An offer from Wisewolf – A simple but very effective form of personal and professional development.

If you are facing a change in your life, or you want to make one, you may wish to take advantage of a special offer from Wisewolf

Coaching is a simple but very effective form of self development – either professional or personal.

The client and coach work together to promote a change and to help the client become who they want to be; to overcome obstacles to their success.

Coaches work with individuals in their personal life and with executives, managers and others in their professional and business life.  I work with people in the round so I don’t draw a big black line round the personal to distinguish it from the professional, the two often overlap!

But I do work with change and transition.  If you are not going through a change and don’t want to make one, then perhaps I wouldn’t be the right person to work with you.

Many of us have plans about what we want to do, who we want to be and what we want to become.  A coach works with you to find out what is important and how to create the conditions that foster it.

Coaching builds skills; both personal and professional.

It is about growth; both personal and professional.

I started my professional life qualifying as a nurse.  I have many years of experience of working with people and organizations  going through all kinds of change and transition.  And somewhere along the way I did undertake professional training in change management.

You may be starting a new job or a new business, or wanting to improve the way that you communicate with other people.  Or perhaps you want to change careers or make some kind of change in your private life.  Perhaps you need to deal with a difficult boss or a difficult relationship.  Then working with a coach could help you on to the next step.

If you are facing a change in your life or you want to make one, you may wish to take advantage of a special offer.

For a limited period I am offering a FREE half hour telephone coaching taster session to readers of this blog .  If you would like to take advantage of this, please email me at quoting Code WW1

If you would like to know more about my professional background, you can find it here at

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 

What can marriage teach us about leadership?

Can research on marriage by John Gottman teach us something about relationships in the workplace and, in particular, the relationship between leaders and their teams.

With all this talk of weddings and marriage around I wondered what marriage might have to teach us about relationships in the workplace and, in particular, leadership.

Psychologist John Gottman is world renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction; he has thirty-five years of breakthrough research on marriage.

Gottman found in his research that three types of couples succeeded.

Validating – good at communication and compromise

Volatile – lots of conflict and passion – they yell but they also laugh more, fight as equals and enjoy the process of resolving disputes

Conflict avoiding – they agree to disagree and re-affirm their shared values, emphasise the positive and value separateness and autonomy.

He found the destructive reactions were;

  • Criticism and contempt,
  • Defensiveness and withdrawal,
  • Loneliness and isolation.

It was important to have what he calls the Magic Ratio of 5 positive interactions for each negative one.

Yes, well, that is marriage of course!  Leaders have to be out there don’t they, leading from the front.  No room for compromise or avoiding conflict.

But surely a successful leader always needs to be good at communication and have the judgement to know when compromise is required.

In a creative environment, generating the new ideas required in a changing world, there may well be conflict.   You hope for passion and laughter too!  But the leader will need to ensure there is a process for resolving the differences that emerge and that people are treated with respect.

All successful organisations will have corporate and shared values but there still needs to be a place for the different view.  People will need to feel they have the leader’s confidence so that they can act with autonomy.

As for the destructive reactions, constant criticism erodes confidence, energy and motivation.  If there is a problem, sort it and move on.  The slow drip, drip of negativity is like a slowly acting poison.

Any leader who feels contempt for his team, let alone shows it, is in the wrong job.

As for a leader who acts with defensiveness towards their own team on a regular basis, or who withdraws away from them (and there are examples), they aren’t really leaders at all, are they?

These are my views on this, but I’d very much welcome yours.  And as for those of you with long and happy marriages, what secrets have you got to share with the leaders of the future?

‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail’ by John M. Gottman (Paperback … )

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Handle with care – bad news for the boss!

Delivering bad news to your sponsor or line manager is one of the toughest and most stressful things you will do in your working life! So when something has gone wrong here is what you can do.

A Meeting with the Boss
Image by David Panevin via Flickr

I’ve written here before about giving bad news! Delivering bad news to anybody is difficult, but delivering bad news to your sponsor or line manager is one of the toughest and most stressful things you  will do in your working life!

It doesn’t matter whether or not it is your fault, it is still uncomfortable.

Regardless of  whether the failure is your fault, it can be embarrassing.

If you have an open and positive relationship with your boss so much the better, you can talk about handling bad news before you have any to deliver.  Be wise and see if you can reach an agreement in the early stages about what to do when things go wrong!

If you are unlucky enough to have one of those bosses who always reacts badly when receiving bad news,  it will need careful handling,

So when something has gone wrong – what can you do?

  1. First, don’t put off delivering bad news until the things get worse. Most problems left unresolved get worse over time, so waiting to tell the boss doesn’t help the situation.
  2. Gather as many facts as possible! You will probably be asked several questions about how it happened. You should be able to give a convincing, honest and well-informed answer!
  3. If possible you should also have a convincing plan to put things right.
  4. If it means a delay to delivering your process, programme or project, be clear about what that means in terms of time, resources and ultimate delivery.
  5. If there are increased risks, show how you plan to mitigate them.
  6. Deliver the message clearly and directly. If you have made a mistake or forgotten something, it really is better to confess and apologise.
  7. Don’t stimulate a blame culture. Try not to deliver bad news in a way that embarrasses the boss and reflects directly on them.  Don’t start playing the whose to blame “tit-for-tat” game, if you can avoid it.
  8. If some one more junior in your team made a mistake then stand by them – it’s your team! But don’t defend the indefensible!
  9. Try to deliver bad news in private if possible. If you have to report the problem to a board then try to have word with your boss and/or the chair beforehand and agree how it will be handled.
  10. If you can, follow bad news up with good news and go on to talk about success.

Remember that we have all made mistakes including your boss.    But make sure you learn from this experience! If you got something wrong and you are trying to do a good job, make sure  you have all the training you need and that you have sufficient resources.   If you don’t, then speak up and show that you intend to do all you can to make sure you have no further bad news to deliver!