What Prices the Brain


The brain is probably the least talked about subject or organ.  Maybe it conjures up complexities that most people want to avoid due to lack of knowledge, understanding and interest are probably the contributing reasons.  (After all for many it is not an exciting topic.)  Who could blame them?  It was not until fairly recent, as far as science is concerned, that astounding research findings are available about how the brain works.  Even then, there leaves much to be discovered. Continue reading

What Powers Motivation


Motivation has been a key in many self-development theories as old as time but with recent development in other aspects, this age-old phenomenon seems to have lost its lustre.

Either the theory is over used or the low success rate has  led to disappointments.  If one were to use the carrot-and-stick method to motivate without other considerations, it would not be surprising that it failed after some time.  The simple reason is that such method could only have short-term gains, unless you have a mind of a dog…those canines never get tired of responding to stimuli where food is involved.  That in itself is telling.  If the right motivation is applied in a consistent manner, the theory could still work.  May be it is time to update the theory to include other related issues.  Perhaps understanding how the brain works would help. Continue reading

Coaching Conversations in the School Room


In spite of the increasing awareness of Emotional Intelligence and talks of introducing it into schools to develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills in children, the actual implementation is slow in actualizing.  It is a mammoth task as a stream of people are involved in making it happen; especially the teachers who must recognise  their need to change first before such adoption in schools can be made possible.  Perhaps learning to use coaching conversations is a good start.

So what is coaching conversations and their connection to Emotional Intelligence? Continue reading

Is the Mid-Life Crisis Syndrome Hitting You?


As years creep into forties and fifties, and for some late thirties, people start to look for signs of aging when they look into the mirror.  With each new wrinkle found, they get a little more depressed.  They are aging.  This phenomenon does not apply only to women as most people believe although it is the women who make the most fuss out of it.  For men, it is felt but not discussed least they are seen to be vain.  Nonetheless, whether people own up to their fears of aging or not, it is there lurking in the background.

The worse impact is in the psychological state for the beliefs in the mind control our physiological well-being.  Of course it is not just the aging that prompted the mid-life crisis syndrome.  It is during this time when things start to slow down a little, when you have time to ponder over what you have achieved or not, when you have less energy for things you once loved to do, when every change appears bigger than at any time in your life, that you feel the aging most.  Because time is running out to do all those things you want to have done but haven’t; you are struggling to find the time and opportunity to do them but find none.  If you are feeling this, you are in an unhealthy state of mind and you need to do something about it. Continue reading

Pushing the Envelope


If you limit your choices to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. ~Robert Fritz

When I read this quote by Robert Fritz, I could not help asking myself if this is what I have been doing – compromising myself.  Have you?  I am not surprised if you do because most of us take the easy way out.  Why push yourself so hard?  Life is to be enjoyed.  But do you get what you want and hope to become?

Is it possible for me to be a good teacher?  Yes, it is but you must acquire the knowledge.  Is it possible for me to be rich?  Yes, you can but you need to learn how to make your money grow.  And so forth…

When you are not pushing against the envelope you are not growing.  Becoming stagnant is worse than death because, whether you realize it or not, life becomes less meaningful, listless and boring without a purpose. Continue reading

From Suffering to Greatness


Almost every great man I read about had at one time or another suffer some personal losses before they become great.  That puts me to wonder what really transpire during the time of suffering that make these people great.  For their greatness is sustainable for many decades and often the rest of their lives.  People like Lee Kuan Yew and Gandhi Mahatma.

Perhaps it is during the time of lost and suffering that people find there is nothing to lose by going deep within themselves to reflect and search for the thing they are made of.  It is perhaps during this time that the greatest insights and passions are revealed because there is no other noise of fear that camouflage and prevent its revelation. Continue reading

Generation Gap in Parenting?


I was listening to my partner’s – Dolly Yeo – “Stop Parenting, Start Coaching” radio programme last night in which one caller asked about the differences  between parenting in generations before and now.  It is a very valid and interesting question given that we believe it is time to call for a different parenting style.

One of the parenting styles Dolly mentioned is the authoritative style widely practised by older generations.  Some over-compensate by being too permissive.  Playing good-cop-bad-cop gives off  mixed signals that can be very confusing and damaging to a child’s development.

So why does the old parenting style – mainly authoritative – work then but not now?   I agree with Dolly’s views of the different lifestyle people are leading today.   These may just be the symptoms and not the root cause.  Let’s look at some of  these differences. Continue reading

What is your Wealth Profile?


Everybody wants to become wealthy and by default means rich but most do not know how to get there.  Know your wealth profile and half your battle is won; without it, you might be groping in the dark for the right break.  That may sound simplistic and if you hear Gary Goy talks about how you may gain from knowing your wealth profile, you may want to go and do the test immediately.

When I first met Gary Goy, he was introduced to me as a Wealth Coach.  Now that is a more remote coaching type than all the other aspects of coaching I have come across.  But then it could just be me.  Gary is a man of few words and I was not quite able to grasp the essence of what wealth coaching is all about until… I was invited to listen to him talk – The Secrets Formula to Create Massive Wealth – and that changed everything.  With that little insight, it has given me lots to think about and I am ready to jump in with two feet to take the test. Continue reading

The Second Life


Aging is such a frightening thing for many people.  Rightly so if you do not prepare for it.  This is the period when everything is breaking down, some more quickly than others.  But it is usually the lost of health and loneliness that are the worst to bear.  Save yourself with a new second life.

Worrying and being afraid will not take aging away.  It is a natural process we have to go through.  The best defense is in managing it to the best of our ability by preparing for it.

At the heights of our lives, there are more things that consume our time and energy aptly summed up by this typical “Wheel of Life” chart on the top left.  (Click on the image to enlarge.)

This is very often used by life coaches to help coachees determine the areas of satisfaction and importance to set goals. Continue reading

When is your turning point?


When someone undergoes a 360 degree change it is when some major mis-happening has occurred in their lives.  The turning point is that crucial moment of realization when your whole world is turned upside down.  You are then forced to think about what is important in your life, what is your purpose, and so forth.

No one reflects much about their lives when the going is smooth; you have a good job, a fantastic marriage, a loving family, kids and all.  What else would you ask for?  Then the unthinkable happens.  It could be losing your job, a failed marriage, a love one died or you suddenly have a heart attack.  The big question comes up: what is my life all about?  The soul-searching journey begins but it is hard for you have never done anything like this before.  You become nervous and lost.  Then come the depression you do not know how to get rid of.  Desperation could cause you to take the next available boat not caring the destination it is heading.  You take a chance and that could lead you into more unhappiness. Continue reading

Watch Out! Others could sniff you out


Many people hide behind social masks – sometimes several – as a means to protect themselves from harm.  Truth is these masks are causing more damage than they are shields.  They prevent you from knowing your true self.  The self-denial is so strong that it reduces your ability to handle problems.  This happens when we lack the self-confidence in being our authentic selves.

Being genuine and sincere seem so basic in human connections but there will always be excuses in not exercising them.  In almost all sales training, we are taught to be genuine and sincere.  However, most choose not to be out of fear that the potential customer would reject their services or products. Continue reading

“Don’t live someone else’s dreams”


This sounds perfectly reasonable but yet we often live someone else’s dreams without realizing it because we never question ourselves deeply enough.  How often is it that even the most intelligent of persons would say they did this or that because their parents wanted them to.  Or that, everyone thinks that he/she is good at doing this so that is what he/she landed up doing.  It is sad but true.

If we are not living the lives of others, we are imposing others to live the lives we would have like to live.  When I hear parents say, “I didn’t have the opportunity to learn to play the piano when I was a child.  Now that I have the means, I am sending my son to piano lessons.” , I feel sorry for the child.   No consideration is given to whether her son is interested in playing the piano.  So now the son is stressed out having to go for the lessons weekly and need to be reminded frequently to practise the pieces.  It is no wonder children today is feeling the pressure.  The parents’ defense is always “I’m doing that for their own good.”. Continue reading

When Nice is not so Nice


We are taught from young to be nice but it is not always appropriate to be nice.  For instance, your parents do not always appear to be nice when they want you to do something that is perceived to be for your own good or, when your teacher lectures you for not doing your homework and, the list goes on.  They are practicing nice by being not so nice.

However, when we start making friends, we very often refrain from saying things that may upset them for fear of losing their friendship.  We are always trying to be nice. Well, if we are genuine friends we would have to learn to confront difficult situations without resorting to be being nice and burying the less than welcome truth. Continue reading

Are you a Great Trainer?


I never really thought about what makes a good trainer until I attended the T. Harv Eker’s “Train the Trainer” 5-day training at the Singapore Expo from 2731 January 2010 organized by Success Resources.

That was an awesome experience! The energy that vibrated the entire conference room filled with nearly 300 people was so amazing.  Blair Singer, the master coach at the training, was extremely inspiring.  He was able to hold the attention of the participants throughout those five days from nine in the morning right into the night ending close to midnight.  That is not something you and I could easily do without some intensive training.  He gave some very interesting tips and allowed everyone the opportunity to practise what were taught.

You could actually see and feel the transformation in the participants; on the first day everyone was sober, serious and purposeful but all left, at the end of five days appearing more joyful, confident, inspired, liberated and energized. Not only is Blair Singer a fantastic presence on stage during the training, he also comes across as being very authentic, filled with a passion for teaching and sharing. Continue reading

Instant Gratification ==>Irresponsibility?


Over the past two days I have been talking to several people about coaching.  One of the more commonly asked question was “Can you guarantee results?”.  Now, that is when the thought came “Instant Gratification = Irresponsibility”.  Why do I say that?

Look around you, everybody seems to go for instant gratification.  Patience – waiting and working for results – is no longer seen as values.  Instead, if you cannot delivery within the time expected (which is normally super short), you are out of the game.  Everything is about speed.  I, too, am one of those and I am resolving to change this mindset.

While some things are best done by others, there are also things that could never be done by others.  You could not for example get others to remember for you, learn for you, practise for you and, aha, decide for you.  The last is something we unfortunately do – consciously or unconsciously – because it is easier. Continue reading

Taking Action!


Procrastination is probably one of the worst enemies in personal transformation and coaching helps to jump over this obstacle.

In the words of Norman Vincent Peale, one of my first motivators:

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.

So when you procrastinate, you are inactive and the root cause may be something we are afraid to ask ourselves.  Maybe that is the self-preservation at work – we do not like to see what we perceive as the ugliness in us.  See not the ugliness but the opportunity to become better.

Successful leaders and coaches will tell you to take full responsibility of your own actions be they successes or failures.  Only when we are honest with ourselves are we able to determine the areas we need to change for the better. Continue reading

Stop Parenting, Start Coaching


I attended the free talk given by my Global Coach Connect partner, Dolly Yeo on “Stop Parenting, Start Coaching”.  I thought it was wonderful and very timely as many parents today are at sea in how to deal with their teens.   In this new digital environment and the wide, seemingly out-of-control exposure we are dealing in, managing our kids calls for a much different parenting skill than those employed by our parents.  The world is different.  I am sure you notice.

The old school of thought in managing children and in particular teens is outdated.  Parenting is tough, parenting teens is even tougher.  Hormonal changes around this period make it more challenging and most parents are at a loss.  It is not aided by the generation gap, especially now that couples are marrying and having children at a later age.  Conflicts begin almost overnight leaving parents to wonder where and what they have done wrong.

One thing they have done right is loving their children; what they have probably done wrong is how to communicate with their children.  There is always a tendency for parents to compare those days when you were teens to what their own teens are today and obviously there is a big divide.

There is this in-built inclination toward telling our children what to do, have and want all in the name of love.  Well and good but teens needed to be heard and respected as adults too because that is where they are heading towards and they need their parents’ understanding and support to become one.  Parents and their teens need to learn how to tango to establish certain level of trust in order for them to grow into responsible, well-adjusted and happy young adults.

Dolly shared her own experience – the pains, anxiety, frustration – in managing her three teenagers; the ups-and-downs she has gone through and how she managed to triumph and conquer the situation.  It was a very inspiring talk.

She told of the hours and courses she spent to learn to become a better parent and primarily to manage first herself as a person – learning to love herself and removing her baggages.  In her journey of self-discovery, she stumbled on coaching and began practising her coaching skills on her children.  It drew fantastic results (not overnight but with lots of patience and perseverance), leading her to understand that it is time to let go and stop parenting.

It was a very lively interactive talk.  Participants were open in sharing their teenagers’ problems and view points.  The one thing that sticks out is that parents tend to insist that the problem lies with their children because they believe they are absolutely right and by refusing to reflect on their contribution to the problem – checkmate, nothing changes and there is no winner in this tuck-of-war.  What is right and wrong is very subjective.  As long as we maintain we are right, we leave nothing for negotiation and it is then impossible to find a solution.

Parents need to stay flexible and the first order of things is to see how we, as parents, can change in order to incite the change we would like to see in our children. Getting parents to change and see things differently and to stop parenting is difficult but until they see that this is where they have to start, we will end up with losers in the battle of wills.  The ending can be disastrous if we are not careful.

If you have “problem” teenagers, you may want to join Dolly’s group parenting sessions to get some insights on how you may want to change in order to save your children’s future.  Their future happiness is dependent on you and your behaviour.  If you love your children and want to do something about it, act now and make the call.  This may be your best investment yet.

To find out more about Dolly and the event, go to: www.mindset-coaching.com .

Why the Training and Coaching Connection?


News abuzz on the training scene following the recent Singapore  Budget 2010 – all the talk about boosting productivity through more training.  I am all for training but without the coaching connection, training by itself would not be enough to sustain long-term change to reap the benefits training provides.

I have an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who is a professional soft skill trainer  and a trained coach a few days ago.  We were discussing how we could develop programmes that use both training and coaching to enhance their effectiveness.    He is concerned over reports that appear to portray a rather skewed focus on technical training leaving little space for soft skills training, although more recent news started reporting on promoting sales and marketing training even for technical staff.  I applaud that move as they signal a more balanced view.  Nonetheless any spotlight on training is good news for trainers.

I liken technical and soft skills training to IQ and EQ.  A proportionate balanced IQ/EQ has served many successful leaders and entrepreneurs well and a good concoction of technical and soft skills would likewise do more good than harm, forming a more rounded skill sets to meet any challenge.

Training unfortunately, and in particular since the economic crisis, is seen by many as more of a frivolous rather than a valuable undertaking, in spite of all the incentives provided by the government.  I followed with great interest the comments posted on one of the LinkedIn group discussion on the value of training, both of in-house as well as external training programmes.  Some lamented on how some companies still do not recognize the value training brings while others are buoyant about the training future.

It is not surprising that there are such wide ranging views on the effects of training.  I often have conflicting views of training not because I do not believe in training.  On the contrary, I am a strong supporter for continuous learning and training is certainly one of the ways to go except that a better post-training management is called for to enhance the effectiveness.  That, sadly is missing or very under-developed.

I have my fair share of training and I have noticed that a majority goes for training courses for the wrong reasons, i.e. not necessarily to improve their skills and knowledge.  Attending any training for the wrong reason would certainly give raise to negative reports and impressions.  Some genuinely want to improve and see the training provided as God-sent but whatever the intention may be, there will always be some who will return energized and ever ready to try out the new skills only to fall back on old habits after a few weeks, or at best a few months.

This often resulted in companies wary of sending their employees to expensive courses to find out later that there is no significant improvement to speak of.  I can hardly blame them but there is always a flip side of things.  In spite of training having been around for several decades there are very few people who know how to manage post-training measurement and have proper follow through to ensure that the skills and knowledge are applied at the workplace consistently.  Over time, the employees seeing no acknowledgement of their new behaviour return to old habits while management moan about the ineffectiveness of the training.

Workplace Coaching enters the scene as a complement to training.  Often training takes a couple of days or a week or two while a coaching engagement spans over a few months.  This is the first major difference but not the most significant.

Coaching is about applying and internalizing the skills learned.  We all know that breaking a habit is very difficult and with just training alone, old habits will continue to lurk in the background waiting for the weak moments to resurface again.  Coaching is about reinforcing new habits over the old for longer lasting change.  Hence, coaching is training’s perfect partner for true transformation.

Coaching uses positive questioning skills to help coachees explore and make deliberated actions toward attaining their set SMART goals.  By giving them enough time and space and in focusing on solutions using the skills and knowledge learned, coachees are thus able to develop longer lasting and enduring new thinking habits to gain personal breakthroughs.

Increasingly coaching is recognized as an important development tool so much so that some companies send their managers to coaching classes so they may use their new found skills to manage their staff more effectively.  Still there are differences in deploying managers as coaches as opposed to having external coaches just as you would have external trainers instead of internal trainers.

What has become interesting is that the mindset about coaching is starting to change as the awareness of coaching benefits grows.  In the days of old, when one is selected to be coached, he would feel insulted with the thought that only those who performed badly require a coach.  How wrong they were as that is far from the truth.  Today, however, managers hope they would be selected because those left alone would be perceived as being less important or not as valued by the management.  So don’t reject being coached if offered.  You may regret that decision.

You do not need to undergo any training before you are coached.  Coaching can be applied in many different areas for personal development and growth, and workplace coaching touches only just one aspect of one’s life.  If you have not been coached before and would like to try it out, find a coach who is willing to give you a free trial session.  You may be surprised…

Heard of Psychoneurology?


Hmm…until recently I have not heard of psychoneurology and I have since found that it is fairly NEW so much so that you would not find in any dictionary nor in Wikipedia.

I met a lady while offering my service to crew at one of T.Harv Eker’s “Train the Trainer” 5-day seminars last week.  I was totally amazed by her enthusiasm in attending the seminar.  She told us how she made an on-the-spot decision to come once she learned of the seminar – she dropped all activities, rushed home, grabbed her luggage, bought a ticket, jumped into the plane and off she went all in under 2 days.  She could not wait for the training to come to her in a few months in the UK.  I love her energy.

We exchanged cards and on her card, it says that she is a Coaching Psychoneurologist.  What’s that, I asked but I didn’t get to hear her reply.  It was a rather rush meeting so I decided to do a little digging.

If you have been following some of my articles you would know I am very interested in neuroscience, spirituality, happiness  and such.  This new terminology really pricks my curosity and until I found out what that is, it would bother me.  What I found is, it is akin to a fusion of science and spirituality.

Psychoneurology is the study of the interactions between the brain and the nervous system and by applying this understanding as a new approach to wellness it is said that it is possible to do it without using drugs.  It is a drug-free alternative to traditional psychiatric and psychological approaches.

The study may be new and yet it is not as it combines the latest technology in science with ancient wisdom.  It is about working on your inner self, deciding and making choices of the changes you want.  It is about integrating the power of the mind, body and soul – at least that is what I understand it to be.

The study of psychoneurology is offered by Barron University, founded by Dr. Colbey Forman.

It would involve an entire paradigm shift in thinking and to healing.  To learn more about this, you can visit these sites: http://www.gobu.org/quantumleap.shtml, http://www.bethelivingbridge.com/

This is very much like what a coach does – helping people understand where they are coming from, recognizing the unconscious actions we carry out are based on effects of past experiences that may no longer hold true, and that we could consciously choose our actions to reflect what we want here and now to become what we want to be tomorrow.

Aligning coaching with psychoneurology creates a powerful combination in filling the gaps of a counsellor and psychologist or even psychiatrist.

We all have the ability to heal ourselves if we only know how.  Coaching Psychoneurology may just be the thing to help us enter the journey into healing of mind, body and soul more effectively.

I hope to have a chat with my new found friend to learn more of what she does.  So look out for the post.