetings to maintain a business-like approach.

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The gift of giving

How do you reward high performing staff when bonuses are not an option? Music charity Youth Music and coaching and organisational development group Cocomotion, found a way, says Griff Griffiths, Alison Whybrow and Teresa Meek When HR consultant, Teresa Meek, was HR manager at children’s music charity Youth Music, she found herself at an impasse. She had a group of high performing staff, but lacked options to reward them for their efforts. It had crossed her mind that personal development coaching might be something the staff would value, but her initial searches for a supplier had been discouraging: costs were […]

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