3 Reasons Everyone Needs a Coach

3 Reasons Everyone Needs a Coach

By Karen Amos

As Bill Gates said… ‘Everyone needs a coach.’  And who am I to argue?  I mean, the lad’s done OK for himself hasn’t he?

As a coach, I’m often asked, ‘Do you have a coach?’  The answer is, ‘Yes, I have several coaches.’

I have coaches for various aspects of my life and work, depending on what I need.  For example, I have a long-standing coach supervisor who supports and challenges me to improve my own practice as a coach.  I’ve also had business and personal coaches at critical points.

I’m writing this blog, as I had a realisation this morning I needed more coaching.  This time it’s for physical fitness.  Some of you may know I had a hip replacement in the spring.  It was successful and I’m now getting my life and mental wellbeing back, being able to walk up my beloved mountains and get the space, peace and exercise I so need.  (Even though I do spend a disproportionate amount of time asking myself what on earth I was thinking, when finding myself on a steep slope in the pouring rain!)

So back to my fitness coaching.  Most people understandably assume that as a coach myself I’m hyper-motivated all the time and know all the nifty coaching techniques to successfully coach myself to whatever goal I choose.  Which is kind of true, but here’s the problem – I’m only human.

That being human means that sometimes I can be a bit defeatist and even, dare I say it, a bit lazy.  Yep, let’s face it, we all have our excuses ready from time to time don’t we?

To quote another famous sleb, ‘You can have what you want, or you can have your excuses.’  That one’s from good old Arnie and again, he seems to have done OK for himself too!


So, with all that in mind, I’ve called my gym coach to discuss returning to paying her to allow me to complain, swear and turn into a sweaty mess for a couple of hours a week – otherwise known as gym classes.

Now, I have all the equipment at home and knowledge of training routines to crack on and get my fitness up to scratch again, so why don’t I just do that?  Well, the same reasons I would recommend a coach for anyone at work, applies to me too.

1. Challenge

Your coach, whether that’s a leadership, fitness, business or any other type of coach, will push you out of your comfort zone.  That ‘un-comfort’ zone is where the change that needs to happen, does happen.

Let’s stick with fitness as an example – you start off with great intentions, but within a very short space of time, you revert back to what’s comfortable.  That’s just human nature – it’s how we’re wired – but to get meaningful change we have to enlist someone who’s going to challenge us.  This is vital, whether that’s to do that extra set of reps with the weights, or to make that scary decision we’ve been putting off.

The important thing about challenge in coaching is that it’s done with positive intentions and to serve the agenda and goals of the coachee.  This isn’t about the coach getting off on how uncomfortable they can make their clients.  Any old dictator can do that!

2. Mindset

This goes along with the challenge.  A good coach will help you envisage a step-up bigger than you would normally take yourself.  They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and will help you build a positive, can-do, growth mindset, not based on wishful thinking, but on affirmative, tangible action and results.

In short, a good coach helps you get out of your own way.

3. Accountability

Commitment makes or breaks success.  Doing something once, however well will not bring you lasting success (even if that one thing is buying a winning lottery ticket.  With the wrong mindset, you’ll have blown it in no time).  As the US coach Tony Robbins describes, we need to take small, consistent steps to maintain lasting change.

Working with another person is a fantastic way to help build personal accountability.  This is particularly true if you’re a senior leader or business owner, or even if you’re doing something for you, such as starting a new fitness programme.

The fact is, stating an intention out loud, particularly to someone whom you respect, means you are much more likely to follow through on your actions.  Let’s face it, none of us like to be proved wrong, or wanting do we?

Additionally, paying for this means we feel we have personally invested something.  We have skin in the game.  It’s an uncomfortable fact, but this is why ‘free’ programmes often fail and have much fewer participants at the end.  There’s just not enough investment personally from the participants.  Not enough to lose.  This way, we’re much more likely to dig deeper – if you’re a born and bred Yorkshire woman like me, you’ll always want to get your money’s worth!  This inevitably means better results.

So the question is, how and from whom can you get the right level of challenge, positive mindset and accountability?

Hopefully that’s given you some insights into why all good coaches have coaching.  Why not give it a go?  After all, think of how much you could gain…

Check out the links below to find out more about our latest coaching-based training courses and programmes.  We also offer individual and team coaching on leadership and performance matters.  

For schools and education settings

For business and organisations

Or call us: 07714 855757

or click HERE to book in a short, no-obligation chat



Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports leaders and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth, practical approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships. 

3 Reasons Everyone Needs A Coach

Feeling overloaded? The solution might not be less work...

Feeling overloaded? The solution might not be less work...

By Karen Amos

I’ve just had a couple of interesting sessions with clients, exploring how to create capacity within their organisation and their life in general.  Many of us know the feeling of being up to, if not over capacity and the stress, pressure and often anxiety this brings.  It’s almost a fact of modern working life - that feeling there’s just no wriggle room and that you daren’t even think about what happens if one more thing goes wrong, or there’s a bout of sickness or a resignation.

I’m a coach not a magician, so I can’t manifest time that doesn’t exist – although it wouldn’t be a bad superpower would it?  What I can do often feels a little magical though in the turn-around it brings people, but there’s no woo-woo involved – I simply help my clients find clarity.

Often when I start working with clients, particularly around any ‘Time Management’ type issues, they expect me to do the usual, ‘Prioritise your tasks… delegate…, etc., etc.’   There's very much a time and a place for these tools and I frequently use these along with other time management techniques, this usually isn’t my starting point.

The fact is that most time management issues stem from a mindset issue.  This is a kind of good news/bad news situation though.

The bad news is that this means the root of the problem lies with how you view it, so no blaming other people for your problems.  You know, the whole, 'My boss is so mean to me' routine.  A bit harder to do when you're self-employed mind.

The good news is that simply changing how we think, can completely transform our situation.

When I work with my clients, we look at what’s going on… then look at what’s REALLY going on!  That’s the key to coaching – getting right down to the root cause of the problem.  We often find this too difficult to do on our own, as we’re viewing the world through a filter of our emotions, values, experiences and expectations.  A good coach will help you work out exactly what your pressure points are and also your priority outcomes. (Hint – we often confuse activity with outcomes and these really, really are not the same thing!)

One of the questions I often ask my clients is:

What would change if you accept the fact there will always be too much to do in any given day/ week/ month/ year? 

Along with:

What would you do differently if you believed your wellbeing and happiness was just as important as everyone else’s?

By asking these types of questions, I can bring a fresh pair of eyes for my clients, helping them make decisions and create the space they need to work on the stuff that really counts.   So to paraphrase that paragon of Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius, the difficulty is often not what's going on around us, but our response to this.

If you'd like to find out how our 1-to-1 coaching programmes can help you get 'unstuck' and move forward this year...

Call us: 07714 855757

or click HERE to book in a short, no-obligation chat



Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports leaders and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth, practical approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships. 

Wrestling the shark - getting to grips with the unknown...

Wrestling the shark – coaching questions to help you get to grips with the unknown…

By Karen Amos

I’ve just been reading an article about Great White Sharks in Scotland (Spoiler – there are some, but not many, so you’re more likely to die of hypothermia!).  As it does, my mind went on a little meander, taking me back to watching the film Jaws for the first time as a kid.  I wasn’t old enough to watch it at the cinema, but later watched when it aired on TV in 1981.  The rest of my family was out and I remember my Mum asking if I really wanted to watch it on my own.  She knew I wasn’t a fan of scary stuff, having been traumatised by the daleks and a pantomime of Beauty and the Beast years before.  (I know, it’s not exactly the exorcist, but I’m a horror lightweight OK!)

The article vividly brought back the suspense in the lead up of the film. The tension, anxiety and fear.  The glimpses, the terror of the characters and of course, the music.  This was going to be horrific – should I be watching it alone?

Then we finally had the reveal and saw the shark in all its terrifying monstrousness… erm, no… I remember laughing out loud.  Special effects weren’t exactly enhanced in those days and Steven Spielberg definitely got the hang of it later, but the sight of the obviously latex shark just took the scariness out of everything.  From that point on I just buckled in for the ride and enjoyed the rest of the film as a bit of a comedy adventure.

This lead me on another little meander to think about how I use this technique in my coaching to help clients with change.  No, I don’t make them swim with great whites (although perhaps there’s a business opportunity in there somewhere…), but the process is the same.  Simply, that

We fear what we can’t see.

Fear is disabling.  We’re all familiar with the ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline response to danger, but there’s actually another, less well-quoted response that’s equally as powerful.  That’s Freeze.

For this response, think rabbit in the headlights.  The rabbit knows the danger is coming and even though it’s naturally built to flee, it just can’t get its muscles to move.  We often have the same response in life and the causes and effects can be quite insidious.  Usually the cause is nothing so obvious as a shark attack, or a car about to run us over – it’s the stuff lurking in our subconscious.  It’s there, we’re largely unaware of it – but it’s controlling our every action, thought, emotion and decision.

This stuff includes fear – particularly fear of failure, or of being judged.  Other things can be good old imposter syndrome, or a past negative experience that we subconsciously don’t want to repeat.  The problem is that we’re often completely unaware on a conscious level of what’s actually going on and berate ourselves for not driving forward in the way we would like.

My wonderful coach supervisor has a phrase to sum this up perfectly…

‘Let’s identify it – let’s name it – then we can control it.’

If you find yourself procrastinating, or tinkering around the edges of a task or project, this could be the root cause.  The fact is that once we name the thing that’s causing the problem, we find, just like with the latex shark, that it no longer has a hold over us.  It’s common for my clients, once they’ve named the issue, to quickly and metaphorically roll up their sleeves and crack on with the task at hand as if there never was a problem.

So as usual, here are some coaching questions to break out of the freeze mode and identify and name what’s really going on.

  • What is it about this task/issue that I find so difficult?
  • What’s the part I really don’t want to do?
  • What am I worried may happen if I do this?
  • What are the risks for me here? (NB: risks can be personal/emotional as well as physical or financial)
  • Can I relate this situation to something that’s happened to me before?
  • What would I be embarrassed to admit about my approach to this?
  • What’s ‘unseen’ or uncertain here?
  • If there was one thing holding me back, what would it be?

It’s a fact that whilst coaching has a focus on action and goals, often the biggest part of the work is around the reality check of ‘What’s REALLY going on here’.  The fears, anxieties and general horrible imaginings that hold us back from getting what we really want.  Do remember that these are also questions you can use to help someone else who seems ‘stuck’ too, whether you’re a manager, a colleague, or just a friend.

If you’d like to find out how our 1-to-1 coaching programmes can help you get ‘unstuck’ and move forward this year..

Call us: 07714 855757

or click HERE to book in a short, no-obligation chat



Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports leaders and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth, practical approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships. 

Wrestling the shark - getting to grips with the unknown

Your Christmas Coaching Survival Guide...

Your Christmas Coaching Survival Guide…

By Karen Amos

So here it is – my coaching guide to surviving Christmas!

When I say ‘Christmas’, I’m talking about the general Christmas celebrations we have in the UK, not the religious festival.  I do feel these are two markedly different things.

So how did it all get so out of control?

There are reports of Christmas being commercialised since the late 1800’s and perhaps even before, so it’s not necessarily a ‘new’ thing.  Santa had been illustrated as dressed in red in the mid 1800’s, but Coca Cola famously linked Santa to its brand colours.  The reason?  It was difficult to sell fizzy drinks in winter!  We’re now in the situation where parents take their children to see the Coca Cola truck and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the spectacle.  Well that clearly worked didn’t it?

The 1947 film Miracle on 34th St is basically about the over-commecialisation of Christmas in a store.  Did you know that even Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was invented in 1939 by another department store to sell merchandise?

So, this retail extravaganza really isn’t that new – along with the stress that we associate with the build up.

The evergreen Christmas stress is tough enough without all the financial concerns people are now having.  So, if the thought of Christmas is causing you more stress than pleasure, this is the perfect opportunity to do something different and have the Christmas you really want.

I say this as someone who took charge of their Christmas years ago.  I got tired of the retail-obsessed, drink-and-eat-all-you-can-fest, so started my own tradition of going to the Cairngorms for Christmas.  My husband and I have one low-key ‘Christmas do’ with our family before departing to the Highlands in our campervan.  We walk in the snow on Cairngorm summit on Christmas morning, before having an expensive bottle of wine and tapas and other nibbles for Christmas ‘dinner’.

Lots of people say they are jealous of us being able to do this, but they could just as easily do this themselves if they chose.   It’s completely in anyone’s gift to change.

But it’s not that easy?

My advice is to think about your absolute ‘must have’s’ for Christmas – what’s really important?  It’s unlikely to be a cuddly toy vegetable from a discount supermarket, or a huge credit card bill and a 7-day hangover!

Here’s a great coaching question to take a step out of your usual mindset:

‘If I could do anything I wanted at Christmas – what would I be doing?’

Your ‘dream’ Christmas may not be possible, but often it’s nearer than you think.

Once you’ve answered this question, pick out the elements that make Christmas special for you, what’s given you joy in the past – and also which bits would you gladly bin!

Then work out all the ways, including seemingly impossible ones, to make this happen.

It often helps to do this with someone else, so they can help you find the solutions and work-arounds.

A big fear is that family and friends will be upset or offended if you’re not doing what they want, so remember:

#1 – You can’t control other people – just yourselves.

#2 – There may be ways you can spend time with family and friends, but in a way that still meets your needs.

#3 – Even if some people are disappointed, they’ll get over it!  Let’s face it, by new year, Christmas is already a distant memory for most people.

#4 – Stick to your guns if you’re doing something radically different.  Once you’ve made the change, it’s much easier in future to continue with this.

This was definitely the case on our first year going to the Cairngorms, but now everyone expects us to do this and it’s no big deal.

If you’re worried about what other people will think, or have some ‘shoulds’ or ‘oughts’, ask yourself ‘who says?’

And what will actually happen if you don’t do it everyone else’s way?  The answer is usually ‘not much’.

Another idea for changing things is to give your Christmas a theme – for example, you could hold an ‘eco Christmas’ where you waste as little as possible, or a ‘sharing Christmas’ where everyone pitches in, or even a ‘charity donation Christmas’.

Think about ways you can make this transition:

  • Buffees instead of huge meals
  • Everyone brings something
  • Everyone brings their own glasses
  • A Secret Santa where you just buy one present for each member of the family
  • Going out for a walk instead of a huge drinking session
  • ‘Buying’ a grand day out to be used later in the year, instead of shop-bought gifts – we found our elderly parents would much prefer a special day out, than yet more ‘stuff’ they don’t need!

Just remember – the constant messages we see and hear are designed for one thing – to help businesses part you from your cash.

I have a business too – I get it – and there’s nothing wrong with buying a nice gift for someone.  Let’s just do it in a way that makes everyone happy.

What are your top tips for a stress-free Christmas?

Check out our Positive and Productive Wellbeing programme for schools.  We offer many more coaching tips and approaches to help you manage your time and stress and build a positive mindset.  CLICK HERE to check out our web page for more info, or to book.

Or call us for a no-obligation chat on: 07714 855757

or email: info@bright-bird.co.uk



Karen Amos is an executive coach and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports leaders and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth, practical approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships. 

Your Christmas Coaching Survival Guide...

Just do it! Why it's not that simple and what to do about it...

By Karen Amos

'Just get on with it!'  There I was, berating myself with this very phase this morning.  I've a stack of jobs to do, but just can't seem to make traction.  If only giving myself a stern talking to would solve the problem...

Of course, if it was that simple, we'd all be one of the ultra amazingly successful business people (with beautiful tans and teeth!) we see paraded on social media every day of the week.  So - do I head to the tanning parlour and book myself in for a new set of dental veneers, or is there another way?

The reason 'Just Do It' isn't that simple is due to our mindset.  I'm not going to propose an answer to all your problems here, but try this coaching approach to generate some relatively quick turnarounds to generate positive results.

First of all we need to understand that our thoughts and feelings dictate our actions.  If we want new results, we need different actions, which in turn require new ways of thinking.  Often our thoughts are unhelpful to us, which in turn mean a lack of desired results.

To develop more useful thoughts, ask yourself:

  • What exactly would constitue a good result here?
  • What would be a good result for today?
  • In order to get this result, what do I need to think?

If you're stuck, remember you can always fall back on the ever-helpful coaching question of, 'What would I advise someone else to think in this situation?'

As an example, this morning I identified three things that I needed to think to enable me to make headway:

  1. I've a window of opportunity over the next couple of weeks that I must make the most of.
  2. I actually have all the skills and knowledge I need for this right now.
  3. I just need to do one job at a time to make progress, rather than being bogged down with a mountain of work.

Simply having these thoughts has been enough to give me a jump start and make progress towards my goals.  Give it a go - it literally will take a couple of minutes of your time!

Karen Amos is an Executive and Professional Development Coach and owner of BrightBird Coaching & Training.  She specialises in supporting managers and business owners to build positive and productive teams, through 1:1 and team coaching and training workshops.

If you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help you and your team, contact us for a free, no-obligation chat on 07714 855757, or email karen@bright-bird.co.uk


Put down the phone... Step away from the phone... The power of habits

By Karen Amos

Did you set any goals or resolutions for new year? One of mine was to change my habits around my mobile and social media use. I was spending way too long on my phone, which had several negative effects, including having terrible sleep habits.

I'd also stopped doing lots of constructive and positive things that were either good for my health (e.g. just moving about more), or my mental wellbeing, such as reading.

First step was admitting to myself that this issue was having a negative impact on me.  I then built in some leverage by thinking about all the things I could do with my time, but also how embarrassed I was to admit to anyone how much I actually used my phone.  Frequently the painful things are the most effective!)

I decided my strategy would be not taking my phone into my bedroom. That way, I couldn't be tempted into any late night scrolling. (Yes I know, really living the high life here!) I resisted the urge to make huge sweeping changes that would seem unattainable.  Instead, I kept this simple and achievable, with a view that I could roll out further changes later.  As a practical step, I decided to charge my phone on the landing, which means if I do want to check it on an evening, I don’t hang around too long.

So… the result so far? I’m amazed at the difference changing one small habit has made.  The best part is that there has been a much wider change to my habits as I experienced the positive effects of my changes.  These included:

  • My sleep is so much better – I fall asleep quicker and have more hours sleep that before.
  • Physically things are so much better – my eyesight has improved, I move around more, my posture is better, I’m back in my training/exercise regime.
  •  I’m much less stressed – I don’t allow myself to be exposed to, or seek out things that I find distasteful, or annoying.  I wouldn’t invite many of the people posting stuff into my home, but that’s exactly what I was doing with social media.
  • My mindset is much more positive – I seek out positive things to do instead of scrolling the phone, including reading more and listening to audio books and podcasts.

As a coach I frequently remind my clients about the power of our habits.  Habits are small things we do regularly – for good or bad. Obviously, none of us are perfect (even coaches!), so it’s an ongoing task, if we want to shape our life the way we’d choose. 

One great little tool to help you change a habit is the ‘If/then’ statement.  An example of how this worked for me was, ‘If I charge my phone on the landing… then, it won’t be in the bedroom on a night, so I won’t keep scrolling on social media.’  Try it, it really does work.

The amazing thing is that once we start to change one small thing, we unleash a positive knock-on effect that brings unforeseen benefits in other areas.  This is the power of coaching, where we support someone to identify something they want to change and set out practical ways to achieve this.

Karen Amos is an Executive Coach and owner of BrightBird Coaching and Training.

If you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help you and your team, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.  (Tel: 07714 855757/ Email: karen@bright-bird.co.uk)

New Year - To resolve, or not to resolve - that is the question...

New Year - To resolve, or not to resolve - that is the question...

By Karen Amos

Well it’s that time of year again!  Social media has been awash with New Year posts and I have to admit, even as a coach, I get a bit jaded with all this ‘New Year – New You’ malarkey.

So… amidst all the opinions, the question remains, ‘Is New Year a good time for Resolutions,’ and should we be doing them anyway?  My opinion is an unequivocal – ‘If you want…!’  Yes, that’s right, I’m not going to advocate either way, because do you know what? - If you’re having to force yourself to make a life change it’s highly unlikely to work.  So don’t bother, save yourself time/money/guilt [delete as appropriate] and carry on regardless.

On a positive note, New Year can be an excellent time for gaining motivation to change.  Most people are feeling the need to de-tox after over-indulging over the holiday period and are feeling more rested and motivated.  There’s also a sense of being ready for a new start for lots of people.  If this is how you feel – GO FOR IT!  Often we need a bit of pain (e.g. The awful reality of tight waistbands and admitting all our clothes haven’t really shrunk in the wash…) to give us the fillip we need to make change.

Perhaps we should change our language and avoid the term ‘resolution’.  After all, what we’re usually talking about is a long-term change in our habits.  When we use the term ‘resolution’, we usually couch this in terms of a negative – i.e. We will ‘STOP’ or ‘GIVE UP’ something.  Actually, that approach rarely works, as we just end up obsessing about the thing we’re trying to avoid.  Ever heard the phrases, ‘You get what you focus on,’ and, ‘What you resist, persists’?  On a very basic level, this means that if you try to stop doing something, you only bring it to your attention more – I’m sure my fellow chocaholics will know this feeling well…

Instead, we need to drill down to what we really DO want.  i.e. Do we really want to stop eating chocolate, or do we want to feel fitter and more confident physically?  In this case, chocolate is only one part of the issue – what we really need to do for success is to work out what steps we need to take to attain the fitness.  If this is less rewarding than the chocolate, then you’re going to be in for a lot of disappointment.  The key is to build in a tangible goal with a set of positive habits (Habits being small actions you do regularly) that will lead you to the positive life you’re choosing.  (More on this in a forthcoming post).

If your thing is more related to work-life balance in the coming year for example, build in what you ARE going to do, rather than what you AREN'T.  Again, I'll post more on this in the next few days.

So if you’ve set a resolution or goal, then good luck with that.  If you can’t be bothered, then good luck too – you’ll know best when you need to make a change.  In any event, here’s to a positive and productive 2019 for everyone!

Karen Amos is the founder and owner of BrightBird Coaching & Training.  She is a qualified Executive and Professional Development coach and trainer, working with organisations and businesses to get the best out of leaders and teams.

If you’d like to know more about BrightBird’s professional development services and how we can help you and your business, school or organisation, please check out our website at www.bright-bird.co.uk, or email info@bright-bird.co.uk