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From Back Stage to Public Speaker - just another step

Jo Wood has lived the life that many might dream of.  She’s perhaps most famous for having been a model and ‘rock chick’, touring with The Rolling Stones for 30 years.  The Jo Wood of today is a successful entrepreneur and champion not just of organic food but of all things organic, including her own range of organic fragrance, bath and body care products. Some might therefore find it a little surprising to read that she didn’t imagine she could stand up and talk to people – indeed, she kept declining offers to give out awards and speak to groups.  She really felt that she needed to learn the skill and, just like her other skills, needed training in order to acquire that skill.
Ever since her school days Jo had known that presenting was a weak area for her – she had always dreaded standing up in front of her class to present.  She knew she needed to find confidence.  She didn’t just want to appear free and easy; she wanted to be free and easy.
Jo felt it best to work with a coach who was experienced in helping people achieve such objectives and spoke to trusted people about who she might work with, which led to her working with Mike.
In all of their sessions Jo made sure that she listened carefully and learned.  Visualisation was the key tool Jo learned how to use.  She recognised that successful actors and sports people do it and it is proven to work for them – why should it not work for her?
She learned how to visualise herself in a role and to run through a scenario in her head.  With practice, this became easier to do – she eventually became able to have a whole event rehearsed in her mind from start to finish. 
Not only did this really help her as planned, when presenting, but she uses the tool in many other scenarios.  Just one of these is when going to gym and working with her personal trainer – she has found that she works much better when doing routines if she has first properly visualised herself doing them.
The original stimulus to engage with a coach was when she agreed to present an evening at the Natural History Museum and knew that she needed help before she could do so.  Now looking back at the event, Jo said “Two seconds in I was off and running, with huge self-confidence – they had to force me off the stage in the end!  Each time I present it becomes a little easier.  As with anything, having the right tools means a job can be done well – coaching has given me those tools.”.
Co-hosting an event for the first time was another major step forward for Jo.  Before she was announced to the crowd and she went on stage, she took a deep breath and ensured she clearly remembered her visualisation of what was about to happen, quickly running through it again.  She then walked on stage and it all just fell into place.
Immediately after each event she now does, looking back on what she has just achieved, Jo knew her coaching had worked.
At the time of writing, Jo has an upcoming talk for 100 people at a  ‘Friends of the Earth’ dinner, so will have a couple of sessions with Mike to refresh existing tools and develop new ones, to deal with a different type of presenting – telling her story rather than reading from autocue. 
After each coaching session Jo has had so far, she feels she developed more confidence in her ability.  Jo is therefore sure that she will walk away from these upcoming sessions with new skills to tackle her new challenge.
Jo feels she has really learned about herself by going through this process.  She commented “I now have confidence that I can do anything.  My fear of presenting, of standing up in front of a group of people and being the focus of their attention, went out of the window.  It was just an insecurity.  Coaching helped me believe in myself.  It really helped with my self-confidence.”.
Jo is well aware that there are some who just don’t “get” coaching.  To such people she says “Unless you are a complete natural, coaching is so fantastic because whatever your challenge is, it does take skills to rise to that challenge and there are tools to use.  The only way you acquire those skills and tools is from an expert.  I would not have been able to rise to my challenges without such coaching.”

Coaching for Success
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Future Potential v Past Achievement
One of the basic premises of behaviourally based interviewing is that past behavior predicts future behaviour better than what you say you could do in future. Recruitment companies even encourage lists of achievements in line with the skills being looked for.

This research now suggests we may all be more impressed with future potential than past accomplishments (unless you've done something incredibly outstanding, like winning an Olympic medal). So maybe this a) warns us to be ever more vigilant against our natural bias towards potential when interviewing and b) if being interviewed, then play up your potential future!

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So Emotional Intelligence Doesn't Always Help
High Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been shown to be a valuable attribute for team leaders - but now it seems this depends on the type of team and ,as usual, the context.

The researchers found "EI made a difference in busy, complex and multi-layered managerial contexts, not when managing single teams under less pressured conditions".

It seems that in small close knit teams, being very sensitive to emotional issues can be seen as making a bit of a meal of it!

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Threaten a man's masculinity and he becomes a short-sighted risk taker!
Here's another look at what might have happened during the testosterone fueled banking crisis.

In a couple of experiments researchers found ways of gently challenging men's masculinity. (Interestingly by e.g.
having them product test a pink bottle of "Sweet Pea" fruit-scented hand lotion!)

Then their risk taking was assessed when playing a gambling game. Men who'd had their masculinity challenged tended to bet larger amounts and the maximum more often.

Further experiments showed that those challenged would make shorter term money decisions.

N.B. the authors do point out that this says nothing about the effect of gender threat on women's risk taking - work that needs doing!

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So We Don't Hate Monday's After All
US researchers polled 340,000 workers and discovered mood was no worse on Monday than other days of the week  - apart from Friday (So TGIF still operates!)

It seems that if you compare the days between Sunday and Friday they are all as bad  - but that's being cynical!

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