Dealing with Covid-19 and beyond

I wrote this blog in the early days of the lockdown. However, given the sense of overwhelm in adjusting to our dramatically changed reality, adding another blog just did not feel right. But when several people mentioned that they hadn’t heard from me, I decided to re-visit and send this adapted piece.

And this is also my way of reaching out to you to say, “Hi– How are you going?”  (And please feel free to connect – I will be delighted to hear from you!!)

Here are some of my top of mind thoughts:

Physical and Mental Health

During these unprecedented time, when our world has suddenly upended, our physical and mental health has become the number one focus and taken centre stage. And so it should.  

After all, it is our health and well-being, which in turn contributes to our performance and productivity and impacting the economic bottom line.

With Co-vid 19, while there is much that is beyond us, including its future trajectory, the far-reaching economic and social impact and the timing of any new vaccine, there are things we can still control.

Here are some reminders of what we can do. Continue reading

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5 Leadership lessons from the All Blacks Defeat

© Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

How thrilling it was watching the Rugby World Cup (RWC) held in Japan these past six weeks. As a nation, we felt proud of our boys – the incomparable All Blacks (Abs) in that famous black jersey. The possibility of a third consecutive RWC win loomed large.

But alas, it was not to be. In the semi-finals, the English team surprisingly put on a dominant performance which left the All Blacks with little possession and territory to perform their usual magic.

The shock and disappointment were compounded for many fans as their expectation for a strong second half revival failed to materialise.

And just like that, we were out of the running to bring the Webb Ellis Cup home again.

In the days following, we empathised with their pain and acknowledged their third-place win. We said goodbye to their exceptional coach, Steve Hansen, the captain – a great leader – Kieran Read and the other stalwarts such as Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams and Matt Todd.

But here is the thing.

As a nation, while we did not get to see a third consecutive win, what we did get to witness was something even mightier – the character of the All Blacks.

Through their handling of defeat, the All Blacks culture and character shone through.

Here are five leadership lessons we can learn from them:

 1) Gracious in defeat 

Life brings many ups and downs, and we can’t always stay on top, no matter how smart, talented or skilled we are. Adversity does strike, and our mettle gets tested. It is not just how we perform when we are on top of our game, but what we do when we are in the depth of misery, disappointment and failure.

The All Blacks handled their loss with grace. Right after the game, despite feeling gutted both the coach and the captain were quick to front up and acknowledge how well the English team had played.

Despite their considerable pain, at that moment when it would have been easy to give in to churlishness, frustration and anger, they remained remarkably humble and grounded, giving credit where it was due.

In our business and personal life, we can certainly take a page out of this. How easy it is to feel sorry for oneself, make excuses, blame the other party and get angry when things do not go our way when the expected does not happen.

But this is not what we saw with the Abs.

2) Importance of reflection time

The All Blacks came together to reflect on what happened the day after and beyond that.

“I believe we lost because deep, deep, deep down in the pit of our guts, we did not have what the English had……Success is a cruel companion because what happens is that you never feel the pain that comes with a real big adversity….That for the next four years….It will be personal and that will make whatever they want even more important.” Steven Hansen in an interview with Gregor Paul in the NZ Herald. 

They then regrouped to come back to play in the third/fourth playoff game that got described as “a game that no team wants to play.”

The All Blacks fronted and played a good game against Wales. This was a bitter-sweet victory.

3) Expressing your feelings

The old mantra for men has been “Big boys don’t cry.” Again, the All Blacks reflected and showed that it is okay to demonstrate one’s grave sense of grief and loss. It is okay to feel the pain, and it is okay to let the tears out.

“Coach asked us all individually how we’re feeling,” said Smith. “There was a lot of pain there, a lot of honesty. You’ve got grown men pouring their hearts out and that’s shown real massive vulnerability,” Aaron Smith RWC 2019 News.

Healthy emotional expression is vital for our sense of well-being and wellness. Repressing and suppressing our emotions is not. The feelings we resist tumble out in inappropriate ways when we least expect them to.

“You’ve only got to look at the stats for New Zealand suicides and mental health and it’s not great. So allowing yourself to be vulnerable and show emotion is really important. We get called role models and I’m not so sure if we are or not. But if people want to call us role models I think it’s great that these guys are role modelling the fact that you can be emotional and vulnerable.” Steve Hansen in an article by David Long in Stuff.

Being able to feel and release painful emotions is what allows us to learn and grow.

It enables us to process, review, and move forward with lessons learnt, as did the All Blacks in the past week and no doubt, will continue to in the future.

 4) A culture of respect and trust

Steve Hansen and the coaching team have created a strong culture of respect and trust – a culture that allows honest conversations to take place, where mistakes are admitted to without penalty, and where constructive feedback is given and taken on board for improvement.

For players, what gives confidence is knowing that your back is covered. That you can count on your teammate to take that pass and shine by doing what they are good at; where egos don’t dominate and where you are playing not for yourself but for the team.

In the business world, we can do a lot better in fostering greater respect, inclusion and trust with those we share so much of our time – our colleagues and customers.

5) Showing character

“The most important thing we can do now is show that if your character’s tested, you can stand up to it. That’s the greatest success we can take out of this tournament, the greatest success we can show young people in New Zealand who are aspiring All Blacks or aspiring to be anything. You’ve got to have character.” Steve Hansen RWC 2019 News

Being able to show humility and dignity in the face of adversity is a sign of character; to stay committed to the truth no matter what and to show integrity.

The Abs had the honesty to accept where they did not measure up. No matter how raw it was, in their de-brief, they were able to own up to their part in their defeat.

Underpinning all this is another hallmark of character and excellence – the desire to keep improving. Unlike other teams, they have managed to stay at the top for many years because they have the constant mantra to keep improving and to strive for excellence.

What ultimately sets an individual, team or organisation apart is having a sound set of values which serve as an ethical compass.   This helps us navigate a sure pathway through any disappointment, loss and failure.

In their defeat, the All Blacks have shown how to stand up with humanity, integrity and character – a winning combination and inspiration for us all.


P.S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 

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Influence Skills Survey

The ability to influence and effect change in your stakeholder’s thinking, behaviour and actions is a core leadership skill.  As a manager and leader, to be able to inspire, motivate, and communicate with clarity and conviction towards a common goal and get others on board is priceless.I need your help.

I am doing a short survey on leadership influence and would really value your input.  

Here is the link:

Your time and feedback are much appreciated and as thank you, you will go in the draw for a complimentary laser coaching session with me (should you wish to take this up).

I look forward to your feedback.

Many thanks

P.S. Photo by Rebrand Cities from Pexels

P.P. S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 

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Learn Coaching Skills from Google’s Coach and the ICF Co-Founder

Are you looking for a way to accelerate your path to becoming a GREAT coach? A way to learn secrets master coaches wish they knew when they first started, without taking decades to get there?

The Foundations of Great Coaching: Start Fast Masterclass featuring Google’s David Peterson and ICF Co-founder David Goldsmith is starting soon!

Secure your seat for the Masterclass here

This is your opportunity to learn live from two of the industry’s greatest thought leaders who are passionate about helping good coaches develop masterful skills to handle difficult and emerging client challenges.

In this no-cost masterclass, David & David will show you how to:

  • Position yourself powerfully to stand out as a corporate coach
  • Stay on the leading edge of coaching to future-proof your practice
  • Get to the heart of client challenges in less time
  • Use speed in engagements to build trust and rapport

If you’re ready to accelerate your coaching from good to GREAT, join me at this session.

Secure your seat for the Masterclass here


P.S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 

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From Darkness to Light

Winter lingered like an unwelcome visitor, but finally, Spring arrived – one little step after another.

Jasmine scented the air on crisp mornings in the lull between seasons; daffodils thrust dreary winter aside, lambs gambolled in Auckland’s Cornwall Park and in the burbs,  pink cherry blossoms brightened the streets – on days when it wasn’t raining!

I have some favourite streets I love lingering as I soak in the sights, sounds and smells of a  New Zealand spring.  It’s a joy to watch the seasons change;  to witness the coming of longer days,  to feel once again some warmth – but that’s because it’s a hint of what I grew up with.

In Auckland, we’re lucky enough to almost experience four distinct seasons, short of snowfall. When the seasons change, when leaves replace blossoms,  then we all sense that surely,  summer can’t be that far away. And it all leads me down a familiar path – the parallel with our human journey with all its ups and downs.

I think few would argue that we only begin to truly appreciate and cherish the good times more as we emerge from bleaker and more challenging times in our lives.

In winter we tend to internalize, and then like Spring, we emerge into the promise of The New. We’re not quite sure how it will all pan out, but oh how grateful we are for what’s so freshly upon us.

Alexander Pope had wisely said, “Hope springs eternal.”

Perhaps Spring engenders hope too.

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How Much Do You Own Your Strengths?

We all have strengths and weaknesses.

But how much do you fully OWN your strengths?

If you don’t do this, there are likely to be good reasons here. These can include our earlier conditioning, fear of failure, and perhaps being in the grip of the imposter syndrome.

What I have come to notice is that there is a difference between just knowing your strengths and truly owning it.

 Perhaps you are still not convinced and are asking, “So – what does it matter, especially as we typically do roles that match our strengths. 

These are things we are good at, and they come easily. 

We can even attend to some of these tasks on automatic.

That extra juice

However, when we “own our strengths,” we add depth and potency to who we are and what we do. 

It enriches those we contribute to, including team members, colleagues, other managers, customers, and clients.

We become more grounded in what we know to be true (our authenticity) and the impact our strengths have in these exchanges.   

It also creates a positive self-reinforcing loop.

Here is an example

A client shared that no matter how he felt inside, he always endeavored to portray a calm and enabling influence on his team. 

So recently, when he received feedback about his presence and calming influence as part of his leadership development,   a significant shift happened for him.

His confidence and self-belief strengthened in a way he had not expected.

 The benefits of this had a ripple effect on his team and other work colleagues.

Managerial encouragement

As a manager and leader – a gift you can give your people is to recognize and acknowledge your teammates for who they are, especially their particular strengths. 

It fulfills the core human need of being valued, recognized and appreciated for what we bring to the table.

Furthermore, sharing how these strengths and their role contributes to the vision and purpose of the company is not only energizing but also helps grow engagement.

You are also not robbing others of your gems.

Organizational parallel

Companies who own and pride themselves in what they stand for also give a clear message in the marketplace along with serving their clients well.

Final thoughts

Of course, we need to own our weaknesses as well but that is a topic in another blog!

And I do love serendipity.  Just as I finished writing this blog, Taika Waititi, a New Zealand filmmaker, actor, comedian, and an Oscar Nominee was being interviewed on TV about his new movie, Jojo Rabbitt. 

“Here in NZ, we don’t fist pump enough, yeah!” (in the promo clip) and then “I am beginning to try and own that I am better at this job……”  Kia Ora, Taika.


P.S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 


P.S. Image from Pexels 


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I don’t have time for this bs…….

The other day I had coffee with a university friend I had not seen for a while.

In discussing what we were up to, I mentioned emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) as I was preparing a session on it.

He said, with a smile, “I don’t have time for all that bullshit!”  Continue reading

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Needing clarity? This will help….

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” ― John Dewey 

Last week we spent two days with some upcoming leaders who are committed to developing and growing themselves as authentic leaders.

We deliberately built-in time for reflection after their individual and team activities.

As per the quote above, this reflective process enabled them to cull out the nuggets and move forward more confidently.

Your reflections?

The quote above may also resonate with you. You are well aware that the reflective process enables us to have more of a “helicopter or balcony” view on matters.

However, like many other clients, you are perhaps musing, “Where do I find the time to do this?”

After all, your daily schedule of back to back appointments and meetings, managing teams, customers, and other stakeholders, along with all the unscheduled things that pop up, leaves time for little else.
Continue reading

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Finding Your Voice

I was recently working with a talented and empathic emerging leader who despite having all the required capability, was holding herself back.

What a loss this withhold was to her team and organisation, not to mention her sense of confidence and self-efficacy.  There was some work to be done here.

Her example prompted me to write this blog.

Are you an emerging leader who is struggling to find your voice?

Do you find it easier to communicate one on one or in small groups but in larger groups, you retreat. You let the vocal ones take charge.

You have the needed knowledge and information, and your contribution will help and yet you hold back.

Or perhaps you want to, but the right words just don’t come.

Where there is a conflict or some courageous conversations to be had, you retreat even more. Avoidance is your default strategy.

Afterward, you think all the perfect responses – especially those one-liners you could have delivered, but they are left smoldering inside.  The moment has gone.

The “lack of voice” can also be linked to confidence issues dating back to early childhood.  Second-guessing is not uncommon.

Some of us grew up with “you are to be seen but not heard” or worse, “you are neither to be seen nor heard!”  What a legacy this leaves.

And yet  find our voices we must.  It is critical in the workplace when we have to influence our various stakeholders.

The cost of not being able to say, express, and influence those we need to are high.

We are also left feeling disempowered, diminished, and not feeling so good about ourselves.

Can you relate to any of this? Has this or something similar happened to you?  For some, not having a voice, can be a default way of being.

If yes, what has helped you find your voice?

Finding your voice can also be difficult if you have introverted preferences; you need time and prefer to think things through before speaking.  Our extroverted colleagues, on the other hand,  think as they talk.

It could be compounded further if you were not encouraged, even punished for speaking up.

Here are some strategies you might like to try:

  • De-bunk the old conditioned messages about “who you are and what you should or shouldn’t say and do.”
  • Connect with what is in your heart and the message that you are ignoring
  • Know your skills, strengths, interests and passion and a commitment to sharing your gifts and contribution
  • Build confidence through small steps of practicing and speaking your truth/perspective, firstly in one-on-one than larger meetings
  • Find ways to get your thoughts heard in meetings even when you are not 100% clear on your decision. For example, a client who used to ask clarifying questions which not only got his voice heard but helped others as well.
  • Read and do courses on being assertive and public speaking
  • Join groups like Toastmasters
  • Find a coach, mentor or committed listener who believes in you so you can talk through scenarios that you find challenging
  • Deliberate practice of skills and techniques and the growth mindset of “I am learning, practicing, and developing myself as I go!”
  • And most of all, back yourself

Kris Carr, a New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, puts it aptly, “It is not about finding your voice; it is about giving yourself permission to use your voice.”

Not sharing the best of you not only holds you back but robs others of your worthy contribution.

If you can relate to this, what has worked for you?

P.S. Want to learn more about coaching and leadership?

Check out the World Business and Executive Coach Summit  (WBECS)

Image courtesy of Pixels


P.S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 




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Leading with a sense of entitlement


Whether you are a manager, leader, or employee, having a sense of entitlement can be damaging to your career. It can be the start of a slippery slope which invariably ends in a hasty exit – being removed or fired from a previously respected position.

With the person’s name and reputation tarnished – regardless of the results they have achieved – unanswered questions, doubt, mistrust, a sense of shame and embarrassment typically arise for many including staff, organization, and family members.

In using the word entitlement, I am not referring to certain benefits we all have as per legal, contractual, or fundamental moral rights.

But more, the privileged sense that comes through one’s role and place in society, organization or political life, where one gets used to a level of position, power, privilege, and perks.

What I am addressing here is the egotistical and entitled thinking where “who I am” (an important person!) takes precedence over “what I do” (how I perform) and “what I can get away with” especially when transparency is lacking.

Organizational culture change

A sense of entitlement typically emerges in organizations when there is a call for massive structural and cultural change. With such impending changes, employees can feel challenged.

If there has been a culture of entitlement in the organization – such as a celebrity culture or where an organization has been a dominant player or market leader – the loss of entitlement hits even harder.

Employees and managers alike can experience pain and discomfort as they come to terms with a new standard and benchmark of doing things, a different set of values and emerging culture.

Where there has been a culture of entitlement, the pervasive expectation is for things to continue as they have been.

A sense of entitlement embodies within it an unquestioning “as of right” attitude, belief and behaviour – “I have always had it this way, I deserve it, and it should be mine.”

Leadership role

A sense of entitlement is present when a person in a position of power and privilege justifies their “crossing the line” such as infidelity, using work funds for personal reasons such as holidays or gambling and abusing a power relationship in some way.

A typical justification here can be, “I work hard enough; I am allowed to have some fun and that it is part of the leadership role.

When the line gets crossed, executive or not, career derailment is just around the corner.

Our unconscious bias

Our sense of entitlement – conscious or unconscious – can blind us to what we need to pay attention to and to what is going on around us.

A sense of entitlement often goes hand in hand with narcissistic personalities and arrogance. Conversely, empathy – the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes – tends to be low.

As one astute leader put it, “Entitlement sets in when a leader has been in the job too long. They also get more and more autocratic and cynical about people in their organization.”   It takes emotional courage for a leader to move on after some considerable years at the helm.

If you are coming from a place of entitlement, it can be hard to see what the fuss is about. It’s like fish in water – it’s hard to see anything else as this is the only known and pervasive reality.

Some people experience a sense of privilege and make much of their exceptional physical or intellectual attributes – yet these too change over time.

A sense of unconscious entitlement can be a privilege for those in a power position, such as being from the dominant culture.

It can be challenging when things change and it leaves one clinging to their sense of entitlement. Anger – a common reaction can take the form of, “how dare you…” or passive aggressiveness – “I will get you” or resistance in some other way.

Leadership Lesson

Given the engrained and automatic nature of a sense of entitlement, what is the lesson here?

The wise approach is to watch out and catch yourself when you are coming from a sense of entitlement.

This awareness may come in the form of an opposing viewpoint or feedback from a manager, colleague, caring friend, or loved one – if they can see what is going on.

Pay attention to where you may be tempted to cross the line or experience a strong sense of entitlement.

If you don’t pay attention and take the right action, long term, it could seriously harm your career.

To raise your awareness here, you could also make a note of the things you take for granted and have a sense of privilege and entitlement about.

A great question to ask is, “How might this look from the outside?” Fairness is a good abiding principle to be mindful of.

Or “How might I feel if I was on the receiving end of what I see as my sense of entitlement and the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that go with that?” Remember the golden rule!

If your moral compass is giving you a negative signal, however weak, then it is time to step back, re-think things and talk to someone you trust.

Be willing to have your opinions and world view tested from time to time.

Life is a great leveler, and one thing is for sure – the very things we hold on to with dear life are precisely the things where we get tested and challenged.  And this is where our growth edge lies.


P.S. If you would like to read more articles by me, you can also follow me as per above or sign here for your free monthly newsletter for further articles on careers, leadership, personal and professional development. 

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