Everything I do is the Right Decision at the Right Time!

Claudia Batten, New Zealand’s pride and joy, NZTE’s Golden Girl,  doing Big things in the world said this in a recent radio interview.

…and she added:

“…and if it’s not, I figure out how to make it work!”

Transactional Analysis tells us we have two psychological positions that form our thinking and perceptions. (PAC)

The P in PAC stands for the Parent.  This represents the critical voice we all have within, that sows seeds of self-doubt, that hold us back from taking any risky actions.

The C in PAC, stands for the Child.  This represents your inner child, exploring, adventuring and creative, pushing the boundaries, challenging the status quo.

In business, it pays to understand these two dynamics and the eternal inner battle they conduct every day in every way in your thinking and decision making.

You see, the purpose of the Parent is to protect the child from themselves.  Risk adverse, the parent diligently works to minimise risk at all costs.

And in business, the most dangerous game in town is playing safe.  Especially in this digitally disruptive age where the most conservative established icons, processes and businesses are daily falling from their pedestals.

Transactional Analysis solves this problem of knee jerk risk aversion in business, by inserting a new position between the parent and child; the Adult.

The Adult is the rational part of you who listens to the case of the Child and to the argument of the Parent.  It then makes a decision, based on current realities as well as the merits of either lines of reasoning.

The result?

A well considered decision, that takes into consideration the risks and the current reality.

Not only that, the under the radar conflict of the Parent and the Child gets brought out and dealt with in the cold light of day.

The result of that is psychological integration of the Self.

Which, in our society, is commonly known as being an “Adult”

You’ve seen bad leadership before.  A mixture of rigid thinking and knee-jerk, “childish” behavior is an outward expression of the push/pull tug of war between the Parent and the Child.

So what’s Claudia Batten talking about every decision she makes is the right decision got to do with this?

If you are compromised by this internal battle we have explored, you are constantly seeking approval.  In fact, some people get paralysed from making decisions because they are terrified of making the “wrong” decision.  They want to make the “Right” decision.

Just like a possum frozen in the headlights or the kid in the lolly shop paralysed by too much choice, they don’t have the adult to take charge to make a decision that they are willing to back as being “The Right Decision.”

Claudia Batten’s Adult is firmly ensconced and is not taking any nonsense.

“When she stands, she stands. When she sits, she sits. She never, ever wobbles.”

It’s a wonderful thing to see.

Thank you Claudia.

We are so, so proud of you.


Taking Responsibility and Blame Can’t be Spoken in the Same Breath

It’s just what’s so.

You can blame the economy, your competition and the government.

…or you can just get on with it.

You can blame your staff, your managers, your designers and your suppliers.

…or you can just deal with it.

You can blame your competitor’s success on luck, an unfair advantage or an accident of nature.

…or you can learn from it and design your own unfair advantage.

You can procrastinate and talk about how one day (some-day maybe) you are going to scale up and take the market by storm…

…or you can just start and do it.

Whenever you are ready to take responsibility and actually do something about what you really, really want to do…email me and we’ll take the next step of you creating something precise, something that,s sustainable, something that works, something that will be the foundation of rapid growth.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s simple.

It’s just something you need to do when you take responsibility for where you want to take your business.

Blame is such a static, negative and barren game – the dynamism and productivity of taking responsibility is self evident.



The role of a coach has the responsibility of maintaining trustworthy behaviour with the objective of benefitting their clients .

The coach is exposed to the various types of love and needs to understand these, so they can maintain the ICF Code of Ethics position regarding managing a healthy relationship with their clients.  These ethics are there to protect both the coach and clients.

Some coaches and other professionals lose their way with this, abdicating their professional responsibility to their client and engaging in selfish, destructive and unethical romantic and physical relationships with their clients, simply because they didn’t understand the part that love plays in the process of coaching someone.

Simply put, you need to understand and work with the different forms of love, in order to be an honourable and effective coach.

Seasoned coaches and trustworthy professionals understand this.

You see, in the story of Rumplestiltskin, if you don’t know the name of an emotion, it controls you.  As coaches, we are forever helping our clients name and distinguish their current situations, so they have the freedom to choose and respond.  Let’s explore, name and distinguish the different energies of love so we can continue to choose and respond.

The ancient Greeks distinguished out the eight different types of love, which if you can learn and understand, you’ll become conscious of how deep our connection is with ourselves and the other people in our lives.

Thanks to Mateo Sol for this excellent article.


What different types of love are you currently experiencing in your coaching sessions and how are they impacting your practice quality?  What kinds of structure and boundaries do you need to construct and maintain?  How do you manage them as a coach?



The first kind of love is Eros, which is named after the Greek god of love and fertility. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion and desire.

The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be dangerous and frightening as it involves a “loss of control” through the primal impulse to procreate. Eros is a passionate and intense form of love that arouses romantic and sexual feelings.

Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love that in the hearts of the spiritually mature can be used to “recall knowledge of beauty” (as Socrates put it) through Tantra and spiritual sex. But when misguided, eros can be misused, abused and indulged in, leading to impulsive acts and broken hearts.

Eros is a primal and powerful fire that burns out quickly. It needs its flame to be fanned through one of the deeper forms of love below as it is centred around the selfish aspects of love, that is, personal infatuation and physical pleasure.

Sometimes in the heady mix of clarity, acknowledgement and epiphany, the love energy that gets released in a coaching session can be misinterpreted as Eros or romantic love.  If you allow this to happen, you are ethically bound to call of your coaching relationship at once.  The consequences of mixing the volatility of romance with your role as a coach is disastrous for your client, you and your reputation as a competent practitioner of trust.


The second type of love is philia, or friendship. The ancient Greeks valued philia far above eros because it was considered a love between equals.

Plato felt that physical attraction was not a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” Philia is a type of love that is felt among friends who’ve endured hard times together.

As Aristotle put it, philia is a “dispassionate virtuous love” that is free from the intensity of sexual attraction. It often involves the feelings of loyalty among friends, camaraderie among team mates, and the sense of sacrifice for your pack.

In the coaching context, the coach maintains in the coaching relationship the boundaries of the one way relationship.  It’s all about the client and the coach is expecting nothing in return.  Philia love is a two way street: give and take. Coach’s simply give and listen, give and listen.

The person who loses the most in this situation is the coach, if they assume that they have a friendship with their client. The coaching relationship is a relationship of trust and intimacy, but it only goes one way, straight to the client.  Caveat Emptor.


Although storge closely resembles philia in that it is a love without physical attraction, storge is primarily to do with kinship and familiarity. Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children, and children for their parents.

Storge love can even be found among childhood friends that is later shared as adults. But although storge is a powerful form of love, it can also become an obstacle on our spiritual paths, especially when our family or friends don’t align with or support our journey.

It is for this reason, coaches at the beginning of the journey to mastery, are encouraged to avoid coaching friends and family.  There are a lot of distinctions and boundaries that an experienced coach learns to construct and maintain, that a new coach has no idea about.


Although ludus has a bit of the erotic eros in it, it is much more than that. The Greeks thought of ludus as a playful form of love, for example, the affection between young lovers.

Ludus is that feeling we have when we go through the early stages of falling in love with someone, e.g. the fluttering heart, flirting, teasing, and feelings of euphoria.

The coach needs to use play and lightness to keep the coaching process moving, to help your client avoid becoming stuck in their emotional process.  You need to be mindful that this does not revert to flirting, teasing or play for your own ends.  Remember, we are only there for them, not for us.


Mania love is a type of love that leads a partner into a type of madness and obsessiveness. It occurs when there is an imbalance between eros and ludus.

To those who experience mania, love itself is a means of rescuing themselves; a reinforcement of their own value as the sufferer of poor self-esteem. This person wants to love and be loved to find a sense of self-value. Because of this, they can become possessive and jealous lovers, feeling as though they desperately “need” their partners.

If the other partner fails to reciprocate with the same kind of mania love, many issues prevail. This is why mania can often lead to issues such as co-dependency.

Of course the coach needs to avoid moving into an unproductive and impotent relationship of co-dependency.  This is where having a mentor is critical – to maintain the quality of a professional, detached and productive coaching relationship you have with your clients.


Pragma is a love that has aged, matured and developed over time. It is beyond the physical, it has transcended the casual, and it is a unique harmony that has formed over time.

You can find pragma in married couples who’ve been together for a long time, or in friendships that have endured for decades. Unfortunately pragma is a type of love that is not easily found. We spend so much time and energy trying to find love and so little time in learning how to maintain it.

Unlike the other types of love, pragma is the result of effort on both sides. It’s the love between people who’ve learned to make compromises, have demonstrated patience and tolerance to make the relationship work.

This of course, naturally develops over time between coach and client.  If you maintain your integrity as a coach, the boundaries that are required to achieve that, then you get the reward of being: “a person of influence and trust”.  This can be a valuable and fulfilling reward for your disciplined, consistent conduct and attitude.


The Greeks understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to care for ourselves. This form of self-love is not the unhealthy vanity and self-obsession that is focused on personal fame, gain and fortune as is the case with Narcissism.

Instead, philautia is self-love in its healthiest form. It shares the Buddhist philosophy of “self-compassion” which is the deep understanding that only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, will you be able to provide love to others. As Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.

You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to truly be happy is to find that unconditional love for yourself. Only once you learn to love and understand yourself, will you be ready to be the effective, honourable coach you aspire to be.


The highest and most radical type of love according to the Greeks is agape, or selfless unconditional love.

This type of love is not the sentimental outpouring that often passes as love in our society. It has nothing to do with the condition-based type of love that our sex-obsessed culture tries to pass as love.

Agape is what some call spiritual love. It is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion, an infinite empathy. It is what the Buddhists describe as “mettā” or “universal loving kindness.” It is the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations, and loves regardless of the flaws and shortcomings of others.

Agape is the love that is felt for that which we intuitively know as the divine truth: the love that accepts, forgives and believes for our greater good.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be coached by someone in the state of Agape?  This is a state that coaches find themselves slipping in and out of on a daily basis.  The act of coaching is an act of selfless love that will lead you to this experience and your intentions and experiences of coaching will operate at a high and deep level, from your experience of agape.

“Coach” OR SELFish LOVE

So, what kind of coach are you?  In your handling of love, are you a trusted professional…or are you a primal puppet, pulled by the kneejerk strings of Eros?

The trusted professional, knows the heat of love and how to work productively with it.

They allow the ebb and flow of love to move within them, using the boundaries and skills of a loving and professional coach, to take their clients to the journey of discovery to their own  self knowledge, genius and solutions.

Are you up for this?

If you are and you want to build your skills attitudes and knowledge around the coaching process, with strong foundational structure and guidance around the nuance and correct practice of process coaching then let me know.  Email me if you are.


Denial ~ The most Dangerous Game in Town

Denial is such a subtle process.Denial

You ask business people how they are going and they usually say to your face things like:

~ Great!

~ Never better!

~ Always good!

…but get them alone in a corner and they confide about how the tough economic environment is affecting them, how business growth is eluding them, how their dysfunctional team is driving them crazy…


For someone who is outside of denial, it’s totally different.
A friend of mine recently answered to the question “how are things going in your business?” with a cheery “Well, I’ve just lost a million!”

And he really has.

….but his frank admission is said with clear, open eyes and yes, he is engaged in putting strategies into action.

Being overwhelmed and stuck in Denial, is not a good Denial3time for gloss and floss – that may work in good times, but in tough, constantly changing times it just doesn’t wash!

It pays you to be honest with yourself when you are confronted by a loved one, loyal peer or trusted advisor who tells you that denial is not a river in Egypt.

So, what do you do different to deal with these challenges?

How can you adapt quickly to a different marketplace with different needs?

Do you know about the Cycle of Adapting to Change?

Generally, when a change happens to us, we react the four stages of changeby going through four different emotional stages.

* The first two of these stages are notable for your inability to think clearly.

The first stage in the cycle of adapting to change is: Denial.

Our body protects us whenever we are overwhelmed by a perceived or real threat by shutting down on the reality that confronts us.

We pretend that everything is okay, we pretend that we feel great about things, we put on a brave face and forget that it’s all a sham and pretence.

Remember how the Ostrich acts when they see a lion? You know what the lion thinks when he sees an Ostrich with it’s head in the sand?…….Fast Food!

This is the same for business owners and leaders- Denial spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R-!

Resistance is the next stage after Denial in the cycle of adapting to change.

People get angry. People vent their emotions. Fist shaking and harsh words are often impotent expressions that fall on deaf ears and usually have no positive effect at all.  But it’s what is needed – you need to express the emotional rollercoaster within before you can start thinking clearly.

If you get stuck in Resistance, you will not move forward and you will lose friends along the way.  So if you are smart, when the emotions start running, go with the flow – ride the emotional wave to the shore.

These days, Resistance is spelt the same for business owners and leaders:

I-M-P-O-T-E-N-T F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N-!

The next stage in the cycle of adapting to change is Considering Options – this is where you have gone through denial, broken through your resistance and are now in a place where you can entertain a range of options to deal.  You are now able to think clearly and consider your options.  Your neural bandwidth has expanded.

Time to think outside the box, talk to people who challenge you and offer suggestions, time to list every option, even the wild cards. Time to clarify what your objective is and consider which option or combination of options will work best for you….

Considering Options is spelt T-H-I-N-K-I-N-G D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T-L-Y-!

The next stage of adapting to change is Action.

You choose the combination of options that make up your plan for your work – and then you work your plan.

Action is spelt F-O-C-U-S-E-D H-A-R-D W-O-R-K-!

…That’s how you survive and thrive in tough, constantly changing marketplaces!

If you are stuck in Denial or Resistance, or you know someone who is, you or they would benefit from a chat with me.  Email me

…and we’ll arrange a time to speak confidentially and openly.

Well, It’s Been a While…

Yes, I know, I’ve neglected you.

I’ve been knee deep in business study, going deep and wide, preparing for my Gazelles training in St Louis in Mid October.

Funny thing, is that usually, I learn wide, but not too deep generally.  I try to understand basics, but don’t spend too much time with stuff I previously considered impractical.

However, I’ve been reading guys that drag to down to the bottom of the learning lake, until your last breath…and then they hold you down there for another hour.

I’ve come up, gasping for air, barely surviving, but touched by the depth of what I have learned, blown away at what I now understand, barely able to tolerate my old beloved shallow and broad.

So, hang onto your hats, my posts are going to change.

It’s three weeks today until I fly to St Louis, to hang out and learn from some of the top coaches in the world for 8 days.

I’m so excited.

A new portrait

Business Owners who give a S…T! Number 3: Chong of Town Hall Mr Minute.

You know I love talking about businesses that are pumping, driven by the heart and soul of the business owner.

That’s why I’m writing to you about an amazing owner of a franchise called Mr Minute, who is situated at the Western entrance to Town Hall station, underground in the Pavilion.

I had some engraving work to do and they made the whole process painless, swift and care free at a reasonable cost…and the result was incredible!

I stayed while they were doing it and it was amazing.

Two caring and skillful craftsman working on their jobs create an atmosphere of silence and focus.  It was an absolute pleasure sharing that space with them.  All around us was the busy flow of passing traffic, people oblivious of the oasis of peace at Mr Minute.

Not only that, I discovered that Chong, the owner is a very enterprising young man who has a purpose.  I’ve noticed in my previous interviews in the “Business Owners Who Give a S..T!” series, that each one of these energetic, vital individuals, have a purpose that’s bigger than their business.

Interesting to see this in a franchise – the “buying a job” option, which usually attracts inexperienced business owners who simply are looking for a job.

Certainly Chong is an exceptional young man with big dreams and a generous, big hearted unreasonable approach to customer service.

So, if you are needing inspiration and are getting tired of the sea of business owners who don’t care…and you want to see a business owner who gives a “s..t!”, go and check out this amazing Mr Minute outlet under the ground at Town Hall West.

This guy is full of drive, endless enthusiasm and effortless outstanding service.  It fills you with hope!



Want to know more? email me.

A Business With Community, Style & Soul

You know I love businesses, business models and businesses with clearly defined values and vision.

And I really love businesses that add value to their community.

One business I really love to visit in Sydney is Deus Ex Machina (The God in the Machine)

I was talking to the very knowlegeable and helpful Faidon about business models, motorcycles, Reg Mombassa and how much I loved this place when it opened, mixing art, motorbikes and coffee cultures –  a heady mix at that time!

He mentioned an amazing place for me to visit in Newtown – a business that mixed coffee culture, good food and bikes – but that had a community vision around helping locals maintain and rebuild their bikes – so I sought it out – it was called “The Rising Sun”

If you check out the website, it tells the story of friends coming together to bring their businesses together, using crowdfunding, making a difference to the community, using a club business model – they really have it all going on and are experts at maneuvering in this form of business.

Down  a back lane in Newtown, it’s the sort of place only locals would know about.

Here’s my first impressions:

Then I met Brad.

He’s a highly skilled mechanic who is managing the workshop, freeing up one of the owners to build their family.

He was articulate, reflective, an amazing teacher who oozed patience with both machines…and people.

He knew the business model intimately patiently fielding my questions and gently correcting me any time I generalised or assumed.  Both he and the owners are determined to stay true to their community vision.

On the community side, I couldn’t think of a better person to facilitate this amazing place of learning and fellowship.  This guy knows machinery...and he knows people.

He told the story that he had  motorbike accident recently and put it out to the community that he needed some help in the workshop.  The people came and helped.

This community is alive and well.

You eat fantastic food, you have great coffee, the environment is amazing, there’s an amazing mezzanine floor upstairs – great for meetings and get togethers – it’s  a community hub.

…and through the interior, there are hat tips to the investors and founders, giving credit, where credit is due.  The wall of fame pictured below, features spanners with names of crowd funding individual contributors engraved upon them.  The people who made this happen – all get acknowledged.  Everybody is a part of the community.

(Brad and Me sharing a selfie!)

Go and Check it out!

If you have an idea for your community, who could you partner with to create an inspirational hub like this?


Let me know what you think. email me.

Where we Rate in the Global Digital Competition…

Not that well, apparently…if you live in Australia.

…however, if you are a Kiwi:

Digital Evolution index 2017

As part of a collaboration between the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard, this study formed a Harvard Business Review Article. Read here.

The article explains the four areas of positioning countries as being:

Stand Out countries are highly digitally advanced and exhibit high momentum. They are leaders in driving innovation, building on their existing advantages in efficient and effective ways. However, sustaining consistently high momentum over time is challenging, as innovation-led expansions are often lumpy phenomena. To stay ahead, these countries need to keep their innovation engines in top gear and generate new demand, failing which they risk stalling out.

Stall Out countries enjoy a high state of digital advancement while exhibiting slowing momentum. The five top scoring countries in the DEI 2017 ranking — Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and Finland — are all in the Stall Out zone, reflecting the challenges of sustaining growth. Moving past these “digital plateaus” will require a conscious effort by these countries to reinvent themselves, to bet on a rising digital technology in which it has leadership, and to eliminate impediments to innovation. Stall Out countries may look to Stand Out countries for lessons in sustaining innovation-led growth. Countries in the Stall Out zone can put their maturity, scale, and network effects to use to reinvent themselves and grow.

Break Out countries are low-scoring in their current states of digitalization but are evolving rapidly. The high momentum of Break Out countries and their significant headroom for growth would make them highly attractive to investors. Often held back by relatively weak infrastructure and poor institutional quality, Break Out countries would do well to foster better institutions that can help nurture and sustain innovation. Break Out countries have the potential to become the Stand Out countries of the future, with China, Malaysia, Bolivia, Kenya, and Russia leading the pack.

Watch Out countries face significant challenges with their low state of digitalization and low momentum; in some cases, these countries are moving backward in their pace of digitalization. Some of these countries demonstrate remarkable creativity in the face of severe infrastructural gaps, institutional constraints, and low sophistication of consumer demand. The surest way for these countries to move the needle on momentum would be to improve internet access by closing the mobile internet gap — that is, the difference between the number of mobile phones and the number of mobile phones with internet access.


Trust you found this useful.


Being a Professional Leader facing Tall Poppy Public Humiliation.

Returning to Sydney at Auckland airport, I was browsing for a book, I saw an advertisement for a book I’d heard about, written by the CEO of the CPA, the premium professional body for Accountants. My wife saw me looking and she went up to buy it. We didn’t understand at the time, but they’d taken it off the shelf and the shop assistant had to go down to their store room to bring us back a copy.

It was called “The Naked CEO” by Alex Malley.

It was a good read. It was full of useful insights and advice for accounting graduates who wanted to succeed. Yes, he sounded like an accountant…but these are the people he was representing in a time of huge change, uncertainty and disruption. His job simply is to maintain the credibility and standards of the profession.

And it appears he has been doing it. In the last 7 years, CPA, under his leadership, has expanded their membership from 30,000 to 160,000 in seven years, record surpluses as well as a presence in 19 countries.

However, when I returned to Sydney, I shared with a colleague about my latest read and he told me that Alex is under media and legal scrutiny.

I googled his name and found a full blown argument online, with some outlandish, sarcastic and poison penmanship coming from the print media and there it was: a media crisis, public humiliation and character assassination of another one of our successful leaders, playing itself out like a Shakespearian drama…or a good old Aussie tall poppy lynching.

I love living in a democratic society, with the luxury of free speech. However, as part of this right, we get to see our leaders in parliament trading insults and engaging in character assassination, cheap shots and red herrings. I saw this on my return to Sydney – it appeared there were several brawls going on in town…and in the country.

We live in a society where all the complex muck and filth of our minds, our emotional knee jerk decisions manipulated by spin doctors and the rhetoric of conflicting agendas all need to be aired and heard before we make our decisions.

Clearly, democracy is a messy process.

Our courts are the place where truth is sought out with objective evidence, rhetoric and logical consideration according to a strict set of rules.

On the internet, trolls spew threats, filth and gore. Terrorists kill people randomly on the streets, our leaders postulate impotently with divided teams and this is the world we live in.

If you want to be a leader now, you have to be thick skinned, brave and able to come to terms with your fears for your own safety in this environment.

These are the times of Brexit and Donald Trump – voted for by a society sick of the status quo, willing to give rank outsiders and wild cards a go for a change.

And here is Alex Malley, standing tall, not capitulating, being calm under pressure, Hard timesinviting further scrutiny…looking and being professional. He might have written a whole book of good advice…but now we are seeing the character in action, of the man under scrutiny.


From what I see, he’s doing a good job of it. Right or wrong, (we shall see…the jury is out) he is being a composed, focused determined leader facing his present circumstances. That in itself is admirable. He is walking the talk of leadership…under pressure.

As professionals, we are all leaders and our credibility is paramount. You have to fight for and defend your reputation at all costs. When you are under scrutiny in the public arena, it’s gloves off, no holds barred. There is no fairness, no logic in it…common sense and common decency do not prevail.

And news is not just in the papers, on the radio or TV – it’s all over the internet! All of it is out of your control. You need to be strong and smart, bringing out your inner street fighter in this arena.

What will you be like on the day when the mob is banging on your door, the trolls crying for your head on a plate and the tall poppy madness is demanding mob “justice” for you?

You know, it’s probably part of the job, an occupational hazard of being a leader in Australia…or anywhere for that matter.

Tough times twoMaybe Alex Malley’s biggest lesson to teach us is happening now – how to handle the heat of media frenzy.


Watch and learn.

Digital Disruption: Mid-2017.

It’s here, it’s picking up pace and leaving the past behind in it’s wakeIt's already happened..

Bricks and mortar retail is slowly dying, Uber is growing, AirB&B is being embraced…

Everyone’s way of making a living is under threat…

…and yet there are still people saying that things won’t change…

…but our accepted ways of doing things are being shaken to the core.

Here’s the results from a Price Waterhouse survey.

and here’s how even buying a Harley has AI in the background, calling the shots.

…and if you think phishing and spear phishing is what you do on beach holidays, then check out what Cyber Criminals can do…and what you can do to protect yourself.

There’s no Machine University (yet), but here’s how machine learning helps companies sell you more…and more often.

Better educate yourself now, so you can understand what’s going on and make some changes yourself.

You see, the winners of today…are the failures of yesterday.  Check out Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba:

You know, you really need to get your head around this.