Fight, Flight or Freeze?

I love change; whether it’s moving to another country, managing a challenging project, or learning a foreign language; but, when I was made redundant, I abandoned all sense of reason and froze.

Many experts have written about the amygdala and how it is responsible for emotions and survival instincts, and triggers our ‘fight, flight or freeze mechanism’. No matter how much individuals love change; myself included; they may react differently to change which is imposed upon them, than to change which they have planned.

To put this into context, we use the ventral striatum and the amygdala for judgment and decision making, calculating the reward or degree of threat of a situation. The prefrontal cortex, contains the historical context of a situation and regulates the response of the amygdala and ventral striatum, depending on the context of a situation.

Individuals often ‘freeze’ and find it difficult to make decisions, when they are faced with a situation for which they have no point of reference, so they may have no idea of how to react.

Having come through imposed change unscathed, and having coached many others through the same situation, I understand why my clients often fear change. They fear a distant memory of what has yet to come. So, whether an individual chooses ‘fight, flight, or freeze’, the emotions experienced during change can be traumatic and cannot be ignored.

Fortunately, our brains plasticity means that we have the ability to rewrite how we choose to remember past memories, which helps us to unlearn bad habits, discard our limiting beliefs and, focus on realising positive future outcomes.

To find out more about my practice, please visit: www.helenmartincoaching.com, send me a note, or click the Home tab.

Visualise to succeed

As a coach, I often ask my clients to visualise what they want to achieve in their minds-eye, and to think about how they will feel when they have achieved it.

I then ask them to think about the incremental steps that they will need to take each day to reach that goal. By breaking a goal up into bite-sized chunks, it becomes easier to attain.

This practice can be compared to a business that creates a strategy and breaks that strategy into the tactical steps it needs to take, in order to reach its goal.

How do you (and your team) practice visualisation and achieving your goals?

During a 90-minute one-on-one coaching session, or a half day workshop with you and your team, I can help you regain focus to achieve your goals.

Contact me!

5 ways to improve your life in 2018

Here are a few of my own simple tips to improve your outlook on life. How will you be living your life in 2018?

1. Worry less and reflect more.

Look at any problem as an objective bystander, and ask yourself:

What went well or not so well?

How it made you feel?

What you could have done differently?

What you learned from the experience?

Then move on in your mind and do not brood on the issue.

2. Love yourself as you are.

Add a ‘Hello gorgeous’ to yourself every morning, when you look in the mirror.

3. Accept people as they are.

You cannot change other people, but each little change that you make, may extract a different reaction from other people.

4. Be grateful.

You may already have a lot more than most. Be thankful.

5. Visualise….visualise….visualise.

The skies the limit. You can achieve anything you truly desire; work diligently towards any goal and visualise what the end goal looks and feels like will help you get there!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Helen

If anything in this article has piqued your interest, please contact me.

Helen Martin is a qualified coach and trainer and lives in London. She is a member of the Association for Coaching and coaches individuals through change. She can be contacted here.

8 questions to ask yourself before you switch jobs

Questions

The end of the year is looming and you may be thinking about your next career move. But, how do you choose between ‘good’ and ‘good’, when you receive two ‘similar’ job offers? Will you be wooed by a larger package or a more senior job title?

The Job. Ask yourself:

  1. What do you love about your current role? Are these tasks even listed on the job description? To find out how to accelerate your career by determining your sweet spot click here.
  2. Will you have visibility to senior leaders to be recognized for your work or to learn from them?
  3. What is the new role offering you that’s new? How will it challenge you; if at all?

The People and Company. Once you’ve been for an interview, ask yourself:

  1. What do you like or dislike about the people who work at the new company? Remember they will not change for you!
  2. Could these people be overselling the job and the company, to lure you to work for them? You can often find information online about companies and what it is really like to work there e.g. Glassdoor.
  3. Are the company values aligned to your own?
  4. Are there opportunities to grow and develop; to study?
  5. Where is the company located? Will your travel time be acceptable?

Whatever you decide, remember that the job title, salary and benefits package are just the start. Don’t be wooed too quickly. Take everything into consideration and if it doesn’t feel right, listen to your instincts and carry on searching.

Good Luck!
Helen

If anything in this article has piqued your interest, please contact me.
Helen Martin is a qualified coach and trainer and lives in London. She is a member of the Association for Coaching and coaches individuals through change. She can be contacted here.

Accelerating Change

Organisations often need to change quickly to stay ahead of their game, but since it’s people that roll out and implement change, how do they change?

New processes, management, reorganisations….it’s all about change! Over 70% of change programs still fail because of resistance to change’ (Beer, 2000) and organisations experience higher costs and greater risks when the people-side of change is not managed effectively, yet we continually focus on organisational change and not on employee development.

It’s individuals who need to understand, manage and implement change, adapting to new circumstances, so how do you ensure that your employees are set up for success and embrace change?

Whilst little literature exists on how organisational development and people development can best work together theoretically, (Bachkirova, 2017:163 – 168), opening channels for two-way dialogue and understanding some of the reasons why individuals resist change can be helpful in improving the process of gaining acceptance for change.

Knowing what drives a team member’s behaviour is a good start to understanding whether their inherent traits will serve your organisation well, or not, during change.

Team coaching is a method which I frequently use to understand what makes individuals tick in the team context; their resistors and drivers; in combination with the next generation of professional development tools, Lumina Spark, supporting individuals, teams and organisations to work more effectively and improve the bottom line.

Unfortunately there’s no 24-hour pill for change projects, but ongoing personal development in the form of individual and team coaching combined with channels of communication which encourage two-way dialogue are a great start to successful change initiatives!

If anything in this article has piqued your interest, please contact me.

Helen Martin is a qualified coach and trainer and lives in London. She is a member of the Association for Coaching and coaches individuals through change. She can be contacted here.

Do we need to trade success for happiness?

I wrote this blog 6 years ago, but it’s just as relevant now as it was then.

During my career, I’ve met many professionals, who have chosen to ‘hand in their career’ with large organisations in order to ‘do good’ elsewhere. These accountants, lawyers, analysts and branding experts, felt that they were trading success for happiness, but were they?

I have always been convinced that the happier you are, the happier you can make other people and the more successful you can be. So, you can imagine the pleasure I had watching Shawn Achor’s TED talk, The happy secret to better work, pretty much confirming my ‘sunny’ point of view.

Happiness is on the opposite side of success. We often think, that we need success in order to be happy. Whereas, all we really need is the happiness advantage. The happier we are, the more successful we can become.

I live my own life by my personal motto, “As soon as you start living your dreams, your dreams evolve.” By being happy, you can achieve anything you want to, especially your dreams and when you’re happy, you can make everyone around you happy too.

I would advise anyone to selflessly start by making themselves happy. Once that’s done, ensure that the people around you are happy too.

Let’s spread the happiness advantage!

Happy weekend.
Helen

Helen Martin is a qualified coach and trainer and lives in London. She is a member of the Association for Coaching and coaches individuals through change. Helen coaches two people per month at no charge. She can be contacted here.

What would motivate you to change?

What would motivate you to change? Money, what other people think, or is it something else?

As a coach and someone who is interested in changing behaviour, I’m curious to know what inspires individuals to make a decision to behave differently.

Daniel Kahneman, a nobel prize winner and recognised psychologist, notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, challenges the assumption of human rationality. In his book, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, he suggests that individuals are driven more strongly to avoid losses than to achieve gains; individuals are not only loss averse but are also motivated by the negative instead of the positive e.g. if an individual were to be offered a good sum of money to finish a project, they may not finish it, yet they may finish the project if their job is threatened. I’m not suggesting that managers use the stick instead of the carrot, going forward, but this is definitely food for thought.

The book goes on to discuss how individuals are nudged by ‘what other people think or do’. Many of us have stayed in hotel rooms which use a sign in the bathroom, requesting guests to ‘Save the planet and use your towel again.’ Kahneman’s research however shows that using the sign, ‘Join the 75% of our guests, who re-used their towel’, had a greater impact in re-usage than the average. 10% more, in fact! Small changes can have enormous impact.

Companies can change all that they want (processes, management, new ways of working, reorganisations, etc.) but it’s the individuals working in those companies, that need to embrace and implement change. Without the support of individuals, change doesn’t happen. So how are people motivated to change?

How are you motivated as an individual?

Or, how does your company guarantee successful change?

I welcome you to share your comments.

Further recommended reading:

  1. Nudge (improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness), Thaler & Sunstein
  2. The power of Habit (Why we do what we do and how to change), Charles Duhigg
  3. The Marshmallow Test (understanding self-control and how to master it), Walter Mischel
  4. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman