Lifeflowbalance Blog


Reflections on the third order of love- Exchange

I am the kind of person who finds it very difficult to allow unspoken tensions to fester. This is especially true in relationship that matter to me. No matter how painful facing up to the undercurrent that makes itself felt in our guts, head, and heart, I have always found it better to have that difficult conversation than to avoid it. As a friend, a life partner, leader, teacher, mother this has always stood.

But there is one area of my life where the eddies of unspoken, hidden thoughts, feelings and memory creating suck holes pulling me into patterns of behaviour that cause distress and disrupt my sense of who I am. As a sister to four siblings, the flow of love between us is twisted and tangled up in unspoken tensions, bitterness, loss, and betrayal. Two of my sisters will not speak to each other. One of these same sisters will not speak to our only brother and I find myself, as the oldest sibling, trying to ‘fix’ relationships in ways that only makes things worse. Finding myself drawn into a role as surrogate parent. This intensifies during the pre-Christmas period when even the planning of a gathering in the family WhatsApp group drives me to despair.

I know that we are not the only family like it. I know that I alone cannot fix it. It is deeply rooted in childhood and the way we were parented. But I also know that I need to understand and come to some peace with it because it has a real impact on my patterns of relating beyond my family.
“Coaches, just like every other human being, will often repeat, in life and in work, the very same dynamics that they are blind to in their origins.”
John Whittington, Systemic Coaching and Constellations, 2012.

I have come to believe that my strength as a ‘helping professional’, comes from my striving to find an outlet for that flow of love that it has not been possible to find within my family. It has made me acutely sensitive to and aware of hidden tensions that need to be surfaced in order for relationships and for individuals to grow. This is very useful when you are a coach. Because I tune in quickly, on a deep and intuitive level, with clients both personal and corporate whose issues stem some form of hidden toxicity in relationship dynamics. As a ‘wounded helper’ I use my own ongoing journey to healing as a strength.

Coaching supervision gives me a place to continue to learn and grow as my work with my clients illuminates aspects of my own ‘wounded self’. Coaches who become too drawn into the issues presented by their clients, who becomes drained and burned out have not learned how to manage the boundaries between giving and receiving. They give too much to the detriment of themselves and their clients. Without awareness of my tendency to be pulled into the role of surrogate parent, I could infantilise my clients, make them feel helpless, attached to me and weaker as a result of our interactions.

“Our wounding is a source of insight and clarity, so it is very often the source of our inner strength, particularly when its conscious and the coach is illumining it and opening up to it with compassion and understanding for its source.”
John Whittington, Systemic Coaching and Constellations, 2012.

Orders of Love and Leadership

Exchange is the third order of love in coaching constellations, an organisational and team coaching approach that has grown out of the work of Bert Hellinger who specialises in family’s therapy.
As a coach or a leader, our ways of being in our family system can transfer into our professional roles in unhelpful ways.

The 4 principles of exchange within systems:
  1. In all interactions there need to be a balance of exchange; give too much and people can feel oppressed and back off and become distant or alienated from you, or dependent and over attached. Leaving you isolated in the first case or burned out in the second.
  1. Acknowledging what is and giving expression to it is a part of healthy functioning in organisational systems; ignoring, failing to give recognition, taking others for granted and not giving adequate place makes people feel undervalued and leads to resentment.
  1. Giving and receiving honest and balanced feedback is a feature of health in a system; where the flow of communication is only in one direction, is overly negative or missing altogether dysfunction will grow.
  1. All imbalances within a system of relationships, often invisible, below the level of consciousness, will seek to balance themselves out through our behaviour.

A coach trained in this approach, just as they are able to surface the hidden dynamics within their own patterns of relating can surface for a team such hidden patterns of relating and suboptimal functioning.

You have an insatiable desire for getting others to fulfill what you feel is their duty to you as a leader this may stem from a childhood relationship with parents who never gave enough; you set goals for your team or followers but no matter what they do or give its never enough. Both you and your team members will develop feelings of resentment. You, because you never get what you are looking for and they, because whatever they do you are never satisfied. A sense of being owed something persists throughout their lives and creeps into their relationships both personal and professional. Such leaders will never feel satisfied with what they receive from their co-workers, followers, collaborators. Nothing is ever enough.
Another manifestation of this sense of never getting enough is over giving, making yourself too available, becomes too used and therefore become exhausted; you give too much in the hope that your hidden needs will be met.

Systemic Coaching and Constellations, An introduction to the principles, practices, and application, J Whittington, Kegan Page, 2012
The Basic orders of Love, Bert and Sophie Hellinger.
Wounded Healer Concept:


Josh is an Assistant Headteacher who is preparing to make the transition into deputy headship. I began working with him in 2016 as part of the Ambition School Leadership Programme. This summer he decided to quit a job that had become toxic and use his remaining coaching credits to engage me to help him gain that extra bit of polish on applying and interviewing for a new post. He wanted, in particular, to polish up his interview technique. This is the process we followed which took up approximately 6 hours of combined remote work via video conference and face to face coaching.

Stage one
Review and feedback to letter of application. The feedback was provided by video conference.

Preparation for face to face-this was a 30-minute coaching conversation which identified the personalised focus for the interview coaching session.

Stage Two
Four hours of Interview coaching including leadership embodiment work. We used video of the mock interview sessions to accelerate learning and reflection. Josh was able to hear and see how he was presenting himself verbally and in terms of posture and body language. We used the STAR technique to support the preparation of concise and authentic responses to pre-prepared and unseen interview questions.

We finished off with a leadership embodiment exercise which focused on the use of posture and breath to create presence and hold your space when in the pressurised environment of being interviewed.

Would you benefit from some career and interview coaching?

I am currently offering an additional hour free when you a book six hour of career coaching package with me.

Josh was very pleased with the outcomes from the day and with the long-term benefits he has gained from the coaching relationship:

"I have worked with Charmaine for 2 years and have gained increased confidence in my ability as a leader. As a coach, Charmaine provides opportunities for deep reflection and learning. You focus on actions and can see the progress. She provided an
individualised programme and has the ability to adapt the session as needed to get the maximum benefit out of it for me. I particularly found the use of video was powerful. I could see the change as we went through the day as well as feel it. Being able to see me and have the time to reflect on it with the support and challenge of Charmaine was transformative."

Instant Success!
Since completing the career coaching programme Josh has got himself an interim position as a direct result of tips I gave him on the day.

Give yourself an early Christmas present with this value-added promotion or pass it on to someone you know.

If you are looking to make the move and want to add some polish, get in touch for a no obligation chat. You may wish to take advantage of this value-added promotion. Give yourself an early Christmas present by booking before December 25th. Those booking before Christmas will get one free career coaching session when booked as part of a standard six-session package. You can also try before you buy with a free consultation.

Book consultation here.
Only a cynic would argue that kindness was not a good thing- and yes, sadly, there are powerful examples of this elk among us. Positive psychology has set out to create evidence-based strategies for increasing the quotient of happiness and wellbeing in the world and ask the teasing question: can we develop a science of kindness that can lead to positive societal change?

The ‘power’ of kindness

Consider the following findings reported by Dr Lee Rowland, Chartered Psychologist:
  • Kindness reduces anxiety: Socially anxious participants who engaged in acts of kindness for four weeks showed a decrease in social avoidance goals. The authors concluded: ‘Engaging in acts of kindness is an effective way to reduce state-level social anxiety.’
  • Nice guys finish first: Across three experiments, in a social dilemma game where participants could either benefit themselves or their group, the most altruistic members gained the highest status in their group. The authors reported: ‘Our findings unequivocally show that altruistic group members received more status. They were more respected, held in higher esteem, and were more likely to be chosen as group leaders.’
  • Empathy reduces the common cold: In a randomised-controlled trial, patients who rated their clinicians as showing greater empathy had reduced common-cold severity and duration and increases in immune response levels.
  • Giving time gives you more time: Participants in a study spent their time writing and mailing a letter to a gravely ill child. Later that day, they perceived they had more time to themselves than did controls.
  • Spending on others is good for your heart: Participants with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to spend payments on themselves or on other people. Those who spent money on others exhibited decreased blood pressure over the course of the study. The magnitude of the effect was comparable to antihypertensive medication or exercise.

(Source Lee Rowland Kindness – society’s golden chain? BPS online.)

He makes the point that each of these startling results have all been published as experimental studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
He goes on to show however that measuring kindness and finding provable correlation between acts of kindness and improved wellbeing is difficult and not yet firmly established. The studies do not use the same methodology, lack consistency across the field and do not use commonly agreed definitions of what we mean by kindness, for example, take into account that one person's act of kindness may be another person's being patronised.

Whether or not there is overwhelming scientific evidence in favour of a science of kindness we know from our everyday lived experience that being kind and receiving kindness, when it comes from a place of shared respect, is a force for good.

So with this in mind click here to make a that you can work on from now until November 13th next year. You will find resources at the end of the link for Individuals, Schools and Businesses/Organisations. Something here to inspire everyone.
AC Accreditation

In July I was delighted to achieve the Association for Coaching Executive Coach Accreditation.The accreditation process was robust and searching in its assessment of my personal qualities, my fitness to coach and my coaching practice.

The feedback was very affirming.

"You are very strong on meeting ethical, legal and professional guidelines – you are highly aware of and make use of the Global Code of Ethics, supervision and clear boundaries between helping professions, both for your clients and your own well-being and professional capability. A very clear area of strength for you Charmaine."

"Designing strategies and actions: this is very much at the heart of your coaching – sharing and using tools and techniques to help your clients find their own ways forward and to be able to use themselves, both between sessions and in future. You give a strong focus on intersessional tasks to enable the client to move themselves forward, whilst also offering support."

So why should this matter to you when considering which coach to work with?
  • Firstly, choosing a coach who is a member of a professional association, such as the AC, is a sign of coaching quality.
  • Secondly, it also gives you certain protection as a customer as the AC can remove someone who fails to practice ethically.

The AC was established in 2002 and is a leading independent and not-for-profit professional body dedicated to promoting best practice and raising awareness and standards of coaching worldwide. It is made up of professional coaches, academic institutions, trainers and providers of coaching, as well as sponsors of coaching from the third sector through to large corporates, building coaching cultures.

Accreditation demonstrates that coaches have benchmarked themselves against high professional standards, and provides reassurance to buyers of coaching regarding the level of experience and capability of coaches.

Why is Accreditation important to me?

The process made me assess my coaching approach and my coaching practice. The AC assessing team’s feedback and insights were tremendously encouraging and helpful. All AC accredited coaches must adhere to the AC Coaching Competency Framework and this means that I’ve made a strong commitment to not only meeting ethical, legal and professional guidelines but undertaking continuous coach development.

I’m relishing the challenge that this new accreditation brings!

Hnad holding a simmering translucent globe symbolising growth and creativity.
The core purpose of a coach or a leader who coaches is to use what they know about human psychology, relationship building, social and business systems and ‘life’ itself, to enable growth and optimum functioning in their coachees, with confidence. In this blog, I’ll explore my current thinking on:
  • What it means to coach confidently
  • What it means to coach others into confidence
  • How this relates to the concept of human flourishing

Coaching Confidently- The dangers of a limited model of coaching

Coaches are often engaged with people at their most vulnerable, in a state of uncomfortable agitation or at a transitional point, personally or within an organisation. As such they are stewards, guides, navigators, teachers and mentors in times of uncertainty, ambiguity, and fluidity.
It is not their role to meet people in this territory with their own certainties, stories, beliefs and convictions. This is not what it means to coach with confidence.

To coach with confidence is to have the courage to meet coachees on this ground with our own uncertainties, insecurities and vulnerabilities. Not worn on our sleeves but carried and held within our presence into the coaching space with clients/colleagues.

In his paper, The Liberated Coach Professor David Clutterbuck reveals that many of the coaches interviewed for Techniques in Coaching and Mentoring (2004) based their practice on relatively simplistic models of a coaching conversation, such as GROW, and its derivatives.
Among the dangers, he observed in this one-model approach was that:
  • Coaching becomes mechanistic.
  • Critical clues to the coachee context are missed or ignored.
  • Despite claims to the contrary, the coachee can easily become manipulated to fit the coach’s agenda.

This is especially true with regard to goal setting, where research indicates that fixing upon specific goals at the start of a coaching relationship can sometimes be a crutch for the coach, rather than for the benefit of the coachee.

What Professor Clutterbuck argues for instead is a coach who develops their own approach based on “an intelligent, sensitive ability to select a broad philosophical and theoretical approach, and within that approach, select appropriate tools and techniques, which meet the particular needs of a particular coachee at a particular time.”

These words inspired me to want to become what he calls a “liberated coach”.

Table expalining the key principles that kind the liberated coaching appraoch

Central to this concept is that:
  • The initial learning conversations provide the clues as to what approaches and frameworks may be best suited to the coachee.
  • Every learning conversation is an experiment for both the coach/mentor and the coachee.

Values and Core Purpose

Coaching for change presupposes that you engage with your coachee at a fundamental level of core purpose and values which are not always on the surface. Coaches need to be attuned to this and be listening with focused attention.
What we do not need is more rigidity and prescription in the methodology of coaches. To be a catalyst for change and transformation coaching needs to be liberated from power-based relationships and hierarchy. If not, it acts as a straightjacket and can create damage.

What is the best way to introduce coaching?

In the opinion of Professor Christian van Nierwerburgh’s, the principle of democratic voluntary involvement underpins initiatives to support the development of a coaching culture.

Table showing what each word in the title, Democratic, Voluntary, Involvement, means and which expresses a powerful set of values upon which to base any coaching initiative in the workplace.

Coaching Others into Confidence

The people I coach do not lack confidence per se, they just cannot see a safe and non-destructive place for themselves in the predominant culture of our education system. Once they see how they can help to create such spaces they are fearless. My role is to challenge them to become change agents working from a place of authenticity and courage.

Coaching confidence does not come from the certainty that we as coaches know what will solve personal or professional problems, making clients or colleagues better teachers or better leaders. It is based on discovering what we don’t and cannot know by listening and asking the right questions that will help them to discover for themselves what will make them better teachers or leaders under the current conditions and contexts in which they live and work.

While we know that there are systemic barriers, these intersect with internal, personal barriers of attitude, perspective, bias, overplaying our values and a low capacity for self-management and self-regulation.

When we focus on system issues alone we leave the client without agency and they can only ever see themselves as a victim of circumstances.

How to get to the hidden place where the external and internal barriers meet?

Within the coaching context, instead of rigidly following a set model you initiate learning conversations from which insights and change can flow. You model an exchange that emulates a template for a learning culture that can exist inside schools, leadership teams and classrooms.
Openness, listening, tentativeness, searching, fearlessness in the face of uncertainty. This is how we best serve those we coach by modelling what our client or colleague themselves need to be – that is open to mutability and change in relation to life’s biggest and deepest questions.
Who am I, where do I belong; what is my purpose and how do I best serve and live out my purpose in this role at this point in time?

Measuring the impact of my coaching?

As an executive and leadership development coach my guiding motivation is to help create organisations that know how to create the conditions for flourishing. I have therefore begun to use a tool for measuring psychological wellbeing to measure the outcomes of my work.
Flourishing is not a simple measure of happiness, life satisfaction or positive thinking. It requires the presence or development of a specific set of personal attributes that are measurable and the environmental that enables the development of these attributes. The tool that I use was developed by Professor Carol Ryff - see my last blog for full details of this tool.

My case study client completed the questionnaire before and after three 90 min sessions of personal development coaching. I was called in to support this client after he began to show signs of deep distress, was facing an HR meeting triggered by prolonged periods of work and experiencing deep anger related to problems at home.

To end this post I am going to let the numbers speak for themselves.

A table of scores collected before and after one to one coaching showing the wellbeing gains for one individual.

*Anonymised data generated using research validated wellbeing measure.

The focus of the coaching was to reduce his anger and ability to deal with difficult emotions. The key to his growth as self-acceptance practices. The figures indicate that in starting with self-acceptance he was able to experience growth in all areas of psychological wellbeing.

If you would like to know more and volunteer to work with this tool to measure the outcomes of your wellbeing strategy, please get in touch.
This year for Mental Health Awareness Week, 14-20th May, the Mental Health Foundation is focusing on stress.

They have launched with the ‘big question’, “What is the single greatest thing we could do to prevent mental health problems?”

This piece is my response to that question.

Some wonderful things are happening in workplaces across the country under the banner of wellbeing, including education where I work as an Executive Coach and Consultant. Concerns about the rising tide of mental health issues amongst the young and amongst education professions are rightly driving this agenda.

And I have my own ‘big question’. How do we ensure that what we offer under the banner of wellbeing acts as more than a sticking plaster over the wounded psyche of those most affected by the 21st-century plague of stress-related illness, anxiety, and depression? Perhaps a tad dramatic in phraseology, but let’s run with it.

The Art and Science of Living.

My ‘single greatest thing’ would be to move the emphasis onto to the creation of flourishing. To give everyone the tools of the art and science of living well.
“There is … little serious consideration of how mental health can be seen as an overall positive state that needs to be understood, managed and nurtured in its entirety as an art and science of living.” New Zealand Mental Health Foundation.

In the current wellbeing discourse, I have become struck by the fact that our use of the term mental health refers almost entirely to mental illness, stress-related psychological and physical disorders, anxiety and depression. As if the term mental health itself were a deficit concept- i.e. naming the absence of something rather than the presence of something.

Mental health has a positive side closely associated with the research-based concepts of wellbeing, happiness, and flourishing underpinned by the work of positive psychology.

A reorientation toward the positive would transform both the current debate as well as the approach we are taking to meeting the challenge of reducing the personal, social and economic impact of what is globally regarded as the epidemic rates of increase in stress-related illness, depression, and anxiety.

It has been accepted that the very conditions 21st-century life have exponentially increased the risk factors that undermine optimal human functioning. These risk factors include the increasingly uneven distribution of wealth and power across the globe; growing uncertainty created by the impact and implications of technological change, information overload; environmental degradation; increased complexity in life; consumerism; and global and national political events that seem out of our control.

To best respond to the effects of these huge changes on our lives we need to seize opportunities to advance understanding and cultivate the quality of personal, familial, educational, social, political and economic relations that promote positive mental health and flourishing.

How Does the Focus on Flourishing Help?

There is a growing body of theory and practice advancing flourishing and improved wellbeing as an aim of our public service institutions, education, health; that promoting it should be a function of government in terms of setting policy and allocation of resources. and so on. To this, I would like to add my voice.

The concept of flourishing primarily helps, in my view because it is inclusive. It recognises, for example, that people with a mental illness may have all the attributes that constitute flourishing while someone who may appear well, may be languishing. It is not about sorting the defective from the well and fixing them but of creating the conditions where all can thrive.

Flourishing is a useful descriptor of positive mental health. Flourishing as defined in international literature is “a state where people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning, most of the time. In more philosophical terms this means access to the pleasant life, the engaged or good life, the meaningful life.”

Flourishing is not just a simple measure of happiness or life satisfaction or positive thinking. It requires the presence or development of a specific set of personal attributes (Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson, 2005) that are measurable (Ryff & Keyes, 1989). It is opposed to languishing which includes the state of being where people describe their lives as “hollow” or “empty” (Fredrickson & Lahoda, 2005). I would add that it also requires the active creation and maintenance of the environmental conditions that promote flourishing.

The attributes that describe a flourishing human being are captured here by Carol Ryff in her six-factor model of psychological wellbeing.
  • Self-acceptance
  • Positive relations with others
  • Autonomy
  • Environmental mastery
  • Purpose in life
  • Personal Growth

You can measure your position on a scale of psychological wellbeing from high to low.

My question directly to school leaders and employers generally is, “How does your workplace culture either support or undermine wellbeing or flourishing as measured on a scale like this?”

We could address the same question to governments and policymakers as what they do has a direct impact on how specific groups either flourish or languish.

We can also ask, what do we do to build our own resilience and flourishing?

Beginning with this piece written for Mental Health Awareness Week I will be publishing a series of posts that will show how the concept of flourishing influences my work as a coach and education consultant and inviting you to engage with me in a project.

Before you go!
I would like to hear from any reader who would be interested in working with me to collect evidence about how this concept impacts on how we work and live together in a society where there is a distinct gap between rhetoric and reality around wellbeing.

Like me, I hope you will see the value of starting where we are at and scoring those small victories that can lead to a revolution. You may have your own stories to share to add to mine.
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Allies, collaborators and polite, constructive critics welcome.

Everyday self-leadership is at the core of the work I do with my clients. Coaching has taught me to prize the un-celebrated courage of women and men whose ability to face up to punishing and cataclysmic life events. The courage and fortitude of my clients inspire me. I draw strength from them as much as I do from the publicly celebrated and revered individuals who live in our imagination.

This opening blog post of 2018 celebrates one such client.

When I started coaching Toni was unhappy at work, feeling undervalued and out of sync with the culture of the organisation in which she worked.
Coaching helped her to change workplace within a matter of months to an organisation that was more aligned with her values and aspirations and, so she felt well placed to begin to pursue her ambitions to become a senior leader. That happened between May and July 2017.
Then, over the summer, she discovered that she had the life-changing condition, Lupus. She started a new academic year struggling to accept the implications of this fact for herself, her family and her new employers. But it was not to end there. In October she had to undergo an emergency appendectomy which also revealed the presence of a cancerous tumour. Luckily it has been removed but now on top of managing her condition she also has to undergo regular monitoring in relation to the cancer risk.

As you can imagine, this sequence of events has turned her life upside down. Where before her concerns were about how long it would take her to find a good place to pursue her dreams of becoming a senior leader she is now concerned with just being able to weather the storm of uncertainty that threatens to overwhelm her in relation to her health. How to manage her own emotions and be there for her husband and children? In our last session of 2017, we agreed to abandon goal seeking and to focus instead on her being.

This deep fundamental work is where life can take us when striving and status is not enough to answer the questions that life poses to us. When your plans go awry when the things you wanted to achieve move beyond your grasp, what then? My client’s determination to continue to define herself is moving and inspirational.

Time and time again I have drawn inspiration from the words of Victor Frankl.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

As a coach who has integrated mindfulness and compassion based approaches into my work, I was able to offer her a new programme of coaching that would focus on developing resilience. Toni's major focus now is just how to live with the new circumstances that she finds herself in, a situation not of her choosing. How to face everything and rise. This is a new world in which she needs to regain her sense of self, re-examine her values and purpose and rebalance her priorities.

So 2018 will be a transformative year, a journey of discovery and metamorphosis for Toni. I will be following up this story in future posts. For now, I will leave with words from Toni:

"Coaching sessions with Charmaine have provided an immense amount of emotional and professional support. Charmaine has given me the time to talk openly and at length about strategies to help cope with day to day life, particularly significant as this year has been one of the most unpredictable by far. This process began as a journey of professional goal setting but has now transitioned to one of building an overall resilience to whatever life throws my way. One which I fully embrace."

Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Charmaine's Blog Summer 2017 Non-Fiction
  • Check here for some interesting Leadership reads- Titles 1,2 and 5, are on my list

  • The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
  • Who Leaves and Who Stays, by Elena Farrante
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Farrante
  • The Story of a New Name, by Elena Farrante
  • Pussy, by Howard Jacobson

Three by Elena…well, I am holidaying in Italy, seems appropriate!

Fiction- Classics
  • The Man who was Thursday, by GK Chesterton
  • The Counterfeiters, by Andre Gide
  • Satan in the Suburbs and other short stories, by Bertrand Russell

I would love to know what you are reading. On my return, I will be sharing reviews of my reads using:
#womenedReadingReviews & #RecommendedReads

Follow @lifeflowbalance on Twitter to join in the conversation

Happy Holidays.
Summer 2017 Well-Being Plan
Now is the time to put in place your summer holiday wellbeing plan. I have booked all of August off. For the first four days of the month, we are off to the Edinburgh festival, then back for 5 days to recover from the joyous madness that is the fringe and turn around for a break in Italy for the rest of the month.

There I will sleep, walk, cycle, swim read, and hopefully find the inspiration to complete my idea for my first book.
The extended break is designed to give me the space to fulfil this aspiration and, what has come to feel like a need, to capture and explore the last three years and their impact on my life through the work I have been engaged on in self-development as well as the work I have done serving the developmental needs of those I have coached.

As my business has grown work-life balance has become an increasing challenge for me. I have not yet got to that stage since becoming self-employed. So, another summertime break task will be to give this some thought and reshape my business plan to address the imbalance.

So, what is your wellbeing plan for the summer break?

My No. 1 Tip for a Guilt-Free Break

Freedom from guilt.

Carve out time to just be, as well as time to put some thought into how you can improve your work life balance once you are back into work mode. If you have created a huge to-do list that you will then neglect once the break comes because you need to stop, but with which you will beat yourself up about not doing, burdening yourself with guilt. Just chuck the list in the bin. If you have failed to complete your to-do list in the past and the earth did not stop spinning then you do not need the list at all.

Accept that you need the break and have it free from guilt. Only do what is essential and which will serve to rejuvenate you and create better balance once you are back to work.

Rest, recuperate, rejuvenate and enjoy!

Teacher's CPD Gold #womened
Austerity has meant that CPD budgets for schools have been heavily cut. So, access to free or low cost, good quality professional development is like gold dust. Whether you are a teacher, senior leader, member of a school’s support staff, a consultant or trainer WomenEd events are an excellent source of such gold dust.

Here is a list of events that will be taking place in the East and West Midlands during the Autumn term:
  • October 11th, 2017, International Day of the Girl #LeadMeet at venues to be confirmed
  • October 14th Saturday Regional Unconference, organised by Dr Kay Fuller, Nottingham University, Theme: ‘Pass it On’. I will be leading a workshop on Reflective Leadership as part of the programme of workshops available. You can book your place here.

If you live outside in the West Midlands then these events may be of interest
  • September 30th Womened 3rd Annual Unconference , Sheffield Hallam University. Register for this event here to go on the waiting list as this event is now sold out.
  • November 18th Birmingham Regional Event at which Dame Alison Peacock from the Chartered College of Teachers is confirmed to speak. Register for this event here