coach, community, development, resilience, Support

Empowered?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 7 October 2021

What does it mean to be empowered?

Is it something that is done to you? Something you can learn to do? Or something you grow within yourself, for yourself?

Your view on those questions could determine whether or not you’re going to like this blog!

Empowerment has become a real buzz word of late. It’s the new big thing in so many circles of life but especially in community work. But have we all understood it properly or are some of us using it as a way around things? Will it make your project look better if you talk about empowerment. If you give this opportunity/activity/programme/facility/building to the community you’ll be empowering them. It’s time to think again.

I promised myself that this blog would not become a rant and I will stick to that, but you’ll maybe pick up the sentiment in that last paragraph as a sense of my feelings. So let me be very clear. Just passing something on to a community or individual is not empowering them. It is passing the buck and potentially, setting them up to fail.

So what really is this empowerment thing. Quite simply, it can only be done to you, by you. No one else can empower you and while we’re on it, no else has the right to dis-empower you. You, as an individual have to feel empowered. And that comes by increasing the control you have over your own life. People can help you to do that, but ultimately you are the only person who can empower you. So, if you’re sitting there waiting to be empowered – STOP! Start working at feeling empowered.

It has been said that this empowerment thing is about what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. Can you hear the difference there? This is about your desires, not your issues. Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and the oracle on Asset Based Community Development that I’ve spoken of many times before, says it is about “what you have, rather than what you don’t have – what you can contribute rather than what you can receive.” He says this is about individuals using their head, hearts, hands etc – their talents, skills and passions. So in other words, rather than sitting back and waiting for others to do things around you, what can you do to contribute? It may not be huge and it doesn’t have to be, but as a place you probably know well says regularly: “Every little helps”.

One crucial point I need to make here. We often see government – both local council and national government – doing what communities can do. Cormac Russell simply says “get out of the way and let [the community] do it, but resource them where necessary – don’t just pull out without checking they can actually do it sustainably.” So this brings me back to my point earlier. Those who think they are in positions of authority (Maff Potts of Camerados reminds me that we are all in authority) should not just think they can walk away and leave communities to get on with stuff. They need to check that the skills exist in the community. That the desire, longevity and sustainability can be found in the community. Where support is needed – provide it, whether that be in person or financially. Where guidance is needed – supply it either directly or through signposting and partnership. Where things are needed to be brought up to a workable standard before they can be passed on – do whatever is needed.

This all centres around stuff I’ve been banging on about for ages. Work with communities. Work alongside individuals. Involve people.

So how can you begin to feel this empowerment for yourself? Well that’s a very good question and one that I would love to help you answer because the process and destination will be very different for each one of you. Would you let me have the honour of sitting with you to help you find answers to the questions you are posing, and help you to begin to feel empowered within yourself and move further towards your potential? How do we do this? I’m glad you asked! Contact me about 1 to 1 coaching sessions and I will tell you all you need to know. For now, there’s some info through that link and on the flyer below. I look forward to working alongside you in this.

Until next time…..

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

coach, community, development, Our Place, Support

Legacy

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 23 September 2021

What will people think of you when you’re gone? Okay, that’s maybe not a cheerful question to ask you so let me put it another way. What impact are you having on those around you right now? If asked, how would people describe you? Now I know the answer to the last one will probably be “it depends on who you’re asking”! But think generally. How would people describe you based on your contribution to your family, the community or even the wider society?

Regular readers of this blog will know I have often focussed on how people are getting involved in the community – or rather, how I can support them to do so. You will also know that I mention that not just for the fun of it, but because I genuinely want to support people to grow and in turn, for the community, and the activities within it, to grow. My personal mission statement has for some time been “developing projects that enable people and communities to be developed” and I have been personally blessed over the years to see so many people get involved and move into whatever a positive destination looks like for them.

So, back to the question I started with but in another different way – what will your legacy be? What impact are you having now, that will be remembered by others in years to come? What project are you involved with that is creating positive memories for others? In the video below, Simon Sinek talks about this and reminds us that often we won’t even know the impact we’re having on people in our lifetime. That leads me to another angle on this. If someone is having a positive impact on your life right now or has in the past and you’re still in touch, please go and tell them now! Don’t wait until you’re at their funeral to share your memories. Its so wonderful when people tell you how you’ve impacted their lives and will actually make you feel great too for doing so. We did an exercise in the THRIVE to Keep Well session this week where everyone got a Self Esteem Tree filled with comments that the other group members wrote about them. It was amazing to see the reactions from the members as they heard such lovely comments about themselves – some of which they may not have thought was true or certainly hadn’t heard said to them for a while. The power of that moment was immense so please, make any impact known to those who are helping you, or even just say something nice and encouraging to someone you come into contact with today.

But back to how we actually create a positive legacy. You can watch the video below but I’ll also pull out some key points as I see them. Sinek talks about how we play what he refers to as the “game of life” and what impact we will have depending on what rules we set to playing this game. He talks about our choice of having a finite or infinite mindset to life. Okay, fancy words here, but quite simply, finite means being pretty much closed off within your own world with your own needs in mind, whereas infinite means you have a wider outlook on things. He says, if we choose to have a finite mindset, our focus is “I’m going to be number one. I’m going to make every decision as to what will pay me more, what will get me more power and what will get me more influence.” If that is all we focus on, we can very easily end up lonely, stressed and having various health related issues. Our circle of friends is likely to be very very small.

I know I’ve made wrong decisions before about jobs, but I’ve also made some really good ones based on what impact the job can have and not at all on how much it pays me. What that is about is, to return to Sinek’s wording, playing the game of life with an infinite mindset. This means, he says, “we live our lives with the knowledge that we will die, and we want to leave this world, our families our friends, in better shape than when we found them.” This all might sound a bit morbid, but really, deep down, we want people to have good things to say about us when we’re gone. To enable that to happen, we need to start building the legacy right now.

Sinek goes on to say that “so many people think about their legacies at their end of their lives, when they face their own mortality – that’s the problem. Only when they face their mortality do they start thinking about legacy and giving it all away. … Why not live your entire life thinking about your legacy, meaning what impact will we have on the lives of others. No one wants to be remembered for the amount of money they made. No one wants on their tombstone the last balance on their bank account or the title on their business card. We want to be remembered for the impact we had on the lives of others.” (Have a watch of the short video below.)

So what can you be involved in that will help create that amazing legacy? You may already be doing it which is great – let me thank you right now for what you’re doing. But for those of you reading this who aren’t sure what legacy you’re creating or even how you can create something, then give me a shout. I would love to be able to coach you so that you find the answers to the questions you’re asking – and even to those questions you don’t know you need to be asking! Get in touch, and let’s create some amazing legacies for ourselves and for this community of ours.

Until next time.. ..

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

Communities Matter

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 16 September 2021

In my blog last week, I invited you to join the Community Revolution. But what does this really mean? Can you, members of the community, actually make a difference? Quite simply – YES!! Let’s explore this a little further

What I love about working in Community Development is the ability to be alongside local people and help them to make a real difference on their streets. To help them gain new skills, try new things, meet people just down the street who they’d never met before, fix issues, start new projects and so much more.

Our friends at the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) have put together a great piece that explains Community Development in 60 seconds. You can see it here.

They explain that “Community development is a process where people come together to take action on what’s important to them.” Read that statement again and notice the key emphasis. People – you – come together. People – you – take action.

As community, we cannot rely on external bodies to do everything for us. This is not the place to argue whether they should be or not – we all have our views and probably agree on a lot but we don’t have time to banter that topic right now. It is worth noting however that those of you living in Tamfourhill (Ward 7 – Falkirk South) have the opportunity right now to challenge those wanting to be elected to serve in the bi-election next month. Ask them how they will help the community actually develop and how they will work alongside you. (All of you will get that opportunity next May when all council seats are up for grabs).

Aside of that, if you see an issue and instantly think that someone else will sort it, have you ever wondered if you might be the “someone else”? Could you be the person that steps up and makes a difference? SCDC suggest (and I agree) that there are 4 principles that are the foundation of Community Development:

  • Self-determination – people and communities have the right to make their own choices and decisions.
  • Empowerment – people should be able to control and use their own assets and means to influence.
  • Collective action – coming together in groups or organisations strengthens peoples’ voices.
  • Working and learning together – collaboration and sharing experiences is vital to good community activity.

What this means is that even if you’re the one who steps up first, there will be others who will join you. They might take a little while to come, but they will come. Together, you make your own choices, take control, form a collective voice, share resources and learn from each other. The second point is especially important. Empowerment has become a buzz word lately and there is a lot of talk about empowering communities and individuals. Unfortunately, the meaning gets lost when those deemed to be in positions of power simply give their permission for locals to do things. That is not empowerment – that is passing the buck. People need to feel that they are empowered with choice, opportunity and real genuine power. To be able to take control of who they are and what happens around them. There are various ways to do that so let’s have a chat.

SCDC continue that Community Development “recognises that some people, some groups and some communities are excluded and oppressed by the way society and structures are organised.” I don’t think we’d disagree with that statement. But rather than wallow in self pity and throw out another social media rant that the keyboard warriors will jump on, together you can turn the tide and create a more positive future.

So what is it that you want, either for yourself or your community? Do you want to learn? Do you want to tidy the place up? Do you want to do something active? Do you want a new group to start? Let’s be honest – the list is probably endless for all those questions (and more) together. But we have to start somewhere. One of our tasks here at OPCT is to support you to move forwards but also to manage expectations. We cannot fix everything and certainly not quickly. But together, we can do a whole lot more.

Let’s stop just talking about community matters and remember that communities matter. Let’s change the emphasis – together.

Until next time….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

Image source: Scottish Community Development Centre website

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Busy busy busy

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 2 September 2021

Now that we can do more things, it seems everyone is wanting to do everything in the next few months! Patience is key especially as some of you may still be a bit wary of going out to events at this time. We too have that air of caution around our planning but still, there is a lot going on. So here’s a quick summary of events and happenings that I’m involved in or am supporting. There’s much more than is contained in this blog, and many ideas are just in the formation stages, but this will give you an idea of how things are going:

Tidy Clean Green
This resident led group has officially launched, office bearers appointed, the constitution signed, and a bank account is currently being set up. They received £1,500 from the Community Choices Small Grants programme towards developing Pop Up Parks and have just received some other funding that will further raise their profile but I can’t tell you about that yet! One of their first actions of planting trees in Brown Street Park has gone well as all of them are still in the ground where they left them! There are also monthly community litter picks plus other adhoc activity. If you’re not on the mailing list for this group and would like to be kept informed, then head to our mailing subscription link, fill in your details, and select #tidycleangreen in the options (along with anything else you’d like to be kept informed about.

Canal Based Activities
This is another resident led group that is developing it’s offering in the background and will be launching very soon. There are some very exciting projects forming under one banner including canoeing, and I’m pleased to be able to support them in their aims. It’s great to see other local residents already benefiting from access to specific training around some of this too. Watch this space!

Mens Shed
A couple of local guys are working up plans for a multi-faceted mens shed project that is really exciting and much needed. There’s a big mental health focus within this as well as tackling some practical activities too. They’ll need a few more guys to help move this on though so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll link you up.

THRIVE to Keep Well
This programme is well underway and is supporting 10 local ladies between now and the end of the year to understand themselves better, learn how to tackle what life throws at them, and move towards whatever potential looks like for them. We’re proud to be working with NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Council Community Learning and Development, and the Health and Social Care Partnership to facilitate this pilot programme, and are grateful for the additional support of Artlink Central and Forth Environment Link. We’re having a really good time and are looking forward to everything else that this programme has to offer.

Training for you
We have partnered with 4 The Benefit of All in Grangemouth, and Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit, to bring training to you in many areas. But rather than just put courses on randomly, we will shortly be bringing drop in information sessions to the community so you can speak with staff and find out what is out there for you. You’ll also be able to have a Better off in Work calculation carried out for you and find out about what support is there for you to get back into training, volunteering or employment.

Development Coaching
I have been provided my impaCT 1to1 coaching for a few people and have got a lot of interest from others. This is where I will work with you over 6 sessions to help you find the answers to the questions you will be asking, as you move towards your potential.

Existing Groups
I’m providing a range of support to some existing groups to build their strengths as well as helping with the development of their activities or offerings. Support with funding, governance, property, business planning, marketing and more is available either through me or through our partners. There’s room in my diary for more though so if there’s anything your group needs that you don’t know how to tackle, give me a shout!

Resident Engagement
John has a couple of activities happening during the October week that he’ll tell you about, but we will also be having an event in Easter Carmuirs Park on the afternoon of Sunday 24 October. All details will be confirmed very soon but save the date for now. As well as lots of fun and food at these events, you will have the chance to chat with us about local developments, make your comments/suggestions, and see how you can get involved to make a positive difference right here.

Final Words
Remember, there is no pot of money or magic money tree. Whether things have been discussed before or not, there is no cash sitting waiting to be spent. But, if you, the community, can pull together properly and effectively, forming groups where necessary and coordinating ideas, skills and talents (plus taking on learning where needed with our support), then amazing things can and will happen. We can’t sit back anymore and wait for things to happen or for others to do it. We’ve got a good momentum going with the things I’ve mentioned here plus other things that John has told you about. These things have got going because people have stepped up, put their head above the parapet, and refused to accept the status quo. Now they need your help.

Until next time

Dan Rous
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Why!

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 July 2021

For my blog this week, to finish off the series where I’ve asked “Why Bother” and “Why Not“, I am revisiting a blog I originally wrote back in July of last year, where I encouraged us to focus on Why we do things. What’s our motivation, our reason, our passion, our purpose? When we start with Why, everything else becomes clearer and falls into place. Now that we’ve explored why we should bother and helped you to address the “why not’s” in life, it seems appropriate to share that blog again to remind us all. So here it is….


Over the years that I’ve had the pleasure of working with community based activities, projects, organisations or enterprises, one thing always stands out for me. Those who know why they are doing whatever it is they are doing, survive longer and better than those who just focus on what they are doing.

This is not just something to put in a funding application form, but something that defines you as an organisation. It will help local people understand why they should get involved. If you’re trading, it could make the difference between someone choosing to buy from your socially benefiting enterprise, or a standard company up the road. If you’re fundraising, it could make the difference between a donors money coming to you or something else.

I’m sure you all know what you do: you hire rooms out; you run a sports activity; you coordinate events; you run a music group; etc etc.

You also probably know how its done: you have a price list and people book in; you have coaches, equipment, and training sessions; you book entertainment and advertise; you have instruments, rehearsals, tutors; etc etc

But the key to success is why you do it: to provide facilities and activities for the betterment of the local community; to improve health, fitness and wellbeing; to celebrate local identity and success; to encourage the development of talent; etc etc

So what is your starting point? Why, how, or what? Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek writes in his book “Start with Why” about what he calls the “Golden Circle”.

This is one of the most simplistic but powerful ways of looking at what it is that you do – or wish to do. We can so easily get bogged down in ideas, processes, procedures etc that we can forget what is at the heart of our mission. Sinek explains further:

“When most organisations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason — they go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”
“When communicating from the inside out, however, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.”

Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”

This change of thinking could really make the difference for you and your activity / organisation. Before I say more, let’s hear from the Simon Sinek himself in this short TED talk:

In my last development role, I produced a marketing booklet entitled What we do and Why we do it. It was pretty evident what the place did, but not everyone fully understood why. Producing that booklet helped secure a major collaboration that will now be bringing increased support for people in that area. All because we highlighted the ‘why’.

It’s crucial to focus on why your organisations exists and emphasise this. Anything you do (what) and the process to make it happen (how) will fall into place if the why is solid. This is true for any activity, organisation or business but especially so when it is for community benefit. It will give your followers, service users or customers a way to identify with you on a personal level. If your ‘why’ matches their ‘why’, they will be willing to stand with you through thick and thin. Without a clear ‘why’, people default to the ‘what’. Then you are caught in the struggle to stand out in the ever growing sea of ‘what’ and are forced to differentiate yourself with features, or worse, with price. The end result is your reason for being – your ‘why’ – is lost.

Let’s take a hall or meeting space as an example – its easy for me as I’ve run one! You know how big it is, how many people it can hold and the kind of activities you’d be happy to see within it. You know how much it costs to run the hall (light, heat etc) and any staffing costs, so you can work out a rental price. If you stop there, you are just the same as any hall or meeting space and people will choose on location, availability or price – the ‘what’ and ‘how’. However, if you decide to run some activities yourself, or support a group to use the space for less than advertised rates, in order to provide something of direct benefit to the community, you can use this as a reason for other groups or companies renting your space – the ‘why’. “Use our space and we’ll use surplus funds to run this other activity for community benefit” or “have your meeting here and we’ll be able to allow a community benefit activity to use the space at a reduced price or for free”. See the difference? Suddenly there’s a reason for people to use your service – the ‘why’ has come to the fore and in this scenario, your ‘how’ (processes) and ‘what’ (activities) have become consistent with your ‘why’ (beliefs). And that’s the key as all three work together in harmony. To do that, you need to ensure the clarity of why, the discipline of how, and the consistency of what.

Remember that “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” The most effective leaders always win the heart first, and then the mind. And the only chance you have to win the heart is if you start with WHY.

Simon Sinek: “Start with Why”

I’ll leave you with a terribly misquoted song lyric that might help you remember this Golden Circle that we’ve looked at today: “It ain’t what you do its WHY YOU DO IT”. Until next week…….

Dan Rous
Community Coach
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk
07444 873151

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

Why not?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 July 2021

Last week in this blog, I asked the question “why bother“. Many of you read it and some took the time to comment positively about it which is nice, but now I want to encourage a bit more action. So, in direct answer to last week’s question, I give you answer “why not“!

Okay, I accept that’s a question not an answer but I think it’s acceptable in this case.

The communities within Camelon and Tamfourhill need more people who will stand up and say “why not”. People who are not willing to look for excuses not to get involved. People who, when they see something that needs doing or where helpers are needed, say “yeah okay, why not. I’ll do that.”

We do have many people like this who have stepped up, said “why not” and used their time, talent and resources to make a difference. Some have been doing it for many (many) years and others are new to it. Here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, we want to celebrate those people, many of whom don’t even want thanks, praise or recognition for doing what they do. The unsung heroes. Obviously there are the big things like running Community Centres or Sports Clubs where we find many amazing “why not” people at the helm. But then there’s the smaller things which are arguably, just as (or maybe more) important. The person who picks up the litter in their street. The person who regularly does their elderly neighbours shopping. The person who checks in on someone to make sure they’re okay. The person who helps out with a club or activity. The person who checks the accounts for a small community group. The person who reports issues to the relevant authorities so they can be dealt with. The person who organises a get together of people in their close. I could go on…..

The thing is, many of these people have done these things for a long time and could do with some help. Many local organising committees are short on numbers. Many things need to get started but it needs local people to step up to make it happen. As I said last week, times have changed from when you could rely on statutory bodies to provide every service or activity you need. So do we sit back and moan? Do we rant on social media? Do we complain? Or do we say, yeah, why not, I’ll help out, tell me what I can do.

Now that’s all very well if you have the relevant skills to do something. But I know some of you will be concerned that you won’t know what to do or have the necessary skills or qualifications for it. Guess what – we can sort that. If you are not confident in your own abilities then we can sort that too. Here are just some options for sorting these and other things:

  • I can provide 1 to 1 development coaching for you to understand what you might need, what you could do, and to help you find the ways to move towards your potential.
  • We have partnered with NHS Forth Valley to bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area for the first time, as a pilot for women but hopefully for the whole community if this works – click that link for all information and contact details as there is still time to sign up for the August start of this programme.
  • We are partnering with the Employment and Training Unit and a new charity called 4 The Benefit of All, to bring various personal and skills based training to the community for free – watch this space for more on that soon.
  • I have access and links to various information, support, guidance etc to give you all you need to get involved in whatever it might be. All you have to do is ask.

So what will you say “why not” to? What do you see in the area that you think you could do something about or get involved in. What don’t you see happening that you think should be?

I am currently working with a couple of groups of local residents who have an idea, have seen a need, and have said “why not”. My job here is to support exactly that kind of thing. Whether its setting the group up and getting funding, or just making connections, finding premises and volunteers, and dealing with authorities, I’m here and at your service.

So why not bite the bullet and voice that idea that’s been hanging around your head for a while? Why not speak to someone you know who might be a good help with whatever it is you’re doing? Why not take that step towards finding your potential by finding out what training you could do or how you could get back into work?

If you’re in any doubt, just say “why not”!

Until next time

Dan Rous,
Community Coach
07444 873151
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, community, leadership, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Why bother?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 15 July 2021

For someone who is usually pretty positive, that may sound like a strange title for a blog. But this isn’t a rant or a whinge – it’s a rallying call to get involved.

Be honest though. How many times have you said something along the lines of “why bother” or “why should I do that ‘insert nice thing’ when it’s just going to become undone” or “why should I help them”. Maybe you’ve even said of others “why are they bothering doing that” or “what’s the point in them helping those ‘insert description here‘ people.” Or even “how is that getting sorted over there but not here”.

Doing good can by tiring when faced with constant negativity. Doing good can really grate when you see your good work undone or put down by others.

So why bother? Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and because it may well be the only way to bring positive change to our local area. So when John and I or any other group in this area gives an opportunity to get involved in something in the local area that will work towards that positive change, let’s jump forward together and not just leave it to the usual people. If we don’t, we will continue to hear, as has been said many times, that this is the land that time forgot.

I completely understand that getting involved in community enhancing activities is hard work and can be extremely draining both mentally and physically. There is an expectation that others (especially the council) should be doing things but times have changed (maybe not for the better but we are where we are). I completely understand that it’s very easy to get drawn into a discussion on social media about problems in the area and it is right that those problems are highlighted. But while a discussion on social media may feel good and give a good platform to rant, it is not the way to get things sorted. I completely understand though that when you stand up to try to make a positive change, you are also putting yourself up on the firing line and sometimes that can feel a lonely place.

So why bother? Andy March said “If you’re kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you’re successful, you’ll win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway”. What a great message that essentially says forget what anyone else will say or think. If you think this is the right way forward and will bring positive change to the community then go for it.

Why shouldn’t we bother? Why shouldn’t we do kind things because it’s the right thing to do? Why shouldn’t we become successful in our area? And if we’re not physically able to get involved, why shouldn’t we cheer on those who are having a go?

This is a good point in this blog to actually say thank you to those who are bothering. Those who see an opportunity and grasp it, rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to get involved. Those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Those who are willing to take on extra training to be able to be involved in something. Those who will ask questions to get positive action. Those who truly believe that the only way to make a difference is to actually make a difference.

Carl Beech said “It seems to me that far too often, rather than cheer each other on we seem to provoke each other more to angst and stimulate rows rather than love and good stuff. … I think it’s more than what we say but what we do as well. On one of the marathons I ran (plodded around) I put my name on the front of my tee. All the way round total strangers were yelling out “Come on Beechy!!! Go on son!!!” It was amazing. I’m sure they put an extra 5 miles in the tank just by cheering me on. Similarly, when I see people being gracious, generous in words and actions – it provokes me to want to do the same and lifts my head and heart up to something higher. When people are sarcastic, mocking or argumentative – in the same way it can lower your head and drag you down.”

So what can we do about it? Beechy asks the following questions which I think are good for all of us, including me, to consider: “What do I/you provoke more? The good or the bad? When did I/you last cheer someone on? Do I/we bump my/our gums moaning all the time or does what comes out of my/our mouth encourage people with generous words? Does my/your actions provoke people to good stuff or not?

Challenging questions there but they are well worth considering if we’re serious about making this community an even better place. I am well known for banging on about the good things happening in the area. I am well known for championing our area for the people, organisations and activities that are going on – often under the radar. People from other areas are beginning to sit up and take note. People from outwith our community are beginning to see what can happen when people come together for positive change. Have we sorted all the issues out yet? No, far from it. There is a lot of work to do. But if we keep looking to the problems as problems, that will be all we see. Maybe if you are looking only at the problems, how about considering how you could get involved to try to help turn things around for those involved in those issues. Maybe they just need a chance to be involved themselves?

To use Beechy’s analogy from earlier on, “Let’s keep running the marathon and cheer each other on along the way.” I’m going to bother – what about you?

Until next time…

Dan Rous, Community Coach

07444 873151 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

coach, community, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Don’t just speak – say something

Community Coach blog, Dan Rous, 17 June 2021

I was relaxing the other evening watching “Later… with Jools Holland” when he introduced a song from UK jazz musician Emma-Jean Thackray. She’s quite a talent, being listed as a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, bandleader and DJ! The style of music hooked me in and I was really taken by the use of a sousaphone by one of the musicians – not something you see every day! But it was the title that really got me thinking and became the seed for this week’s blog (not what you really want at 1030 on a Friday evening but that’s my commitment to you!).

Just think about the song title for a second – Don’t just speak … say something.

I wonder what thoughts that has brought to your mind. Feel free to share either in the comments or by messaging me directly. But for me, its about making sure that whatever comes out of my mouth is worthwhile, helpful, and not just said for the sake of it – that the language I use is to build up not to knock down. I could also apply that to this blog, where I try to put out useful material that will be of interest to you. I’m really grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received from readers which is helpful in knowing this blog is not just reaching people but is having the desired results. I accept that the subject each week will not be for everyone, and the same can be said for some of the things we generally want to say in life. Is this really something that everyone around you needs to hear or is this us just voicing a thought in our head that we really just need to work through ourselves or in a specific conversation directly with someone?

So, let’s look at this in relation to our daily lives. What are we speaking or saying generally? As we’re chatting to people at the school gate, in the shops, on the bus? What about when we’re ‘chatting’ to people on line or making a social media status update? Are we just speaking for the sake of it or are we actually saying something?

While we ponder all that, here’s the lyrics from Emma-Jean Thackray’s song:

Open your eyes before you open your mouth.
Stick out your tongue and let me look inside.
I want to find what’s down your throat.
Open your heart to open up your mind.

Those pearly whites do they really shine?
Are they even real? They look too bright.
I want to find what’s deep inside.
If you must speak, show us your mind.

Don’t just speak…
Say something.

Blogger Reno Omokri says “Don’t speak because you want to say something. Speak because you have something to say. The more you talk just to say something, the more your listeners lose respect for you. The more you talk because you have something to say, the more they gain respect for you. And when listening to people, don’t focus only on their words, or you may miss out on what they‘re really communicating. Pay attention to their demeanour, their eye contact, or lack of it, etc. People lie with their spoken language, but hardly with their body language.”

I’d say that really sums it up, so you’ll be pleased to know I don’t have a lot more to add!! But I think the timing of this is really important as we’re beginning to move back to higher levels of activity and therefore more interaction with people. For those who haven’t necessarily had much direct human interaction over the last year, conversations may have been extremely limited, so this is a good time to remember even how to interact with others.

And the other side of this is actually looking at the person you’re talking to. As Emma-Jean says in the opening line of her song “open your eyes before you open your mouth”. What can you tell about the other person before you speak? Are they actually in the right frame of mind to hear what you feel you want to say?

It’s also important to understand that this doesn’t just refer to the general statements you say, but also the questions you ask. By that I mean asking the right kind of questions that will help you get the answers you need – and bear in mind they might not be the answers you’d like! Business advisor Belinda Lui says “The problem is, most of us ask terrible questions. We talk too much and accept bad answers (or worse, no answers). We’re too embarrassed to be direct, or we’re afraid of revealing our ignorance, so we throw softballs and miss out on opportunities to grow.”

This is a key part of our impaCT coaching programme during which our coaches will actually help you to ask the right questions of yourself and then to work towards finding and understanding the answers for yourself. It will help you to move towards your potential which includes how to interact better with others. There’s more information on all of this on our coaching page.

So as I close for this week, let’s all just think more about what we say, how we say it, and why we are saying it – both in person and online. And let’s give as much value to listening as we do to speaking. These are huge parts of community life that will further build on our community spirit as we regain the art of truly meaningful conversation.

Until next time, if you want, here’s Emma-Jean’s song for you to listen to!

Dan Rous, Community Coach, 07444 873151 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

What is your motivation?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 6 May 2021

Earlier this week, I saw this tweet from a force for good in Community Development – Cormac Russell, MD of Nuture Development:

Truth is, *the needed* need *the needy* more than *the needy* need *the needed*

Cormac Russell

Take a moment to read that again, just to really take in what he is saying here. He also went on to say that “Society perpetuates the opposite story; because there’s an entire segment of the economy tied up in commodifying human needs”.

Okay, let’s break this down a bit. What this basically boils down to is looking at why people help others or provide services to meet local needs. There are those who believe the help has to come from ‘outside’ the community whether that is from the local authority or some other support agency. There is a real danger here that a support system solely running on this basis can lead to (and arguably has already) the long term damage of individuals and communities, who lose the belief that they can make a difference themselves. They become so reliant on external help that they cannot see any other options. So often they become seen as those who just look for the next handout and sadly, there are those who will turn on them for being like that. However, if it’s all you’ve known then it’s difficult to break free from that without someone genuinely walking with you to help you.

On the other side of things, those providing the support from external organisations believe they are genuinely making a difference by providing what is usually just short term sticking plaster support, and also get some kind of goodwill power trip from doing so. Okay, I’m generalising a bit here and there are some amazing people who genuinely do make a difference within these external groups. They are appreciated but are often in the minority as the others just do what they’re told to do, clock off at the end of the day and switch off.

Essentially, we’re talking here about the difference between sympathy (I’m sorry you’re in this position but here’s some help) and empathy (I know what you’re going through – I’ve been there – I understand – what do you need – how can I walk with you).

If we’ve learned nothing else over the last 12 months of living through Covid-19, so often the help we need is right under our noses and exists in amazing levels within our own community. We have seen fantastic support services grow up within communities that are led by people in our communities based on the real local need. Okay, some have jumped on the bandwagon for different reasons but the ones that have really stood the test of time are the ones who truly understand the needs of the people around them and truly engage with and involve those people. They will meet the immediate need but then look to really understand where each person is at and what they really need to move forwards.

This also comes back to something I bang on about a lot – stop doing stuff to people and start working with them. The word ‘alongsider’ has come to the fore so much lately. This is about really listening to local people and working with them to achieve whatever needs achieving. I’ve even heard Council staff saying they’ve had to learn how to listen to local people over the last year. That may sound like a sad statement to hear and in a way it is, as it took a worldwide pandemic to make them do this. But I’m going to take the positive from it and hope that we will begin to see a real change in how support and community benefit is enacted. Here at OPCT we will continue to work to ensure that any transfer of activities or even transfer of power is meaningful for you the local people and not just something that seems to be the right thing to do but is essentially a way of saving budgets elsewhere.

So, back to where I started with this blog: what is your motivation for doing what you do? What is your driving force? Are you in a position right now that you’re happy with? Are you doing what you really enjoy? What, if anything, needs to change for you? What support do you need? Our impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching Programme can help you to truly understand yourself and your motivation. It will help you to take time to look at where you’re at, what obstacles might be in your way, and how you can move forward in a supported way. If this would be of help to you, check out the information on our coaching page then give me a shout. I’d love to walk with you in this and before you ask, I can genuinely say that I’m doing this because I have seen the benefits of it and have always wanted to help people reach the potential that is within them. I don’t have to do this – I want to.

Until next time……

Dan Rous communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk 07444 873151

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Coaching 1 to 1

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 April 2021

At our First Anniversary Celebration event on Monday, I officially launched a 1 to 1 coaching programme that is FREE for you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. This is not sports coaching, but personal development coaching to help you, the coachee, to fully live out your potential – whether that is personal or professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The video below is my talk from the event where I explain what Coaching is and crucially, what coaching isn’t. This can really make a difference in your life and help you move into the potential that is within you – no matter what stage you’re at.

If you don’t fancy watching the video, then you can read things for yourself below that. Once you’ve watched or read, if you want to book in for a series of coaching sessions with me, or to find out more for yourself or someone you’d like to refer, then please email me at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and we’ll have a conversation. There’s also more information over at our dedicated 1 to 1 Coaching page.

What is 1 to 1 Coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their potential – both personal and professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce outcomes that satisfy the coachee.  Much is expected of them: it is their responsibility to imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about the coachee – their goals, their learning, and their growth. Together, coach and coachee will discover the potential within them.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. The coachee is the expert on their life. A coach uses coaching techniques such as deep listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remaining supportive.  The focus is on assisting the coachee in discovering insights and taking next steps in pursuing their calling.

Coaching is about action – the coachees action. Each session the coachee will determine 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. It may be surprising how quickly the coachee will progress toward their goals.

Coaching is about all of the coachee – not just work or personal life.  We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. A coach recognises these patterns and will support the coachee as they change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It is not therapy.  Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented – for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.

It is not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It is not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within their coachee.

It is not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. A coach will push a coachee beyond what they might think they can do, but will always be supportive. The coachee is in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act belongs to the coachee – and them alone.

Why Does Coaching Work?

Coaching works because it brings out the best in the coachee; a coach believes that coachees can create their own best answers and is trained to support them in that process. During coaching sessions, a coach will:

  • Listen. The coachees story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what they are saying, encouraging them to discover what their potential is.
  • Ask questions. A coach uses questions to stimulate the coachees thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. A coach will hold and honour their coachees vision, progress, and efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead. A coach facilitates learning and problem solving.

A coach is not in charge, nor do they set the agenda.  A coach is simply here to help the coachee to engineer their future.

Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.

  • To make significant life changes
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals and reach them faster
  • To address changes in location or employment
  • To reduce stress, isolation, or uncertainty
  • To progress personally
  • To improve your relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To be a better leader
  • To better understand who you are
  • To simplify or prioritize your life
  • To evaluate your pace of life

Our Coaching approach

  1. Leverages Strengths
  2. Provides Clarity and Focus
  3. Instils Confidence
  4. Catapults Learning
  5. Fosters Intentional Progress
  6. Rubs Off on Others
  7. Encourages achievable Goals/Dreams

You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.

Andy Stanley, The Next Generation Leader

So, does this sound like it could be of help to you or someone you know/work with? Then get in touch and let’s get started! Drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk to start the process.

Until next time…