Archive for the ‘Unlocking your potential’ Category

With 6 months to live what would you do? The Bucket List questions

April 6, 2010

The Bucket List was on last night – a great insight into two men who have to deal with their own mortality. A question I often ask to help people get clarity on their true values “if you had only 6 months to live what would you do, who would you see, how would you spend the time?”

A point I particularly enjoyed was them sitting on the top of the ancient pyramid and discussing the following 2 key questions. Morgan Freemans character notes “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.”

What were the 2 questions? They were
1)‘Have you found joy in your life?’
2)’Has your life brought joy to others?’”

Well. What were your answers?


Keep positive thinking positive – review of Kim Hill’s interview with Barbara Ehrenreich

April 4, 2010

After reading the Listener article “Down with Positivity” (March 20-26th, 2010) and Kim Hill’s interview of Barbara Ehrenreich (3rd April), I am concerned that many readers and listeners will throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to positive thinking. They will buy in to the “down with positivity” perspective rather than realising that constructive positivity, at the right stage, is a powerful tool for overcoming adversity.

Barbara’s challenge of positive thinking and its lack of sincerity ring true in many situations. However with all her calls for a scientific, well validated viewpoint, she does not appear to offer one herself. She simply picks at the proponents of positive psychology without giving a viable alternative.

Thus I thought it useful to summarise a few points from reading and listening to the material:
– There is no arguing a persons individual battle to overcome a major adversity such as cancer, major illness, losing a job or death of a loved one. Each person goes through an individual emotional experience to get through to the other side.
– There is a cycle that people go through when dealing with/ managing adversity, similar to a cycle that people go through when handling grief.
– Prescribing “positivity” at an inappropriate stage of this cycle does do more harm than good. I call this Toxic positivity. A related example of this is told by John Kirwan on his depression advert of his mates saying “harden up”, when hardening up is not what you need to do when depressed.
– Seeking help, being easy on oneself, getting love, support, & encouragement during the first stage of adversity are useful.
– At a different stage in the cycle, once people have the mental/emotional space to look at their options, is of merit.
– During this phase trusting that things will get better, taking responsibility for what can be done under the circumstances are part of the puzzle to recovery
– Taking into account the facts of the situation into account and choosing to take the best possible option given ones circumstances and options is what I call CONSTRUCTIVE POSITIVITY.
– From my experience of working with clients – taking this approach does have beneficial effects on a person’s sense on well being, prognosis of recovery and ability to handle adversity.

In conclusion – it is important we do not throw the baby out with the bath water and mix toxic with CONSTRUCTIVE positivity. Taking an approach that is a “one size fits all” runs the risk of alienating people against taking a positive viewpoint at all.

The challenge of change

February 26, 2010

What motivates people to change? Why is it that some people make dramatic progress in a short period of time while others never reach the point of change?

1. The Pain When the pain of “staying the same” outweighs the “pain of change” things will start to happen.This is a vain hope -the hope of the self deceived-that it’ll all work out OK, and I won’t have to go against myself and my feelings or put some effort into it. “How much will you have to suffer before you get serious about getting help?” “When desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins.” 2. Hope; that I can become my dream for myself, and that I can reach the ideal of myself which is my desire.
3. How to – Insight; with truth-coaches, new insights, training and effectual and relevant understandings, not previously grasped or understood.
4. Love; that somebody who is significant to me – whom I want to please – isn’t pleased, but that it is within my power to please them. It may be a counsellor, coach, spouse or employer. It may be someone who has the courage, the conviction and the compassion to get ‘in my face’ and persuade me to change course.
Insanity is “continuing to do what I have always done and expecting different results”. The greatest struggle we will always have is with ourselves – with our thoughts and feelings.

Questions to check where you are:
•What is stopping you from changing?
•How much will you have to suffer before you get serious about getting help?
•What is the thought or feeling that continually persuades you to stay the way you are?
•What deep persuasion would you need to effect true change?
•What or who is in charge of your life, are you in charge or are you enslaved to someone or something?
•Are you fully persuaded that you can change? – Believing that you can change is a big step towards making it a reality.

Two great questions for personal leadership – tips from effective governance

February 16, 2010

Through Springboard, a networking focused on growing young directors (45 and under), we had a fantastic speaker present to us last night. Kevin McKaffrey who had a wealth of experience in the area, spoke of the key principles of good governance.

Two brilliant questions he posed when becoming involved in governance were: What is the potential of the organisation and what is the personal ambition of the people working in the organisation?

I think these questions cut to the heart of assessing whether an impact can be made by our involvement and also what (if any) potential conflicts may exist around the others involved in the decision making.

Relating it back to us personally – what do you see as your potential and what is your personal ambition?

The answers to these two questions will dramatically impact how you see yourself and how others perceive what you are doing. In the process of unlocking potential with clients through coaching we become crystal clear on where the end point will be in the main areas of their life. Is it finding your dream career, starting a new business or creating a greater sense of work/life balance?

Great governance not only belongs in the boardroom but in running our lives as well. Challenge yourself today to look at what your potential can be – and then work out a plan to get there.

Executive Coaching Practices in New Zealand

October 14, 2009

I came across the attached article in International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring.

It covers some really interesting areas including accreditation, background, age and aslo whether coaching is actually a profession.

I was interested in the percentage of executive coaches under 40. An an under 40 coach myself, I thought about the potential benefits (not just disadvantages) one can provide coming from a fresher, newer, different perspective.

I also liked the discussion about accreditation. As a member of ICF I have had various discussions with a number people over ICF accreditation – value or non value. I think ICF accreditation is a valuable process as much from a personal growth process as it is in terms of becoming accredited. It gives a strong framework for development but of course is not without its issues.

An interesting question I would be interested in your views – does having ICF accreditation for a “younger” coach (no grey hairs) as opposed to an “older” coach?

I found it a very good and useful article. If you are keen to read it let me know. Regards Grant

Community based leadership – volunteering with intent

October 12, 2009

After the recent tsunami I called the Red Cross and discovered they needed volunteers to help with the clean-up. There seems no shortage of opportunities to give up our valuable resource – time. Opportunity or distraction?

As it turned out I had a great time. Met some wonderful people and felt like I made a difference. Sometimes we need to give to get.


September 26, 2009

Coaching creates a unique and amazing space where dreams can be created, crystallised and implemented. Chocolate

After taking part in the Results Intensive Coach Training I can now see that it can make a massive impact. But it is not for the fainthearted or those who want to stay the same.

Coaching adds something else. It creates a”mental space” that allows truly inspirational goals to be uncovered and developed. Coaching gives a clear structure, personalised feedback and a solution-focus that maximised the chance of meaningful goals being established.

So give it a go! But be warned – like chocolate, getting inspired by your dreams can be addictive. Email for further information. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!




Living life to the full…..replace fear with confidence through action

September 21, 2009

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with sweat and blood and dust; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” Theodore RooseveltGetting it done

Kayaking on Outward Bound. We were doing an excercise where we had to paddle out into the river, turn the bow and then let the current do the rest. I remember vividly watching person after person doing the exercise from the safety of the side of the river. It was not till I got the courage myself to give it a go that I experienced the full sense of accomplishment.  Several years before I had almost drowned when i got stuck under a kayak in a shallow pond and could not get out.  

Life is definitely not a spectator sport. There is nothing better than replacing fear and uncertainty with confidence.

Dont wait any longer to make your dreams come true – take action now and get into it!

Getting comfortable in the discomfort zone – the key to effective learning

September 7, 2009

Picture -

Welcome to the Discomfort Zone. It sounds like a part of outer space or something off star wars!  Its neither – it is much, much more important than that! It is the space where our real growth and development occurs.

Can you recall when texting first arrived?  I remember thinking how inconvenient it was – sending bite sized snippets of information rather than actually speaking to the person, so I tried to ignore it.

Speaking to a lawyer in his 60s – he said the same thing about email. He couldn’t get his head around sending messages across cyberspace – he much preferred the feeling of having a “hard copy in his hands”. So he tried to ignore it.

However there is a point where you can no longer ignore it. That critical point where the benefits of making a change outweighs the pain of staying the same. Malcolm Gladwell calls these Tipping Points, “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable”.

I have reached that point around blogging and using social media

Did you know?

  • Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity ahead of personal email (Nielsen Online, March 2009)
  • 150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day (Zuckerberg, Jan 2009)
  • “Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February 2009, up an 700+% vs. a year ago. (Comscore, April 2009)

With this in mind (and at the recommendation of my own social networking coach), I have had to LEAP FORWARD and create a Blog for the business. It is a big learning curve and feels exciting and uncomfortable at the same time.

Moving into the “DISCOMFORT ZONE” that occurs when stretch and learning takes place. Tim Brownson, a UK Life Coach sums it up nicely by saying – “you can’t get from where you are to where you want to be without passing through the discomfort zone”. I love that concept

So how do we get comfortable in that “discomfort zone”. Here’s a few thoughts

  • Realise that being uncomfortable is part of learning
  • Reflect on what you are telling yourself during the learning process – is it positive or negative language that you are telling yourself
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes and just be average while learning
  • Reward yourself with little encouragements and milestones
  • Share your successes with those that matter

So have fun, enjoy and make Leap Forward towards your dreams.

 Wishing you all the best

Grant Verhoeven

PS: If you want to find out more about what it takes to make sustainable, positive, long term change contact me at and make an appointment. There are 2 RISK FREE options you can choosea)       Book a FREE 30 minute session to get a better sense of what Coaching can offer you

b)      Book a full 1-hour session. If at the end you don’t think it’s right for you –I wont bill you. If you are keen to continue – then that was the first session. Email me today and let’s further unlock your potential and get moving.