The Smart School Blog
Keeping you up to date with Smart School news and views
Are you planning your 2013 business or life yet?
So many people make New Year’s resolutions that fail at the first hurdle.
But what about planning what you want to achieve? How many of us really do that?
I thought I’d share my plans for 2013 at the Smart School and my role in it as the founder. So, in the famous words of Dermot O’Leary – in no particular order…
- The continued improvement and growth of the core programmes including the launch of Dynamic Youth Coaching and a Health and Wellness Coaching programme.
- Cutting down on the number of coaching intakes to allow our head of course, Paul Kensett, to focus on developing other aspects of the programme including, potentially, a Master Coaching Programme.
- Launching the Master NLP Therapist Programme in April with Peggy Guglielmino.
- Revealing a beautiful new website in the second quarter of 2013 with unique sub-sites for each programme enabling us to share our message more fully with people interested in what we do.
- Running two major conferences – one on Authentic Happiness and another on Reclaim your Power and I’ll be looking for Smart School coaches as well as some bigger names to speak at these.
As for me, I have decided to stop training personally next year other than completing the programme for my lovely Rapid Results Business Coaching group and honing the Existential Course in February and May.
Finally, I plan to make a documentary style video on the issues that we confront at the Smart School in terms of why people need coaches and NLP practitioners and how culture locks people into certain ways of thinking about themselves.
So that’s my plan for 2013 – what’s yours?Filed Under From the Director's Chair
Many people who train at the Smart School want to create a living as a coach or, as is often the case, blend coaching with an existing therapeutic practice.
For those who want to use coaching in the work place, the title of this post won’t have much relevance but for many it’s a real and present issue.
We’re asked it a lot! “Can you make a living as a life coach?”
And my answer is typically – if you’re prepared to do what it takes.
You see, learning how to be a coach is not the same as being one. If I were to go on a plumbing course, I wouldn’t magically turn into a professional plumber with requisite boiler suit, van and list of houses to attend. I’d have to take that new skill and find people (or get found by people) who need it.
Interestingly, what most people REALLY mean is – will people pay for life coaching? Is there a market for it? And the answer to that one is much simpler. Yes!
People can and do pay for coaching both in the business setting and in their wider personal life. People will pay for something if it gives them the value they’re after. And if that something is a change in their life and they understand how you’re part of their journey to making that change, then yes, they’ll pay.
So once more it comes back to you. Are you prepared to do what’s needed?
The coaches who succeed learn quickly that you need to get active making connections. That could be in your local town or your industry or in a given niche. It doesn’t really matter too much which you choose so long as you know what you stand for, what change you can bring about and then meet people who need what you do.
And as a life coach, that could be anyone! So you need to talk to people. Not SELL to them. Talk to them. Find out what’s happening in their life, what they’re frustrated with, what they’d like to have or to achieve, what’s stopping them.
And then, IF you think you’re the right person for them, you tell them so.
Learn these words carefully: “I can help!” and make sure you believe it because if you don’t they won’t!
The truth is that there is a huge market for life coaching. It’s just that most coaches shrink from putting themselves “out there” for fear of rejection or looking salesy!
I say, get over it! You have a job to do to help people grow and to reclaim their power to make choices. As a coach you have this skill. How could you not go and do it?
Filed Under From the Director's Chair
Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the day to day activity of what you do. And that’s as true for me as for anyone.
So I like to step back and remind myself of the reasons behind what I do.
You see, if you think about it, training coaches and NLP therapists is an odd kind of profession. It didn’t exist 30 years ago and it might not exist in 30 years time! I have no idea!
But what will still exist though is the reason behind what I do. That’s because there is a value behind things which is much greater than than the tasks you do to achieve it. In my case, there is a value that training coaches and therapists allows me to achieve.
I was thinking about this today and spoke to my trainers and some friends to ask what they thought it was all about. After all, sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees and outside eyes can add perspective. I asked, “what is the purpose that drives our activity. It’s not training coaches – that’s the thing we do. The question is why?”
Now at this point, it’s easy to get caught up in fine words and high-sounding principles. But to me, it’s important to get to what’s really true. It’s time to get rid of the aspirational language and know what you believe in your very core.
So I stripped away the language that didn’t resonate with me – living with passion, being the very best etc - I don’t think these are at the root of what we do. I think it’s perfectly OK to live non-passionately so long as you’re happy. Who ever said we had to wake up every day with passion pounding in our heart. Is it even realistic? And who said we have to be our very best! To me that sounds like hard work. Your very best! Blimey, that’s hard going!
I realised that for me, the value at the heart of it all was a belief.
A belief that we all have the ability to choose the life we want to lead.
That life doesn’t have to be defined by particular qualities like excellence, spirituality, passion, success or being the best. It’s defined by you. It’s your life. But it is a choice.
This isn’t some utopian doctrine that we can all easily be happy or even that we deserve to be. We don’t! There is no deserve. There’s just the results of the choices we make (or don’t make.)
I believe we can all choose the life we want to create and we all have it within us to face the challenges along the way. Whether we get it or not depends on how we take responsibility for making it happen. And perhaps there’s even a dollop of luck involved – who knows!
So what’s that got to do with coaches then?
Well, although my belief is that we all have the ability to choose our future, I see all around me people not making those choices. They grumble, make excuses, blame the government, their ex or their boss. They don’t act now, they didn’t act then and they probably won’t act when. Some people look to themselves as not good enough, others look to their environment as not good enough and others look to bad luck. Some just grow careless about their lives – learned helplessness.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the 18th century philosopher said “Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.” Although he was referring to political chains, his words are equally relevant now except the chains today are largely made in the mind.
In short, I see people stuck in patterns of behaviour, thoughts and beliefs that leave them feeling disempowered. But notice that word though. They feel disempowered but they’re not actually disempowered.
At any time, anyone can make new choices and new decisions. They can act differently and get different outcomes in their life. And I believe that this the most important realisation anyone can have. You are not a slave of your past, present or future. You always have the key to the perceived chains.
So training coaches and NLP therapists is my contribution to changing this in some small way. The guys we train go out and make a difference in people’s lives by showing them that they have choices and helping them step into them.
And as we train our coaches and therapists, not only do we give them the space to change their lives but we help them change the lives of many more through the work they do with their clients.
For me it is so clear that almost everything we have in our lives is the result of choice. And, yes, sometimes that belief can be uncomfortable and challenging. But it’s a far more empowering belief. And in all we do here at the Smart School we’re ultimately aiming to help people to take back their choice of the life they want to live.
That belief in our power to choose existed long before me and it’ll exist long after me. I merely carry the torch for it in my own way right now.
That’s why we do what we do.Filed Under From the Director's Chair
A few days ago, we ran a webinar on Life as an NLP Therapist.
And an interesting question came up. Why NLP rather than coaching? Or, indeed, why not the other way round.
The odd thing was that Peggy (our head of NLP) and I (a dyed in the wool coach) instinctively felt we knew the answer but we could neither of us fully put it into words. You see here at the Smart School, coaching has become increasingly transformational. Long gone are the days when coaching was just about planning a series of actions (actually, in many places outside the Smart School, that attitude still exists but let’s not worry about that here!)
And so any simple answer that coaching only deals with tasks and clarity of action and NLP/hypnotherapy with the deep issues that block us was clearly not right.
There was something else at stake that would mean someone should choose one over the other OR decide to master both to get the best of both worlds.
But what worlds? What’s the terrain? What’s the atmosphere?
And the more we tried to pin it down, the more like mist it was to say something that concretely separated them. We felt it but we couldn’t voice it. So we pondered, we debated, we questioned and we examined.
And we reached a conclusion, of sorts.
It seems to us that it’s like a Venn diagram. There’s a crossover where coaching and NLP look, sound and feel like each other. But there are parts that differ significantly and it’s in those parts that the distinctive qualities, the je ne sais quoi (Peggy will like that as she’s from Nice in sunny south France!) exist.
Peggy spoke about how we she helped a client with Crohn’s disease to recover faster from surgery not through any specific actions on his part but through a change in his own sense of mind/body connection. As a coach, I couldn’t do what Peggy did. I might help someone manage an illness more effectively but I couldn’t create an unconscious shift in the body’s ability to heal itself.
But as a coach, I would have all the tools and understanding to help someone think through at a conscious level their choices, decisions, actions, perceptions and thoughts. I would have more tools perhaps to bring to conscious awareness the unconscious thoughts and beliefs.
Was that it, then? Was it a divide between conscious discovery in coaching and unconscious change in NLP/hypnotherapy.
Well, yes and no! Life is never so simple. You see, although in coaching, we are working at a conscious level, the client’s unconscious is still at play. And although in NLP, the unconscious plays such a big role, the conscious mind is (usually) still engaged.
But I think we can say this:
Someone who invests their time and energy in mastering NLP and hypnotherapy does so because it offers them the ability to work with clients at a deep level of unconscious change on emotional and perceptual blocks that manifest themselves in ways often remote from the source.
And people who spend their time mastering coaching want to be able to work first and foremost at the conscious level using a range of approaches to help clients learn through active awareness and specific actions.
Now I KNOW that there will be NLP practitioners screaming at this blog, defaming my name for such a simple distinction. And I KNOW there will be coaches turning in disgust from their screens at my philistine conclusion. But this post is opening a debate and raising one way to see the difference. It’s not conclusive and it’s not definitive. But it’s a start!
And in the end, it seems to me, it comes down to two core questions:
Firstly, for you, what way of working resonates with you? What excites you and appeals to your way of thinking and doing things? Explore coaching and NLP/hypnotherapy and see what you prefer.
And then thinking of your future clients, what do they need from you? Who are the clients you want to help and what approach is most appropriate? Would hypnotherapy or specific NLP processes gel with them or would it fall on stony ground? Would coaching be able to reach the parts that your client group needs?
Or do you need both? Do you need to integrate the skills?
You see, both coaching and NLP bring important and unique strengths to client work in the change field. For some people, learning and mastering both will be an essential journey where for others knowing what work they want to do and deciding which best fits that work is an important step to taking the right journey.
If you want to know more about NLP and even experience some of its power, then book a place at our NLP Therapy Discovery Day. And if you want to know more about transformational coaching, book your place at our Coaching Discovery Day. It’s a great way to start your own journey.
Filed Under From the Director's Chair, NLP & Hypnotherapy, Transformational Coaching
Once again this year, the Smart School will be Cam Expo, www.camexpo.co.uk, where we’ll be sharing our unique approach to coaching and NLP Hypnotherapy with the visitors.
As the UK’s “only dedicated event for the complementary, natural and integrated healthcare sector”, this is a brilliant and vibrant show for anyone interested in this area.
The show takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 20th & 21st October at Earls Court.
Why not come down and meet us at stand 2535. We’d love to see you there!Filed Under From the Director's Chair
- 2013 beckons! This is our year, what’s yours?
- Can you make a living as a life coach?
- The belief at the very heart of the Smart School
- NLP or coaching? Choices, choices…
- We’re at CamExpo – come and say hello!
- Why do we always have to be different?
- Is transformational coaching just a trendy buzzword?
- Proud to be recognised!
- 4 years old this month – a message to our students
- Parental messages in coaching