What are you looking for? What is the situation you would like to improve? What problems are you looking to solve? What aspirations and goals would you like to achieve?
You want to improve your communication so it is more effective, gets the message across and supports collaborative working. Our approach involves first understanding your audience's perspective and needs, which are influenced by where they are and who they are with.
Listening first is like buidling a bridge across the chasm between you. Only after you understand their perspective are they ready to lieten to you. Then you can say your own message and start to lead them with you on your bridge across to the other side of the chasm.
All of us are strongly influenced by the context we find ourselves in as well as our individual and collective mental models that are mostly unconscious yet determine how we think, feel and behave. For effective communication, we need to understand how our different mental models and contexts determine how we perceive and interpret communication of all kinds. That gives us tools to tailor our communication appropriately for each audience.
You want (for yourself and/or for your people in your team or organisation) to feel appreciated and valued, able to be their true self and work at their best. When you give people the tools to earn and nurture trust and embrace diversity, equity and inclusion, you can build stronger relationships, not fear differences of opinion, be open to listen and understand different perspectives, and have constructive dialogue that involves all perspectives.
You want supportive and inclusive leaders who empower colleagues to make effective decisions. Sometimes it is not easy to be that leader who can empower your team, and very often it doesn't feel OK to be a team member who is empowered. Why not? Some of the most common reasons are a constant battle with firefighting, a historically hierarchical culture where decisions had to be made at a senior level, lack of clarity and focus for projects, lack of clarity on levels of initiative (what you can and can't do without first getting it signed off by manager(s) above you), lack of feeling appreciated and valued for the skills you bring to the table. And of course many more reasons!
You want to embrace challenges, change and uncertainty without stress and raise clarity, focus, resilience and confidence so you can see the hidden possibilties.
Wellbeing and High performance happens by CHOICE not chance. Your mindset and mental models determine the results you get.
Choose where you focus attention: You can’t change the world around you. You can change how you respond. Are you aware of how you pay attention to the outside world, what you focus on, what you notice, how you interpret it, and how you act as a result? It affects every high performance trait, including how confident, resilient, determined and happy you are. Systems thinking, Mental Toughness and Positive Intelligence are three important tools for achieving high performance with wellbeing and not stress, even under pressure.
How you manage your emotional state and maintain a positive and optimistic outlook (which is not about ignoring risks) makes a significant difference. The research shows that across all sectors and industries high emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) supports higher performance with higher welbeing and less conflict.
Its not what happens to you that matters, but how you respond that makes the difference.
How often are you actively choosing a positive perspective – at work and in all areas of your life? The research shows that being positive leads to enormous benefits for leadership and your personal wellbeing, sense of fulfilment and feelings of happiness and contentment, which are all essential for you to thrive through situations that are challenging, potentially stressful or have high uncertainty.
A positive mindset & positive thoughts generate positive feelings and positive outcomes. Your Brain state can be negative or positive but not both at once. When you are in a positive brain state, you have more access to the higher levels of your brain, the pre-frontal cortex. This is the rational decision making part of the brain and the centre of higher order thinking skills and executive function – for good decision making, inference, creativity, problem solving, solution finding, cognitive functioning of all kinds, plus creating sparks between different memories for insights and innovative ideas. Positive emotion enhances all high performance traits.
When we’re feeling anxious, stressed or actually afraid, we are unable to do any of these things at our normal ability. Unfortunately, there are many work practices that inadvertently trigger a threat response because it’s not always intuitive.
You can change that by choosing to develop your positive ‘mental fitness’ and actively changing your work environment and culture to enhance positivity.
Plus did you know that when you smile, mirror neurons in our brain make us smile too and feel some of your positive emotion. Equally when you're stressed or angry or afraid we feel some of your negative emotion. Emotions are contagious!
Maybe there is no surprise then that my most frequently requested in-house masterclasses over the last few years have been for the power of positive, positive leadership mindset, mental strength and wellbeing! Positivity can transform your team and organisation – it creates a supportive environment and culture that brings the best out of you and your people, strengthens your relationships and nurtures trust, creativity, innovation, wellbeing and engagement in work.
"When you smile, the world smiles with you!"
I work with many managers who want support to progress in their current career direction. Some are looking to step up to more senior roles and want to prepare effectively for smooth transitions and successful interviews. Some have already been promoted but not provided with the leadership development to support them, so they’re feeling stressed, pulled in many directions, not enjoying the work and not happy with where they are just now. Some find they’ve reached a plateau after steady progression earlier in their career and their line manager is not supporting their aspirations for the next step. Do any of these situations resonate with you? Coaching will help you gain clarity and focus, including how influence your leadership presence and much more that will support you through these challenges to achieve your aspirations.
I also work with many people, including managers through to senior executives, who find themselves at a crossroads, perhaps feeling stuck and simply not enjoying their work as they used to. But they don’t know what they would do instead. Just that this isn’t working, and it is not fulfilling. Does that resonate at all? Don’t worry, you can shape your future and regain your vitality and passion for life and work.
Many of us fall into a job after leaving university or school, and then end up staying in that sector because it’s what we know and where the opportunities have come. If that’s you and you’re realising that even though you can do this well, you’re not really enjoying it or finding it stimulating now, then know you are not alone!
Our work takes up so much of our daily life, we deserve to be doing something that we enjoy in a place where we feel good about ourselves, valued and respected, and we can connect with the people around us. Sometimes that means taking a step out to reflect on what you really do want, what is important to you and how you will recognise an organisation that aligns with your values. When you invest your time and effort into this deeper reflection, you are highly rewarded with shaping the future that you truly desire. Why not revisit those childhood dreams of what you wanted to do when you grow up… while you may no longer be fuelled by the same vision, most of us find there is still some essence of those dreams that we’re missing in our later life. We have only one life, and only you have the power to make the most of your own life. You can tap into your power by recognising the choices available that very often we’ve not noticed or not allowed ourselves to consider.
Are you ready to ‘grow up’ now and fulfil those dreams? If not now, When?
Coaching programs are tailored to suit your aspirations and needs. We can meet in person in or near Edinburgh, or Central Belt Scotland, and also face to face online with Zoom, Skype, Messenger, Teams, WhatsApp or your other preferred meeting app. Email Sue or schedule a call to discover more.
"We got to the destination quicker than expected where I was able to identify the target role and address some of the challenges around confidence and renewed drive. Your help in addressing these challenges as well as preparing for the interview was truly invaluable and I feel ready to take it from here!" A manager working towards a promotion. See more...
Masterclasses cover a whole range of Self Leadership topics that fit well in several themes including personal, professional and career development, leadership, and wellbeing. Since the pandemic, Sue has delivered masterclasses regularly that support staff and managers to raise mental wellbeing while people are facing persistent high levels of change, stress, overwhelm and frequently have fewer resources but expectations have not changed for the amoutn of work that can be achieved. ...
These highly interactive events have lots of opportunities for attendees to share ideas, concerns and insights, because that's where the real magic happens. This also gives participants a chance to get to know each other better, which adds significant value for team, leadership and other in-house staff events. Participants enjoy taking part throughout the session and it ensures the content is relevant and engaging.
When online, we encourage all attendees to speak and show their video (provided their internet connection supports video) because that helps to create stronger connection with each other during the event. We use breakout rooms for pairwise and small group discussion, the chat function when available, and visual interaction by video and/or the interaction tools in Zoom.
For all events, virtual and in the room, Sue uses Menti.com for capturing comments and voting, which makes it easier for many people to take part. The comments are anonymous, you don't have to speak up in front of a sometimes large audience or more senior managers in the room, an in large events, you save the hassles of getting microphones to people at the back of the room.
See below for example Masterclass topics . These are often 1 to 1.5 hrs for online events, and for in-the-room events vary from 1 hr to full day sessions, when you can mix and match topics to create a bespoke program that fits your needs.
Masterclasses and 121 coaching don't have to happen in a room or sitting down!Options include walking outdoors in nature and indoors in venues like art galleries. Our environment brings its own benefits and changes our inspiration! Many of the short masterclass topics work well as a dynamic dialogue event for self leadership, personal or professional development, or a walking wellbeing event.
Two of the most popular team events are "The Power of Positive" and "Mental Strength for Resilience and Wellbeing".
When you are constantly expected to do more with less resources / time / funding or people, and you want to replace stress or conflict with higher performance, resilience and wellbeing, these two team development events can help you engage everyone involved, create a can-do resilient culture and discover the opportunities in your challenges.
Very few groups of people working together in organisations are true teams, where people know and trust each other and work very collaboratively. Most of them are workgroups, which are often somewhat inefficient, friction-filled, loosely-associated groups of people covering their roles, trying to get things done and go home. One of the first steps to become a true team is to have open, honest communication that strengthens relationships, improves productivity, and moves the team towards results. These events provide a safe and stimulating space to have highly constructive open conversations that provide the framework for high performance AND sustain individual and team wellbeing.
Both events draw on an understanding of how the brain works, based on psychology and neuroscience research, to help individuals and the team be more positive and resilient. These events are ideal for teams and for small organisations, up to 20 people, where everyone can be included. Each masterclass can be run as half day to full day events, or can be reduced to 2 hrs with less content and up to 10 people. The two masterclasses work very well when combined into a full day team away day.
Email for more information or call Sue to discuss what you're looking for.
One of the most popular themes for Keynote talks is around leading and navigating change and uncertainty. Situations include the external change that you can't prevent (such as the pandemic over the last few years, global politics, the weather and so much more!) and also growth which brings not only your planned change but also associated cchanges which you might or might not have predicted. This keynote has been booked most often by organisations looking to support their leaders, managers and staff at all levels to be determined, confident and resilient, so they can stay focused and know they will get there in the end no matter what curve balls come their way.
The sailing analogy resonated extremely well with the audience of our regional leadership team and the authentic, practical and engaging leadership guidance stuck with them. /p>
More than 8 months later, the topic is more relevant than ever. Hearing our leaders recalling the concepts and messages when faced with current changes and uncertainty is the best evidence that Sue’s inspirational talk had impact and left our leaders with content and experience we can lean on. ...see more
Our approach to leadership helps you understand some of the simple steps that support you to be a great leader despite the complexity of context dependent leadership. Just as a compass guides you through a physical landscape, our mindset approach guides you through the leadership landscape.
The mental model we work with is Trust, Compassion and Systems Thinking are the currencies of engaging, inspiring and empowering leadership. Leaders that do the 'inner work' to recognise their own mental models, think about their thinking and develop their systems perspectives are able to raise their own inner sustainability. Only then do they have the inner strength and capacity to lead the transformational change that is so often required in these times, within organisations and also globally to create a sustainable future for the planet.
Most people recognise good leadership and bad leadership but struggle to define it in simple terms, largely because leadership is no one thing. It is an emergent property: Leadership emerges from our relationships with other people. Leadership is not just about what you do. It is about the way you are, the way you think, feel and act and interact with other people and affect how they feel, think and act as a result. Great leaders do this in a way that nurtures a positive, psychologically and emotionally safe environment with high levels of trust, engagement, wellbeing and creativity, where everyone can excel.
Context is everything when it comes to leadership! Systems thinking helps you recognise that the challenges we face are complex and paradoxical with no single solution. The most persistent challenges tend to involve multiple dynamically interacting systems where you need to understand the perspective from all parts of the system to understand the impact of changes in one part. Very often the solution to your problem lies in another part of the system.
Systems thinking also helps you engage and communicate with other people. When you can stand in another's shoes , see things from their perspective and from where they are in the system, and then respond so they feel heard and understood, you are better able to understand them, support them and bring them with you. You also gain a more complete picture of the situation, and can adjust your leadership style and behaviours accordingly.
The recent High Performance Leadership program that Sue delivered for a Senior Leadership Team had half day and full day sessions spread over a longer period. Topics included: What is Leadership?; The Power of Positive Mindset, Resilience and Adaptablity; Leading and Managing Remotely; Leading with a systems thinking approach: Embracing strategic challenges & providing direction ; Team Development; Leadership Styles; Emotional Intelligence; Communication; and Coaching.
These are some of the Masterclasses topics we have delivered for staff development, team development, leadership programs, conference talks and CPD events. They are frequently delivered in a series of events for staff development under various themes, including Wellbeing, Personal/Professional Development and Career Support, Leadership Development, Remote and Hybrid working, Collaboration and WILD (Women in Leadership Dialogues / Development). Further details can be sent to you on request. Sue tailors each event to suit your requirements, so you can pick elements of topics that you find most interesting and relevant and we can create the masterclass that will deliver the outcomes you're looking for.
Events are delivered in the room and virtually. I recommend a maximum of 2.5 hours including a break for virtual events for people to get the most out of an online event. If you require a virtual event that would normally be a full day masterclasses I recommend we do it over two or three sessions that can be a week or longer apart.
Framing for success
Train your brain to be Confident
Goal setting to transform performance
Working to Strengths and your Personal Audit
Motivation: Light your Fire and Inspire Others
Success Mindset for innovation and performance
Take Control of your career
Introduction to Leadership: Why it matters.
Grow your Leadership Presence
Communicating with Influence and Integrity
Lead from the Inside Out: Values-led Leadership
Engaging your people
Creating High Performance Teams
Introduction to Executive Coaching (Managing with a Coaching Style)
Teambuilding: The Power of Positive
Teambuilding: Impacts of Leadership Styles
Teambuilding: Embracing Diversity to build trust, strong relationships and high performance.
Confidence at Work
Attitude and Success
Tapping into Courage
The Power of Positive
Spotlight on Strengths
Compassion and Kindness
Managing work life balance
Reduce Stress and Cabin Fever
Mental Strength for Resilience
Don’t let the past hold you back
Train your Brain to be Confident
Navigating Uncertainty and Change
Communicate simply and powerfully
Breaking Bad Habits and Making Good Habits
Influence your leadership and personal presence
Vanquishing Time Vampires – Priorities & Balance
Managing wellbeing for yourself and your team
Wellbeing at Work. Creating a positive high trust culture
The Power of Positive Business Mindset
Building your network of champions
Collaboration: Creating a safe team space
Collaboration: Personality and Working Styles
Collaborating with your Manager - managing up!
Collaborating in a hybrid or remote team
Leading and Engaging your remote or hybrid team
Credible leaders: Levels of trust
Credible leaders: Integrity for earning trust
Credible leaders: Behaviours for inspiring trust
Credible leaders: Engaging and inspiring others
Credible leaders: Leading with compassion and kindness
Doing more with less: Challenging the Culture Paradigm
Leadership Styles: Inspire with Integrity, Authenticity & Flexibility
Supportive and Empowering Leadership: Developing Initiative & Delegating
Systems thinking for embracing strategic challenges & providing direction
"When you work with me, we co-create relevant and inspiring events and programs that will make the difference that you are looking for."
Dr Sue Mitchell