CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 8 November 2001

Brought to you by the Brefi Group: "Developing your business through strategy, facilitation and executive coaching – internationally."

Web site: /coaching
Editor: Richard Winfield,
Subscribers: 794 copies, worldwide

Welcome to this issue of CorporateCoach – a free newsletter for senior executives and teams in organisations interested in using coaching to improve corporate performance. Please share it with colleagues and contacts who will benefit from reading it.

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HOT NEWS 1: Benedicte Early joins Brefi Group

We are pleased to welcome Benedicte Early as an international associate of Brefi Group.

Born in Denmark and educated in Australia, she now lives in California – in Silicon Valley. Until recently she was living in Hawaii and has spent time in Singapore, including work in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines where she focused on communications, team building, and personnel development.

Since moving to California, Benedicte's interests have been focused on consulting to the high tech and bio-tech world of Silicon Valley, including the wives of wealthy men.

Benedicte wishes to retain contact with Europe and can be expected to work with us in Britain as well as the USA.


  1. Editorial: Doing away with the tolerations
  2. Tools notes: Metaphors in business

1.     Editorial: Doing away with the tolerations

It is Sunday, and I am at home. This afternoon I took a walk down to Gogoyan Bridge to lean on the parapet and watch the Teifi flow determinedly towards the sea. There were two swans below the bridge. Grazing above the bridge were two more swans and three fully grown cygnets. Some ducks flew up the valley. There was birdsong.

The hillside opposite was beautiful in the soft autumn light, with the rich green of the fields and the brown of the bracken. People were paragliding in the thermals rising from the west facing slope.

Last Sunday I was in Birmingham for the CBI exhibition. The previous weekend I had been home to pick the last of my runner beans, but very often I am away two weekends in three. Why do I spend so much time away from home?

In life coaching there is a concept known as "tolerations". Things that you put up with, that sap your energy and which you would endeavour to leave out if you designed your life from scratch. Very often things that you take for granted – that have developed gradually.

I am pleased to welcome Benedicte Early as an associate. Benedicte is currently based in Silicon Valley, where she works with top executives, helping them to survive one of the most stressful times that there's been since the 1980s.

Executives are under a lot of pressure and need support to overcome very basic fears (though they are not so eager to acknowledge it as fear).

Benedicte also works with the wives of millionaires – and with "corporate men who have wives". These men have worked very hard to build their company, their family life and marriage suffers, and their company suffers. A vicious circle of stress and under performance.

Husbands and wives have 'tolerated' the stress for the sake of the company – and it has damaged both family and company.

On a larger scale, we have tolerated terrorism as long as it has kept on a limited scale and, preferably, happens elsewhere.

But, now, we have discovered the true cost of living with terrorism. No longer are we prepared to tolerate the situation, and already there is sign of faster progress towards resolution of conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

So the question for all of us, individuals, organisations and nations is what do we tolerate that we would not put up with if took the trouble to review the situation?

And what's the cost of continuing to put up with such things? Divorce? A heart attack? Company failure?

Whatever you are doing, you probably deserve better. So, stop putting up with things that impoverish your life.

HOT NEWS 2: Brefi Group will celebrate the launch of our corporate coaching centre in Birmingham with a private breakfast event at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Tuesday 4 December. Speakers will include representatives from Birmingham Forward, the Institute of Directors and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce on a theme of "Developing more powerful business leaders in Birmingham".

3.     Tools notes: Metaphors in business

I have been revising my understanding of metaphor, and its relevance in understanding organisations.

Start with the language. Listen to the terms. Do you hear "win", "battle", "grow", "team", "protect", "fight", "serve", "conquer", "incubate"?

Then look around at the symbols, the layout, what is celebrated.

Try these two exercises:

1.  Identify companies and organisations that fit these models:

  • an entrepreneurial company whose product is its 'baby'
  • an organisation with strong relationships which sees its employees as 'family' members
  • an aggressive company attempting to 'destroy' the opposition
  • a competitive company with teams determined to 'win' market share
  • a 'missionary' organisation committed to changing how things are done
  • a campus 'university' with creative and research departments

And think of other models, like shepherds, gardeners, fishermen.

What does this tell you about how these organisations operate?

2.  Alternatively, brainstorm. "If your organisation were a . . . . . what would it be?"

Try: mammal, motor car, bird, country, river, flower, vegetable, etc.

Get two teams to answer the questions and then explain to the other team why they came up with the answers they did. For example, like the river Teifi that determinedly and smoothly flows toward the sea, part of the everlasting cycle that comes back as rain ? or the stream that flows past my garden, rushing down from the hills, sometimes in flood, rolling rocks, sometimes no more than a trickle.

You will learn a lot about values and perceptions in the organisation and understand some 'irrational' behaviours. Change the metaphor, and the behaviours will change.

The Google Toolbar

You can download the Google toolbar for free at This puts Google on your browser and gives you various additional facilities like searching within a web site.

We aim to make the Brefi Group web site family the premier UK developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Brefi Group provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. We can also advise you an your Internet strategy and design web sites.

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

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