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Category Archive: Blog

  1. Health, Wellness and / or Wellbeing. What should we be Aiming for?

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    The last post I wrote was on wellbeing. But the what is it really and if and how does health and wellness impact upon it? How do we know when we have health and wellbeing and is wellness health? What do these words or concepts actually mean for us in our day to day living, what should we be aiming for and how will we know when we’ve got it? How can we lead ourselves towards wellbeing? There doesn’t seem to be any consensus across the media on  what these terms mean or how to achieve them

    The purpose of this Blog post is therefore, to explore the types of information available about Health, Wellness and Welbeing so that we can better understand what we are aiming for. Before we do that I invite you now to spend a few moments to answer the following questions.
    • What does health mean to you?
    • How do you know you are well?
    • What does wellbeing mean to you and how do you know when you have it?

    Health
    Let’s look at health. In my experience health is often linked in our minds to hospitals and our doctor and to single issues like being overweight, having blood pressure, diabetes etc. And we often don’t think about it much until something goes wrong.

    The World Health organisation in 1946 said though, that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In 2011 they also said “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

    So, health then is broader than simply the absence of disease or disability and includes reaching potential, being productive and contributing. Health is in fact defined as a state of wellbeing and it is possible for everyone to achieve it. From this then it is clear that we must own and be responsible for and lead ourselves towards our own optimum health.

    Wellbeing
    Martin Seligman who is the founder of the Positive Psychology Movement and the author of Authentic Happiness and Flourish has developed what he calls Wellbeing Theory. He says that wellbeing has five parts to it and to achieve a feeling of wellbeing we need to experience all five:

    1. Positive emotion (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects)
    2. Engagement
    3. Relationships
    4. Meaning and purpose
    5. Accomplishment

    Seligman says that we can all learn and improve on these.

    Wellness
    Wellness Coaching Australia in their blog, says that wellness is about “improving our health (and fitness) to be the best it can be under our given circumstances so that our energy is optimised”. They suggest adding the Physical to Seligman’s definition of wellbeing.

    The University of Miami Wellness Centre states that “Wellness is the dynamic process of becoming aware of, taking responsibility for, and making choices that directly contribute to one’s well-being and that of the common good. It is the integration of body, mind and spirit and the ongoing development of one’s own meaning in life”.

    So wellness is about wellbeing and health in the context of energy, fitness and mind, body and spirit.

    Combining all Three
    Combining all three of these definitions makes it possible I think, for us to assess where we are in terms of our own health, wellness and wellbeing, where we want to go and from that we can work out how to lead ourselves towards what optimum health and wellbeing means for each of us.

    When we have optimum health, wellness and well-being we:
    • Have a purpose in life both broadly and within the activities that we do in our daily lives.
    • Strive to ensure our physical health is the best it can be given our individual circumstances. We are proactive about our physical health.
    • Are as fit as we can be given our individual circumstances.
    • Have energy and use it resourcefully.
    • Are engaged in activities that are meaningful for us in the mind, body and spirit.
    • Have choices and create opportunities to reach our full potential – we regularly accomplish things that have meaning for us.
    • Have meaningful relationships with others.
    • Contribute to our family, our community and to society.

    How does this list compare with the answers you came up with at the beginning of the blog post?

    I would love to hear your thoughts and what health, wellness and wellbeing mean to you and if you struggle in this area, shoot me a mail and we can have a chat to see if wellness coaching might help you.

  2. A Person Centred Approach to Creating Wellbeing at Work

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    The concept of Person Centredness comes from Carl Rogers who took the  approach of partnering with clients or patients with respect, through empathy and with unconditional positive regard to enable and support them to find their own way. This approach is optimistic, collaborative, comes from a place of trust and views people from the perspective of their potential and ability to learn, grow, and solve their own problems (Corey 2017). These core concepts are I believe, central to building a good strong relationship in any context including at work and also underpin good leadership practices.  So what has that got to do wth wellbeing? Well, as you can see from the definitions of wellbeing below, there is a lot of synergy between these two concepts.

    Martin Seligman describes wellbeing as being made up of 5 elements, referred to by the acronym PERMA:

    • Experiencing Positive Emotions
    • Engagement
    • Positive Relationships
    • Meaning (belonging, serving)
    • Accomplishment (personally achieving things)

    The 5 Elements of wellbeing described by(Rath and Hartner (2010) build on this and link wellbeing to work: As you can see there is some cross over here with Seligman’s list above:

    • Career Wellbeing (liking what you do)
    • Social Wellbeing (having strong relationships)
    • Financial Wellbeing
    • Physical Wellbeing
    • Community Wellbeing

    That it is important for each of us to consistently experience a sense of wellbeing is well known and information about it can be found in books, academia, government publications and the media. Less clear, is the level of responsibility employers have to improve the wellbeing of their employees.

    When we consider our workplace and the work that we do though, it is clear that experiencing a sense of wellbeing is not something we can or should save for when we get home. Every one of the elements listed is relevant across our lives. This is significant when you consider how much time each of us spends at work.

    Given that wellbeing at work is important, it follows that one of the key roles of a leader should be the creation of an environment in which people consistently experience wellbeing and person centred leadership by its very nature, can foster this. However, if we all embrace Person Centredness at work we can all make an impact on our own and other peoples wellbeing too. We can do this by being person centred and:

    • Seeing people as partners
    • Valuing others
    • Being kind, empathetic, genuine and respectful and
    • Seeking to understand where others are coming from and what is important to them

    Below are a few ideas of things you can do to build upon this foundation and begin to foster a sense of wellbeing in your workplace:

    1. Have a chat with your team about your collective purpose. Why do you as a team do what you do? How does each individual in the team contribute to this? This will help people to feel valued and also fosters appreciation across the team.
    2. Determine a team legacy that you would all like to leave and help each person see how they can contribute to that.
    3. Help people set long term and short term personal work related goals that are measurable and achievable and that are related to this purpose and legacy.
    4. Regularly acknowledge good work and at the same time connect people to the impact that their good work has on both the team objectives and also on the wider organisational objectives.
    5. Make sure that people have autonomy. If they have no control over what they have to do, help them to takecontrol over how they get it done. Link what they are doing back to purpose.
    6. Stop and look back often – help people see and celebrate how far they have come, what they have achieved and how it has contributed to the team and organisations goals.
    7. Recognise the social aspect of work and it’s importance. Connect with people and help them to connect with each other.

    I would really be interested to hear your views about wellbeing in the workplace, things you are doing and any initiatives that are working or not working.

    If you would like to chat about wellbeing generally or at work please give me a call on 0421 775 924 or email debra.pittam@personcentredleadership.com

    You can also download my 3 Keys to Health and Wellbeing from this page here

    References

    Corey, G (2017). Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy 10thEd. Boston, USA: Cengage Learning

    Seligman, M. (2011).  Flourish: A visionary new understanding of Happiness and Well-being.  New York, Atria Paperback.

    Rath, T., & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing: The five essential elements. New York, NY, US: Gallup Press.

     

  3. A Personal Overview of Person Centred Leadership

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    This mandala describes how I perceive person centred leadership. This framework underpins how I go out into the world both personally (as you can’t separate personhood from leadership) and in relation to both how I approach coaching, leadership and leadership development. As you can see there are two aspects to it: personal elements and practical skills and capabilities. If you are, or aspire to be a person centred leader, how does this match with your views and experiences?

  4. What Do You Stand For as a Leader?

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    In my coaching work I notice that sometimes leaders can have difficulty articulating what they stand for. This can be problematic because if you can’t express where you are leading people too and why, how you expect them to get there and how you expect them to behave, all you can do is tell people what you don’t want. Imagine a leader who is unclear in their mind about their standards, having a conversation with a team member whose behaviour is unacceptable. Imagine every time there is a meeting for example, the same team member is consistently disruptive and argumentative and every time their manager tells them they want them to stop the behaviour. And nothing changes. So frustrating. 

    Now imagine the same leader who has really thought about and can express what they stand for. They can talk about what kind of workplace they are aiming for and how they want people to feel about it. They have made clear the standard of service and the results they expect to be delivered and the behaviours that will support that. They and their team know what their shared workplace values are and the positive behaviours attached to them. Everyone is also clear about which behaviours which are unacceptable and can and do call out unacceptable behaviour. This leader would have told the team member above that their behaviour is unacceptable, they would have told them what specific behaviours are not ok they would have let them know what behaviours are expected. They would work with them to help them make the changes they need to make.

    So what makes up a leadership standard and how can you determine yours?

    Most leaders I have worked with around this issue do know exactly what they stand for, which is why I have identified the missing piece as the articulation, not the standard. Creating self awareness around what you stand for as a leader is not hard, it just requires a bit of time and effort to really think about it. In my experience it is comprised of your personal values and beliefs and your professional and workplace frameworks (for example codes of conduct and codes of ethics), combined with your leadership vision for your team or organisation.

    Leaders who can clearly express this aspect of their leadership are in a much better position to influence team and workplace culture than those who have yet to develop this capability. So if you you are unclear around your leadership standard, choose your best self reflection mechanism whether it be a brainstorming, mind mapping, listing or drawing, walking, painting or dancing and dive in. You will be pleased that you did.

    If you would like to find out more about coaching or our online courses for women, give me a call on +61 421 775 924 or email debra.pittam@personcentredleadership.com

     

  5. 8 Key Things to Expect from an Executive or Leadership Coach

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    I find when I am beginning a coaching relationship with a coachee – especially if they haven’t personally sought coaching (e.g. if coaching has been suggested by a manager or is a mandatory part of a leadership development program) that people often don’t know what to expect. This can result initially and understandably in defensiveness, confusion, anxiety and lack of engagement. As a result, building a positive coaching relationship can be impacted at least initially.

    I am writing this to share with those I work with to give us a starting point from which to begin a conversation and though which we can develop a shared understating about leadership coaching as it relates to them. I thought I would share it with you too.

    What you should expect…

    1. An equal, professional, collaborative and respectful relationship.
    2. Your coach to create with you and for you, a learning space that is both challenging and supportive.
    3. A focus on your strengths.
    4. Commitment from your coach to your learning, development and outcomes and expect your coach to require your commitment to the coaching relationship, process and the outcomes.
    5. An assessment and initial session to help you understand where you are (e.g. 360 feedback, EDISC), what your strengths are, where you want to be and how to get there as well as how the coaching process will support that.
    6. That the goals you set will be focused on the professional context.
    7. Because leadership is about who we are and how show up and how we influence, expect that you are likely to apply your learnings and changes across your life.
    8. That learning and change is a complex process that happens over time. You should expect the occasional light bulb moment, but coaching is not a quick fix – you will need to work at it.

    You should also expect:

    ·     A dialogue

    ·     To learn about human behaviour

    ·     Uncertainty sometimes

    ·     The unexpected sometimes

    ·     Excitement and inspiration

    ·     To think differently

    ·     To try new things

    ·     To laugh

    ·     To be acknowledged

    ·     To gain personal insights

    ·     That with effort and hard work you will be able to change the way you think and behave so that you can reach the goals you set

    Leadership coaching is a complex, multifaceted and individualised process  and if you are a coach or have worked with a coach I have no doubt you could add to this list. I would love to see your thoughts  in the comments section.

    For more information about leadership coaching call 0421 775 924 or email debra.pittam@personcentredleadership.com

    Web: Personcentredleadership.com.au

    References

    Coaching for Leadership (3rd ed.), 2012. Goldsmith G., Lyons, L. S., McArthur, S. Ed. Pffeifer

    A Guide to Third Generation Coaching. Narrative-Collaborative Theory and Practice (2012). Steltler, R. Springer.

  6. Feedback: love it or dread it?

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    What are the first words that come into your head when you think about

    • Giving feedback?
    • Receiving feedback?

    David Rock (2008) tell us that when we hear the word ‘feedback’ our brain responds as though someone is walking behind us down a dark alley. Do you answers to the above questions reflect that?

    Feedback, both positive and negative is of course central to learning. In such a changing world of work in which we must constantly learn and grow, it is important that we can both give and receive feedback well.

    Lets see if we can change our perceptions about feedback. This is what I believe about it:

    • Feedback stops gossip
    • Feedback helps us and helps others
    • Through feedback people learn and grow – it is a gift
    • Through feedback we can learn more about ourselves and become better people
    • It’s normal and ok to feel defensive during or immediately after receiving negative feedback. It’s what you do with the information that is important
    • Asking for feedback about specific areas that you would like to develop is empowering and assists the feedback giver to know how to best respond

    There is no magic formula for giving either positive or negative feedback. You can find many resources and frameworks. What is important is to:

    • Don’t only give negative feedback. When you see people doing something well or achieving something, tell them
    • Be authentic and do it from a place of caring about the person
    • Make sure constructive or negative feedback occurs as soon after you have noticed the need for it as possible
    • Be direct
    • Give constructive or negative feedback in private
    • Find out how each person you work with likes to receive both positive and negative feedback

    Also, while it important to consider all feedback, you don’t have to accept all of the feedback you receive. You can choose what is relevant to you and your situation based on :

    • Who the giver is, in relation to their relationship to you and their level of  experience, knowledge and competence in the area they are providing you feedback in
    • Whether or not you believe the intention of the feedback is to serve you and help you grow or to diminish you in some way
    • What your personal development goals are

    How are your perceptions and beliefs about feedback serving you?

    Once you begin to view feedback differently you will feel differently about giving and receiving it. The only thing left to do then, is to find a way using your existing communication skills, or by developing new ones with which you are comfortable to make it an even better experience.

    This article has been adapted from our online course Women in Leadership  If you would like more information about that or coaching, please give me a call on  0421 775 924.

    Reference

    David Rock, SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others, Neuron Leadership Journal, Issue one, 2008

  7. What lies ahead for your career this year?

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    As we get to this time of year, a whole load of achievements behind us and a new year ahead, it is a good time to think about what next. In Australia many are heading for a summer break from work and this can often be a catalyst to considering where next in career.

    I notice as I say in this video, that many people, when they think about what next, rather than setting goals for what they want, focus on  what they don’t want. This is called moving away rather than moving towards and can affect the outcome in a negative way.

    Have a listen. I would love to hear your thoughts and a,so hear about any previous experiences you have had with moving away or moving towards. Also I am talking about career and work roles here, but you can apply this to anything, education, retirement, holiday planning… The list goes on  …

     

  8. How to Change Your Mood and Emotions to Suit Your Situation

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    Sometimes the emotion we have is not the emotion we need. We may wish to feel energised, calm, empowered or social when we actually feel lethargic, apprehensive, impatient or don’t feel like being part of a group. In this video I talk about some of the things that I do when this happens. How do you change your mood and emotions when you need to?

  9. Building Connections with Others: the Barriers and the Benefits

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    I spent three days last weekend making some new connections in a group setting over a three day learning intensive. Building new relationships and connecting with people in a deep way takes time and effort and one of the conversations we had, as we formed our connections in the group,  was about the challenge of forming close relationships that have meaning in the context of our increasingly busy lives. Added to that, we thought the impact of the more superficial communication that occurs on social media may be influencing off line communication too.

    Perhaps we have forgotten how to be vulnerable and open with others. Perhaps we have forgotten how to sit and be with, and there for, others. Perhaps we are unwilling to experience the emotional discomfort that accompanies forming a significant friendship. Perhaps we don’t want to show our true selves for fear of judgement. This is a worrisome thought as social isolation and loneliness have the potential to negatively impact our general mental and physical health.

    I wrote the poem below as a way of processing my learnings about the journey of becoming known and of knowing others and how important that is. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    To Be Known

     

    To be known

    Is the greatest gift.

    To be known is to be seen

    And understood

    In ones full specialness

    And marvellous oddity

     

    Becoming known is to be exposed

    To be seen raw

    To feel less than,

    Not enough.

    To wonder ‘what do they think of me?’

    To feel afraid and

    Unprotected.

     

    Becoming known is

    To be vulnerable

    To risk

    Being misheard,

    Misunderstood, misinterpreted.

    To have meanings made that were not meant.

    To feel exposed.

     

    Becoming known

    Takes courage

    And sometimes wine.

    To challenge, to debate,

    Agree, and disagree

    To try and understand

    To feel open hearted

     

    Becoming known is

    To be open, curious, accepting

    To laugh and to cry.

    Enjoying moments upon moments

    Together.

    A two way street

    To feel connected

     

    To be known

    Is friendship

    Is love

    To be known and to know

    Is familiarity, and comfort.

    Like the relief of coming home.

     

     

     

     

  10. Finding Purpose and Meaning in Mid Life

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    If you are between 45 and 55 you have 10 – 20 years of work ahead of you. Do you have career goals and a plan to help you gain satisfaction and find meaning and purpose in the working years ahead and beyond? Many people I speak to don’t. Some are waiting for retirement and all the good they perceive it will bring. They’re waiting in jobs they at best dislike and at worst hate. This is not good for health and wellbeing. This is not good for workplace productivity, workplace culture and society as a whole either.

    Also there is danger that retirement will arrive and life won’t be better. A lack of purpose and associated goals is not good for the soul and is a recipe for further dissatisfaction. Waiting doesn’t fix things, planning and taking action does.

    What can you do to find purpose and meaning in your working life and beyond?

    If you need help to explore your options and possibilities, coaching might be the answer. Give me a call to discuss how that might work 0421 775 924 or email debra.pittam@personcentredladership.com

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