I was savouring a coffee from my new coffee maker when a wide-eyed and breathless soldier stumbled into my makeshift office. My cup was poised in my hand — the aroma was fantastic — and the thought of drinking it was more alluring than anything I could imagine that this soldier might interrupt me with. This had better be good, I thought.
“Sir! The guards think there is a bomb at the gates to the camp!”
I put the cup down; coffee time was over.
I started out my career as a bomb disposal officer in the Army. From there…
Hi and welcome!
Let me introduce myself. Let’s start with the two most common questions people ask someone when meeting someone for the first time. Usually these are:
‘What is your name?’ and ‘what do you do?’
So, let me answer these in turn:
My name is Simon Ash. Pleased to meet you!
Professionally I am a writer, podcaster, public speaker, leadership coach, strategy consultant, entrepreneur, business owner and Army Officer. As you can see, I like variety in my work, but I have a particular interest and expertise in decision-making and leadership development.
My other roles include husband and…
The Socratic method? What on earth is that and why should I care?
I have been professionally taught (as a bomb disposal officer) and teach (as an instructor) question technique. I have also studied ancient history and modern psychology. With all that knowledge I have found there is little to beat the ancient wisdom of the Socratic method. That is why I use it, not only in my work as a professional coach but also in everyday discussions.
I recommend the Socratic method as it is a simple and practical approach to dialogue that you can use when…
Difficult conversations can be incredibly stressful. This means we can often try and avoid them but this, unfortunately, won’t solve the issue.
The problem is that there are just too many times in life when difficult conversations need to happen. Many of the most challenging chats take place with family or friends, but most people — and especially leaders — seek guidance for uncomfortable discussions that come up in a work context.
I hate the feeling I get in my stomach when I step up to a challenging conversation. I still cringe when I think about some robust conversations I…
How do you best prioritise your workload? There is an abundance of strategies for prioritising and tips on time management but, if you look carefully, you will see that they all boil down to the same thing.
Whether you listen to the advice of leaders such as Steve Jobs and Dwight Eisenhower or read business experts such as Stephen Covey, Tim Ferris or David Allen you will see there is a common theme, even if techniques might differ.
Don’t have time to get through all that material and the techniques? Don’t worry, I have done that for you! So, what…
What is the biggest problem that you are facing now?
How would you define that problem? Maybe you have not even thought to define it, you are simply getting on with trying to solve it. But, research shows, that it is important we understand the nature of the challenge in order to bring the right solutions to bear.
As John Dewey put it:
“A problem well-defined is a problem half solved.”
Let me share some wisdom that has really helped me in problem solving.
I have a portfolio career. I have developed this career steadily over the course of more than a decade. Over this period my work has developed from side hustles and freelancing into a proper career, one with purpose, direction, and development opportunities. This career allows me the flexibility and variety I crave. I get to work on the things I love, support my family, and enjoy the lifestyle that I want.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, I will share how I have built this career and made it financially sustainable.
What does the term portfolio career mean, and…
Studies show that you could well be wrong about the concept of power. Answer these two questions and you will see:
Hold that thought and read on. Whether you are thinking correctly about power is largely dependent upon the answers to these two questions.
You are likely to have answered no to the first question. To the second question you are likely to have answered yes. If so, then evidence suggests that you are probably wrong on both counts.
Before we decide if we…
Nick Chatrath is an entrepreneur, Managing Director and Master Executive Coach. He has worked for McKinsey and Company, been a business founder and a CEO. He has a DPhil from Oxford University and has co-authored a best-selling leadership book. He has coached MBA students, politicians, special forces soldiers and CEOs. In other words, he knows what he is talking about!
Apart from being a serial over-achiever, he is also my coach and friend! Here are some key lessons that I have learned from my discussions and coaching with Nick.
When you speak to Nick you realise that being is at…
Being self-aware requires time. What’s more, to connect thoughtfully, spiritually and emotionally with ourselves (let alone others and our environment) does not always come easily.
Therefore, it is important to find ways we can be more mindful in everyday activities. The exemplar of using mundane activities as spiritual opportunities was probably Brother Lawrence (author of The Practice of the Presence of God) who was able to pray while doing the dishes. I, for one, struggle with achieving this level of mindfulness.