Tag Archives: Executive Coaching

How To Deal With Boss From Hell

We all know the saying – that people leave their boss rather than the company.

In fact a staggering 50% of people that leave their employment do so because of their boss.

I clearly remember my first boss. I must have been fifteen and I was so excited to be working in a hotel.

I survived two weeks. He was a bully. Completely charming to everyone else but a bully to me.

Luckily I was able to leave and soon got another job waitressing in a restaurant and, in the end,I had a great summer in that job.

As adults though it isn’t so easy to leave a job.  You may have financial commitments or worry about how it will look on your CV if you move after only six months in a role.

So, what do you do if you find yourself with the boss from hell? Or simply one that doesn’t inspire you!

1. Personal circumstances


It might be that they’re having a difficult time for personal reasons having an adverse effect on them.

So before you decide your boss is a miserable old so-and-so and act accordingly how about suggesting lunch or a post work drink?

They may not open up to you but the gesture will be appreciated. And an opportunity to converse away from the work environment will do you both good.

2. Communication 

Does your company support psychometric profiling such as DISC or Myers Briggs?

If so then suggest as a team that you all complete it.  As a result you’ll be able to understand each other’s strengths and be more effective as a team. This will allow you to get to know your boss better and there may be suggestions in the report on how to best communicate with your boss.

If your company doesn’t offer profiling then sit down with your boss and ask them how they would like you to communicate with them.

If they’re the type of boss that likes to micro manage then a suggestion from you that you copy them in on all communications will smooth the path no end.

Alternatively you might suggest a weekly, pre-arranged update.

3. Practical steps 

If you reach the point where you feel that you’ve tried everything to bring about a better working relationship with your boss but they aren’t reciprocating consider these possibilities:

  1. Working from home one day a week. this will allow you some space.
  2. See if you can move to a different team, project or secondment with a different boss. Any of these would give you some breathing space without having to leave the company altogether.

Ultimately think about what effect this boss is having on you and your career.

If you think they may damage your career then consider leaving the company.  But make sure you take the time to choose the right boss next time so you aren’t in the same situation again!

If you jump from the frying pan into the fire you’ll be no better of and will have wasted a lot of time and effort.

4. Learn from this

Take all the lessons that you can from this experience.  Hopefully you won’t get get an awful boss again. But moreover when you’re a boss yourself, you’ll have awareness of the perils and pitfalls to avoid!

How To Be More Positive When You Feel Like Rubbish

Next Tuesday, 13th September, is Positive Thinking Day. I’ll be on holiday in France practicing my awful French.

When I was six I attended, for a few months, a French school where only French was spoken so so I really should be better than I am.  But then I went to school in America and learning French when you’re six doesn’t seem so important.

But to return to positive thinking.

When I’m on holiday it’s very easy to be positive. How can it not be? I’m benefitting from sleeping in, tucking into pain au chocolat for breakfast (conveniently forgetting I eat a gluten-free diet as a rule), having walks on the beach and spending quality time with my partner and my family. What’s not to be positive about?

But always thinking positively is much harder. I’m a naturally positive person but even for me the real world can present a positivity challenge at times. And that’s one thing I’m positive about!

It doesn’t always take much to destroy a day where you started out in a positive frame of mind. It only needs a cancelled train or a train so full that you have to stand for the entire journey. And pay for the privilege.

Or perhaps you didn’t get the promotion you hoped for or the offer on your dream house was rejected.

I do truly believe in the saying that everything happens for a reason -but at the time it’s sometimes hard to see why.

So how can you bring more positivity into your life? The tips that follow are a great place to start:

1. Achievements list

Every Friday afternoon get into the habit of taking five minutes to write down all of your achievements – both at work and in your personal life.

Maybe you delivered a great presentation at work or implemented a new system? Put it on the list. It could be that you tried a new bar with friends and managed to get to the gym twice in a week.? Put that on the list too.

Write down at least 10 things but aim for 20. I tackle the task by going through my diary to see what meetings I’ve had and what I got from them.

2. Gratitude

With your achievements list done spend another two minutes writing at least 20 things in your life to be grateful for.

It could be something as seemingly insignificant as a sunny day, lunch with colleagues or a painting done by your kids.

If you initially struggle try thinking of things you would miss if they weren’t in your life.

3. Affirmations

I have started to have a positive affirmation go off as a silent alarm on my phone three times a day so I am constantly reminded of what I am achieving and what I am working towards.

You may want to try this and you could use what follows below but choose what resonates for you.

I am grateful for this day

I love and enjoy what I do

I am healthy and happy

I am proud of my achievements

4. Surround yourself with positive people

Try, if you can, to spend more time with positive people and those who have a similar upbeat frame of mind.

Is your best friend the most positive person you know?  If so then send her a message and see if she wants to do spontaneous drinks tonight or go to a comedy show.

Buy a new book on amazon that is uplifting.

Try a new gym class or watch Great British Bake Off and be inspired to take a cake into work for everyone to enjoy.

5. Negative drainers

Do you have people in your life that suck the energy out of you even on your most positive day?

We all probably have someone that we can think of. A colleague perhaps, a friend or someone on a Facebook group you belong to that always sees the worst.

If it’s a colleague then this can be trickier to avoid. But can you work from home one day a week so that you don’t have to interact with them quite so much?

If it’s a friend  – well – if you consistently come away from time with them feeling dragged down you might want to question the friendship.  Should you feel you do still want the person in your life then look for ways to manage that so you’re not spending excessive amounts of time with them.  So if dinner is on the menu – agree but leave at 9pm. An early morning meeting the next day is a useful ‘get out of jail free’ card.

If you have anyone on your social media that’s regularly negative then consider if you can stop following them or remove yourself from that group. Then find a group that’s more positive and supportive of you.

I recently did a massive clean up on the Facebook groups that I belong to and now commit to commenting and supporting on 4 Facebook groups as the others weren’t right for my anymore.


Did you miss out on joining my FREE Beta Group? Don’t worry there is still time to join us!

If you are serious about taking your career to the next level then read my LinkedIn post for further information about the course. I am offering you the opportunity to join before the course goes live on the 21st for an early bird price of £49.00 but you must book before the 19th. This gives you lifetime access to the course “Get Confident and Accelerate Your Career”. Once the course goes live it will be £249.00 to join. Please message me  if you would like to “Get Confident and Accelerate Your Career”.

How To Get Rid of Procrastination Forever

Hands up!  Who’s got a ‘to do’ list that they never ever get round to completing?

Or, did you set yourself a load of resolutions to do before the end of the year, didn’t start them in January but are telling yourself you definitely will action them now?

There’s name for this and it’s procrastination.

Next Tuesday, the 6th September, is Procrastination Day. And if there’s one thing that I have to constantly work on it’s my tendency to procrastinate.

I used to think of myself as a perfectionist. But, when I started being honest with myself, I realized that in actual fact I was doing nothing other than procrastinating.

And I was so good at it!

My new favourite mantra is from the amazing Marie Forleo. I repeat it to myself on a regular basis and it’s: #progressnotperfection

So, spend a minute thinking about this:

If there’s one thing that you’re procrastinating on – where might you be if you stopped procrastinating over it and took some action.

Why do we procrastinate?

This common behaviour often stems from fear of the unknown. Or we may fear what we perceive as the embarrassment of failure, other people’s opinions and have doubt as to our own abilities.

We shall overcome!

So if most of us procrastinate how do we overcome it?

I read an article recently, which suggested something rather interesting. As a general rule men will submit a piece of work when it’s 85% complete whereas women  will only submit when it’s 100% finished.


The upshot being that women tend to be less productive.

While a woman is perfecting a piece of work a man will have moved on to the next thing on his list while waiting for feedback on what he’s done so far.

And the chances are that the ‘not-quite-perfect’ piece of work gets accepted as it is. Praise is given and the submitter moves on to the next task in hand.

Here’s a few suggestions to help you tackle the procrastination pest!

1. Brain Dump

Take 10 minutes to write down everything that you want to achieve at work and at home in the next one to two months. Then break these down into 3 to 5 steps depending on is the size of the task and diarise when you’e going to take action on each point.

2. Eat That Frog

If you haven’t read this book then I recommend it! In simple terms the book talks about doing the thing that you don’t want to do first every day. That way you aren’t spending energy thinking or worrying about it.

Having got the unpleasant task/tasks out of the way you’ll then be free to do the things you enjoy doing.

3. Accountability 

Get an accountability partner in what ever format works best for you but just get one!

This may be a coach, being part of a mastermind group or getting your best friend to come running with you.

You’re more likely to take action and achieve your goals if you know someone is going to ask you how you’re getting on.

I’m part of a mastermind group – we meet via Zoom every Tuesday evening.

Without doubt I’m at my most productive on Tuesday afternoon. This is because I don’t want to be the person on the call that says they  haven’t achieved what they said they would.


Earlier I asked you to take a minute to think about if there’s one thing that you’re procrastinating on – where might you be if you stopped procrastinating over it and took some action.
What ever it was that you came up with just take action NOW!

Four Tips to Revolutionize Your Weekend!

Are you counting down the hours till you can leave the office and enjoy the weekend?

Perhaps you’re looking forward to a quick Saturday morning run and then drinks and dinner with friends in the evening?

Or is this more like you?:

You get home on a Friday, exhausted mentally but then struggle to switch off from work. Because of that you wake up in a sweat at 2am panicking because you can’t remember if you sent your boss that promised email.

Then you wake up on Saturday groggy and grumpy and in the mood to pick a fight with your boyfriend. You don’t mean to but you just can’t seem to turn your brain off from work and relax and enjoy the weekend.

If that sounds like you then I can completely relate!

Until I started doing these 4 simple changes I really struggled to unwind at the weekend. So Sunday evening would come round with me wondering where the weekend had gone and why I wasn’t I feeling rested and ready for the new week ahead.

So here they are. 4 achievable yet effective tips to change your weekend from washout to wonderful:

1. Achievements list
Every Friday afternoon get into the habit of taking five minutes to write down all of your achievements – both at work and in your personal life.

Maybe you delivered a great presentation at work or implemented a new system. It could be that you tried a new bar with friends and managed to get to the gym twice in a week.

Write down at least 10 things but aim for 20. I tackle the task by going through my diary to see what meetings I’ve had and what I got from them.

2. Gratitude
With your achievements list done spend another two minutes writing at least 20 things in your life to be grateful for.

It could be something as seemingly insignificant as a sunny day, lunch with colleagues or a painting done by your kids.

If you initially struggle try thinking of things you would miss if they weren’t in your life.

3. Brain dump
Spend a few minutes writing everything down that’s on your mind: things that you need to still do at work, things you need to do at home, the shopping on the way home etc, etc.

With everything written down you can move on to the last stage: planning the week to come.

4. Plan the forthcoming week
With your brain dump complete go through every point and schedule it in for the next week. Then make a note of anything that you need to do that coming weekend – such as picking up a present for a friend.

By doing this brain dump and planning the next week you won’t wake up with the cold sweats at 2am on Saturday morning worrying about what you haven’t done.

I use these Worksheets to block out activities and then know what I’m doing and when:

The weekend is time for you to enjoy yourself, relax in front of a movie enjoying a takeaway with deliveroo delivery or catching up with friends and family.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll find that you start the weekend on a positive note and end it ready to embrace the week ahead.

Create A Kickass Life

Why do I need a coach?

As an executive coach I’m often asked: ‘Why do I need you as my coach?’

This is a fair enough question and one that’s best answered by my turning the tables and asking that person questions. Questions designed to make them think.

Questions such as these:

Do you love Sunday evenings because you’re excited about starting a new week?

Do you wake before your alarm and feel energized about the day ahead?

Are you doing what you’re passionate about?

Are you putting up with things that you shouldn’t be?

Do you plan activities so that you have something to look forward to during the day?

Do people comment on your positivity or are you struggling to get through the day?

Do you have what you really want?

Do you have a kickass life?

If you answer ‘no’ to any or all of the above then coaching will help you to get what you what.

Watching the Olympics I’m reminded of how powerful a team of experts can be. Those athletes aren’t winning that gold on their own. They have a team of sport and behavioural coaches, nutritionists and physiotherapists – the list goes on. But all of those experts are there to provide support and get their athletes to that podium – and they couldn’t do it on their own.

I currently have 3 coaches helping me achieve my different goals.

So ask yourself this:

Do you want to feel more confident, get a pay rise or a new job? Do you yearn for recognition and validation from your employer?

Do you want a stronger relationship with your partner or to have the confidence to take up dance classes?

Wherever you want to be I’ll be there to help you get there.

We’ll discuss your personal and professional goals with you setting the agenda for our sessions.

You may find that in one session you want to discuss applying for a new job and the lack of readiness you feel for it.

In another you may simply feel the need to chew the fat about your boyfriend who is putting on his ‘Mr Fix-it’ hat – when all you want him to do is listen, pass the chocolate, agree what an idiot your colleague is being and hug you!

I will offer support,  insist that you celebrate your successes and ensure that you leave every coaching session motivated to take action.

I may also challenge you to think differently about a situation or to see the discussion from your team’s eyes and how you may improve your effect in a positive way.

If you want to take that first step to achieving what you want then email me at info@carolinearnoldcoaching.com.

And let’s talk!

How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers: A Simple But Not Easy Solution

On today’s blog we have a fantastic guest, Sarah Lahoud talking about how to deal with difficult coworkers.

Ever feel so freaking frustrated with a coworker that you can feel your blood to start to boil? 

You feel like everything you say is misunderstood, everything you try to do is blocked with some ridiculous regulation they make up on the spot, and they’re just making you as miserable in work as you could possibly get. As if your job wasn’t miserable enough.

I can relate so much it’s ridiculous.

As a manager of a dance studio, I used to have to deal with customers every day and all day long. Parents, kids, grandparents, nannies, I could talk to them all. Even when they came at at me with a huge, venomous complaint, I could usually communicate in a way that connected and left both of us feeling happy and satisfied that the problem was addressed with love and professionalism.

But coworkers could be a whole other story. 

There’s the fact that you’re around them a lot longer than customers. You could be around the same coworker for an entire day straight, and if they’ve completely drained your energy and excitement and optimism in the first hour, you just know that that negativity is going to continue until there’s nothing left of you but an angry, boiling shell of a human being.

It’s almost like being in a relationship with your husband or boyfriend or even mother when the other person is facing a big and difficult time in their life and they get testy, mean, and just impossible to be around. There’s no talking to them. They’re just a pain in the ass, and you can’t get any work done.

I remember going home every single night and complaining about this particular coworker. It felt like every single thing I did was met with misunderstanding, miscommunication, stupidity, negativity, passive aggression, and any number of her-faults.

There was the time that I got in trouble with my boss because I couldn’t get this coworker to return a key on time. There was the time that I had to issue twelve refunds to customers because I couldn’t get this person to show up on time. And there were all the times that I tried to distractedly get my desk work done while trying my best to listen empathetically to her complaints about work and life because I thought listening to her crap was the way to communicate heartfeltly.

Basically, she was a pain in the ass. And it seemed she was determined (whether consciously or unconsciously) to block my and others’ productivity at every single freaking turn. 

Every time she questioned me or passive aggressively asserted her (to my mind, false and ridiculous) knowledge over mine, I would get all bristled like, “I’m a freaking manager. I know how to write. I have this and that degree. I blah blah blah. I’m a professional, damnit!”

I felt this need to react with declarations of my own skill set and prowess and power. I felt the need to passive aggressively react to her passive aggressiveness.

Which made me feel like a fake. And inadequate. And unappreciated. 

Which made me react. Which made me want to overcompensate in ways that weren’t really true to myself or my professionalism.

And which just generally made me look like an ass, too. 

You got someone like that in your life?

I think most of us do.

We want to feel significant, like we’re actually good at our jobs and are recognized for our epicness. But we’re too busy being undervalued and frustrated by this obnoxious coworker who’s putting us down and trying to claw her way over our head, badly.

Which means we get caught up in drama, people start dragging their feet, we’re frustrated, we don’t get as much work done, we can’t stop complaining, or fighting, or crying, and work just sucks. 

And the biggest problem is that we struggle to communicate – both talk to and be heard by – this difficult person. No matter how empathetic, professional, lighthearted, or humorous we try to be, no approach seems to work and we fall apart at the end of every day.

The number one way to change this dynamic, the only way to fix this once and for all, the I’ve-tried-it-and-so-have-so-many-others-and-it-works-every-time trick is this.

Be genuinely you. 

Which probably sounds a little woo-woo, but go with me on this for a second.

Picture yourself in the morning when you first wake up and are all relaxed with your cup of coffee and a good book. Or picture yourself in the evening before bed, clicking away on a computer or scribbling in a journal. Imagine what it feels like when you’re completely relaxed, doing what you want to be doing and really enjoying being yourself.

In these situations, you actively choose to be yourself. You don’t react to anything in particular but instead are free to choose whatever activity makes you happy and whatever makes you feel most like yourself.

Now as a contrast, picture yourself in a situation with your difficult coworker. Imagine what it’s like to be misunderstood by her yet again, and imagine yourself about to respond. Or if you’re more the kind to let them walk all over you and not say anything, just imagine how you feel in that exact moment.

In these situations, you react. Whether you actually respond – positively or negatively – or simply say nothing, you react as soon as that person’s utter negativity and unprofessionalism affect your mood. You’re affected by the other person or people, and you’re more than likely feeling stuck, frustrated, and fearful yet again. Definitely not yourself.

It’s worth noting that you have every right to react, and you’re not wrong to feel the way you do. This is not a blog post about learning how to stop reacting to those around you and just meditate in your own head to pretend you’re happy. This is a blog post about actually being happy and really improving your relationships and the way you communicate with that pain-the-hole coworker.

Now, question. 

Do you feel like yourself in both of those situations? Or is there a difference between your voluntarily-and-actively-being-you situation and your I’m-stuck-here-at-work, I-have-to-do-this and my-coworker-is-freaking obnoxious situation?

I can’t hear your response, but I’m going to go ahead and bet on the answer being yes. 

Now here’s the reality. You can’t change your coworker or any other person that is driving you crazy. You can’t make them hear you and understand if they’re not open to it. And you can’t change your situations sometimes. That sucks.
But here’s another reality. You absolutely can change yourself. Let me reiterate that I’m not advocating you pretend to be happy when you’re not. I’m not advocating that you ignore your coworker and just learn to be happy despite her ridiculousness.

I am, however, advocating that you can be yourself, live your purpose, feel amazing, and that coworker won’t bother you any more.

You can be yourself, you can take care of yourself, and you can move beyond feeling stuck and empoweredfrustrated to feeling , heard, and powerful. And that’s pretty epic. 
Around the inspiring side of the Internet world, if you ever hang out there, which I know you do because I can see all those inspiring quotes and pictures you’ve pinned on Pinterest, we’ve started to interpret the reality that you can’t change others but you can change yourself to basically be a guilt-trip for not doing more work on yourself and a cop-out for persisting in our old habits that have continued the pattern of frustrating situations that we find ourselves in.

So please don’t continue to buy into that false reality. Don’t take my advice to be genuinely yourself to mean that you don’t have any work to do or that you should just put up with you freaking annoying coworker.

Instead, take it as an invitation to change.

You don’t have to change yourself, but you do have to become more like you, a more epic you. 

Bust through your own personal and professional frustrations and fears. Define your purpose and your skillset and you’ll be able to share your knowledge generously, without a strong need for significance or a lack of confidence. You will be able to communicate from a really empowered and excited place. You’ll feel genuinely like yourself and won’t feel the need for validation or recognition from the obnoxious people who can’t see your value.

Be professional in your interactions with them. Share your skills and know-how and really listen to theirs. Chances are they’re really good at something, too, and are feeling threatened (just as you used to feel!) by your authority and knowledge.

Share your skills with professionalism and authority. Own them. Love them. Share them. Be professional without pushing your dominance falsely over them out of a lack of self-confidence and a need for significance.

Communicate with them. Which really means listen. Try to hear what they’re really saying instead of reacting to what you think you hear. And remember that they’re probably reacting to what they think they hear you saying as well.

Recognize that you can only control you, and get to work. 

You’ve got to feel as yourself as humanly possible.

Find your purpose, bust through your frustrations, and you’ll start doing everything, including working and communicating in work, from a place of purpose and love. 

Work on giving everyone yourself and not what other people expect of you.

It’s not easy work, but it is simple. It’s a simple concept, and when you start acting genuinely like yourself, everything will change. Trust me.
Every time you go to do or say something in work, ask yourself, “Am I reacting? Or am I acting as myself?”

And if you still can’t connect with that coworker, forget them. You’ll be so in love with yourself and your life and so satisfied, you won’t need them anyway. 


Sarah Elizabeth Lahoud

Writing + media coach for creatives + entrepreneurs

Also a future Disney villain

// Web // Facebook // Twitter //

How to Say No



I have a confession to make; I find saying “no” really hard to do.

I don’t like conflict and I genuinely want to help people so I often find myself saying yes when I really want to say no.

Saying ‘yes’ can lead to great opportunities and meeting some fantastic people but it can be also be really exhausting!

The problem we have at work is that we want to be seen as a team player. We don’t want to appear boring or difficult to work with.

But, if we always acquiesce, then we can end up feeling pressured, or maybe even bullied and that will lead to feelings of resentment.

Conversely, if we do refuse a request, we can feel guilty and worried that we might have offended someone.

It is a minefield.

Do you also find it hard to say no?  Do you answer yes to any of the below?

  • Go to a dinner party when you really want to catch up on your favourite TV show?
  • Can you attend this meeting for me?
  • Do you want to join the work team run?
  • Can you host Christmas lunch and all the family?
  • Can you cover Jane’s workload today, as she is sick?

If you find yourself agreeing to do things you don’t want to more often than you should then it may be time to take back some time for yourself.

This quote from Warren Buffett may help you to say ‘no’: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything”.

Tips to say no at work

1. Reframe

I am currently doing this great online business programme called B-School and it has really helped me reframe and learn to say ‘no’ more easily, swiftly and, more importantly, without the guilt.

When I find myself wanting to answer ‘yes’ to something, I stop and think about what that ‘yes’ actually means in terms of what it would displace that I’d rather be doing.

For example: I’m asked to attend an event. The wanting to help and wanting to please part of me wants to say ‘yes. I’ll come.’ So I think about the things I could be doing in that time. The things that I really want to do – such as working on my book or writing the content of my first webinar.

I then find it easier to say no to a particular request because then I’m effectively saying ‘yes’ to doing something that will help me grow my business.

2. Offer an alternative

If you can’t start a project at work this week maybe you can offer to start it next week?

3. Take time to consider the request 

Assess the pros and cons before you refuse to take on a piece of work your boss has requested that you do.

Consider if it will it help you with your overall career goals. Will it be a good opportunity to network, increase your salary or gain exposure to a different team? If it helps with any of these goals then it may be in your interests to take it on for its wider benefits.

4. Say no in person 

If you are able to refuse someone’s request face-to-face then the message is likely to be better received as you can lose the intended tone in an email.

5. Ask for help prioritising

Ask your boss if you need help prioritising your workload. Discuss together what can either be postponed for a few days or delegated to another team member. It’s even possible that such a discussion might bring about the realization that actually, this ‘thing’ is no longer required.

6. Practice 

If you are normally a ‘yes’ person then start small or practise with friends or family.

Once you’ve said no a few times you’ll get more confident with it and you’ll also start to enjoy the benefits of having some more time to say ‘yes’ to the things that you actually want to do.

So, my biggest challenge that I have set myself this month is to say no to more things without feeling guilty.

Please feel free to join me. You’ll be amazed how liberating it is.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742

W: www.carolinearnoldcoaching.com

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching

I: Carolinearnoldcoaching

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone 

When giving a recent presentation at a women’s networking group one of the questions that I was asked was “how do you start a conversation when you’re an introvert and can’t think of anything worse to have to do?”

I’ve always been lucky that I find it easy to start a conversation with anyone so I suggested 10 questions that she could ask in different situations.

As I looked around the room I noticed that a lot of the women present were writing these suggestions down. So clearly this is something that many women struggle with.

Striking up a conversation can be intimidating for even the most extroverted person.  So, if you want some ideas on how to break an awkward silence, start a conversation with your CEO when you bump into them in the lift or are off to your first networking event then check out the tips below:

1. Small talk

An easy way to start a conversation with someone is to engage the person in small talk.

If there’s a holiday coming up try asking them a question about that – such as “What are you doing for Summer holidays?” or, if you’re meeting them at the beginning of the week, “How was your weekend?” or alternatively at the end of the week “What are you doing this weekend?”

2. Ask for their recommendations

Most people are flattered to be asked for their recommendations. So, if you’re attending an event try asking if they’ve been to the event before. Then, if you get an affirmative answer, you can ask what they recommend seeing or doing. Should you be at a restaurant try asking the person/people you are with what they’d recommend from the menu.

3. Make them feel comfortable 

You can do this by asking them a question that’s easy for them to answer. If you’re at an event you could ask “Have you been here before?”, “Which talks are you looking forward to?” or “How was your journey in?”

If you’ve just started a new job then “How long have you worked here?” and What do you enjoy most about working here?” are good conversation openers.

4. Ask open-ended questions 

If you ask closed questions such as ‘Do you like reading?” it’s possible you’ll get ‘no’ for an answer. And that’s that conversation killed. Instead try asking them what their favourite book is and why they enjoy it so much.

5. Ask about their kids, partner, holidays, and hobbies

People like to talk about themselves so ask them what they like doing outside work. And then, if they say it’s taking the children to swimming and football, you can follow it up by enquiring how many children they have.

6. Remark on your surroundings 

This is a great way to start a conversation if you’re at an event and you’re getting a drink as you can turn to the person next to you and comment “Isn’t it a lovely location/room/restaurant? Deleting as applicable.

7. Give a compliment

Most people are more than happy to be complimented so you could say “I like your handbag, where did you get it?”  Be genuine in your compliments though. So if you think it’s the most hideous bag you’ve ever seen maybe comment on their shoes instead because a fake compliment will be spotted immediately!

8. Refer to previous conversations 

If you’ve met the person before but still don’t know them that well you could ask them a question about something they were doing last time you met.  Something like: “The last time we met I recall you were off on holiday to Greece, what was the best bit?” People will be impressed if you remember details about them.

So now that you have some examples of how to start a conversation let’s remind ourselves of the basics when talking to people.

1. Be approachable

Smile if someone catches your eye  because this will make it easier for them to join you.

2. Arrive early 

If you’re off to a networking event arrive early and then people will come to you as they join and you can introduce them to others. This tactic will help put everyone at ease.

3. Relax 

Remember that others may be nervous too so just relax and practice starting conversations so that you get used to doing it without thinking about it.

4. Say the other persons name occasionally 

This will help you remember it for the future and will also help you build rapport with the person.

5. Acknowledge that you’re listening

Let them know that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say by nodding your head and making appropriate comments and responses.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching

W: www.carolinearnoldcoaching.com

I: Carnoldcoaching

S: Carnoldcoaching

Ted Talks to Inspire

I’m off to Italy at the weekend for a friend’s wedding and I can’t wait! The bag is packed, my Kindle updated and I’m ready to go.

What’s not to love?  4 days with my boyfriend in stunning Tuscany celebrating with friends, drinking Champagne and eating local food in the gorgeous Italian sunshine.

Then I remember our flight is at 6am and the excitement starts to waver ever so slightly. I am a morning person but that’s an early start even for me.

In preparation for the ever so slightly boring wait at the airport I have downloaded some Ted Talks to pass the time.

So, if you’re off on holiday soon or you just want something different to watch during your commute to work, or to avoid the football, then download thee Ted Talks below for some true inspiration.

They’ll help fire you up if you’re off to an interview, if you need a general confidence boost or are about do an important presentation at work.

They might even inspire you to become the next leader!

Inspirational Ted Talks

Sheryl Sandberg – Why we have too few women Leaders


Anne-Marie Slaughter – Can we all “have it all”


Amy Cuddy – Your Body language shapes who you are


Julian Treasure – How to speak so that people want to listen


Susan Cain – The power of introverts



If you haven’t been to a Ted Talk event then I recommend having a look to see if there ‘s one in your area.

I went to one for the first time last year in Bristol and it was a fantastic day out.

Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching

W: www.carolinearnoldcoaching.com


Tips on How to Set Goals

As far back as I can remember I’ve been a goal setter.

At school I set goals regarding the grades I needed to go to university.

When I got to university it was about getting a good degree so that I could apply for a graduate scheme.

Currently my goals are all about how many coaching sessions I carry out every week.

Everyone says they know the importance and benefits of goals. Yet so many of my clients struggle to communicate exactly what their goal is, why they want to achieve it and when they want to have accomplished it by.

In case you aren’t yet convinced of the benefits of goal setting let’s remind ourselves of why it’s a good idea to have them.

Why setting goals is beneficial 

1. Focuses you on what you want to achieve.

2. Helps you turn your vision into a reality.

3. Stops you from procrastinating.

5. Measures progress.

6. Increases motivation as you achieve smaller goals on the way.

7. Can lead to a promotion at work with a salary increase.

I think we can all agree that a promotion at work with a salary increase sounds like a great result if that was your goal. So how do you go about setting a goal?

How to set goals

Setting SMART objectives seems to be the norm now in the workplace but in case you aren’t familiar with the format here’s what SMART objectives are:

  • S – Specific: You indicate who is doing the action, what’s happening, when it’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it’s happening.
  • M – Measurable: State the metrics that you’ll use to determine whether you’ve met your objectives. It should be a numeric or descriptive quality that defines quality, quantity, cost, etc.
  • A – Attainable: Is this goal attainable and within someone’s capabilities?
  • R – Relevant: Does the goal align with the broader goals of the company or department?
  • T – Time-bound: Include the date by which you’ll achieve the objectives or the frequency with which you’ll carry out the activity

Example of a SMART goal could be:

I’ll be promoted externally to HR Director by January 31st 2017 with an increase in salary package of 15%. I will have reduced my commute to a 30-minute walk instead of a 45-minute train ride, which will help improve my overall fitness and mindfulness.

To achieve that goal I will:

  • Update my CV and let 10 of my contacts on LinkedIn know that I’m looking.
  • Connect with 5 recruitment agencies and attend 1 networking event every month.
  • Spend time researching the company and do a mock interview with a friend who is an HR director.
  • Read a book on how to negotiate because I know I’m not a strong negotiator.

What may stop you achieving goals?

Once you’ve set your SMART goal it’s time to be honest with your self and think about what may stop you achieving it – what ‘roadblocks’ you might put in the way.

List these roadblocks and write by each one as many ways as you can think of to get around them so that you will absolutely achieve this goal.

For example it may be that you want to do a Master’s degree but your excuse for not doing it is that you don’t have the money.

Write a list of ways that you can increase your income and reduce your spend. For example, to increase your income you may get a flat mate, put your spare room on Air BnB or get a second job.

To reduce your spend you may negotiate new cheaper contracts on phone and Internet providers, cancel your gym membership and go for a run with a friend in the park instead, have a clear out and sell unwanted items on Ebay.

Or you could ask your company to sponsor your Master’s or see if there’s a scholarship available.

Hopefully you get the idea that there are ways around the roadblocks that may sabotage your success. Recognizing them early on and being prepared for how you’ll overcome them will ensure you stay on track.

Get support

To help you stay on track you could get a coach, join a mastermind group where you’re held accountable each week or try asking at work if there’s a mentoring programme that you could sign up to.

Reward your successes 

As you move towards achieving your goal make sure you celebrate the smaller steps so that you stay motivated.

For example, if your goal is to get a new job then your first step may have been to update your CV. Once you have done that reward yourself with drinks out with friends and once you have your new job with your increased salary consider booking a well-deserved holiday.

I hope that you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’re setting a goal at the moment why don’t you share this blog with a friend? Then you can set goals together and hold each other accountable.
Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching

W: www.carolinearnoldcoaching.com

I: Carolinearnoldcoaching