Lightbulb Coaching

Getting your New Year resolutions back on track.

Sarah Smith, Founder of, February 2022

It’s February and how many of us are annoyed at ourselves for falling off the bandwagon, our New Year resolutions have already been forgotten?  The plan was to have a dry month with no alcohol, lose the Christmas pounds, find a new job or spend more time reading.  Whatever the resolution was, it was never to our detriment.  The resolutions were designed to benefit us, right?

Yet, we let them lapse, we allow something else to become priority or we tell ourselves to give up, it’s easier.  All too often our own needs are relegated, not by others, but by ourselves.  Do we value our own needs?



Commonly, we set ourselves wild and exaggerated goals, or quite simply a reasonable self-request, “I will lose 12lbs in 3 months”, this isn’t impossible, it’s losing 1lb a week.  It’s by all accounts, a healthy target.

So, the first week you might lose 2 lbs, the motivation is reinforced, and the healthy eating plan continues.  The second week you lose half a pound, and you feel a little deflated but it’s still a loss.  The third week you don’t lose anything and the voice in your head starts to justify why you should give up.  You become disengaged, fed up and quickly replace that two and a half pounds, plus another one for luck.

“Create a plan alongside your intentions and watch the magic happen”

What if we put a little detail around that resolution, prepare for how we will reach that goal?

Your resolution/goal/dream/target is the result, that’s the bit when you get to celebrate and congratulate yourself.  But what happens before then?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get planning:

  • Firstly, be specific about what that end result looks like.  What will it feel like, what will you look like?  What will the benefits of reaching your goal have?  Who will benefit?
  • What difference will achieving the goal make to you?  What are the consequences of not reaching your goal?
  • Think about what makes this goal so important to you?
  • Spending some time visualising the end goal and understanding what it means to you, adds purpose and intention.  Write it down, draw it, create a vision board, tell someone what your plan is, whatever you prefer.
  • Then think about what you need to help you reach your goal.  Do you need help or support from specific people?  Do you need equipment, money, resources?  How can you get what you need? Having a support system and the resources ready helps to firm up the intention.
  • Secondly, think about what you have tried already.  Have you have tried to reach this goal in the past?  What went well, what went not so well?  Try to recognise the triggers for letting something get in the way of achieving your goal.

This might seem like a lot of work for a resolution but without this preparation, are you just setting yourself up to fail?

  • Thirdly, think about the barriers you may need to overcome, what might derail your plan?  What strategies can you put in place to stop yourself being derailed?
  • How committed are you to this goal and how will you hold yourself accountable?  If you don’t feel overly committed, is it the right goal for you?  Do you care enough about achieving it? Who or what will help you stay on track?

Finally, think about your goal as little goals or steppingstones to where you want to be.  Take each step at a time.  Set mini goals that are milestones to signify your progress.   You may veer off towards another stone or fall off.  That’s OK, pay attention to the reasons and jump back on.  You’ve already started the journey, might as well keep going.

Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on the small wins as well as the big.

Preparation is key.  Without a plan your goals are empty statements.  Create a plan alongside your intentions and watch the magic happen.

The Interns are coming! Quick get organised.

Interns are your potential future workforce, and your new business ambassadors.

Employing interns is a great way to bring new perspective to your business. Yes, they are time consuming, but it takes more work and energy when you’re not prepared for them.


Whether it’s one or one hundred interns, they all expect you to be ready.

Having dedicated line managers/buddies/supervisors are vital to the success of the intern experience. It is a daunting time for any early careerist so having a clear line manager provides comfort, and therefore some confidence.

A predetermined successful outcome helps shape the expectations of the intern. Finding “jobs to do” during the internship won’t allow a measurement for success.

  • Have a clear view of what the intern is expected to achieve.
  • Explain the purpose of the work at hand and what impact it will have on the business.
  • Set goals to achieve over the period.
  • Be clear on how success will be measured.

Feedback doesn’t have to be difficult

It is also important to set a mid-point review (at the very least), this allows time for issues to be resolved and any unwanted behaviours to be called out.  The intern has a chance to alter their actions and work towards the goals.  Often this will be their first role, they will make mistakes so be honest with them and provide feedback.  Giving feedback doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation.

  • Provide a progress report on achieving goals
  • Give observations of behaviour. This is why it is important to have a dedicated person managing the intern.
  • Give examples of quality work and areas for improvement
  • Ask how you can help them improve skills and behaviours
  • Ask for feedback from the intern on how the experience is shaping up for them

Observing behaviour and measuring outcomes provides evidence to back up your feedback. If you don’t have an example, it is a less meaningful conversation.

The measure of your early talent programmes is in the future success of your business.

You may not be willing or able to offer your intern(s) a permanent role but they may apply for a job again in the future. The individual will be talking about your business. They will tell their family, friends, peers, future employer all about you. Interns are brand ambassadors whether you like it or not. If the experience isn’t positive, you can be sure they’ll tell more people about it. Interns provide a fresh perspective when they enter a business, make sure you utilise this extra resource fully.


We’ve moved on from asking interns to fetch coffee and run errands, interns today won’t put up with it. Planning and measuring is key to understanding the benefits of building a quality intern programme. Building a talent pipeline requires investment but the returns will be measured by the future success of your business. specialises in providing coaching and development for people.  Creating a bright future for our future workforce is our purpose.  We aim to make coaching mainstream for young people and provide the tools and the guidance for businesses to do the same.  Get in touch at if we can help you set up the right environment for you future people.  We offer coaching and training services too to fit your needs.


Turning a difficult conversation into a meaningful conversation

The blogs are written to be useful, I hope that in the coming series you will pick up learnings and useful tools in personal development. I have so much to talk about! The coming series will focus on building confidence, the lack of employability skills in schools, treating early careerists like the next CEO, taking charge of accidental managers, the list goes on. These are just some future blogs for you to look out for. The one constant topic that I work with clients on is having difficult conversations, a.k.a awkward conversations, performance conversations, developmental conversations……. conversations!

Call it whatever you like, it’s a conversation! But for some, certain conversations cause differing degrees of anxiety and for some, even a lack of sleep. I have witnessed a manager watching issues unfold through their fingers only to have one almighty problem in the future.
Common reasons for feeling anxious about the pending conversation are:

  • What if I stumble over the words and can’t get my point across?
  • They won’t let me get a word in and will argue with every point I make.
  • What if they cry?
  • What if they get angry?
  • What if they leave?
  • Nothing will change it’s a pointless exercise

Let me share an example.

Fay was highly technical, she was considered an expert within her area and had been in the organisation for 5 years. Her level of knowledge gave her team the edge and performance were high. She was asked to mentor an intern for 3 months but the feedback from the intern was damning. She didn’t spend any time with him, she gave him menial tasks and sent him to shadow other teams. When the intern spoke to the rest of the team about it, they advised not to complain as she was just really busy and would get mad and give him even more menial tasks to do.
It was a miserable 3 months for the intern and the rest of the team had started to feel like they were being treated in the same way. They didn’t report to her, yet she delegated tasks, was volatile in her moods and she talked down to them.

People in the team started to leave. They had spoken to Fay’s Manager about how she was behaving but no action was taken. Fay’s reputation for being an expert was being overshadowed by her reputation for being hot headed and difficult to work with.

When Fay’s Manager was asked why he hadn’t raised concerns with Fay he said that he didn’t know how she would react. He hadn’t been witness to some of the behaviours so what would he say? She was still getting the job done.

When probed further, Fay’s Manager admitted that he didn’t know how to deal with it. He had been promoted to Manager without training and wasn’t confident with the process. He didn’t want to go down an official HR route but didn’t know how to approach Fay. He didn’t want to be blamed for her leaving.

With some help, Fay and her Manger sat down to discuss what had been happening. Fay was feeling overwhelmed and hadn’t been coping well with her workload. As the department “expert” she was given more work to do and is expected to be able to manage. She didn’t like refusing the work so was working at home very late and was tired and grumpy most days. Fay’s Manager wasn’t aware of the strain Fay was feeling.

Fay wasn’t fully aware of how her behaviour was affecting the others. The Intern had made a few mistakes early on and Fay didn’t trust him to take on more responsibility and didn’t have the time to spend on his development, so she gave him easier tasks to do.

Had Fay’s Manager had a conversation with Fay early he would have been able to alert Fay to her behaviour and how it was affecting others.
She would have had an opportunity to talk about her workload and how she was feeling.

It is very common for individuals to be promoted without making sure their level of competence is right for the role. As humans, we sometimes don’t like to admit what we are lacking in terms of skills and abilities.

We need to act fast. Having regular one-to-ones with your staff builds rapport, trust and provides a forum for honest conversations.
It is easy for bad behaviour to become the norm and over time will form part of the culture. Calling out these behaviours early sends a positive message, but you need to have a suitable working environment, a place of work where no-one is exempt from having their bad behaviours called out. I will be talking about culture and behaviours in the series.

In my experience, preparation is key for having meaningful conversations. Here are some ideas to take the difficult out of your difficult conversation:

  • Have your facts in order. Whether you are asking for a pay rise of giving constructive feedback to the scariest member of your team, know what your message is.
  • Evidence is key. Have back-up for the positive and constructive points you want to make. The first thing you will hear in retort to your first statement is “give me an example”
  • Prepare your opening statement, make it 30 seconds max and practice saying out loud. Once you’ve said it, your brain and mouth will remember the words, you are less likely to stumble over your words. This will give you confidence to get your words out.
  • State what needs to change or be done and by when.
  • Take some of the responsibility, be part of the solution. Ask what you can do to help the individual succeed.
  • Ask questions, put yourself in the other persons shoes.
  • Let the person react with whichever emotion comes up for them. You should always remove yourself from danger but in my experience, it is never as bad as you have imagined it.
  • Give yourself plenty of time, don’t book a room for 15 minutes, always over estimate the time it will take so you both have freedom to talk without being interrupted too early.
  • Consider the space, don’t have a meaningful conversation in the kitchen or open plan office, consider the content might be confidential.
  • Return to the conversation if required, don’t leave it too long.

Seeing a difficult conversation as a meaningful conversation is the first positive step to turning a problem into a solution. We can all be too busy to see what is going on around us but if we lift our heads up and take the time to talk to the people we work with, it can make the world of difference. Our actions (or lack of) have impact so we must take responsibility for them.