Monthly Archives: May 2016

Can you be Confident in Everything?

At a recent women’s network group, held by a well-known bank, I gave a talk on ‘Confidence and Women in the Workplace’. At the end of the talk I was asked, “can you be confident in everything”.

This is such a great and relevant question for us women in 2016. We have our own expectations of ‘having it all’ and have great expectations and pressure put upon us by society.

We’re expected to have the perfect bikini body, be eating a clean diet and producing home cooked food at every meal all the while being a director, owning a beautiful home and having the perfect relationship with everyone.

I don’t know about you but just thinking about all of that makes me feel tired and overwhelmed.

So, can we really be confident in everything and, more importantly, should we want or even need to be?

I personally don’t think we can be confident in everything and feel we shouldn’t aspire to it.

The day I feel that I’m confident in every aspect of my life is the day I need to give myself a stern talking to – because then I’ll know I’ve stopped trying to grow and learn and expand my comfort zone.

If you want to, you can acquire confidence in anything you set your mind to. But that first time you try something you’ll probably be nervous and your inner voice may well try to sabotage your success.

If you think about 5 things that you’re confident in now and think back to when you first did them – I bet you didn’t feel so self-assured about any of them then.

If I think back to the first time I interviewed someone, the first time I went for an interview, the first time I wrote a blog, sent my first tweet or did my first triathlon – I definitely wasn’t confident.

In fact far from!

However, I gave them all a go, thought about how I could improve and then learnt from that experience so that I’d do it better the next time.

Below are some tips to increase your confidence.

Tips to Increase Your Confidence 

  1. Turn off the negative chatter.  You may call it the gremlins or the inner voice. Whatever you call it everyone has one and it’s sabotaging your success.  When yours arises tell it to “STOP” and repeat a positive affirmation such as “I can do this”.
  2. Set your goal.  Be specific in what you want to achieve. I am always amazed when I sit down with clients, ask them what they’d like to achieve from their professional life and they say they don’t know.  If you don’t know what you’re aiming for then how will you know the right steps to take to get there?
  3. Make an achievement list.  Every Friday afternoon I sit down and write everything that I’ve achieved that week. It reminds me of how much I’ve managed to get done that week and puts me in a positive frame of mind for the weekend.
  4. Get an Executive Coach.  I can’t recommend enough how much it helps having someone that will support you in overcoming what’s holding you back and achieve what you really want out of life.
  5. Step outside your comfort zone. Once a week do something that you feel uncomfortable with so that your comfort zone stretches. If you don’t like public speaking put yourself forward at work to do a presentation. Once you’ve completed it you’ll realize it wasn’t nearly as scary as you thought it would be.
  6. Ask for help. What ever you’re doing for the first time the chances are that someone has done it a hundred times. So ask them for any tips on how you can do it well.


I hope that you find these tips helpful. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742

T: @carnoldcoaching


F: Caroline Arnold Coaching


How to Give Feedback 

Giving feedback to someone is a real gift as it helps that person to grow. And yet many of us shirk away from doing it as we are worried that we will upset that person and ruin the relationship.


I agree that if you give feedback to someone and you haven’t thought about how you’ll communicate it then yes, it can end in disaster. But follow these tips and you can both walk away feeling that you’ve had a helpful conversation.


Research shows that creating a culture of feedback will help to develop your team. This in turn will help you retain your top talent so it’s definitely worth getting in to the habit of doing.

Structure of giving feedback 

1. Timing

Give feedback as soon as you can after an event while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Don’t wait for the annual appraisal 7 months later. The person you are giving feedback to isn’t going to remember an event from months back and so won’t be able to ask questions and learn from it. All you’ll achieve is frustrating the individual.

Also, think about how the person will receive it? Will they need time to digest the feedback after the discussion? If so perhaps giving feedback prior to a lunch break would be helpful? This way the individual can take some time out to reflect on the conversation. Offer to meet them the next day to answer any questions that they may have.

2. Regular

Get in to the habit of giving regular feedback to your team. That way they’ll know what they need to be working on and what they’re doing well so they know to do more of that.

Ask your manager for regular feedback so that you can also learn and grow.

3. Location

Don’t give constructive feedback to an individual in front of their colleagues. This is uncomfortable for all concerned.  Instead, ask to see them in a meeting room where you can both have an open and honest conversation and where you won’t be interrupted.

5. Be specific

The more information that you can give to the individual the more that you’ll be able to help them learn from the event. So, talk about what you saw, what you heard and suggest how this can be improved. Then come up with an action plan of how they can implement this change.

Discuss the positive effect on them, the team or the company by starting or stopping doing what you’re discussing.

Agree a deadline for implementing this change or improvement – whether it’s to have immediate effect or is something requiring training and implementation over the coming weeks.

6. Follow up

At the end of the discussion confirm that you will send them an email documenting the conversation, so that they can refer back to it if they need to and know what they are doing and by when.

Asking for feedback 

If you receive feedback then acknowledge that this person has taken the time to give you this gift and you may want to acknowledge that as you feel fit.

Every time you receive feedback, even if you don’t agree with what’s being said, treat it is a learning opportunity. Take the time to reflect, be kind to yourself and see how you can take this information onboard.

Ask your HR team if they can do a 360 feedback. This will be so beneficial for you to know both what you are doing well and what is working less well for your team.

If your HR team isn’t able to do this then consider asking for feedback yourself. The book “The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8AM” has a template email that you can use which asks for feedback.

I did this a few weeks ago and also set up a survey monkey questionnaire so that, if people didn’t want to give direct feedback to me, they could do so anonymously.

I can’t recommend this exercise enough. The information I got from it was so valuable and I really appreciated  everyone taking the time to complete it so that I could work on my strengths and weaknesses.

If you’ve found this blog helpful then why don’t you come over to my website and sign up to my newsletter so that you don’t miss the next blog.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742


T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching


Tips To Turn Off Your Inner Voice

We all have an inner voice.

Mine often appears when I’m confronted by IKEA furniture and it generally says something like this: “you can’t put that table together, there are too many parts to fit in place it’s not worth trying”.

Enter my fab boyfriend!

I’ve found that it also pops up when I am trying to create an Excel spreadsheet and the voice says “you hate Excel, don’t you remember the last time you tried to add a fancy formula and you had to watch a video on Google on how to do it”.

Yours may speak out when you’re about to present to your team, ask for a pay rise or start a new job. Or, in your personal life, when you’re in a Zara changing room, cooking dinner or signing up to a 5k run.

I think we can all agree that in none of these situations is it helpful to have an attack on your confidence and ability to get the job done.

 So what is the inner voice, why is it bad and how do you stop it sabotaging your success? 

What is it?

The inner voice, inner critic, negative chatter, inner dialogue, gremlin, intrusive thoughts – what ever you want to call it – is that voice inside your head that can produce feelings of shame, deficiency, low self-esteem, and even depression. It may also cause self-doubt and undermine self-confidence.


Why is it bad?

Whatever you call this thing everyone has one and yours is sabotaging your success in your professional and personal life.

Maybe you didn’t apply for that job because you couldn’t do three out of the ten competencies, maybe you didn’t ask for a pay rise this year because you didn’t feel “worth it”. ‘After all’, the voice will reason, ‘if you were worthy of a pay rise then your employer would surely have given you one?’

Sorry, I hate to burst that bubble but that’s just not the way the working world works.

Whenever I give presentations to companies the most frequently asked questions are about the inner voice and how to deal with it.  So check out my tips below to stop your inner voice sabotaging your success.

How to stop it 

1. Say Stop 

When you notice it talking at you simply say “stop” and then repeat a positive affirmation such as “I can do this. I am confident. I am worthy, or I am strong.” Which ever works for you. But keep repeating it until the inner voice disappears.

2. Awesome list

Create an ‘awesome list’ that you can refer back to when you need a confidence boost.

Every Friday afternoon I sit down and write down everything that I’ve achieved that week. This reminds me of how much I’ve managed to get done and puts me in a positive frame of mind for the weekend.

You may want to do yours every Friday afternoon. Alternatively you may want to write down 3 things that you’ve achieved as you go to bed so that you’re in a positive mind before going to sleep.

3. Gratitude list 

Create a gratitude list that you can refer back to if you need a reminder of everything that you have in your life. I created mine by writing down 100 things that I was grateful for and I look at it at least twice a week.

You may want to do something similar. Or, at the end each day, you might write down 3 things that you’re grateful for that day along with 3 achievements of the day.

4. Meditation 

If you haven’t read my blog on Mindfulness then I recommend checking it out  I’ve found that doing some simple meditation every day really helps tune out the inner voice.

5. Get an Executive Coach

I can’t recommend enough how much it helps having someone that will support you in overcoming that inner voice and work out what’s holding you back from achieving what you really want out of life.

6. Step outside your comfort zone

Once a week do something that you feel uncomfortable with so that your comfort zone stretches. If you don’t like public speaking put yourself forward at work to do a presentation. Once you’ve completed it you’ll realize it wasn’t nearly as scary as you thought it would be. Then the next time you offer to do a presentation you’ll notice your inner voice doesn’t appear because you know that you’ll be a great success having done it once before!

7. Video Clips

Check out some other resources that may also help you learn how to turn off the inner voice.

Jim Duffy TedxGlasgow Talk

Bree Brown TedxTalk

Marie TV – Overcome Fear of public Speaking

If you’ve found this blog helpful then why don’t you come over to my website and sign up to my newsletter so that you don’t miss the next blog.

Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742

T: @carnoldcoaching


F: Caroline Arnold Coaching


How To Choose The Right Executive Coach For You

Clients come to me for one of two reasons:

  1. Because they have a problem of some sort.
  2. Because they want to achieve their full potential in their professional and personal lives and they think having a coach will help give them a competitive advantage.

Those clients that come to me because they have a specific problem often finish our sessions with the observation that if they’d signed up to an executive coach sooner then they might have been able to prevent the problem in the first place. And THAT would have saved them a lot of energy and anxiety.

So, if you’re thinking about getting an executive coach but are still undecided let’s remind ourselves of the benefits to be gained from committing to a coach.


The benefits to the individual

  • Preparation for role/career changes and joining the board
  • Enhancing personal impact and performance
  • Improved leadership and management skills
  • Increased productivity
  • More effective working relationships
  • Increased revenue through more focused action
  • Greater integrity in managing and decision making
  • Fewer negative effects of stress
  • Better balance between personal and professional life
  • Improved career planning
  • Greater confidence
  • Focus on solutions rather than problems
  • Break through any barriers holding them back
  • Develop greater awareness and understanding
  • Understand and navigate their interpersonal relationships
  • Gain clarity and learn to think creatively
  • Deal with change

That’s a lot of benefits so why wouldn’t you have a coach?  Usually it comes down to time and cost.

Most coaches offer a 30 minute coaching call which most people can fit in somewhere in their working week.

As for the cost – well I agree that it can be a barrier for some. But if you want to discuss going for a promotion which would increase your salary by 10% surely a few sessions with a coach would pay for itself?

Also, many companies will now pay for you to have a coach so it’s worth asking them. If your company isn’t sure then why don’t you remind them of the benefits that they’ll gain from you having coaching?


The benefits to the organisation

  • Greater commitment from employees
  • More creative outlook in business planning
  • Improved management of other staff
  • Improved revenues and profits
  • Improved organisational performance
  • Retention of high performers and greater staff loyalty
  • Less absenteeism
  • Enhanced operational efficiency and flexibility
  • Improved staff morale and motivation
  • More effective development and performance of new team members
  • Unleashing of the potential of teams and improvement in their efficiency and performance
  • So how do you choose a coach?

It’s worth asking yourself a few questions which will help you choose the right coach for you.

1. Can this coach help me achieve my professional growth objectives?
2. What do you want from a coach?  Does your proposed coach specialise in that area?
3. Do you want face to face or Skype?
4. How often do you want to see a coach? Once a week or once a month?
5. How long do you want to see this coach for? Do they have the capacity to take you as a client?
6. Do you feel that you can be open and honest with this coach?
7. Do you want to spend time with this coach?

So now that you know the benefits of coaching for you and your company and you’ve found the right one how do you get the best out of the relationship?


Making it a success

1. Feedback
This is a two way process. So if something isn’t working then tell the coach – they aren’t mind readers. If you feel that you’re being pushed too much or not enough then give them this feedback. The more honest you can be with your coach the more they can help you and the more you will get from the sessions.

2. Commit
Once you’ve put the coaching sessions in your diary commit to this time. Block out time before and after if you can so that you can be in the right headspace for the session. There’s nothing worse than worrying that you need to rush to a meeting straight after.

3. Action
You’ll have most likely agreed what action you are going to take from the session. Commit to doing this so that you don’t just talk about it for an hour and then fail to follow up. This is where you will see the real change so take action!

If you’d like to discuss having an executive coaching programme with me then please feel free to connect with me, drop me an email or phone me.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching