Article number 1 written by Andy Fraser publisher of the  Bristol Nine Magazine.

Number 1  Small business Coaching to The Bristol Nine

Let’s be honest shall we? Life is one big experiment. Made up of lots of smaller experiments.  None of which come with a useful manual.  Careers. Relationships. Parenting.  And more. All major aspects of life, all left very much to us as individuals to try out and hope to get right just by trial and error. “Learning by having a go” I call it. I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I get by, I make mistakes, I try to learn from them, I muddle through. But if we aren’t too proud to accept it couldn’t we all benefit from a bit of help? Step forward the life coach.

I met Jeanine at an introductory talk she gave to tell people about her work. We spoke afterwards about life coaching in more detail and concluded that as well as being a good candidate for coaching, my experience of it might make an interesting read. I felt an article coming on. We agreed to meet up again.

Our first session at Jeanine’s house started well. Did I want a cup of tea? Then it went wrong – semi-skimmed milk only, fine for coffee not for tea. I forgave Jeanine for she is a Dutch lady and not familiar with the finer points of life with Typhoo. Then we settled down at the table to map out a new life for me, which was when I learned a key fundamental of life coaching. I was expecting, rather naively, for Janine to tell me what I should do to make my life more fulfilling, more organised, better. But no, in life coaching it is the client who sets the agenda, decides on which aspects of his or her life that are ripe for positive change, determines how the life coach can assist. So my first task was to think carefully about “my life” and consider what areas I feel I could make more fulfilling in whatever way.

Well, I was a bit like a child in a sweetshop, wondering what I should try, where I should start. Work and business seemed a sensible place. Believe it or not assembling The Bristol Nine each month, as a one-man-band, takes quite a bit of time, and at certain parts of the month a considerable amount of time. Often I am left wondering why it takes so long and where my time goes. The truth however, and I am happy to admit it, is that I am a disorganised, last-minute kind of bloke – always have been, always will be, because that’s how I am.

I mention elsewhere this month that taking advantage of a relaxing complementary therapy session is, for me,  part indulgence part time well spent because it forces me to have an hour of real quality  me time, time to recharge a bit ready for the next onslaught of life. Sat with Jeanine I very quickly realised that, for me at least, working with a life coach can bring similar benefits. I’ll try and explain, with reference to work although it could be many other facets of life, why coaching helps

Whether you are employed or self-employed, how often do you find or make the opportunity to just sit back, take stock and think clearly, dispassionately and without interruption about your job, how you perform it and whether you could do it any better (however you define better)? Regularly? Occasionally? Rarely? I thought so.  Yet how often do you think you could be better organised, more effective, more productive at work? Rarely? Occasionally? Regularly? I’m a “rarely” and a “regularly” person  in relation to these 2 questions, which is why the production of The Bristol Nine follows the same shambolic process each month. I leave things to the last minute because I can, and because I can I do!

This defeatist attitude however cut no ice with Jeanine, and very soon I was sat with a large sheet of paper and a pen mapping out what I do to produce the magazine each month, manage the business and when, in the monthly cycle, each activity occurs. This was something new to me and even though I had an idea in my mind how I worked over time it was strangely cathartic to commit it to paper.

I had produced a graph, a cycle of activity levels over the month which showed a line of peaks and troughs. I was working at a nominal 100% capacity at print deadline day and a nominal 10% as I lay exhausted on the sofa in a crumpled heap the day after I hit the print button.  “Now, how would you like the graph to look?” Jeanine asked, which reminds me to mention another aspect of life coaching which surprised me. I expected Jeanine to have all the answers, but in fact she had all the questions – and I was gently but expertly pushed towards finding the solutions for myself.  So, another colour pen, another graph and the realisation that I needed to make my business life less of a sine-wave and more of a straight line. I had sketched a utopian world for my working life.

It was a start, Jeanine said. Coaching is all about helping the client understand where they are, encourage them to seek answers for themselves, find small changes, not be too ambitious but take small incremental steps to make important differences.  We spent time looking at work things I do that result in the peaks and troughs of my existing business life then looked at each one to see how it could be changed for the benefit of the magazine and my sanity.

But more of that next month when Jeanine encourages me to look at whether The Bristol Nine is a business or a hobby and how adopting proper businesslike practices needn’t jeopardise amicable and amiable business relations.

If you would like to find out more about Jeanine Hamaker and her coaching services visit her website or give her a call. Even better get in touch to arrange your free half hour introductory informal coaching session, which take place every other Thursday afternoon in the Venue 35 Café/Bistro on Stoke Lane or pop along to the next of her introductory talks about life coaching which will be at the Baptist Church Hall on Reedley Road, WoT, Tuesday 15th March from 7.30 to 9pm.

JEH Coaching

Neem contact op met Jeanine en bespaar jezelf tijd, energie, moeite en geld die je, na de samenwerking met Jeanine, doelgerichter en effectiever kunt inzetten.

Nederheide 16A, Woensdrecht

0652 094 311

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