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Judy Churchill: Personal Experiences: Why we all need Disruption!

A few years ago I was asked to run a training seminar for Publicis in Paris. Their senior management, ever innovative, had tapped into the then embryonic advertising trend of being ‘disruptive’ and had brought me in to ‘disrupt’ their sales and marketing team.

As any parent knows, the ‘word’ disruptive is the one word they fear being associated with their offspring at school parents/teachers meetings. Yet as any entrepreneur knows, it is the one word that may take you from failure to success. Thus, it is an integral part of my Life and Career coaching programmes. As a coach it is my job to gently disrupt my coachees, in other words they wouldn’t come to work with me if they wanted to carry on doing things the same way. They want something different and it’s up to me to show them what this means and how they can achieve it.

Disruption is not an easy option but it is essential if you really want to succeed and it can work in any area of your life.

Ask yourself who are/were the great disrupters of our past and present? Here are just a few that come to mind: Gandhi, Mandela, Luther King, Steve Jobs, Margaret Thatcher, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Mary Quant, Coco Chanel, Picasso, Emily Pankhurst, UBER, Air B & B, David Bowie, Richard Branson, Easyjet, Lech Walesa, Mary Poppins etc.

The very essence of disruption is to challenge, to dare to go where angels fear to tread. Of course those demonic little voices will inevitably pop up in your head: ‘I/we don’t do it that way’ or ‘It’s not the way it’s done, I/we couldn’t possibly’…And yet what if you could?

Innovation is born of disruption and the opposite is also true; i.e. if you always do the things the same way, you will always get the same (bad) results.

The precursor of disruption was ‘thinking outside the box’. It is good start but the problem is that it doesn’t push people to take risks, only to approach things from another angle. This although good in itself, isn’t always enough to trigger a big enough change to get you from failure or perceived failure to success. Enter disruption! Maybe you need to disrupt your thought pattern, a process or actions.

Disruption should not equate to destruction but construction, and that’s where a good coach comes in. They can map out a plan for constructive disruption and you (once you have overcome your natural resistance) can implement that action.

This will help you challenge your own preconceived and possibly outdated ideas on issues such as the profile of an ideal future partner, location of where you should live or work, sports activities you can engage in, the type of climate you prefer, accommodation, new ideas for your business, service or product. It will help you upset your own apple cart and ask ‘What if……?’

During my coaching sessions, coachees learn to engage in ‘sparring’ with me and the aim is to acquire new skills, ideas and abilities. It is of crucial importance to include others in your goal setting and self-development. The back and forth of sparring will not always be comfortable because essentially your coach has to tell you that you’re doing some things wrong but at the heart of this is improvement, learning, changing, growing and ultimately succeeding. At the very least you come away from a sparring session with new insights and feedback.

Sparring pushes you to not only fulfill goals that you set for yourself but it’s about thought processes you might not have considered. It’s about hearing things you don’t want to hear and being challenged to fulfill goals (accountability).

When your coach encourages disruptive thinking they are not trying to prove you wrong, they are there to help you prove yourself wrong and ultimately right that wrong. They will help you inject urgency into your efforts to improve and succeed. Time is precious and most of us waste an infinite amount of it. During coaching you will be made to act now! You will have to stay committed and track your goals – this may be disruptive enough in itself. A good coach will not let you off the hook.

The goal in disruption is to get to a better place. Ideally you will change your perspective, because you will have been exposed to something you could not have thought of on your own. Alternatively the sparring will cause you to disrupt your own ideas and you will come up with a unique idea to transform your life or an aspect of it. You enter into a disruptive process with your coach not to win, but because you want change your opinion, because you want to be wrong. Unless you allow your Status Quo to be disrupted how will you achieve your breakthrough? This is perhaps the one time in your life you will look forward to being told you are being disruptive! smiley

If you would like to receive life or career coaching, business training or language tutoring from Judy, you can contact her on:, via Facebook messenger and

Wednesday, 1 March 2017    Section: General Articles
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