31 Jul

What is your tipping point for change?

Meet Bob. Bob has an unhealthy, stressful life and lifestyle. He don’t eat properly, he drinks too much, he smokes, doesn’t exercise and doesn’t get enough sleep at night. He has a high pressured job, which results in working long hours with no real downtime. Bob is an unhappy guy!

Bob most probably understands that this type of lifestyle is unsustainable and will probably end badly. So why doesn’t Bob change? Why does you stay in his unhealthy comfort zone?

I find this truly fascinating, as this “tipping point” for change will be different for everyone. What’s interesting is that it’s not that Bob doesn’t know the benefits of making changes, and to aggravate the situation he  gets told by his family and friends all the time. “Bob, you should take better care of yourself!” 

It’s not the why you should change, it’s the when and what that are so important. When will Bob reach his tipping point and what will cause him to change?

Will it take a near-death experience for Bob to make the life altering decision to change his ways or will he experience an epiphany one day?

Depending on our age and stage in life, there is a little bit of Bob in all of use. Just for a moment, stand back and look at your life from the outside. What are you not happy with? What are you tolerating? What do you know needs to change, but you haven’t made the leap? Will your tipping point be an external trigger, something you cannot control or will it be your decision and actions which will drive the change?

Think about what your life would be like if you actually made that change? How much better, happier, satisfied would you be?

Then define what you need in order to make this change happen? No one is going to do it for you – what is your tipping point?

30 Nov

Benefits of networking

I was at a networking dinner the other evening and seated next to me was a young lady fresh out of university. Half way through the evening she asked me a really interesting question. “What are the benefits of networking?”

My abbreviated answer to her was, “to connect with people”. She replied by saying that we could do that via social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and other digital platforms. We didn’t need to waste our time attending functions and physically meeting people, we could very easily connect with people online in the comfort of our own homes (and probably in our pyjamas I thought).

She was partially right and also very wrong for many reasons I believe. These days we are so connected with people around us, but yet we are so very disconnected. People will boldly state that they have over a thousand contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, but what does that actually mean?

I may be old fashioned, but I believe that face-to-face networking cannot be replaced with online platforms. They should be used in conjunction with face-to-face networking, but never be a replacement. Have we gotten lazy with all of these alternatives?

So what are the benefits of networking? Actually let’s change that and ask, “What are the benefits of good networking?’

Networking in a face-to-face environment makes you focus on a number of key areas, which in turn benefit your business.

  1. Your mindset – Networking is not about you and how many business cards you can hand out or receive. It’s not about what other people can do for you, but what you can do for others. Going in with a “taker” mindset will set you up for failure right from the beginning, I can promise you that. Try to go in with a “giving” mindset. “How can I help these people?”How does that benefit your business? People like to work with people who care about others. Clients like to know that it’s about them and not about you.
  2. Your presentation – How you dress and present yourself to the crowd will determine how well you are accepted by the other party. Whether you like it or not, people will start developing an impression of you the minute they see you, even before you open your mouth. Make sure your dress code and non-verbal cues are showcasing the right message about you.How does that benefit your business? Creating good first impressions will start to build trust and eventually loyalty with your potential clients. Remember you are constantly on stage and how you present yourself will either attract new business or have them turn away.
  3. Your pitch – What’s the first thing that comes out of your mouth when introducing yourself and your business? If you cannot describe your business or the benefits of your business, you lose their attention.How does that benefit your business? Understanding your own business and confidently talking about the benefits, shows your potential client that you are confident, capable and genuinely passionate about what you do. That can be difficult to authentically showcase online.
  4. Your weaknesses – Attending a networking event can be extremely nerve-racking and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know anyone. Networking pushes you completely outside of your comfort zone into a a world of unknowns. There is no place to hide when attending a networking event, unless you spend the entire time in the loo. There is no screen to hide behind or virtual world to pretend in. Face-to-face networking builds your confidence and can set you apart from your competition if done correctly.How does that benefit your business? Finding ways to grow and develop your own skills and competencies will only benefit your business. The more you stretch yourself the better you become and the stronger your business becomes.
  5. The follow up – Networking doesn’t end when you leave the event. It has only just begun. What is your follow up strategy after the event? How will you re-inforce that first impression?How does that benefit your business? You start to build your own network of people who you admire, trust and support.

Nothing beats the good old fashioned face-to-face contact. If you want to grow your business and to create an everlasting impression, move away from behind the screen for a few hours and go and enjoy a cup of tea and some canapés with some other human beings. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.

15 Sep

Two common questions I get asked as a coach

When people ask me what I do for a living, I often get one of three reactions from them after I tell them I am a professional coach. They either glaze over and have no idea what coaching is; or they comment vaguely that they know what the profession is, but actually they don’t know (which is perfectly okay); or they have a good idea and most likely have previously experienced some form of coaching in their lives or business.
Depending on their response the conversation will either move onto their coaching experience or something completely different as people will either buy into the concept of coaching or not, that’s just the way it is, and I am happy with that. I would probably be totally blank too if someone told me they were a Dendrochronologist.
However, what I do find fascinating is the regular barrage of questions that get asked by people who are toying with the idea of  utilising the services of a coach. Here are the two questions I’m asked most often.
My favourite question is “How long will my coaching process take?” For me, asking this question is quite similar to asking, “how long is a piece of string?” It just depends on the person, their goal and very importantly how committed the person or business is to the coaching process. Some people are not ready to be coached as they do not have enough time or they are not mentally prepared and therefore their coaching may be incredibly drawn out and painful, for both parties.
There is no quick fix, no instant gratification or no magic bullet. There is however huge reward during and at the end of the coaching process when the goal(s) have been achieved. The clarity, focus and motivation that comes with working with a coach effectively and knowing that the hard work and dedication to the process has paid off, is undoubtedly a huge win for everyone.
Another question I’m often asked is “How does the coaching process work?” Well when you work with me I am quite structured in my process and I believe any good coach would be as well. Our main focus is for you to reach your goal. Therefore, we simply won’t be sitting around drinking tea and having a chat. Every session has a format and there will always be a desired outcome for every session, which is usually work that needs to be completed in between the coaching sessions.  Yes, there is homework!
I can tell you right now that the coaching process doesn’t work if the coaching process isn’t taken seriously. There is an expectation that both parties are 100% committed to the relationship. So before entering into a coaching relationship consider these three things.
1) Is the coach a good match for me? Will I be able to work with this person?
2) What will I need to give up in my life or business in order to fit the coaching in?
3) Am I mentally prepared for my coaching journey? Am I able to step outside of my comfort zone in order to grow and develop?
There are many other questions, so if you wish to find out some answers please feel free to contact me. nicole@tikumu.co.nz or check out my website www.tikumu.co.nz for more information.
By the way, did you find out what a Dendrochronologist was?
22 Jun

How strong is your support network?

I met a young lady the other day, let’s call her Sue. She had made the bold decision to make a major change in her life. Sue had decided to start her own business. An exciting adventure with so many possibilities and opportunities and a very tough path to choose.

For those of you who have already made that leap into the thrilling world of self-employment, who have shifted from their everyday comfort zone to the scary unknown, you know it takes huge amounts of courage and tenacity to make it work. However, besides courage, grit, funding (yes some start up capital does help) and a good idea which you need to turn into a profitable business, you also need a little something  called support.

Sue had all the courage in the world, she was determined to make her business work. She believed in her abilities and also believed it was her time to shine. Unfortunately, her Achilles heel was the lack of support.

This is a vital component when it comes to building your own business or in fact if you are choosing to make any major change in your life. You need the support and encouragement of your nearest and dearest.

Sue’s family believed she was best suited to be in the home, looking after the children and cooking the dinner for her hard-working husband. Now as a coach, you should always stay objective, it’s part of the job description, but I can honestly admit that I found it very hard to keep objective in this situation. I had to check and make sure I hadn’t time travelled back to the 1950’s.

Without the support and motivation from the people around her, Sue was left on her own to try and juggle the daunting task of starting a business and at the same time running a household single-handedly.

I always like hearing about stories that have happy endings. Unfortunately I don’t know how this one will end. I can however draw a few lessons from Sue’s situation and share them with you.

Lesson #1 – If you decide to take the leap and start your own business like Sue did or you decide to make a life-altering change, ask yourself who will be your support network? Who will be your cheerleader, your shoulder to cry on, your confidante? Gather the support team around you from the beginning, they truly make your change journey so much easier.

Lesson # 2 – Think about the people around you. How many of them are going through some form of change? Is there a Sue in your life? Do you think you are providing them with enough support and encouragement? What could you do differently to make their lives easier?

And finally, when a person wants to make a change in their life it is their decision. It is not your place to talk them out of it and tell them what you think they must do, especially if they haven’t asked you for advise. Your job is simple, it is to support their decision and to perhaps make them a dinner once in a while.

Looking to add a coach to your support network? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz

18 Jun


They say that human beings are creatures of habit.  Whether we are content or dissatisfied with our current situation, we generally stick with the status quo. It takes a huge amount of effort, dedication and energy to move through a change process. Hence the reason for joining support groups or working with coaches.

What I find quite interesting is that we like to talk about change. We like to dream about what could be. We actually get extremely motivated and excited about what the change could bring to our lives. All this talk however is done from the comfort of our “comfort zone arm chair” and sadly the majority of the time we revert back to what we know. We go to where we are safe. Even if it is literally causing us extreme pain and suffering. The saying “Better the devil you know” comes to mind.

Logically, we all know deep down inside that the best way to deal with change is to embrace it. Work with it, instead of against it. However getting to that point of welcoming change into your life is easier said than done, and for most of us it takes time to open ourselves up to the reality of change.

So when do we arrive at “that point” when we are ready to change? Well, one critical piece of the puzzle, that I believe  is so often missed out on is the grieving process. Whatever the change, whether we are moving away from good or bad,  we need to give ourselves time to grieve. With change comes loss. How do we deal with that loss properly? Do we open ourselves up and acknowledge why we are giving something up ? Do we find peace in the fact that we will change?

So the final question here is, are we really anxious about the changes ahead or are we avoiding the “stuff” we have to deal with before moving on? The feelings, emotions and life which we have so conveniently been swept under the carpet and forgotten about.

Whether you welcome or shun it, change is one of the very few constants in our lives. How we manage it, defines us. How do you want to be defined?

05 May

Are you preventing yourself from succeeding?

We have the capacity to dream big and create amazing worlds in our minds, where we are happy, successful and life is wonderful! So why do these amazing dreams remain just dreams for some of us?

One of the biggest reasons I find is that people become their own worst enemy and procrastinate. The skilful art of putting important stuff off and replacing  precious time with miscellaneous rubbish!

So why do people procrastinate?

People procrastinate for many reasons, the one reason that I see appearing over and over again is the fear of failure.

So, if you are fearing the worst and have decided to go with the safer option of sticking it out in your comfort zone and thinking better the devil you know, then just think about this.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Try using the Disney Creativity Strategy to guide you through this exercise. Think and picture what your success would look like without being the critic. Yes, you don’t get to ruin your success before you have gotten out of the starting gates! Once you have created this amazing successful visual, change hats and become the realist.  A  realist only thinks about how the dream can be achieved. Remember to resist the urge to criticise  and think like a realist. There are only ways of succeeding, not failing. For some of us this is a hard pill to swallow as we are serial critics, but humour yourself and give it a try.

As Jim Carrey so wisely stated in his 2014 commencement address at Maharishi University “You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” 

Step out of  your comfort zone. Dream big and get comfortable  playing the realist role as opposed to the critic role, you might just like it.

Why be your own worst enemy? Why stop yourself from succeeding?


18 Dec

Golden nuggets worth sharing #3 – How to expand your comfort zone

As you very well know, coaching, in a nutshell is about helping to facilitate the change process. So, before we can start changing we need to initiate it. How do we know we have done that and how do we know that the necessary changes have taken place?
Here is a small schematic, which I have already shared with you, which quite simply and beautifully explains what is required or the critical first step required  for change or “the magic” to start happening. What I find key is firstly allowing ourselves to understand, recognise and acknowledge that if action does not take place we will never change. We need to own our own change process.
This is a beautiful awakening of our present situation and helps us to take control of ourselves and the decisions we make to influence a better more fulfilling future. We can wish and imagine things differently and talk about it until the cows come home, but without making the first step, we stagnate and limit ourselves and our future.
Granted this is not an easy step and can be quite daunting, but deep down inside we know that the change we initiate and manage will  only be for the better.


I have attached an article for you, written by Brendan Baker on How to expand your comfort zone. Enjoy!