Thinking of going back to work? Don’t panic, you’ve got this!

This blog is for all you women/men out there who have taken a year or so off work to care for your child(ren) and are now thinking about going back to work.

There are so many things to think about in this process, so this is going to step by step guide to a) getting back there and b) get you ready to rock n’roll once you’re in the door.

Getting back to work

  1. First things first! The right time to go back to work has to be and can only be the right time for YOU.

You have just had a child; which is an incredible thing, so don’t put pressure on yourself – go back when the time is right.

That time is going to look different to each individual person depending on your circumstance, so just because Jill down the lane didn’t need to go back for 3 years, doesn’t mean that if you decide to go back after 9 months that you are doing anything wrong. I also know of people who have set a go back to work date and then after talks with their company, decided it wasn’t quite time yet, so delayed it. I also know that companies have different requirements for their staff, so ultimately this will perhaps govern some of your decision.

You are dealing with this at the best time, because companies are (usually) great at dealing with this now, so talk to your manager, go to your back to work meetings and be open.

  1. What do you want to do?

When you start your conversations with your employer about how you want to broach going back to work, make sure that you have in your mind what it is that you actually want to do.

  • What hours do you want to do?
  • Do you want to go back full time or part time?
  • What work do you want to be doing?

It’s not to say that everything you want will be able to be accommodated depending on your industry etc. but its worth at least going in knowing what you will and won’t compromise on.

  1. Don’t rule anything out

This is important, as the conversation with your boss should be two-way. What are they offering you? Remember those are not your only options. It’s a conversation, so make sure you allow your voice to be heard.

If you’ve left your company and are looking to go back into work after a substantially longer period of time then do not rule anything out even if you’ve been out of work a while.

Full time positions, management positions and flexible working are ALL available to you. Remember though – you do not need to put yourself in a position where you are working all the hours God sends just to fulfil a crazy notion that if you don’t then you won’t be valued. There is a lot of press around this at the moment, but it is going to do you a lot better to be happy at work and doing well in the hours that you are working than working 60 hours a week to fulfil your own insecurity.

  1. Know your rights

This is important! Your company should have it together when it comes to maternity leave and what is expected of you when you want to come back and what definitely isn’t. But this is not always the case.

If you need advice then seek it, speak to the CAB for free advice, or get in touch with a legal firm if you feel that the information your firm is giving you is not fair/adequate. Or even your company’s HR team, they will know, well they should know(!) what is expected of them.

This could cover things like – you being made redundant when you come back, your role changing without prior warning, the issue of paternity leave etc. etc. There will be things built into the maternity leave policy at your firm, so it may be useful when you are meeting with your employer for them to bring a copy for you to review.

So now you’ve decided you want/need to go back to work – what can you do to help yourself?

Feedback from friends, family and past clients who are in this situation is – ‘oh my god I’ve been out of the loop so long, I’m not going to be able to cut it, I’m a different person, I have new responsibilities, will I be taken seriously?’ So let’s go through some ways that you can reinvigorate how you feel about yourself and the ton of skills that you had before and still have now, and perhaps some new ones!

  1. Make a list

Of all the reasons why you got the job in the first place, all the skills you felt you used to have when you started the job – e.g. I had the right qualifications, I was good at leading a team, I got everything I needed to done, I was a good leader, I can organise anything and everything to the minute detail… etc.

When you’ve made this list, look at it. Don’t dismiss it as things that you used to have – because you still have those skills. Yes ok your organisational skills may be more in the arena of, I can get my child dressed, throw them a birthday party and my partner a 10 year wedding anniversary dinner, get my pets groomed all whilst writing a successful blog – but hey, that is still organising no matter how you wrap it up.

Just because you are out of work for a few months/year/years doesn’t mean that you lose your brain cells – this has not been scientifically proven, therefore your logic is false.

Make the list, think about how great you are and get motivated.

  1. Review your priorities

Ok so now you think you’re wonderful again, it’s time to think about what you can actually do. Remember that no matter what people say – you can’t have it all. You really can’t.

You are going to have conflicting priorities no matter who you are or what stage of life you are at so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This goes back to point 2 on the going back to work bit at the beginning. Work out what you want. Do you want to work 60 hours a week and get a nanny in or will  your partner be able to stay at home? Do you want to work 3 days a week 9-5? Do you want to work 5 days a week 10-3? Fine. Be honest with yourself, then go to your employer and work out what is feasible for them and for you. You may not get everything you want, but it’s worth asking and finding a compromise.

It is also important to think about how this reflects on your career progression and salary expectation. In a recent survey it was said that women’s salaries are 33% lower than men’s up to 10 years after they give birth. This is probably down to the fact that women are going in part-time and due to them needing to clock off earlier than their male counterparts (usually, this isn’t a blanket statement). It is just something to be aware of. If you want the high flier job, then you need to compromise on time with family initially I would imagine. If you want to leave at 5 every day on the dot and work 3 days a week then probably you will have to compromise initially on your career prospects.

This isn’t a blanket rule and I’m sure some people will be sat here frowning at me but this is the reality of life. You need to work out what you want and be ok with that choice.

I would also say what I said in a previous post – just because you can’t do everything now, doesn’t mean you can never do it. Your career doesn’t need to peak at 35/40, there are a ton of successful people who are much older than this who have started their careers again after they’ve finished having children.

  1. Amend your LinkedIn profile

Once you’ve figured out what your role is and what you are doing at work it’s time to freshen up your LinkedIn profile. Just because you’re a parent now and you’ve amended your working hours it doesn’t mean that you are not hot property and that someone wouldn’t want to hire you. Get yourself back out there.

  • Review your profile – this is the first thing that people see about you
  • Review your skills – this is what people are going to endorse you for
  • If relevant ensure your qualifications are up to date
  • In your company experience summary – it is that, a summary
  • Ensure that in your profile there are buzz words that meet industry requirements so your profile gets picked up
  1. Pep talk

If anything, you need to tell yourself that you can do it. As stupid as this sounds, stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye and say to yourself

“I can do it, I am a smart person, I am a successful person, I am valued in X organisation, I am good at my job etc. etc.”

It’s stupid but it works – you may even find it really difficult. But if you want people to take you seriously then you need to take yourself seriously too.


And that’s it! I’m kidding – this is such a stressful time and a daunting time. But you really have this! If you need some guidance, or would like a session on how to manage your return to work, then please get in touch. I’m offering you a 10% discount on a 1.5 hour coaching session – £75 reduced from £90 with the code #dontpanic –

Who are you talking to?!

I have been speaking to so many people recently who are just totally confused as to why they aren’t mega rich after launching a product or service. Now I don’t mean painfully slogging away after months and months of hard work – I mean literally after pressing ‘GO’ on the launch and waiting all of one day or a week or two.

Listen to me when I say – Beyonce wasn’t built in a day!

I mean she just really, really wasn’t! The thing about social media and the fact that people’s stories are so accessible on the web, is that we think to ourselves, wow that Steve Jobs guy, well he did it and seemed to do it over night so that’s going to be me too. And the other thing about social media is that it lies. Not out right, no one likes a liar, but it makes gives you a false impression of people’s life. You think that everyone is running at 100mph and achieving everything in a blink of an eye. I can assure you they aren’t.

This sounds all very doom and gloom but it’s true – I’m not trying to make out that these people haven’t done amazing things and yeah I’m sure some people really do turn rock star over night but they would have had to put the work in. Let’s just be realistic and practical about life and how we can get to where we want to be.

So where are you? Have you just launched a product or service? Have you got a product or service ready to launch? If either of these options sound like you – let’s get to the bottom of how you are going to make this a success. I’m not going to go through the whole process; if you want that then you’re just going to have to get in touch with me! But what I’m going to do is give you the #1 thing you have to consider. In fact don’t just consider it, work with it, act on it and spend some TIME on it. It’ll be worth it I promise you.


That’s it. No really. Just that.

The end.

No I’m kidding, I’ll help you more than that.

The bottom line is – no matter what you created, unless it’s actually for a purpose, for someone’s purpose it’s useless. Even if you think it’s the best thing in the whole world. If no one wants it, or even if they do want it but they don’t know they want it, or don’t know why they would want it – then it’s useless. Do you see?

So this is going to help you show your target audience(s) that your product or service is exactly what they want/need.

Task one: Find your target audience 

  1. Split up onto different sheets of paper all of the people your product/service would interest. So for example you’re selling an online course about financial advice.
    1. Sheet one – Those over the age of 50 approaching retirement
    2. Sheet two – First time buyers
    3. Sheet three – People with no pension who want to start their savings
    4. Sheet four…. You get the idea

What you are doing here is creating client profiles. These are essential as they help you to understand who these invisible people are you’re selling to.

Task two – what part of the service you’re offering suits that audience? 

  1. Make a list or spider diagram or whatever you like to show all the reasons why those people would want a particular element of your service
    1. Sheet one
      1. They want to make sure their family is secure financially when they die
      2. They want to ensure they have enough money to go on holiday/pay off the house
    2. Sheet two
      1. How can they get a mortgage
      2. How can they ensure they start saving for a good retirement

Task three – where are you going to find them? 

Now you’ve got your audience and their interests in your product/service. How are you going to reach them?

  1. Make a list of all the places where they may go/look where you could advertise your services?
    1. Sheet one – Those approaching retirement. Could you find them reading a particular paper, looking at a particular TV programme? Reading a particular magazine?

Task four – how are you going to communicate with them? 

So now you have the where, you can now think about the how.

  1. You’ve decided you need to get into a magazine; well you’d need an article or an advert. If you’ve decided social media then again you’d need an advert or a LinkedIn or Facebook page…

Task five – why do they care? 

The last thing to do is to think about in all of this – why do they care about you or what you’re selling?

  1. This is a good opportunity to go through each sheet and think to yourself
    1. Why you?
    2. Why this product?
    3. How do you compare against the competition?

Remember with this exercise, this is a self-love exercise, not a doom and gloom I don’t know! You have a lot to offer and a lot to give, so let’s think strategically for each group and be brutal with yourself and your services.

So there you go! That’s it. Now you have this information – this will feed your messaging, it will feed your marketing activity and it will help you create products and services that meet a need or a want.

Get in touch with me today for ways that you can implement this for your company today. Can’t wait to hear from you –

You can also sign up to my newsletter to get all the goodies to your inbox!

Let’s get cracking!

I’ve spent some time recently with young people who are desperately thinking about their careers and what they can do to get their dream job.

It can seem hopelessly confusing when you start thinking about your future and what you want to do, let alone actually getting there! 

So what would I recommend? 

  • Make a list of all the things that get you fired up 
  • Make a list of all your strengths like – I like working with people, I like analysing data, I like leading, I like travel, I like food 
  • Think of all the things you’ve worked on at school or been involved in and haven’t enjoyed
  • When you have this list see what themes are coming out 
  • This is going to be the start of your journey! 

The next thing I would recommend is getting some work experience. 

This can seem a bit daunting, especially when you’re young and you’ve never done any sort of work before but it’s going to be so good for you! 

Where can you get some that’s going to help you in your career? 

Well this is the beauty of work experience – you can do just about anything and all of that is going to help you in any job you do in the future. 

  • Work in your parents office 
  • Work in a restaurant 
  • Work in a bar 
  • Work in a supermarket 
  • Do some volunteer work 

Even if you’re sat here thinking – ok well I want to be the next Steve Jobs so how is this going to help?! Well let me tell you – I bet he did some jobs like this to start with! If you can get experience in the field you want to go into then wonderful, but if you can’t then get anything! 

Some research I read recently said that over 60% of employers wouldn’t consider someone if they didn’t have work experience – so do you see how important it is? 

What else can you do at school or university? 

  • Speak to your careers department 
  • Go to talks from employers or companies who are in your school or uni to give you advice or to tell you about an industry 
  • Join clubs and societies 
  • Get involved with projects 

All these things are great for your CV! 

What skills are you going to learn?

  • Team work 
  • Leadership 
  • Communication 
  • Managing difficult situation 
  • Understanding how to work with people 
  • How to manage earning some money 
  • Influencing people 
  • Customer service 

And much, much more! 

You’ve probably started a new term now, of uni or school but you can start applying for schemes that happen over the winter holidays. 

Get in touch if you’d like help with a CV or cover letter or application! 

Damn the pay gap!

Did you manage to spot the  ISF research that came out yesterday? If you missed it, here’s the summary… there is still a pay gap, which ‘booms’ after a woman has children. *sigh

I think when we see research like this, it’s so easy to jump straight for the jugular, get our knickers in a twist and proclaim loudly about how unfair the world is. Don’t get me wrong I’m 100% there with you; I am a woman, I work in the financial industry, sexism is alive and well here I can well assure you. I remember one particularly aggravating conversation with the father of boy at university wanting to get a job and after spending ages on the phone giving him some advice to pass on to his son who was clearly far too busy and important to actually call someone for their own advice and was told ‘gosh well done you’ at the end of the call, which made me want to tear my ears off my head! But for the purpose of this research I think a rational approach is required and some so what can we do about it. So let’s start from the top.

What does the research actually show?

  • The pay gap has reduced but it’s still 18% (from 28% in 1993)
  • The gap has reduced due to more women becoming highly educated; the decline is only amongst the lower-educated
  • The ‘boom’ in the pay gap continues for 12 years after the birth of a first child
  • Women who have children are paid 33% less per hour than their male counterparts in the same position after an initial period where the salaries are the same
  • Women tend to come back into work part-time after the birth of their first child
    • Women don’t actually see a pay cut on their hourly rate if they reduce their hours when they initially come back
    • Where women lose out is in any subsequent pay rises or promotions (if they work 20 hours or less a week)
  • CMI’s report shows that in the last year 14% of men in management roles were promoted to higher positions compared to 10% of women
    • 73% of the workforce at entry level or junior level roles are women
    • 42% at senior management level
    • 32% at Director level
  • XpertHR commented “The gender pay gap is not primarily about men and women being paid differently for doing the same job. It’s much more about men being present in greater numbers than women the higher up the organisation you go”.

Well as you can see there are progressions. The gap is closing, although only 10% in the last 23 years and actually only in those who are lower-educated. But hey, it’s something right? *cough,cough

What aren’t we seeing here?

I have attended a lot of diversity seminars and events and one of the greatest frustrations for women in the workplace who have responsibilities/commitments outside of work is that they are left out when it comes to networking. Networking is the thing that gets you noticed and still happens a lot outside of work in a bar, on the golf course and over boozy lunches; which, if you’re someone who doesn’t need to get home at 5pm then that is great, but if you are and you trying to juggle parenting or caring responsibilities you get left out. Women are great at getting the job done and I think rely on this to get them ahead, whereas men are more pushy and abrasive so are more visible in the workplace, which gets them ahead of their women counterparts.

I feel like I’m pigeon holing here and I don’t mean to – but I’m going to talk about what I believe usually happens in the workplace, of course there are exceptions to this. I am also only talking here about women who have had children, there is of course so much more to say on this topic.

So what’s the response?

The experts

Gender equality in the workplace, actually just in life in general has been a hotly disputed conversation for the last few years. Former Prime Minister David Cameron made a vow recently to reduce the pay gap and new government rules are coming in April 2017 that will force bigger employers to publish the pay gap, which is an excellent start. But research like this shows that there is still an issue. So what are the experts saying?

Sam Smethers CEO of Fawcett campaign group has a point says, ‘“We are wasting women’s skills and experience because of the way we choose to structure our labour market…Part-time workers can be the most productive, yet reduced hours working becomes a career cul-de-sac for women from which they can’t recover.”

Argued by Mark Littlewood, Director General of thinktank Institute of Economic Affairs who says “If anything, the IFS has provided us with more evidence that the wage gap has nothing to do with gender discrimination. As the study itself notes, women who take time off work and return doing fewer hours are not getting paid less per hour.”

CMI’s Chief Executive Ann Francke says that by publishing company’s pay gaps should force employers to analyse any discrepancies in the salaries of male and female employees. “Promoting men ahead of women is keeping us all back,” she said. “Diversity delivers better financial results, better culture and better decision making.

What should our response be?

Personally my response is a general groan of frustration. Comments from Mark like the one above are so defensive – yes women do come back and do reduced hours, yes initially they are paid the same. But after that initial period – that stops! Why is that?

It’s frustrating for women, because we tend to be (not always!) the carers – whether it’s parents, children, spouses and usually (I’m saying usually!) women tend to have to do the juggling. It seems frustrating that when we want to juggle our responsibilities and jobs we aren’t always supported with that. Because I don’t know about you (I work 4 days a week in a company) but I work the 5 days a week in those 4 days to make sure the work gets done!

However, I can also see the other side of that coin – if a guy is in a similar/same role as said woman, and he’s in the office delivering more than his colleague who is in the office less and isn’t delivering the same as him, then yes, absolutely he should be rewarded for that. I do not, and I have said this before – that we should be given roles or given allowances just because of our sex. But I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes.

So yes, I do think that the gender pay-gap should be published, because I have no doubt in my mind at all that sexism is still alive and well in the workplace. However, what is this being benchmarked against? Is it quality of work, outcomes and deliverables? Because if it’s just time spent in the office then that’s crazy – I know a lot of people who come into the office 5 days a week and do sweet fa, compared to those of us who work 4 or less days a week and complete all we have to in that time. Or is it just how much you are seen to be in the office or being in someone’s face. Because if that’s the case then there needs to be opportunities for women too who do need to leave at 5 or aren’t in 5 days a week.

I also think there needs to be more advice given to women about how to get back on top once they are coming back to work – coaching and support. I think also there is a role for coaches and companies to help women to see how their career can progress – there is a fab article in The Guardian which makes such a valid point – there are a ton of women who are in successful roles past the age of 35, if you aren’t the head of a company having popped out your 3 kids then you aren’t a failure. There is plenty of life in your yet, don’t give up!

What do you think about it? Contact me for your points of view, I’m so interested.

If you are a woman who has had children and you are looking for support getting back into the work place then I would love to help you. Please get in touch today and quote #whatpaygap to me and I will give you a discount!

New business? 5 easy steps to make the process easier…

Setting up a new business is TOUGH WORK. I’ve been in exactly the same position as you so I completely understand! There are a thousand and one things you have to think about when you’re setting up a new business and I know how overwhelming it can seem.

I know that when I started my company I was thinking of all the must haves that I needed to do and the thought of doing anything like marketing was one step too far for me – and I’m a marketing professional! This is very typical so don’t feel bad if this is you. But I’m here to tell you that you need to be on the case with marketing. The only way you will get people in front of your product is through doing marketing. It’s going to seem overwhelming but here are 5 easy ways to get you going.

So here are 5 things that I want to share with you to help you process all this new information and start thinking about marketing. If you want any more information on how to do any of/all of these then please get in touch.


  1. Make a list

Of absolutely every single thing that you need to do before you’re ready to go live and then split these tasks down into the number of weeks you have left. You then have a proactive, measurable and documented pathway to getting your work done.

*top tip: Do not fill all the weeks in the lead up to the launch as otherwise, if for whatever reason you don’t get what you want done in the week you have room to move.


  1. Be accountable

Tell someone what you’re doing. Share with someone each week your to-do list and tell them how you’re getting on. A friend, partner, coach, parent – whoever you think will be able to pull you up and help you understand why you haven’t achieved what you haven’t and how you can get more done!


  1. Target your audience

No doubt you’ve been through this when you wrote your original business plan, but everything you do when it comes to marketing your business (and you do absolutely need to do marketing if you want your business to succeed) needs to be specific to your audience. Marketing is never a blanket approach; marketing is specific and 9 times out of 10 measurable.


  1. Short, mid and long term

Create a short, mid and long-term marketing plan. A launch is all very well and good, but the excitement of your launch will run out pretty sharpish so you need to know what comes next. As with any new business, time, money and resource is often very limited so it’s good to think about what you can achieve now, say in a years time and then 5 years time.


  1. Don’t panic

As I said – I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I know how stressful it is. But you can do it! The key is to break it down into bite sized chunks so you aren’t attempting to do 50,000 things all at once. The other option is to work with me (duh!). I can help you with your planning, I can help you with social media, creating a strategy looking at your website, creating engaging messaging and generally calming you down.


Get in touch with me today – or call 07890 689 957


What is this report about?

Have you ever thought about why you make the decisions you do about your career? Why you make a decision one way, but perhaps your parents or your children make entirely different ones or have their opinions on your journey which seem totally at odds to what motivates you?  Well worry no more, as this report is going to look at generational behaviors. It is going to help you to understand in more detail why you make the decisions you do about your life, your career or your business and why others have different view points (typically).

There is a huge amount of data to pick through when it comes to the question of why you make a decision. You have to take into consideration your micro and macro environment (the (micro) environment that you are in every day – at work, your family, your friends, and then the (macro) environment in which, you form a part – so the wider world of business, demographics, sociological issues etc. This is really just the beginning, but it is these factors that define who we are and what we do. It is these factors that we are going to explore in a bit more detail throughout the report.

It is with all of these things in mind, that we launch the second of our career-coaching mentality series, Series two – generational behavior. This deep-dive will look at what context different generations make decisions about their career, what our current generation is doing and what the new generation will do.

Generational differences

So That is generational behavior? I found this definition online and I think it’s a really good summary ‘A generation can be considered a segment of the population who have shared experiences and have a sense of history that influences their thinking and behavior today.’

There are four main generations that we talk about, and of which, we are going to explore in a bit more detail below. Please note that actually these generation dates are not set and they do fluctuate depending on what you read! There are only 60 years between them but the differences of attitudes, responses to life, motivations and drawbacks are incredible.

Baby boomers (1946-1969):

Their parents knew all about austerity and therefore their desires for their children revolve around security and prosperity. They were encouraged to go to uni (without gap years). Their priorities for a career were a well defined career path, to get a mortgage and to secure a place on the property ladder. They have a deep seated need to save and invest for the future.

  • Long term career progression
  • Stability, security and status
  • Good pension and investments, leading to early retirement
  • Financial independence from parents

Generation X (1970-1990):

They are described as the ‘Me’ generation. Their parents wanted them to have everything they didn’t so spent money on holidays and luxuries. Parents provided financial support way past their teens – with students having gap years, cars, housing etc. Well above what their parents would have enjoyed. They are about money, titles and recognition.

  • Flexibility around working arrangements
  • No anxieties around long-term security

Generation Y/Millennials (1980-1990):

They are described as the most misunderstood generation. They have been brought up in a digital world, with terrorist attacks, school shootings, AIDS. They are the children of divorced parents. They want to be the generation to turn around all the wrong they see in the world today. They are the first generation of children with a schedule.

  • Ambitious but not highly focused
  • Diversity focused – multiculturalism
  • Techno Savvy – Digital generation
  • Want to make a contribution to the world

Generation Z/iGen (1996-2010):

As these are the most recent generation many of them have not developed adult characteristics yet. However, we do have a broad sense of who they are. They are very self-aware, self-reliant, innovative and very pragmatic. Most of this generation do not remember a time before social media – therefore most of their life will be spent online; interacting with their peers, networking and purchasing anything! This will have profound affects on their relationships and how they learn.

  • Well educated – probably the most well educated generation ever
  • Want to make a difference to the world
  • Diverse – this will need to be considered by employers and brands


Why should you care about these differences?

Good point! Well…

  1. Unless you live in a box you’re going to encounter people

Being more self-aware and in turn more aware of other people is going to make you a much better, nicer and well rounded person! In life you are going to encounter people, all sorts of people and learning about how they differ from you is so important for succeeding in life and in business.

  1. It helps you understand more about yourself and what makes you tick

If you’re looking at this from a purely selfish point of view, understanding this behavior will help you know more about yourself, what motivates you and ultimately a more satisfied individual. You can use this knowledge to help you find the right career, the right audience for your product/service and help you consider a career move that is going to satisfy you.

  1. It will help you to find the job you really want

Understanding generational behavior is going to help you find the job that you want. It is going to help you understand the people you want around you, the job that is going to make you feel passionate and motivated. It’s going to help you see yourself and your career search through different eyes.

  1. It will help you find your audience

Whether you are setting up your own business, performing a meeting, managing a team, trying to decide what product/service to sell you need to work out who your audience is. Through learning about this behavior you can tailor your message, your learning and your product/service to an audience’s direct needs/desires.

How does this fit into me getting a new job?  

Well depending on your age, it may impact on what you are looking for in a job (your career drivers). For example, the group we researched as part of the Gateway deep-dive series said that their top career ambitions were;

  • I want a job I love
  • Work/life balance
  • Money
  • I want to make a difference
  • Intellectually stimulated

The main age group of people who responded to this group were in the millennial camp so this ties up very well with what the generational differences stated above. If you are not in this generational group then your drivers may be very different.

One of the most interesting reports around at the moment is from Deloitte who this year released a report called “2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey – Winning over the next generation”. They state in the report that millennials now corner ‘the largest share of the US labor market’ and that they are ‘no longer leaders of tomorrow, but increasingly leaders of today… we see that Millennials are taking their values with them into the boardroom’. So what does this mean?

Well it means that the things that millennials are passionate about are shaping the future of the business world. And that is going to look very different to the views of the senior management in that position who are probably Generation X.

What is the reality of business for the new generations?

Well increasingly it’s going to be a source of discomfort and frustration for Millennials and iGens’ coming into business with a much more ethical and multicultural mind-set who want to change the business world from the core out.

In the Deloitte report, they interestingly talk about the career drivers they have found that millennials have said are going to make the business successful.

  • Put employees first
  • Solid foundation of trust and integrity
  • Customer care
  • High-quality and reliable products
  • Attention to the environment
  • Social responsibility

There is a fantastic graphic in the report that shows the struggle of the different mind-sets in the office now for millennials. With iGens coming into the forefront of the business world (or very nearly) what challenges are they going to face?


How does this work with the different generations?

If you’re a Gen X then it may be frustrating with millennials and iGens coming into. They are going to shake up the office and may make you feel left behind if you don’t keep up. This is going to be a pivotal moment for you in terms of training and learning and making sure you don’t get left behind. It does not mean you need to be one of the kids, you’re experience and wealth of knowledge is going to be essential – just be aware of what drivers the younger generations have. You’ll need this not just from a managerial point of view but a colleague and attraction and retention point of view.

If you’re a Gen Y then it’s your chance (as you start to take on more responsibility, start new companies, get excited about your life ahead of you) to make a difference and to set the rules, or at least influence them. It is going to be a battle with the Gen X’s in the office who may dismiss where you are coming from when you say employees are the cornerstone of the business – but you need to educate them that employee wellbeing does not mean a loss of profit. In fact – a happy staff, will be a motivated staff who in turn will do more for your business.

If you’re a Gen Z/iGen then you may be considering an apprenticeship, perhaps you’ve already started an online business, do you have an online profile you’re building. The job hunt and work is going to be an interesting and challenging time for you. It is with any new generation moving up into the workplace. But wow – how exciting.


I am writing this series on behalf of Gateway Career Management who I am a consultant for. If you require any help with your career or understanding your career drivers better, then please get in touch with me –

A deep-dive series on career coaching mentality: #1 Coaching vs advice

In July 2016 Gateway Careers Management (Gateway Careers) who I am a consultant for, conducted some research. This series of reports and blogs will focus on the initial research that was conducted.

In Series one: Coaching vs advice I will look at what drives people to look into working with a coach and what the difference is between coaching and advice.

In the feedback we received from the survey a number of people didn’t understand what a career coach was and felt that they could get similar advice elsewhere. We want to show you exactly why working with coaches like us is so beneficial and the ways that we can help you achieve your dreams.

Advice vs coaching

A hot topic from this series is the discussion of where people go when they are unsure about their careers.

From the research we gathered, very small numbers of people actively sought out a mentor (33%) or a career coach (11%). In fact, most people went directly to their family (61%) and friends (56%).

In most situations in your life, your family and family are going to be your centre point. They are the ones (usually) closest to you and the first people you think of when you are unsure about a point in your life – especially when it comes to your career, relationships and financial advice.


What is the difference?


Advice is information, solutions, action steps that someone gives to you when you do not want to think for yourself. That sounds quite harsh but when you seek advice from someone, they are giving you their solution to a problem irrespective of what the specifics are in your particular case. Advice is by no means a negative thing, in some situations it is in fact beneficial – if you seek advice from someone in a similar situation or you trust the person you are going to for advice.

However, advice can also not be the most useful thing because as the information above implies, you need to be in a very similar situation as the person you are seeking advice from. If the situations are not the same – for example, you are asking someone who is much older than you, they work in a different industry or they do not (really) have your best interest at heart, they may lead you down an entirely different path to the one you wanted.


Coaching usually happens with people who have had some degree of success, whether it’s with a business or with their career choices, but are now ‘stuck’ and need help moving forward.

Coaching ultimately is a co-creative approach. Coaches help people to accomplish life, career or work goals that involve you 100%. They are not therapists, they don’t tell you what to do, instead they work with you – to understand where you are, what you want to achieve, and help you to design that future.

Coaches do not claim to know your industry or your business 100%, instead the beginning part of a relationship with a coach is taking time to actually understand that and where you want to be. They help you to get to the end goal whilst keeping you on track with the wider questions such as – what does that mean to you, what are your strengths, what is manageable to you and how can YOU achieve that.


When would you use a career coach?

From our research the top 5 reasons our respondents would seek the help of a career coach are as follows:

  1. If I was stuck in a career rut
  2. If I needed the confidence to move into a different industry/role
  3. Being unsure about the strength of my CV, cover letter, interview technique
  4. Feeling unsure about the job market in the industry I wanted to be in
  5. Being made redundant.

We then asked what specifically would you need help from a career coach for in the future. The top 5 reasons are below.

  1. Changing career direction
  2. Setting up a new business
  3. Kick-starting a job hunt
  4. Reviewing the job market
  5. CV

Using these drivers for using a coach, we will explore now the difference in response to getting career coaching compared to advice and you can see the difference in approach.

Coaching Advice
Situation: If I was stuck in a career rut
We would explore the job you’re in, why you like it and why you don’t. Understand your strengths and how that can translate into different jobs and industries.

We would do some personality profiling to understand who you are, what drives you and your motivations.

Then we would work out a plan to move forward.

Someone would give you their opinion on what you were doing and where they think you may suit.

It would be based on their experience of feeling stuck or frustrated in a job.

It would not tailor to your specific set of skills or mind-set around who you are and what you want to do.

It could be very useful, or it may seem quite frustrating!

Situation: If I needed the confidence to move into a different industry/role
We would work on how you would navigate the move. Looking at different mentalities, how your personality fits within that industry – again recognising your strengths and talents.

We would work on a 90 day plan for when you start your new role to ensure that you are making the most of your first few months and ensuring you had the support you need.

If needed we can work on networking, contacts and interview technique.

Someone would be giving you advice based on how they perceive you  – perhaps they know you already.

You may have gone to someone who had already done that move, or worked in that company/industry. It would be based on their experience – sometimes this interaction can be negative or sometimes it can give you heaps of motivation.


Situation: Being unsure about the strength of my CV, cover letter, interview technique
We would work on understanding what you were applying for, who you were

applying to and what skills and work experience you had.

You CV would then be tailored to meet your needs and the needs of the role.

This would be the same for you cover letter.

We would spend time either re-writing your CV or making suggestions on the format and content for you to work on depending on your learning style.

With interview technique we would review the ways that companies interview, what you need to do to feel more confident going into that situation. This can be done throughout the interview process.

You may have a friend review your CV for you based on their experience of

working in the industry or perhaps they work in recruitment, so it will be useful to you.

For cover letters and interview technique the advice might be very generic as they may not fully understand where you are and what you are doing. If you do not feel confident about the process, the interview questions or the role, they may not have the full expertise to deal with that. Although of course, they will give you their most sound advice.

Situation: Feeling unsure about the job market in the industry I wanted to be in
We could help you develop your brand, your identity in the job market. We would be able to do research for you on the job market and find agencies or companies for you to engage with.

We can ensure that you are fully prepped ready to launch yourself into a new role.

We can explore your reservations and make sure that whatever they are they are identified and tackled. We can do preparation for applying for jobs, cv work, interview technique as well as personality work to help work out your drivers and what is important to you in a role – that you couldn’t compromise on in a competitive job market.

Someone might give you advice about how they got into their role, or put you in touch with someone who did it themselves.

They may be able to give you the behind the scenes look at the industry and perhaps introduce you to someone they know.

Situation: Being made redundant
In a truly stressful period of time it is so important that you get the support you need.

Perhaps it’s time for a career change or perhaps it’s given you an awakening after a few years stuck in a rut.

We can help you with all of that – helping you to identify your skills and strengths, motivations and drivers.

If however, you want help with just getting back into a similar role, then we can help you with CV, cover letters and interview technique.

This is a hugely stressful time so it’s important to surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and support you.

Advice from people around you will be wide ranging from – get back into a job to use this time to think about a new venture. Both are great options, but ensure that you are doing what suits you and not what is their opinion.

The people around you will be vital at this point, so definitely a situation to take that on board, but ensure that the advice given is objective and relevant to you.

Situation: Setting up a new business
We can help you to become more self-aware to develop a product or service that fills you with excitement and therefore has a better chance of being successful. We can help you understand your market better and how to market to them successfully. We can help you develop your brand to encourage people to work with you. We can work with you to ensure that all next steps in your business are positive and clear to meet your goals. Especially following leaving a 9-5 role or after redundancy this could be especially scary and you will have to be prepared for everyone you know giving you their thoughts and opinions on it.

People might tell you who to market to, what to sell, how to be, what to say etc.etc. which is great if they know you, know your industry and are up to date with the latest fads etc. However, this can be a remarkably frustrating time if they are not.

Situation: Kick-starting a job hunt
We can help you with all sorts – self-awareness, understanding what you are looking for, what drives you and motivates you. We can work up a plan of action approaching companies and agencies. We can work on how to talk to agencies and get the most out of them. We can work on your CV, cover letters and interview technique and we can work on how to approach your first 90 days in a job. So much to do! There will be many people around you who will be able to give you some advice. Friends of the family or friends of friends may be able to give you specific advice about an industry. But these are industries they know – they may not be able to give you an eagle eye view of all sorts of industries that might suit your personality.

As mentioned before – there will be a lot of people with specific skill sets to help you but nothing objective.

As you can see the approach is very different. In different situations advice will trump coaching and vice versa. The main difference to coaching and advice is how objective it is and how relevant it is to you.

Coaching is mainly an indirect form of help – it is very much guiding you to think about a solution and how that solution works for you. At times of course clients needs some direction and that is available – we want you to be accountable for what you say you want to achieve and we will get you there.

Advice is a direct form of help – it is creating solutions based on another person’s opinion, not necessarily with you in mind. It will be what they know, what they have experienced.  This is not a bad solution, for most people it is all they have known. But if you are stuck in a rut, or need some objective help, from people who have been around the track a few times then we are here to help you.


If you would like any advice on any aspect of your career or your business, I would be more than happy to help you.

Get in touch with me today –

Find your strengths and learn to use them!

Do you know what your strengths are? Do you know what to do with them? Do you know how to use them when looking for a job or in your work place?

Understanding your strengths can help you in a number of ways. I’m going to explore this from a business perspective and a personal perspective; irrespective of which one you think you’re interested in, the other one will apply too!

The Gallup Strengths Centre explains why understanding your strengths is so important.

‘Strengths are the unique combination of talents, knowledge, and skills that every person possesses. People use these innate traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete their work, to relate with others, and to achieve their goals. But most people don’t know what their strengths are or have the opportunity to use them to their advantage.

People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive too, both individually and in teams. And they are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.

Discovering and developing your strengths positions you to do what you do best every day.’

  1. It will save you time

Personal: It is going to narrow down your choices based on what motivates you and makes you feel more purposeful – whether that’s looking for a new job, finding a partner or exploring a new opportunity.

Business: Again whether it’s finding a new market to launch a product into, narrowing down what your business actually does, understanding that you can’t do everything when it comes to business and therefore identifying what are you going to start with, your time will be saved as you won’t be trying to do absolutely everything.

  1. Allows you to develop

Personal: Even just being aware of your strengths can help you feel more positive about yourself. It can help you understand that even if you didn’t think so, you do actually have these wonderful strengths and you can therefore find out how to maximise their usage. All of this will help you aim higher and achieve more!

Business: Identifying and therefore building on your strengths is going to help your business thrive. It will allow you to focus on what makes you tick and ultimately your business will do better if you’re doing something you love, the way you want to do it.

  1. A good confidence booster

Personal: There is nothing worse that feeling like you don’t know what you’re good at. Identifying your strengths will ensure that no matter what you do in your life – whether it’s work, or choosing friends or a partner you will be doing so understanding yourself a little better. When you feel confident it shows, and you can achieve so much more.

Business: Working to your strengths in business will ensure that you get results. It will help you to feel more professional, be more assertive at work and work on the projects/in the team/in the company/in the industry you want. In turn this will make you feel more confident as you’re doing what you love.

  1. Happy, happy, happy

Personal: Understanding what makes you tick and being purposeful in your life and your choices as a result will make you happier. What’s not to love about knowing yourself more fully and ultimately doing something you love, being with someone or surrounded by people who appreciate that and you can feel at rest and settled and ultimately more happy!

Business: If you’re setting up a business and doing something that motivates you and appeals to what your strengths are, then you will of course be happier. The opposite is being in a job that doesn’t excite or motivate you, with people who don’t recognise your worth and spending time doing things you hate or being someone you’re not.

Careers: If you’re in a role and understand your strengths better, then you work more efficiently within your role, you can work towards a position that allows you to excel in your strengths and it will help you make more focused KPIs and objectives based on your specific needs.

  1. Inspiration

No matter what stage of life you’re in, knowing and understanding your strengths; how you work, how you interact with people, what makes you tick, will help  you know yourself better and also provide people with an opportunity to find inspiration in the life that you live.

Life is hard work – all of it! But by knowing your strengths, developing them and making decisions and choices based on your needs will help you be a much happier person.


So how can you find out your strengths?

  1. Well you can come to me! I can help you work through a personality questionnaire, give you feedback and practical tips on how to use your strengths to find a new job, or in your business
  1. You can do the Clifton StrengthsFinder tool * which will generate you a report, which I’d be happy to work through with you and help you answer the questions and action points.

If you would like to work with me identifying your strengths and find ways to make the most of these strengths in your job search, current job or business, then please get in touch with me today.

e:          t:+44 (0) 7890 689 957


*What is the StrengthsFinder tool?

Don(ald) Clifton worked at The Gallup Organisation in America. He developed this tool for the organisation and when it was re-worked in 2007 it instantly became a Wall Street JournalBusinessweek, and USA Today bestseller. The book has sold more than 4 million copies to date and was named Amazon’s bestselling book of 2013.

You purchase the book on Amazon. At the back of the book is an access code, so when  you go online you can take the test and know that it’s personalised to you and you only. You cannot get someone else to do the test after you have done yours.

What the heck are soft skills and why do I need them?

If you’re looking for a job and you come across words like soft skills, I don’t know about you but trying to work out what all these buzz words mean can be really confusing.

Soft skills – otherwise known as transferable skills, social skills or interpersonal skills. These are the talk of the town now, previously and definitely in the future. They are the skills that employers are looking for that you will learn outside of the set curriculum on your courses.

Some soft skills that employers are looking for are outlined below.

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Persuading and influencing
  • Making decisions
  • Commitment
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership skills
  • Team player
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Responsibility
  • Working under pressure.

So how do you get these skills to show an employer that you are a well-rounded candidate for the role?

If you are at school or university

  • Clubs
  • Societies
  • Project work
  • Teams
  • Work experience
  • Internships

Basically anything that is outside of your curriculum. It isn’t difficult to find things to do that you can put on your CV. There was a survey done by Highfliers in 2015 that profiled the top 100 employers and nearly half of them said that candidates with no work experience would have little or no chance of getting a job at all so if you can work towards that, then do it!

If you’re in work or have been at work

Even if you’ve only done some work experience you would be surprised but you probably have a lot more experience than you think you do!

  • Do you manage anyone?
  • Do you have the power to influence projects?
  • Do you work in a team?
  • Do you work in a pressurised environment?
  • Do you manage different projects at once?
  • Do you have to complete projects by a certain time?
  • Do you have to work with other people?
  • Do you have to work with external people to your company?
  • Do you ever feel frustrated at work and need to manage that?


Basically any situation at work that you have to work through and manage is learning soft skills!

For example: 

That moment when you have two managers asking when the two projects you are single handily managing at the same time are going to be completed when half your team are off on a jolly team building day, and you have broken your hand and are trying to type with one finger without exploding with stress??

Yeah, that’s soft skills – they want to know, how you manage your time? How do you manage competing deadlines and managers? How do you mitigate for you hurting yourself at work and ensuring you still get it done? Do you see? Even without realising it, this is all amazing experience for you to take to job interviews.

When do people want to know this information?

  • When you’re applying for work experience/internship
  • Graduate trainee position
  • Jobs
  • Promotions


If you would like some help on prepping for these positions then please get in touch. I can help you review your CV and do interview coaching with you so that you are better equipped to handle anything an interviewer could throw at you!

The EU Referendum – what does it mean for education?

It’s voting day! After I’ve posted this, I’m going to go out and vote. Have you voted yet? If you can, do. This is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make today, this year, maybe even in your life. Remember it’s not like a general election, one the decision has been made, there’s no turning back. So vote wisely.

We are a leading hub of education, learning and research and we regularly out perform some of the larger EU countries. But what is the impact on this system if we were to leave the EU?

I have scoured the Internet for information. I’ve tried to do as balanced an argument as possible, but overwhelmingly the information is pro-remain. But here are the arguments as I see it.


  1. International applications

Leading Leave campaigners do not believe that Brexit will stop EU students from applying to UK universities.

However, if the numbers did fall then the increase in fees for ‘international students’ (as they would then be referred to) would help plug the funding gap.

If there was a reduction in EU students then universities could make up the numbers with UK students and even increase the number of students they let into their institutions now that the quotas have been lifted = more money in the bank.

This will also allow more UK students into university and the competition for places will be reduced.

  1. Apprenticeships

Vote Leave has countered claims that leaving the EU would end government plans to expand apprenticeships. They believe that our economy will be stronger and therefore, we will have more funding for apprenticeships and training.

  1. Money 

Priti Patel, Employment Minister (Vote Leave campaigner) said that because we would not have to send money to Brussels, that money could be used ‘on priorities such as universities’. She also said ‘there would be more than enough money to ensure that those who now get funding from the EU, including universities, scientists, farmers, regional funds would continue to get money’.

  1. Research 

We get a fantastic amount of support from the EU for research, but any deal for Brexit would fall under the Lisbon Treaty and areas such as research (particularly collaborations) may remain as they are. 


  1. Money

Universities UK argue that there are more than 125,000 EU students at British universities, which generates more than £2.2 billion for the economy and creates 19,000 job

  1. Funding

Universities UK also mentioned that 14% of academic staff comes from the EU and that research funding from Brussels is worth £1 billion annually.

  1. Opportunities

Erasmus+ is a well-known programme, which allows 250,000 students to have cultural and educational exchanges throughout Europe over 7 years. It provides the UK with funding of just over £1 billion annually.

I just reviewed their site and they are keeping their cards very close to their chests on what will happen if we chose Brexit. Interestingly when a referendum removed freedom of movement for workers, Switzerland had their access to Erasmus+ removed by the EU.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor at the University of Kent said ‘for UK students, studying and living with students from a variety of cultures around the world is incredibly beneficial’.

  1. International fees

If we left the EU then any student wanting to come to study here would need to pay international fees, which are higher. This could lead to a drop off in those students wanting to come here. It would not only be a shame for those students but we would be reviewed as a weaker sector because of it.


So what’s the conclusion? I think it’s really difficult because there is just so much uncertainty if we leave the EU. But ultimately from the research that I’ve done and the interviews and articles that I have read – we are a much stronger industry in terms of culture, funding, research and opportunities IN Europe as opposed to out.

If you want to make an impact today, then I urge you to go out and vote.