This week I heard some fascinating presentations about helping people to reach their full potential. The occasion was one of the regular get-togethers organised by the Institute of Business Consulting in South West Britain. The evening, yesterday, was hosted at At-Bristol by Veridian plc who wanted to tell us about their learning tool Freemind, designed by Tom Fortes Myer.
This is a collection of recordings on CD which individuals and organisations can use to get rid of the blocks to achieving their full potential. The underlying belief which Tom explained, and which I can agree with, is that performance = potential – interferences. So achieving potential is about getting rid of blocks. Before the talk I spoke to someone who had used Freemind. She spoke of how it had transformed her life since she started to understand that every situation she faced was an opportunity for her own development. That statement is, itself, transformative. by which I mean that it changed my own way of thinking.
The recordings are available on CD or by download from the Freemind web site, which includes some sample recordings free of charge.
Tom's talk was complemented well by a talk by Jan Childs of EQ4U about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how it is much more important in the development of leaders than IQ. I recommend her book “Understanding Emotional Intelligence in 90 minutes,” which can be purchased from the web site.
Part of my own fascination is the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence. Spiritual Intelligence is to me about the uniqueness, connectedness, and vocation of human beings in creation – which embraces the growing desire amongst employees in particular and people in general for meaning and purpose in their work. I notice that Jan heads off in this direction in her book, particularly in the final chapter, and I see the Tom's approach to unlocking potential as drawing together the spiritual and emotional.
In my work as management consultant and coach (Finding True North) I've been asked to do some interim management work for Robin Hood Ministries – to head up their staff team part time for six months to help steer the charity through its current growth stage.
The charity is based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and helps alleviate poverty in various countries by supporting projects that help communities to be more self-reliant.
They also encourage businesses to support them through the initiative Business Against Poverty.
This last week I have been pleasantly busy with work through my coaching and consultancy business (Finding True North). Having set the business up at the end of 2007, I find that it is gently growing, as I seek to help individuals and businesses to be more creative and profitable by operating in a way that draws on their unique personality and strengths.
This week I have completed consultancy work for a charity to help them to review their needs for larger premises, facilitated a vision-building workshop for some Church of England parishes that want to work as a team, and continued to provide spiritual direction.
A couple of contacts are pending for providing coaching training for the management team of a Wiltshire firm, and individual coaching for a recently promoted company director. Leadership and Management funding from the government for coaching and training continues to be a way to help these things to get started in the present economic climate.
This is all satisfying, as I like to spend more time delivering the service than seeking clients!
Today I received a letter saying that, further to my application a few weeks ago, my experience as a coach and consultant has been recognised through election to membership of the Institute of Business Consulting.
I'm delighted to have had my first meeting today for two hours with a coach/mentor that Business Link have supplied. Under this helpful scheme people volunteer to give their time free to be a mentor to a new business.
My coach, Lee, has a lot of sales background and is himself a coach. Hopefully this is ideal to help me expand Finding True North Development Coaching.
He is encouraging me to focus my business more, and to develop a talk that I can give at business gatherings as a way of encouraging business.
The last few weeks things seem to have gone really smoothly with the business when I have focused on what I know needs to be done, rather than being anxious about where and when new jobs are coming together. Although I have had a lot to do, I believe that I have prioritised well and what I have set my mind to has gone well.
I have been encouraged and challenged by visits to Corsham School – a Visual Arts College renowned for its creativity, and to the black tie dinner final of the North Wiltshire New Business Competition. (I was not an entrant: I hadn't heard of it in time!) The guest speaker, Alex Tew, had failed to win in a previous year, but had famously made $1million by selling 1 million pixels on a web page to help fund his business studies degree. He was so successful that he had to postpone his course!
I find myself being impressed by those who are in touch with what they do well, and having gained an appropriate grounding in their discipline are willing to break the conventional boundaries to “go beyond” and demonstrate excellence in a unique and groundbreaking way. This surpasses those who seek to achieve not so much by unique talent but by careful methodologies (wise and helpful as those are). I also find myself admiring those who, perhaps working quietly behind the scenes as local councillors, are able to help reconcile people who by helping them to see their different perspectives and so build community.
Maybe these are pointers to where my own life is heading.
First anniversary of Finding True North today… a good excuse for a cake!