COUNSELLING BLOG

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8 Benefits of Smiling

1. It makes us seem trustworthy: We generally interpret a genuine smile to mean that this is someone who is honest and trustworthy. Those who smile are rated higher in generosity, in extraversion and in friendliness

2. If you smile when you get caught you’re more likely to get off: Somehow we think that those who smile are really nicer people so we tend to be willing to treat them leniently.

3. It eases embarrassment: If you do something stupid like slip on a banana, or trip and fall in the middle of a mall, people laugh with (not at) you if you laugh or smile. That is, it changes their reaction so they’re less likely to mock. 

4. If you smile with others when they share good news, you’re less likely to feel jealous or annoyed at them: Interestingly, even if we smile politely but we feel slightly annoyed, our emotion quickly changes and we feel happy ourselves. Somehow we feel much better for having chosen to be “nice”.

5. It can ease any feelings of distress or pain: Smiling stops us spiralling into negativity and eases our feelings of shock and distress - if we force ourselves to smile when something bad happens to us.

6. It can help with problem-solving: When we’re stressed or nervous our focus seems to narrow and it makes it harder to find answers or solutions. But when we smile, the tension eases and we think of more ideas.

7. It can increase your ability to make money: Those who smile at their colleagues and their customers are usually more successful and are frequently promoted.

8. Smile and the world smiles with you: If you smile at other people, they will often smile at you, and they’ll tend to see you in a positive way!

Filed under smiling coaching counselling psychology therapy relationship goals success self help self improvement inspiration motivation mental health online counselling college

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Conflict Strategies

Different people use different strategies for managing conflicts. These strategies are learned, usually in childhood, and they seem to function automatically. Usually we are not aware of how we act in conflict situations. We just do whatever seems to come naturally. The 5 styles of managing conflict are:

1. The Turtle (Withdrawing) – Turtles withdraw into their shells to avoid conflict. They give up their personal goals and their relationships. They stay away from topics that may bring conflict and they avoid people with whom they are in conflict. Turtles believe it is hopeless to try to resolve conflicts. They feel helpless. Turtles believe it is easier to withdraw from a conflict than to face it.

2. The Shark (Forcing) – Sharks try to overpower opponents by forcing them to accept their solution to the conflict. Sharks make their goals of the highest importance; relationships are less important. They seek to achieve their goal at all costs. They are not concerned with the needs of other people. They do not care if other people like them or accept them. Sharks assume that conflicts are settled by one person winning and the other person losing. They want to be the winners in the conflict. Winning gives them a sense of pride and achievement. Losing gives them a sense of weakness, inadequacy and failure. They try to win by attacking, overwhelming and intimidating other people.

3. The Teddy Bear (Smoothing) – To teddy bears, the relationship is of greatest importance, while their goals are of little importance. Teddy bears want to be accepted and liked by other people. They think that conflict should be avoided in favour of harmony. They believe that conflict cannot be discussed without damaging the relationship. They are afraid that if the conflict continues, someone will get hurt and that would ruin the relationship. Teddy bears say, “I’ll give up my goals and let you have what you want in order for you to like me”. Teddy bears smooth over the conflict.

4. The Fox (Compromising) – Foxes are moderately concerned with their own goals and about their relationships with other people. Foxes seek compromise. They give up part of their goals and persuade the other person in a conflict to give up part of his goals. Foxes seek a solution to conflict that allows both sides to gain something. They seek the middle ground between two positions. Foxes are willing to give up a bit of their goals and relationships for the common good

5. The Owl (Confronting) – Owls highly value their own goals and their relationships. They view conflict as problems to be solved and seek a solution that achieves both their goals and the goals of the other person in the conflict. Owls see conflicts as improving relationships by reducing tension between two people. They try to begin a discussion by identifying conflict as a problem to be solved. By seeking solutions that satisfy both themselves and the other person, they maintain the relationship. Owls are not satisfied until they find a solution that satisfies both parties and that resolves the tension and negative feelings between the parties.

 

Source: http://www.peernetbc.com/conflict-strategies-what-are-you-like

Filed under counselling psychology therapy Conflict communication skills education relationships self help self improvement coaching motivation online counselling college

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Self-Awareness Questions

1. Would you rate yourself as happy or unhappy? What has the greatest impact on your happiness?

2. Are there any areas of your life where you feel you are out of control?

3. Do you prefer a tidy, organised environment or a chaotic, disorganised environment?

4.  Are you more attracted to something if you know it is forbidden?

5. Are you motivated, or demotivated, by competition?

6. Are you a leader or a follower?

7. Do you find it easier to do things for others than to do things for yourself?

8. Do you have clear boundaries or do people walk all over you?

9. Are you a morning or a night person?

10. Does being around people energise you or wear you out?

11. Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or the background?

12. If you could change one thing in your life, what would that one thing be?

Filed under counselling coaching psychology therapy self awareness self help self improvement mental health inspiration motivation goals success online counselling college

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Want to Improve your Communication Skills?

1. Listen carefully when others are speaking. Keep your mouth shut – and focus totally on them.

2. Never, ever talk over other people. This is disrespectful – and a real turn off.

3. Even if the person leaves an hour between each word, resist the temptation to complete their sentence for them.

4. Don’t interrupt - let the other person finish. Then, acknowledge what they’ve shared before adding your own thoughts.

5. Paraphrase or summarise what’s just been shared. It shows that you have listened – and are keen to understand.

6. Maintain good eye contact as this says you’re interested, and the speaker and their story are important to you.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy communication communication skills relationships self improvement self help coaching success online counselling college

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10 Ways to Simplify your Life

1. Don’t try to read other peoples’ minds and don’t expect others to be able to read yours. Communicate if it is important to you.

2. Don’t expect to be friends with everyone. We all are different – and we all like different things. Instead, invest your time in a few good friends.  That’s all you really need to feel happy and fulfilled.

3. Create a budget and live within your means. Accruing lots of debt will only cause you to feel stressed.

4. Kill off the monster of jealousy – and only compare yourself with yourself.

5. Organize your clutter and get rid of excess stuff. It will leave you feeling calmer, and will save you lots of time!

6. Stay on the sidelines and don’t get drawn into pointless scenes and dramas in other peoples’ lives (unless it’s a crisis – and you know you ought to help).

7. Finish what you’ve started - and then do something else.    

8. Treat every person you meet with respect, and err on the side of being gentle and kind.

9. Accept that there are things that you can’t change or control – and focus on those things that you can change or control.

10. Admit when you were wrong, then say you’re sorry, and move on.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy relationships coaching self help self improvement mental health motivation goals success

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How to Become a Better Leader

1. Develop a democratic style of leadership. Listen to everyone’s thoughts and ideas. Also, guard against arrogance and ask for advice.

2. Welcome and learn from constructive criticism – and be able to give it in a sensitive way.

3. Remember that you’re pulling together as a team. Thus, identify and use the gifts and talents of others, and encourage everybody to play a vital role.

4. Learn how to manage and negotiate conflicts as this is part and parcel of all relationships. That is, we’re different and unique - and so see things differently – and this can lead to tensions in relationhips.

5. Be a role model of those positive traits you hope to develop, and to see, for in your team.

6. Be enthusiastic and passionate. Those are traits that are contagious - and inspiring as well.

7. Be lavish with your praise and affirm other’s successes, their efforts, contributions and commitment to shared goals.

8.  Give others your attention and listen carefully. Focus fully on both verbal and nonverbal cues.

9. Maintain a positive attitude. Expect the best from others, and encourage them to try. Support them in their efforts, and believe in their success.

10. Keep looking for new ways to motivate the team. Inspire, encourage and affirm them constantly.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy coaching leadership leader self help self improvement goals success motivation education online counselling college

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The Natural Strengths of an Extrovert

1. Extraversion is viewed positively in Western society. That is, people tend to react warmly and favourably towards extroverts as they’re easy to work with and to socialise with.

2. Research[1] appears to indicate that extroverts enjoy higher levels of subjective happiness. This is good for them – and also brightens their relationships with other people.

3. Those with higher levels of positive emotions tend to have higher self-esteem, and fewer issues with low self worth.

4. Extroverts feel at ease in groups, in crowds, with new people, and when they are the centre of attention. These social situations cause them much less stress – and may actually bring out the best in them.

5. They tend to be enthusiastic, vivacious, friendly, inclusive and help to put other people at their ease. They often help to lessen tension and anxiety at work, at parties, social situations, and so on.

6. They readily help out and participate in community events. They make good leaders, team members, coaches, encouragers and motivators.



Filed under counselling psychology therapy personality coaching Extrovert mental health education self improvement self help relationships online counselling college

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How to Stay Motivated

1. Find a reason to hang onto your motivation. It could be exam, financial, career or personal success. That is, there was a reason why you wanted to go for this goal.

2. Try and make it fun. Anything that’s boring is really hard to do – so find a way to make the task a bit more fun.

3. Try experimenting with a different approach. Doing things the way “we’re taught”, or in the most efficient way, may not be interesting or motivating.

4. Track your progress. If you feel you’re going nowhere, then you’ll lose your motivation. So, try and chart your progress so you see how much learned.

5. Reward yourself. This is one of the best ways to keep your motivation. Reward yourself for working – and for any progress made.

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Do you have a wandering mind?

1. Research shows that our mind wanders about 30% of the time. It occurs regardless of what we are doing – sitting in a lecture, driving the car, cooking dinner, or talking to a friend.

2. Everybody’s mind wanders regularly. It takes concentrated effort to stay on task.  

3. Having a wandering mind is different from daydreaming. Day dreaming involves having stray thoughts, random fantasies, or briefly indulges in wishes and “what if” scenarios. In contrast, a wandering mind is where we allow our mind to think about something specific, which is different from the task in front of us right now.

3. A wandering mind can actually be a good thing. It allows part of our brain to focus on one thing while freeing other parts to also think through other goals, responsibilities and tasks.

4. However, a wandering mind can be a bad thing, too. It can cause us to miss important facts and details, and to zone out when something really needs our full, and undivided, attention.

5. Research conducted by the UC, Santa Barbara shows that people whose minds tend to wander more are often more creative and better problem solvers.

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10 Tips for Making Friends

1. Listen to people when they’re talking; show an interest in what they have to say.

2.  Make an effort to remember peoples’ names and use them the next time you meet them.

3. Follow up with people you are interested in staying in touch with. Call them up, send them an email or arrange to meet for a coffee or drink.

4. Treat everyone the same – and as if they are the most important in the world (at least while you are talking to them).

5. Get involved in clubs and activities. Force yourself to go out and be with others.

6.  In conversations, stick to safe topics before you know someone well. Don’t be quick to share your political or religious views, or to go on about your pet grievances.

7. Make sure you come across as someone who’s friendly the first time you meet someone new. Greet them warmly, smile, share your name and ask them theirs.

8. Be aware of other peoples’ culture and be sensitive to any potential differences. You don’t want to offend other people – either deliberately or inadvertently. The goal is to be seen as a person who is friendly, respectful and warm.

9. Don’t rush your interactions with people as that sends the message that you’re not interested in them, or what they have to say.

10. Don’t be false – just be your normal self. People would prefer to find out who you are.

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Tips for Managing your Time

1. Make a list of everything you need to do.

2. Prioritise the items on the list. (Task 1 by 9pm tomorrow; Task 2 by the weekend … and so on).

3. Pace yourself. Work on part of each task daily. Focus solely on that. Don’t think about the other tasks you still have to do.

4. Pay attention to your body clock. Are you a morning or evening person? Schedule your time and tasks so that they match the times of day when you are most productive.

5. Manage your time to maximise your effectiveness. For example, work in thirty minute chunks – then allow yourself a five minute break. Decide how long it will take to do a small portion of the task. Don’t try to complete the whole thing in one session.

6. When you are having a break, clear your mind and completely relax.  

7. Keep track of your progress. When you complete a task, cross it off the list, as that feels rewarding and increases motivation.

8. Review, reassess and re-prioritize your list from time to time. Some tasks can be eliminated, some may need more time, you may need help from others for some tasks, and you may find some can be delegated.

9. Schedule in time for fun – otherwise you’ll lose your motivation to keep going.

10. Make sure you get enough sleep. Too little, and you cannot concentrate, focus, remember, or work efficiently.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy coaching education learning motivation inspiration success goals time management self improvement self help online counselling college

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Facing the Facts

There are a number of painful and hard realities that we need to accept if we’re to going be free, and to take control of our life and destiny. They include understanding that:

1. There are people in our world who will never like or want us – so don’t look for acceptance and affirmation there.

2. Everyone has issues that affect relationships. So, it’s not always your fault when relationships are strained, communication’s difficult, or awkwardness occurs.

3. The majority of people don’t really want to change – or to change in significant and positive ways. The status quo is easier, and a lot less work.    

4. If you choose to set some goals, and are committed to change, and you really want to grow and make something of your life, then you’ll likely lose some friends or even make some enemies. That’s because those other people will feel threatened by success. Understand what’s going on so you don’t take it personally!

5. Often life’s a competition - even though we say it’s not. We notice other’s strengths, their successes, lucky breaks – and we compare ourselves to them – and often in an unfair way.

6. We all want to be accepted for who and what we are. We wish that friends were loyal and would think the best of us, and be there in the hard times when we just need a smile or hug.

7. If you want to succeed then it’s going to be hard work; and if you want to have real friends then you must be a friend yourself.

8. Try to let go of the past, and old hurts and grievances. You only get one life so try to live it to the full, and seek to grasp and make the most of opportunities.     

Filed under counselling psychology therapy Insight wisdom inspiration life success coaching self improvement self help online counselling college

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Strategies for People who’re Committed to Success

1. Have one main source of income but, at the same time, keep working on ways of developing additional sources of income. Over time, this will allow you move away from spending all your time on your “regular” job, so you can generate money more passively.

2. Read widely. This doesn’t have to be heavy or serious books. In fact, reading blogs and magazines can generate ideas - and turn you into someone who knows a little about lots of things – so this can make you seem more interesting.

3. Have a few close friends plus a lot of other contacts. That provides you with support – which we all need at times – plus people who can help us, and open doors for us.

4. Have specialist knowledge in a couple of areas, and also know a little about lots of things. This helps you understand the developing trends so you can use your knowledge more effectively.

5. Be willing to experiment. It’s good to know what tends to work for you – but you need to branch out and experiment, too. That will help you avoid boredom or being stuck in a rut.

6. Introduce new experiences into your life as it keeps you adaptable, flexible, open to new thinking, vibrant and alive. 

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How to Get Ahead in Life

1.       Don’t pay too much attention to the way you feel. Feelings change throughout the day and they are unreliable. Don’t let them rule your life, or interfere with your goals.

2.       Decide not to worry as it tends to make things worse. If you focus on your worries it will drain your energy – and often what we’re dreading doesn’t happen anyway.

3.       Cut the internal commentary. Stop telling yourself that things are going to fall apart, or your efforts won’t succeed, or you won’t be popular.  Keep trying, moving forwards, and getting on with life.

4.       Stop being self-critical. You need to be your own cheerleader and your biggest fan in life.  Note progress, perseverance, attitude and inner strength. Be affirming, kind, believing and coach towards success.

5.       Stop feeling guilty. Feeling guilty changes nothing. You are going to make mistakes. Accept you aren’t perfect - then get up and try again.

6.       Stop worrying about what others think of you. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what they think. Choose your own goals for your life – you’re not accountable to them.

7.       Don’t worry about set backs or changes to your plans. Plans always need adjusting and things always go wrong – but that doesn’t mean “it’s over” or you’ll never reach your goals. Expect to make some changes – just be adaptable.

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