Inside Out

According to government research, quoted by the Daily Mail recently, six out of ten offenders dealt with by the justice system return to crime within nine years.
Daily Mail coverage about tackling reoffending by mentoring

That must have a major impact on public finances (which bear the costs of policing and punishment); and peoples’ lives (both victims of crime and perpetrators).

No wonder then that acting for the government, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is encouraging the growth of effective mentoring programmes, intended to keep ex-offenders from re-offending.  The Guardian newspaper documents the early stages of such a mentoring relationship. License: PublicDomain Keywords: people Author: AbiClipart Title: Magnifying Glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe that significant value could be added by skilled volunteers meeting the offender a year before their sentence ends and supporting them through establishing a coaching relationship.

The key would be the coach helping them look closely at the reality of their lives to date; identify positive future goals (in the same way that readers of Brian Tracy, Steven Covey, John Whitmore or Laura Berman-Fortgang would recognise); select the viable options they can pursue to attain them; develop the will take the first steps toward their future.

Undertaking that journey would establish strong foundations on which mentors and other positive external influencers could build, after release.

Hopefully mentoring is only one of the strategies which the government is going to support, to help offenders better manage the transition from life inside to their future beyond crime.

Our Bodies Can Change Our Minds

Amy Cuddy - PopTech 2011 - Camden Maine USA

Amy Cuddy – PopTech 2011 – Camden Maine USA (Photo credit: poptech)

Thanks to the Coaching Academy’s members-only web site, which has highlighted a really interesting 20 minute TED Talk by social psychologist, Amy Cuddy.

The talk explores the potential for our thoughts and physical presence to change who we are.

Her research suggests it might take just two minutes (somewhere privately) standing in a ‘power’ pose, to gather inner strength & subsequently ace that job interview or important presentation.

The Talk itself is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Amy Cuddy TED Talk

Other interesting, generally available material on

Memories Are Made Of This

English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons...

English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also known as neurones and nerve cells) are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information. In vertebrate animals, neurons are the core components of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My memory for names is patchy sometimes.  I can meet someone at a social function, hear their name, shake their hand and minutes later have forgotten what they are called.  Not a good attribute to display as the Christmas party season approaches.


I am going to try coaching myself to do better with remembering people’s names.  According to an item in the Guardian newspaper, about revising for exams, there might be a straightforward way to do this.


Pathways between neurons [the brain cells which store information] can be strengthened over time. Simple repetition – practising retrieving a memory over and over again – is the best form of consolidating the pattern.


I am going try using the person’s name a few times in conversation straightaway, to see if that locks it into my memory.

How Full Is Your Bucket?

Cover of "Understanding Psychological Con...

Cover via Amazon

In my experience some people resist change in their professional lives, even if they are unhappy.  They don’t want to benefit from taking on a new way of thinking, after a change to their circumstances.  Or they may feel that ‘at their time of life’ change is not possible and they have to put up with bad situations.

I think those people may be missing out.  That is especially true if the person is in a junior job role and change has happened around them, meaning their expectations about their working environment – personal development; pay rises; job security – are not being met.  This is true in the private sector and, the Daily Telegraph’s Jobs Editor Louisa Peacock suggests, amongst civil servants.

Hopefully senior managers already have, or are actively being coached to develop strategies to counteract the dip in staff morale that results from unmet expectations.

For senior managers who don’t see why action is necessary (or believe staff will put up with just about anything) Neil Conway and Rob Briner’s 2005 analysis ‘Understanding Psychological Contracts at Work’, includes the telling observation:

“When an employee believes that [their] organisation has failed to deliver its promises on a regular basis, he or she will question whether it makes sense to continue contributing to that organisation or whether it might be better to move on to another”.

The new look People Management magazine this month includes a feature on ‘Eight Ways To Reward Staff, Without Giving Them A Pay Rise’.  I like the simplicity of their final suggestion: try to say ‘thank you’ to others for their contribution.  The article suggests literally writing notes of appreciation and leaving them with colleagues who have done a good job (I can remember from personal experience how a simple act of appreciation can put a smile on someone’s face).

The magazine says this concrete expression of gratitude is an echo of Tom Rath’s and Donald O Clifton’s approach to combatting workplace negativity, set out in their book, ‘How full is your bucket?’.   I like the idea and I am going to try it out the next chance I get.