New Coaching Qualification now available: NLP Coaching Diploma – Certified By ANLP !

I am delighted to announce that my 4 day NLP Coaching Diploma is now certified and will be offered as both an open course in 2016 as well as the option of running it in-house for clients.

The qualification gives delegates a first level internationally recognised NLP qualification, applied to a Coaching context.

The first 3 successful candidates are shown below receiving their certificates and Jim Maguire has also written a piece ……………his own inimitable take on his course experience……….do read on…………..

forence-alison
With Andrea Wilson HR Manager

florence-andrew
With Andrew Reay Human Resources Adviser

From Guinea Pig to Pioneer….

Jim Maguire
Community and Leisure Manager South Lakeland District Council,
NLP Business Practitioner and now NLP Coaching Diploma

4 days and 2 stones lighter our three intrepid heroes set off on a quest…… a quest that would take them through raging torrents, over burning heather and to a brave new world of peace and tranquillity.

They commence the journey as Guinea Pigs and end as Pioneers, hailed by all for enduring the rigours of yet another excellent course with Sansei Madden, the great and all-knowing leader, mentor and coach.

As our intrepid heroes (or Guinea Pigs) arrived at the pre-arranged rendezvous, they are met by a scene of wild animals roaming the land and are soon lulled into a false sense of security with the offer of tea and bacon buns. The weather is sunny, birds are singing in the trees and our clan makes good progress as they discover frames and well-formed outcomes. As they travel they encounter strange new worlds and “thinking environments”; they have a flutter at the TOTE.

Lunch is provided by Sansei and cooked by her own fair hand. After a snooze under a bush at the bottom of the garden (lunch had been rather too filling for some), our team is assembled and on it canters. The day ends with feedback (more foodie themes!) and the tastes and smells of the day are recounted and appreciated. Our band disembarks and travels home, vowing to return again to this mystical land.

Day 2 commences once again with the temptations of the kitchen. French cuisine awaits….. with croissants, jam and proper coffee. As they gain speed and confidence the clan moves more carefully and starts to “walk the logical levels” to a land of wonderment and adventure where behaviours are altered, skills are considered and empowered with new values and identities, their mission for lunch continues. Once again lunch is served with wild animals roaming the lands where summer fruits are picked and served with locally-sourced coconut into a pudding (the best summer fruits pudding this side of anywhere you may care to mention I might add). The incisive question on all our explorer’s lips was “shall I have seconds?”

On the third day of our brave quest it begins much the same as the others with hearty breakfasts and merriment around the kitchen table (we could easily get used to this). Their guide soon has the crew exploring new dark corners as we whisk our way towards “Meta Model” land where their patterns and language are soon exposed for all the world to see. They had all pre-supposed that their journey was nearing an end (after another tiny dinner) and yet no they still had further to go.
The journey was now nearing an end.

The final day began in the office. It was just another Friday at work. Our travellers had now been back in the real world for a couple of weeks and much had changed. “Why” you ask? Even “why” had actually changed… and is now just a three letter word that is seldom if ever heard from our clan’s lips these days. Their guide couldn’t let the opportunity pass without once again taking pity on our poor band of heroes and brought yet more gifts in the form of clean questions and cake (lemon drizzle yum).

The intrepid band of colleagues and friends had reached journey’s end. Hailed no longer as Guinea Pigs and now acclaimed by all the world as Pioneers. The first ever NLP Coaching Diploma holders with Florence Madden Associates.

Footnote: Florence Madden would like to point out that the catering so described is not a normal part of the syllabus …………………and to offer deep gratitude to Jim, Andrea and Andrew who were the inspiration behind the development of this new course !!

Are we there yet?

Lesley McDonald NLP Master Trainer & Coach at Lesley McDonald Associates

I remember once boarding a train for London; I was travelling from Edinburgh. The journey takes about 4 ½ hours, and as I settled into my seat and the train slid from the station, I heard a little girl ask her mother ‘Are we there yet?!’

I admit it! I inwardly sighed just a bit, knowing only too well it was unlikely to be the last time I’d hear this question over the coming hours!

And yet, even as an adult, it is often an unvoiced question that accompanies me, when I’m embarking upon or progressing on a project… or on bad days ‘Am I ever going to get there?!’

The difficulty with these types of question has never been so clear to me, as when I was recently embarked on a 90-day challenge. The challenge was to record a video, everyday for 90 days and post the result online.

My reason for taking the challenge was to get comfortable in front of the camera, so I could be relaxed recording webinars in the future, if I wished.

I started well and up until around day 50 I post every day, though from as early as about day 5 I began to lose track of how many videos I had actually recorded! Each one blurred into the next and then every-so-often I would do a count and keep going.

Somewhere between day 50 and 60 I fell off the wagon!! I missed a day but immediately videoed again the following day. Somewhere between day 60 and 70 I missed a few more, and again picked things up and continued.

By this time I had only the vaguest idea of how many videos I had to go. At one point, the rate of filming seemed to be slowing exponentially, which would mean day 90 was now, theoretically at least, stretching out towards infinity, or at least it’s how it felt.

With my motivation wavering, I limped along filming sporadically but crucially I did keep going. With what I thought was about half a dozen videos to go I decided I would count again and go for one more push.

This time though I even put off counting them!! When I finally got around it I was hoping I was in the 80s. I was.

In fact the last video, which I had recorded a couple of weeks earlier, had been video 89!!!! Video 89!! I couldn’t quite believe it. Only one video to go!

If only I’d known, I’d have got on with it! Yet a bit disheartened and demotivated, I could have given up! It struck me that for some projects we don’t know how close we might be, some projects require a degree of faith as well as effort !

And I wondered how often we maybe give up, when we are so much closer to achieving our goals, than we realise; when we are within a whisker of the finishing line, of achieving the result.

It was a bit of a moment for me! I wondered what had kept me going, even with all the hiatuses, distractions, and procrastinations!!

In the end, it was a combination of the support I had from people watching the videos, along with the commitment I’d made, right at the beginning, to complete 90 days of videos, and not the proximity to the result.

I had wavered plenty, I’d fallen off the wagon on numerous occasions and I gone plain AWOL more than once, but the support and the commitment to complete continued to bring me back on track.

The last video was easy! It would have been just as easy a couple of weeks earlier, if I’d kept my eye on the prize, rather than the distance I may or may not have had to travel!

And now I’m wondering about your goals, outcomes, and projects. The ones that are important to you, how close you might be, and how you might keep moving, even when the actual distance to the destination isn’t clear.

What is it about the goal that is important to you? What support might you get, what commitment might you make to keep yourself on track when the bright lights of procrastination and distractions attempt to tempt you away?!

How can you keep yourself going without getting disheartened just because you you’re not quite there yet?!

It can sometimes be tempting to give up, especially when it appears as if not much is happening, or as if we’re not getting anywhere fast.

It’s natural when working on a challenging goal or project to want to give up at times, to walk away! And yet I wonder how often we maybe give up too soon, so close to success, without ever even knowing it!

Lesley’s website is: www.lesleymcdonald.co.uk

You might be interested in…….

This inspiring 12 minute TED talk by Simon Sinek ‘Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe’ click on the link:

www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe#t-475634

Thank you to my lovely friend and associate Steven Cartwright of for this recommendation!

The Path

The Path
By Janet Fergsuon

Almost every day Jessie walked along the same road along near the lake from the bridge back to the house. She walked along the smooth tarmac  surface of the winding road, sheltered by the huge oak trees, following the bends in the road, taking the quickest and safest way from the bridge to the old house. Nothing new was likely to disturb her going this way though it did vary slightly depending on the season, the visitors and the weather. She could see the edge of the lake below her, sometimes it seemed to creep closer, at other times it was more distant, either disturbed by the wind and white horses across the surface of the water or smooth as glass, perfectly reflecting the mountains on the far shore.

One day after crossing the bridge she noticed the gate to a narrow path leading down uneven steps to the side of the lake. She had seen the gate before but never chose to go through it, preferring the well known road she was used to travelling. Today though the sun was shining enticingly on the water below and the gate was half open, inviting her to go through.

Hesitantly she decided to go through the gate and down the steps towards the edge of the glinting blue water. The steps were rough and uneven and she had to tread carefully. At the bottom of the steps the path was covered in pebbles of different shapes and sizes making her feel anxious. She could hear strange rustling noises in the plants and bushes around her and her heart started to beat faster as she thought about the wildlife around her.  She wondered if she should go back to the safety of the road, but instead she decided to carry on a little further.

As she walked along she became aware of the profusion of wild garlic amongst the undergrowth perfuming the air around her. She ventured further along the uneven, stoney path, climbing over the huge roots of trees, then finding stepping stones to cross a stream which suddenly emerged from somewhere underneath the road and and then merged into the lake.  Then through the bushes she caught sight of a duck followed by a line of bright yellow ducklings gliding along the water, which she would not have been able to see from the road.

The Rainbow

The Rainbow
By Gillian Dixon

Once upon a time in a land far away where everyone lived in beautiful little cottages with thatched roofs and colourful gardens. Playgrounds and schools full of happy children, couples strolling through the park, grandparents sitting in the sunshine alongside the river, lived a magical but slightly sad rainbow called Archie.

Archie was really, really beautiful with particularly radiant colours. His red shone and sparkled like rubies over the land whilst his orange was tangy and succulent like freshly squeezed oranges ready to drink. His yellow felt like the sun, warm, inviting and inspiring and his green was the colour of emeralds deep and exquisite. The blue was like the deepest ocean, you could almost imagine hearing the waves crashing and the sensation of sand in between your toes as you lost yourself further and further in the water. Now the indigo, well that was very special, it had a sparkle as though it was made of fairy dust and you could imagine receiving a gentle dusting every time you saw it and it stayed with you for some time. Archie was finished off with a perfect arch of Violet with a softness and a warmth like the best hug you have ever had with love and feeling and an overwhelming sense of security.

Now you may be wondering why Archie felt sad when all the other rainbows envied his radiance and the people adored him. They gazed in awe at his ability to radiate so much to so many people, that his arch was so perfect and seemed to be set at such an angle that all his colours stood out the way they did. The people were lucky to have such a rainbow. The other rainbows all had their own unique gifts but none quite like Archie.

Archie saw where his feet touched the soft grass that smelt fresh and gently waved in the breeze tickling his toes, and whilst he loved being able to watch all the people go about their daily activities a part of him wished he was one of them rather than a rainbow with big feet and an upside down smile. He resented his arch, he saw the people coming to and from their homes, playing in the park, swimming in the river or just strolling through the town and he longed to have a purpose, a real sense of belonging.

Every now and then just as the rain started to stop and the sun started to peak out he would see people look up to the sky and he would watch their faces in amazement. Sometimes he would see a child look to the sky through their tears because they had just been told off for making a mess and as he watched the child he would see them stop crying and smile as though they had just been given a huge loving hug like being wrapped up in a warm cosy blanket. He would see happy children look to the sky and it would be as if they had been hit with a flash of energy giving them a burst of creativity and inspiration and the things Archie would then see them do made him smile at their mischief and adventure. Another child would look with wonder and awe and he recognised feelings like happiness, belief, security, warmth and love just from the emotions on their face. Archie would follow that person for some time after, watching how they grew in confidence and contentment.

Now I started this story by introducing you to a slightly sad rainbow called Archie. Archie felt such frustration that he could not look up and see what the people could see. He could swear that they walked away from looking at whatever it was they had seen as if they had been sprinkled with magical fairy dust…….

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy Cat
By Oliver Shimell

The owl and the pussy cat went to sea in a wholly inadequate boat. They took some honey and plenty of money all wrapped up in a five pound note. So as you can see from the outset the owl and the pussy cat were not natural sailors.

The pussy cat turned to the elegant fowl and asked if she had remembered the map. The owl replied that alas she had left it at home. The cat, not overly surprised by the owl’s forgetful nature, merely wrinkled its nose, flicked its tail and settled down on the warm boat’s deck. The rhythmic, swish and sway of the water, lapping against the boat’s sides soon sent the cat into a deep and pleasant slumber with the taste of the salt water fresh upon his lips. The cat closed its furry lids with the echoes of seagulls singing to one another upon high.

As time went swiftly by, as it does when you’re having a good time, the weather took a turn for the worse. The waves grew higher and higher, lapping over their small boat. The sound of the soaring seagulls playing in the summer’s sky were replaced by the hiss and the fizz and the boil of the now tumultuous sea were the sounds that awoke the cat from his pleasant dreams.

Evening had fallen, with night in close and malevolent pursuit. The pervasive darkness seemed to strangle all that was left of the day’s warmth and cheer and this combined with the monstrous waves left the cat feeling like she had all but lost her once perfect sight and most of all the cat was beginning to grow rather afraid of it all.

A small, perfect and pearl shaped tear fell from the cat’s eye and settled delicately on his whiskers. The owl, who had been carefully balancing on the edge of the boat all this time seemingly not interested in her surroundings or present dire situation on seeing the cat’s tear sparkle in the feint moon light moved to his side and gently placed a feathered wing on his paw.

The owl gently whispered within his companion’s furry but damp ear, when we were lost in the scorching desert with nothing to quench our thirst we found our way to safety. When we were almost overcome by the vast jungle we hiked through, we didn’t give up when exhausted. Those situations led us to where we are now and we look back at those times with a wry smile.

The owl leaned in closer and said “don’t be afraid, we have no map, we have no compass and we can no longer see where we are going my feline friend” And looking up, the owl after some contemplation asked what the cat wanted to do on their next holiday…..

Theresa Awkward

David JoliffeTheresa Awkward
By David Joliffe

Once, there were 2 trees in a huge forest, ELMo and OAKley. During the summer, both trees were lush, green and big. Over the years while they were growing up they saw all the other trees losing their leaves and re-growing them, losing their leaves and re-growing them every single year.

One year when they were old enough, Oakley said to Elmo “I’m not going to lose my leaves when it’s cold… I’m going to wear my leaves proudly like a winter coat just like the Fir family over there”. Elmo laughed thinking that Oakley was just fantasising again like he always does.

When Autumn came, Elmo’s leaves turned yellow, then slightly orange, then a reddy brown, turned dry and crisp and then fell at the foot of the tree just like all the other trees. The forest floor looked like a painter’s workshop of colour… all except in one patch of the forest. At the foot of Oakley! His leaves were still bright green and all his branches were lush and full. He had done what he said he was going to and kept all of his leaves! Oakley laughed. “I told you I was going to keep all the leaves… look how skinny and bare the rest of you are, HA HA HA!”

Everything was going well for Oakley at the beginning of winter. The grass stopped growing in preparation, the temperature started slowly dropping and the dark night started creeping over the horizon earlier and earlier. Oakley was still laughing. He was stood there proud and tall and still green. When it started to get to mid winter the temperature got to its lowest point. The rain, wind and snow set in thick and heavy yet Oakley still refused to let go of his leaves.

The cold freezing rain battered the trees in the forest. Oakley braved the rain and kept hold of all of his leaves. He had little icicles hanging from his branches where the rain had frozen and they looked like tiny fairy lights in the moonlight. As pretty as they looked, the icicles were heavy. They made the branches bow a little towards the end but Oakley still stood strong. The rest of the trees just stood there and allowed the rain to roll off their bare empty branches. They didn’t have a care in the world! Elmo tried to convince Oakley to see some sense and let go of his leaves. “Let the leaves go and the rain will wash off in no time… you’re just keeping hold of the freezing rain with all those leaves Oakley”. But Oakley didn’t listen. Oakley refused to let go of his leaves.

After the rain, the winds came. The wind was fast, freezing and forceful, travelling as if it was late for a dentist appointment. The wind howled and whistled through all the trees… until it got to Oakley… When the wind got to Oakley it was as if the wind was made of Velcro trying to pull every leaf from Oakley’s branches. Oakley resisted though. He made sure he kept every single leaf on those branches. Elmo said “Come on Oakley, just let the leaves go! The wind would pass on by like you wasn’t even there if it wasn’t for those leaves!” Oakley snapped “Mind your own business Elmo… I’ll keep all these leaves even if it kills me!!” So Elmo let him get on with it.

After the wind, the snow came… This was a bad year for the snow. It came in thick and heavy in one relentless white curtain covering all the trees. The rest of the trees had snow covering their feet and covering the bits of branches that they had. Oakley stood still, slightly drooped over with the weight of the snow over his canopy of leaves. He looked like one massive white cloud hovering on a tiny brown stick in the forest. Elmo said “Oakley! You have to lose the leaves and then you’ll be able to stand up straight again!”. Oakley didn’t respond… The weight was too much for him to be able to try to stand AND talk. He concentrated on keeping all of his leaves just like the Fir family… No matter what…

After months of the constant battles with the winter, the temperature finally got warmer, the green grass started to grow again and wake up in the morning covered in dew, the days became longer and the trees began to grow their leaves again. As Elmo began to turn green again from his tiny leaf sprouts Oakley wheezed “See… I told you I could keep my leaves” and slowly the leaves began to fall, floating and twisting to the ground around Oakley’s feet. As the other trees got greener, Oakley got browner. In trying to keep his leaves, Oakley had exhausted himself.

The following winter, when the temperature dropped, and the wind, rain and snow set in… Oakley lost his leaves along with the rest of the forest…

The Tale of the Bouncy Kangaroo

The Tale of the Bouncy Kangaroo
By Claire Bradshaw

Once upon a time in the open grasslands of Australia there lived a family of bouncy kangaroos. The Kangaroos had lived in this part of Australia for generations and considered it their homeland. They knew each tuft and tree, each dip and dell like the back of their very large paws and each day, they followed the same, well-trodden paths to find food. The paths were rocky and hard underfoot and the scrub to which they led was bitter and dry. Yet the instinct of the kangaroos to follow their traditions was strong and, even when they observed other families exploring alternative routes, they stuck to their well-established habits without noticing the how arduous and dreary their ways had become.

A youngster from the kangaroo family had once been drawn away from the well-worn path by the guttural sound of a joey in distress, a distant cry which touched her heart. She had followed the sound and, before long, found herself in a lush and beautiful valley she’d never seen before. She noticed how her senses awoke to her new environment and as she breathed in the sweet, warm air and listened to the harmonies of the birds and the trees around her, she caught sight of the joey ahead of her, struggling to free itself from a tangle of reeds. The young kangaroo used all her energy and strength to free the joey, energy and strength she had not perceived before that day. And as the joey bounced away along her own path back to her mother, the young kangaroo felt a great sense of triumph and warmth which very soon gave way to an overwhelming sense of hunger. She hadn’t eaten for hours! The kangaroo looked around for her old favourites to eat but could see nothing which looked familiar to her. So, tentatively at first, she began to feast on the treasures around her. As she tasted the sweetness of the grass and sensed the goodness run through her body, she knew that this was a place to which she would one day return.

Be the Sun of Your Sky

Be the Sun of Your Sky.
By Linda Methven

You know what you like and you like what you know.

Snuggled in a blanket of traditions, you are safe and assured in your world. You do an honest day’s work and live in harmony with those around you because you are indeed a “good egg”. And what are the gifts that this brings to you?

Maybe it’s the simple joy of friends dropping by, starting a new book, a holiday in the sun or a glass of fine red wine that puts a smile on your face? On the other hand; bagging a Wainwright, going that extra mile to care for somebody or finally, triumphantly completing the Times crossword, may better reflect your own personal goals. Whatever it is that floats your boat, you’ve done pretty well thus far and can rightly hold your head up high.

So what’s on the road ahead for you? More of the same, less of the same, change everything, change nothing. Maybe you have a special hobby that you’ve never had enough time for. Perhaps you sometimes think, “I could do that”. You have so many skills that you are aware of and probably some others that you’ve yet to find, so it begs the question, what if one of those skills could now open new doors for you?

Maybe now is the time to recall those happy, carefree salad days. Those endless days full of adventure when the sun always shone and there were so many things to do. You could climb trees, collect frog spawn from the pond, play skipping and hopscotch out on the street and even ride your bike down the road with ‘no hands’. A time of wonder, a time of adventure and a time of the great unknown when everything is possible and the possibilities are endless! Just thinking back gives you ‘goose bumps’ and you just have to smile!

Was it then that you decided to knuckle down and do a good job? Was it then that you decided to be who you are? You made the best choices available at that time and those decisions have served you well. Now consider, if you knew then, what you know now, what choices could you have made? What could have been that has not?

Now is the time to kick off your shoes, run down the beach and splash in the sea. Feel how the fresh salty air energises your being. Hear how the sound of the seagulls, lifts your spirits. See how you stand tall and proud with your arms held high, as if in celebration.

In your mind’s eye, you start to paint a picture and ahead of you is a fresh clean page, in an open book. As you pick up your pen you start to wonder what gifts will this new chapter bring?