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Thanks to our amazing speakers for delivering 3 inspirational ‘Leading Winning Teams’ presentations yesterday.

Up close and personal: sir Matthew Pinsent's four gold medals

Up close and personal: Sir Matthew Pinsent’s four gold medals

The inspirational line-up for our Leading Winning Teams conference.

The inspirational line-up for our Leading Winning Teams conference.

Sir Matthew Pinsent medals

Four times Olympic gold medallist rower Sir Matthew Pinsent and his medals.

Simon Hartley at conference

Sport psychology consultant and performance coach Simon Hartley delivering ‘World Class Teams’.

Bonmarche CEO Beth Butterwick conference

Bonmarche CEO Beth Butterwick shares the inspirational journey from Receivership to PLC.

Conflict: Deal with it!

- By Andrew B Morris

  1. The Academy has a term called a ‘NO FESTER ZONE’ meaning that as soon as a potential misunderstanding emerges, it is tackled immediately. If it’s allowed to fester it will just grow and become a bigger problem to deal with.
  1. AVOID JUDGEMENT: If you have an issue with someone, sit down in a quiet space and present the facts to them in a non-confrontational manner, starting with what’s working well and then moving onto what isn’t. It’s critical to remain non-judgemental, stating how you’re feeling first and then supporting this with the facts of what’s occurred as you see them. For example: “I’m feeling confused and frustrated… because I don’t understand the unusual behaviour you displayed at the sales meeting.”
  1. LISTEN AND EMPATHISE: Allow them to respond, without interruption, putting yourself in their shoes. Ask open questions so they don’t become defensive. This way you can start to get to the real heart of the problem.

Continue reading →

Paying the Price of Conflict

- By Dan Bobinski

Whenever people work together, there will be conflict. Disagreements occur in even the best working relationships. But how that conflict is addressed can either add to or detract from a company’s bottom line.

In healthy conflict, the issues are put on the table and discussed with objective language. Each party is empowered to state his or her position with confidence that the other party is genuinely listening, wanting to understand. Possible solutions are explored with open minds, and ripple effects are considered and weighed for each solution offered.

It’s an easy process to understand, but more often than not it’s incredibly difficult to do. People want what they want, believe what they believe, and value what they value. They have a clear picture of what their interests, attitudes and values are and how they can be met and the idea that they might be able to meet them any differently can be a long stretch of faith. For many, it’s too long a stretch and they don’t want the hassle. Continue reading →

Toxic Shock: Recognising Destructive Personalities in the Workplace

- By Chris Welford

Toxic personalities are capable of sowing the seeds of conflict wherever they go. And in the workplace, there are two that stand out above all others: the corporate psychopath and the narcissist. This article tells you how to spot these types and what to do when you do.

The Psychopath

The corporate psychopath is really dangerous. This is someone who feels no guilt at their actions; no matter how much they have lied and cheated. They are acutely tuned into the emotions of others, but they are not in the least moved by them. Their colleagues are just pawns in their game and are
completely expendable. Often very charming and socially skilled, corporate psychopaths make highly toxic leaders and can completely disrupt a productive working environment. Continue reading →

Dealing with Customer Disappointment

- By Andy Hanselman

A few years ago, the BBC became a laughing stock when they produced a 964-page guide for TV licensing staff about how to handle complaints. According to this highly-scientific study, clues that someone isn’t happy include use of phrases like “idiots”, “shambles” or “useless”, “sort yourselves out!” or ‘”when will you people listen?” The guide also states that “I am extremely angry”, “I demand an apology”, “lack of courtesy”, “your failure” or “I will sue” may be signs of an unhappy customer.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I heard one of my customers saying any of those things, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t need to wade through a 900-page guide able to spot there was a problem… Continue reading →

Interview: Family Dynamics

What’s the background of your business?

Hallis Hudson is a family-run national wholesaler and distributor of soft furnishing fabrics, blinds, tracks and curtain poles that was founded by my grandfather. In 2014 (after 14 years in the business) I was appointed Managing Director, and my father became Chairman.

Are there any other family members in the business?

Yes, my brother Russell is a Director of the business and is involved in new product development and marketing.

How was it decided that you would take the MD role rather than your brother?

We both have quite different skill sets and it was simply that I’m more suited to the MD role. Our actual job titles are almost irrelevant in a way. We have different skills that complement each other, and we play off each other’s strengths. Continue reading →

Speaker Gems

  1. As a coach, if you are thinking of solutions you are in too deep (Sue Knight)
  2. Recruit for attitude and train for skills. Recruit slowly and fire quickly (Reg Athwal)
  3. A good leader can step on toes without messing up the shine (Sue Firth)
  4. Facilitation is not about doing something to another – it is about creating a space where magical things happen (Darren Rudkin)
  5. There is a difference between disloyalty and disruptive loyalty – sometimes people want the same things as us but want to achieve them in a different way (Graeme Codrington)
  6. When recruiting, remember that a pattern of past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour (Reg Athwal)
  7. Others won’t change unless we change first (Darren Rudkin)
  8. When you ask someone how they intend achieving their goals they reveal the type of leader they need you to be (Mark Fritz)
  9. Change management is about allowing the organisation to change before the environment forces change (Roger Harrop)
  10. Don’t comfort the afflicted – afflict the comfortable! (Nigel Risner)

Match Day

When family came over for dinner on match day, a husband and wife face the usual conflict of which was more important – the football game on television or the dinner itself. To keep peace, the husband ate dinner with the rest of the family, and even lingered for some pleasant after-dinner conversation before retiring to the family room to turn on the TV.
Several minutes later, his wife came downstairs and graciously even bought a cold drink for him. She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and asked what the score was. He told her it was the beginning of the second half and that the score was still 0-0.

“See?” she said, continuing to smile, “You didn’t miss a thing.”

Academy Speaker Celynn Erasmus on Strategic Refueling For Mental Agility

What we put into our bodies is what we’ll get out of them. Much like a car, you need to refuel before you run out of petrol! The key to maintaining our physical energy and peak mental agility is to switch from being a ‘gorger’ to a ‘grazer’ i.e. instead of waiting till you’re absolutely ravenous and your blood sugar level’s got your hands a-jitter and a headache threatens, and then you wolf down whatever’s easiest (eg. that Snickers bar and another cuppa java from the hallway vending machine), rather ‘graze’ light meals or smart snacks at regular intervals throughout the day.

When your blood sugar level drops, the front of your brain processing ability (the pre-frontal cortex) deteriorates, robbing you of your ability to think creatively, turning your memory into a sieve, blurring your focus and making you more reactive (irritable mood/ knee-jerk thinking) as opposed to responsive (proactive, clear thinking-through, open-minded.) By eating every 2 – 3 hours, blood sugar levels are stabilized to ensure your energy remains optimised – without hitting those irritable, wolfishly hungry slumps.

Dried fruits and nuts in a heartWhy we call them ‘smart snacks’ is because , firstly, you need to get smart about looking after your energy levels: be prepared by keeping smart snacks at your desk, in your car, in your laptop bag. Secondly, your brain will stay as smart as it deserves to be when you keep your fuel tank topped up. ‘Smart snacks’ should contain 500kJ (120 kcal) and contain minimal sugar, processed flour or hydrogenated fat. eg. 1 piece of fresh fruit, an ounce of cheese, 1 tablespoon nut better, a small handful of dried fruit, a small handful of seeds, nuts or biltong, a small yoghurt. Peak performance and productivity is just a smart snack away!


Jakubowicz D, Froy O, Wainstein J, Boaz M. (2012). Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite scores and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults. Steroids. 77 (1), 323-331.

Bantle J, Wylie-Rosett J, Albright A, Apovian C, Clark N, Franz M, Hoogwerf B, Lichtenstein A, Mayer- Davis E. (2008). Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 31 (1), 61-78.


1 minute video on this topic here:

Breaking the Rules by Sue Knight

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” Richard Branson

At the reviewing discussion of a fishbowl demonstration that I gave to the graduates of a Coaching Associations programme, one of the audience said “But you broke the rules!”

One my exemplars is Moshe Feldenkrais founder of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement and he regularly said ‘The rule is that there no rules!’ However I recognise that many of the people in the group at this time were new to coaching and this was their first training. And maybe as such it was helpful for them to learn some rules although I would have preferred that they had referred to them as guidelines.  So what are these ‘rules’ and what happens if we break them as I will most certainly be encouraging you to do?

Never interrupt a client

Some years ago there was a documentary about a wife and mother of two small children who had gone missing at Christmas time. Her family were adamant that she would not just have left home but must have been abducted or murdered. Her husband vehemently denied his innocence although he was a prime suspect. He featured prominently in the documentary all the time telling his story. For the following year the case was not solved although the husband remained a prime suspect. At this time a new inspector was appointed to the case who, after watching videos and listening to interviews with the husband brought him back in for questioning. As soon as he started to speak the inspector interrupted him and continued to do so … so that the husband could not tell his story. Within an hour the man had confessed to his wife’s murder.  The inspector had noticed that the man’s story was always the same; there was no elaboration which led him to believe that it was created and not the truth. By interrupting that rehearsed story the man had no alternative explanation and confessed.

So what has this to do with coaching? Well we live our lives by the stories we create by the perceptions we form of our experience. Sometimes those perceptions serve us well and result in ideal or desired outcomes but sometimes they do just the opposite and provide the framework within we keep ourselves constrained. And the telling of the story compounds the situation. Continue reading →