A bit like dating, Su showed up when I least expected it…

A bit like dating, Su showed up when I least expected it…

This blog is a special, warm welcome to Su Patel, our newly appointed in-house HR and Leadership Consultant at The Learning and Development Company.

Around mid 2017 as The Learning and Development Company, it’s methods, leadership programmes and open courses began to take the shape I’d planned for, I began thinking about a team.


It’s pretty straight forward in my eyes, experience, knowledge competence(clearly Su cut her teeth at Tesco) but more importantly, my unconscious need to feel the integrity seeping. Call it over the top, but I’m not willing to compromise when it comes to values and attitude.  The brand, team and what we deliver has to be impeccable.

On a Saturday afternoon, in August 2017, It was perhaps fate that I witnessed Su, a complete stranger,  deal with two of the most challenging and interpersonal types of conversations there are.  I’ve worked with lots of people that talk the talk, but walking the walk is different when it’s hard, particularly in our industry.  Little did I know, Su had 25 years of experience in ops HR at Tesco and was ready to hit the ground running.  I thought long and hard about the qualities I was looking for, then, when they showed up in a person as a match, decisions were easy.

I approached Su shortly after for a conversation at Costa Coffee in Mornington Crescent, within 10 minutes she was booked to deliver an hour long ‘HR perspective’ session at our Essential Management Skills course for a group of emerging leaders. Which was incredible.

Su is putting the finishing touches to her baby, a HR open course that prepares HR people at all levels for their own HR process and leadership challenges, covering all bases.  She’s now a permanent guest deliverer at the Essential Management Skills open course, and features in our flagship tailored Leadership Programmes. Su adds an invaluable HR perspective on recruitment, absence, retention and performance management.


Welcome Su!!!!!!


4 Tips for Kicking Procrastination

4 Tips for Kicking Procrastination

Often because of perfectionism, self-doubt, self-sabotage and/or poor work life balance and health it can be challenging to even get out of the starting blocks to get stuff done.

Procrastination is a clever beast and requires a sharper than sharp body and mind to consistently stare it down and get stuff done.

A The Learning and Development Company we understand that procrastination will always be a challenge and that having lots of tools and understanding is the best chance we stand of tackling it from day to day. Here’s 4 tips to kicking procrastination.

Done is better than good…

Try to get your head around being consistently imperfect to create real momentum and get things done. Most people that are successful and seemingly ‘perfect’ in what they do are constantly taking actions. Perfectionism often debilitates or hinders results. Actions = Outcomes. “Resistance… Has no strength of its own…We feed it with power by our fear of it…Master that fear and we conquer resistance” Steven Pressfeild – The War of art.

Inhabit your body

Your body loves your attention, when you keep it sharp it will reward you with the pleasures of high productivity and effectiveness. The opposite applies… put crap in, get crap out. Inhabit your body and mind with fresh thoughts and produce, don’t let unconsciousness control your outcomes. Try incorperating a regular Mindfulness practice to get clear on your goals and ‘to do’s’.


In the same way we get addicted to sex, drugs (recreational or emotional), anxiety, despair and last minute panic, we can also get hooked on momentum and results. what’s your balance? If the former is tipping the scales and it just so happens that you suffer from procrastination and lack of results, it may be time for a ‘health check’ and to reevaluated what you are addicted to.


Breaking down the task into sections can allow your brain to focus on smaller chunks. If a task seems to big or daunting there’s a chance you need to either learn more about the subject matter, or simply need to get clarity by breaking it down to manageable pieces. Take an A4 piece of paper and divide it in to eight boxes, transfer the eight most Important tasks for the day from your to do list and get cracking – JFDI

5 quick Coaching tips for managers

5 quick Coaching tips for managers

5 tips to enhance your coaching skills


A definition for coaching in the UK is ‘Asking meaningful questions to raise awareness’. However open questioning alone can often make for a seemingly pointless or unfocused conversation. Try these 5 tips to develop your Coaching Skills.

Diagnose and Match

People go through stages of learning, see Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II. The best coaches will quickly work out the development level of the person they’re working with (on each seperate task), then they’ll wisely choose between coaching and teaching, or a mixture of both. Flexibility is the key and each person you coach will be at different levels for different tasks or goals.

Apply Structure

Study the G.R.O.W model. There must be a clear structure to a coaching conversation for it not to seem pointless, a beginning, middle and end. Establish the (G)oal, work through (O)ptions and test the (R)eality of those options. When you’re happy with the options, establish the (W)ay forward, book a follow up meeting, establish check points and completion dates. Combine G.R.O.W with Diagnosing and Matching and you’re on to a winner.

Listen Empathically

To be good at points 1 and 2 you’ve got to develop the listening skills of a Bat! Great meaningfully questions should roll in off the back of something that has been said, listening well means you’ll not only hear what is being said, you’ll hear the motive and reasons behind the response, equaling well informed and great questioning.

Coaches be Coached

In our experience the best coaches are receiving coaching in both personal and professional life.  Part of our recruitment process for leadership coaches and trainers at The Learning and Development Company is that potential associates receive regular coaching themselves. To understand the process, you need to have been through it, and not just once! The most effective managers and leaders we meet are being coached and thus make excellent and well trusted coaches themselves.


This one’s simple, do lots of coaching, get coached, listen intently, ask great question, be interested in people development and you’ll grow your ability as a strong leader and coach daily. Remember, not all conversations are groundbreaking and some may not go how you expected… that too is experience.

See Coaching Skills for Managers London for training requirements

Why it’s healthy and productive to practice Journaling

Why it’s healthy and productive to practice Journaling
Mindfulness Strategies for increased productivity, stellar leadership and a more fulfilled existence

I’ve been running Mindfulness for Business Workshops in London and Europe for three years now, everyday I’m learning new methods and techniques that massively impact in personal and workplace productivity. Running a busy training business and currently studying towards a degree in music, I’ve found that the more plates I have spinning, the more I need the valuable techniques and strategies that a regular Mindfulness practice offers.

Journaling is just one practical mindfulness technique that can boost productivity and creativity and if practiced on a regular basis can work wonders for ones quality of work. Journaling can enhance collaborative processes, increase cognitive functioning, decrease stress and anxiety levels and boost creativity, but like anything, it must be practiced often to realise the benefits.

Take a pen and paper, set the timer for ten minutes then splurge a stream of consciousness on to the page, preferably something relevant to what’s going on for you at this time. You could start with ‘What I’m bothered by is…’ ’I am inspired because…’ or ‘I’m happiest when…’. The purpose of the exercise is to free write for 10 minutes and express thoughts and feelings on to the page. You can record emotions and situations to make sense of them. Capturing dreams on paper first thing in the morning can be a festinating experience and you’ll be astounded at the metaphorical messages and realisation that can occur when you read back through.

I once had a difficult relationship with a follow manager in a previous role, a situation that caused me mountains of stress. On several occasions, I used Journaling as an outlet for my frustrations. The activity also double up as a sanity checker for my own irrational thinking patterns and enabled me to get a handle on how I behaved around this person.

From a HR, Management and Leadership perspective capturing a conversation or paying attention to behaviours is a vital skill. Being aware of each side of a story is considered a Mindful strategy and one that can help to resolve conflict and mediate difficult conversations. It’s also very useful for when you need to provide evidence of an event or conversation.

Artists and writers will also use Journaling/free writing as a way of accessing creative and conceptual ideas and if practiced on a regular basis it can massively improve the quality of expression.

2 things to remember for difficult conversations

2 things to remember for difficult conversations

We often have to engage in challenging conversations, feedback discussions or more sensitive scenarios with co-workers, friends or family. Here’s 2 important things to remember when having difficult conversations.


24/48 hours

First, it’s good to know what your standards are, what is acceptable? what’s appropriate or innapropriate? Know where the line is (your values) and when it’s been crossed, that’ll be the measure for establishing if you need to be having some honest and potentially difficult conversations. In general I have a 24/48 hour rule i.e I do what I can to have the conversation as soon as I’ve done the appropriate preparation. I’ve learned from experience that leaving an issue to fester can make a matter much more challenging to tackle and messages can lose relevance over time.

Start with the end in mind

How does it feel once you’ve successfully handle a difficult conversation? In my experience, it feels like a weight of the shoulders, you can move on, and in many cases the relationship is enhanced, although not always. It helps to remember this relief whenever we have to deal with a difficult situation, having integrity, honest and respect for yourself and others should provide you with the internal guidance you need to do the right thing.

With that in mind, doing the right thing, can, in some instances damage or end a relationship. On occasions this is inevitable, so the more comfortable you can get with this idea, the less likely you are to be walked over and you will, over time develop the understanding that conflict is healthy and very necessary in life, teams and any kind of relationship.

Lastly – conversations should be based on facts, evidence, observations and should highlight the effect of the issue or behaviour that is driving the conversation. I would also recommend suggesting proposed solutions and help to move forward where possible.

Jedi Jim – Influencing Continued….

Jedi Jim – Influencing Continued….

Continuing on from my last post…..

3 Tips for Massive Influence I felt there were some extra influencing strategies I must share. The Apprentice candidate Jim Eastwood demonstrates in the video below that being a highly skilled influencer means having a toolbox full of tricks, techniques and strategies. Here’s a couple more for your box…

Proof’s in the pudding

The development of leadership credibility is often hinged on social proof, meaning that when people witness demonstrations of consistent results, they will, in many instances be influenced by what they see. Joe Wicks, The Body Coach is a great example, he consistently produces content and is ‘doing’ all of the time, Tony Robins, David Bowie and Apple are all leaders that fall in to this same category in their given fields. Execution beats intention all day long.


Watch Jedi Jim from the TV reality show The Apprentice carefully in the video below and you’ll see that he builds rapport well and is likeable, consciously or unconsciously this is a valuable skill. Becareful though, being liked alone simply isn’t enough in business, you’ll need to sharpen the rest of your tools too. For example he also demonstrates a good level of assertiveness – kicking some arse in the board room and showcasing his flexibility in style.


One meaning of the word is ‘mutual benefit’ but what we’re talking about here is giving first and not expecting to get back. That said, there is a difference between being bent over because you’re a soft touch and having strategy in your business relations. You get what you give is the key principle here.


No one likes a name dropper so you’ll need to slip these in with precision and accuracy. If you’ve worked with some well know clients or have achieved success in key areas of your career then let the right people know at the right time. Add your credentials on to your email footer, push the recognised stuff to the top of your CV etc…