COVID-19 and all that!

I was enjoying a walk on the Bath Grounds in Ashby this morning with Smudge, our Cocker Spaniel, when I met a retired chap I know called John. John is a big Leicester City fan and they are doing very well at the moment.

“Can you believe what’s happening?”, he said. I replied, “What, Leicester being in the top four?” That brought a smile to his face. “Yes, that as well.”

A woman joined us, “How are you?” grinned John. “Not bad. Surviving. I should have been in Tenerife this week”, she replied gloomily. “Anyway, I’m Derby County fan”, she said. “You should be used to bad news then”, laughed John.

Now normally John and I discuss the weekend footie. He said he’d actually started having conversations with his wife now, with no matches being played. “I just found out she has been made redundant by Woolworths!”, he joked. “I’m not missing all the betting adverts either”, I said.

And that brings me round to telling you what we are up to. We have shifted to delivering Leadership training to a Government department through live video links, using Microsoft teams, which is working well thanks to Matt and Kali. And we are also developing an on-line platform to deliver the NLP Coach Practitioner, which enables home study combined with webinars and we will then invite delegates in for two days of face to face demonstrations of techniques to get fully certified. More on this to come shortly.

Speak soon.


Steve Kay

Positive Leadership

On the Tuesday evening just before the official lockdown in the UK, I was sat at my friend’s kitchen table trying to comprehend what was happening in the world.

It goes without saying that the surreal world in which we find ourselves will leave its mark on the landscape and the impact it will have on small businesses could be devastating.

Ken owns the Shudokan black belt academy, a martial arts school and as such they were due to be closing to the public on that coming Friday. We were talking about the consequences this would have on his business and it goes without saying that our conversation wasn’t the most upbeat.

What happened next was a beautiful example of what qualityculture calls Positive Leadership. Two of his employees, one who wasn’t even working, called Ken with ideas as to how they could adapt what they do to perform online/virtual classes to help both adults and children maintain health in their home. Much the same as what we are doing here at qualityculture – making the shift to deliver training using Microsoft Teams and launching our Certified NLP Practitioner online.

It’s easy, at times like these, to fall into the negativity vortex and therefore it’s so important to look for any positive actions you can take, no matter how small or big and to help one another during this challenging time.


Wendy Lukacs

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time!

A friend of mine shared the following story with me and it really hit a chord! I think it’s a story we could all take lessons from, so here we go…

A very elegant and petite lady in her 90’s always made sure she was up and dressed before 8.00 a.m. each morning. She took care to ensure that her hair was taken up neatly and carefully applied her make-up, even though she was partially blind. Her husband, whom she had been married to for 70 years had recently died, making it necessary for her to move into a nursing home.

On arrival at the home she had to wait several hours in the lobby before being told that her room was ready, and she smiled sweetly at this news. A member of nursing staff helped her into the lift with her walking frame and started to describe the tiny and cramped room that was to be her ‘new home’. She listened carefully before declaring “I love it” with the enthusiasm a child would display when opening a much longed for present. The member of staff replied:

“You haven’t seen the room yet…just wait.”

The elderly lady responded:

“That really doesn’t have anything to do with it. Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind and I have already decided that I love it. It’s a decision I make each morning when I wake up. I have a choice…I could spend all day in bed feeling sorry about the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift and as long as my eyes still open I’ll focus on the new day and all the wonderful, happy memories I have stored away, just for this time in life.

Life is like a bank account…you withdraw what you put in. So, my advice would be to deposit as much happiness in your bank account of memories – I am still depositing”.

Here are some simple rules to be happy:

  • Free your mind from worries
  • You always have a choice
  • Be kind to those you meet on life’s journey
  • Enjoy the here and now
  • Take action
  • Follow your dreams

For anybody that feels they have reached a ‘fork in the road’ and wants to take action to make a positive difference in their lives, please come along to our NLP and Coaching convention on the 27th of March next year.


Wendy Lukacs

2020 NLP and Coaching Convention

Following the success of the 2019 NLP and Coaching Convention, we are pleased to announce our next event will be the 2020 NLP and Coaching Convention on March 27th.

This event is about bringing professional coaches, in house coaches and self employed professionals together from the fields of NLP and Coaching. The aim of the day is to maximise your success and the success of your organisation. In order to inspire your clients, you have to become inspired yourself and this event aims to do just that.

There will be a combination of keynote speakers, inspiring workshops and the opportunity to be coached by an NLP Master Practitioner.

Headlining the day is Myles Downey. Myles is an acknowledged authority on Performance, Coaching and Leadership. He is the author of three classics in the coaching and performance arena, ‘Effective Modern Coaching’, ‘Effective Coaching’ and most recently ‘Enabling Genius – a mindset for success in the 21st Century’. Considered one of the leading business performance coaches in Europe with extensive, global experience spanning thirty years, Myles has been at the forefront of coaching not only in the UK but also right across Europe and into the near and far east, while being one of the first European coaches invited time and again to teach in Russia.

Myles will be joined by Steve Kay, Certified NLP Trainer, Leadership Trainer, Coach and author of ‘Become a Great Leader and Coach using NLP’. Steve uniquely combines NLP, Coaching & Leadership training and also research on the latest thinking in these three fields.

In addition to our Keynote speakers, there will be a variety of workshops available to choose from covering a range of coaching and NLP topics. Further details will be sent out closer to the event with full workshop details and information on how to secure your workshop choices.

The event will be held at the Albert Hall in Nottingham, a unique and inspiring venue. Included in the ticket price is a buffet lunch and tea & coffee will be served throughout the day.

Tickets are available at our super early bird price of £50 until 31st October 2019 here:

These prices will increase to £65 for the early bird ticket until 31st December 2019 and after that, general tickets will cost £75.

A limited number of VIP tickets are available which include premium front row seating, a signed copy of Steve Kay’ book and a 1 hour coaching session with an NLP Master Coach (TBA after the event), for just £95

We can’t wait to see you there!

War and Peace

I meet many interesting and inspired people both inside and outside of work and this article is about a man that has become a dear friend. I was introduced to him through my German Shepherd Dog (GSD), Angel. Angel is two and a half years old (teenage years in dog language) and like any teenager, she was pushing the boundaries! Having undergone a variety of different dog training and behaviourists (including ex-police dog handlers), all with varying levels of success, I was told Ken Robson was the man for the job and so I set off with ‘teenage’ Angel to meet Ken, his wife Jo and their pack which currently consists of 4 GSDs.

All I knew about Ken was that he rescued and adopted GSDs (he failed at fostering as he couldn’t let them go) and had great results especially with those that had ‘fear aggression’. ‘Fear aggressive’ behaviour in dogs occurs when a dog has not been raised and trained humanely and the result is often this disastrous behaviour. It is often made even worse by owners and trainers who employ punishment-based techniques on the fear aggressive dog.

Another common root cause of fear aggression is a lack of appropriate socialisation during the dog’s development. If a dog has not received adequate socialisation, they will find it hard to cope with new things that they encounter in their environments such as other dogs, animals or people.

Typically when a dog feels threatened by something, they have a ‘fight or flight’ response: The first and safest option for the dog is to run away from the threat – the flight response! If the dog is unable to put sufficient distance between himself and the threat, the only other options left are to either submit in the hope the threat goes away or fight – the ‘fight response!’. And it was the latter option where Ken was renowned for his results.

Since Angel and I first met Ken, we have not looked back and, as I said earlier, we are now good friends but how did he come to be this caring and patient individual who appeared to dedicate so much of his time to saving GSDs with traumatised histories and on the verge of being destroyed? And it’s what I have learnt about Ken’s journey through life that has inspired this article.


Ken spent 22 years in the Royal Air force and was a Tornado F3 Fighter Pilot. He flew 22 combat missions in the Gulf, 17 in Bosnia and 13 in the Falklands. During his 22 years, he spent 2 years as an instructor at the RAF Tactical Weapons Unit and if that’s not enough he worked with US Special Forces in Saudi Arabia co-ordinating survival training, in relation to the recovery of downed aircrew.

I guess some of the qualities and skills required to fulfil this type of career are precision, determination, positive mindset, self-belief ‘in that you’re going to survive this’ and inner calm – basically being above the line: Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility.

So how does a man of this ilk use his time on leaving the RAF? Well, he became a much sought after motivational speaker to both adults and children and in July 2000 he also opened his own full-time Aikido martial arts school in Nottingham – the Shudokan Black Belt Academy which has since grown to be one of the largest, most successful pure Aikido schools in the world. He and his wife, Jo, still run it today (although they have reduced their hours so they can dedicate more time to GSD rescue). The Academy teaches both children and adults from all backgrounds, not only in life-saving techniques but the essential importance of the mind body connection, utilising the qualities and skills of a fighter pilot: Precision; Determination; Positive Mind-Set; Self-Belief in that ‘you’re going to survive this’; and Inner Calm – all being ‘above the line’ and all skills and qualities that also apply to his role in GSD rescue (and which we can apply on our careers and personal lives.

From War to Peace.

Inner Game Conference with Tim Gallwey

Wendy, Kali and I also attended an ‘Inner Game Conference’ at the University of Hertfordshire on April 29th. Tim Gallwey ran the whole day and is famous for his best seller, ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’.  His ideas are at the forefront of what we do in coaching today moving from a ‘directional’ approach to letting the ‘player’ or coachee work it out for themselves.
The very basic premise is that we have a ‘Self 1’, which is our internal chatter or thoughts, and a ‘Self 2’, which is our inner wisdom or instinct.
Tim believes that we are natural learners, after all, who taught you how to walk? But, he says, our Self 1 lets interference get in the way of our performance.
He demonstrated the process in a couple of ways, firstly by getting someone to catch a tennis ball and, whilst doing so, asking her to watch the arc of the ball or notice the pattern on the ball. Whilst this occupied Self 1, Self 2 was able to learn how to catch the ball more often.
A second demonstration was with a woman who had a fear of doing presentations to large audiences. When she came up onto the platform she kept her back to the audience and only spoke with Tim. He asked her what she felt (fear) and how that manifested itself (heartbeat) and the scale of the fear from 1-10. Then he told her he was going to ask her to turn around and point out the audience members who were wearing glasses, which she did, looking at everyone because now her Self 1 was preoccupied. He then asked her to look for people with blue eyes and then to look for scary people. He then checked her fear levels which had gone down considerably. It was a fabulous activity to use for people who are nervous about presentations.
Anyway, more from us next time about the ‘Inner Game’ conference including how Wendy received a personal coaching session from Tim Gallwey.  For now, I would like to leave you with something Tim said at the conference:
When you are playing tennis, ‘Your friend will hit everything to your strong forehand.
Your enemy will hit everything to your weaker backhand – making it better. So, who is your friend?’

2019 NLP and Coaching Convention

Well, it’s been a busy couple of months!  So much so that we are only just able to write and thank everyone who attended the 2019 NLP and Coaching Convention on April 5th.  The day was kicked off and hosted by Wendy and Kali who, as well as teaching us Norwegian, also introduced our keynote speaker Julie Starr.
 Julie gave an insight into her thinking as a coach. Her key themes were your ego and being aware of it; approaching the coachee’s neurological levels and identifying where the issue was, and then coaching at the level above that.
To follow are the neurological levels from which the coach identifies the issue. So if the problem is a belief, the coach could explore issues of identity, the coachee’s script and their belief system.
The place and the time and the people involved. You may be unsuccessful only in specific circumstances or with particular people.
It is what we do but includes thoughts and actions. Sometimes the behaviour is difficult to change because it is connected to other levels.
Capability – The How
Capability lies within skills in both thinking strategies and physical skills. It is only visible in the resulting behaviour because it lies within you.
Beliefs and Values
Beliefs are principles that guide actions, not what we say we believe but what we act on. They are what is important to us, health, happiness, love..
This is the sense of yourself, your core beliefs. It is built through life and is very resilient.
This is the realm of ethics, religion and spirituality

We then had several workshops before I did a session challenging the current thinking that negative emotions are ‘triggered’ by something outside of us when, actually, we are sending out ‘predictions’ depending on our current physiology, meaning we are totally responsible for our state.

A good day was had by 137 people and guess what? We already have the date set and the venue booked for next year on March 27th 2020.

Leading with a Smile – Part 2

For those of you who read our last newsletter you will have seen my article, ‘Leading with a Smile – The Norway Option’, all about the positive impact interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær is having on his team, Manchester United, and their results. Unfortunately, two days before the newsletter came out, they were beaten in the Champions league first leg, 2-0 at home. Now, the statistics show that no team has come back from a first leg home defeat of this magnitude……..until now!

With 10 players missing or injured and Pogba on a red card, United set off to Paris and won, 3-1, meaning that they are through to the quarter finals.

Kim Cameron author of Positive Leadership suggests that many organisations strive toward the norm, all doing pretty much the same things, whilst successful organisations have what he calls a ‘Positive Deviance’. Now I know I have written about this before but it so simple and important that I thought I would give you some tips you can use straight away again.

1. Make sure everyone in the team meets with the user of their product and service and understands the importance of their role and the contribution it makes.
2. ‘Catch people doing something right.’ Offer more praise than critique at least on a 6:1 ratio. We have a negativity bias that amplifies criticism.
3. Use positive up beat language about results and goals you want to achieve.
4. The gluteus maximus of the human being is proportionally larger than any other mammal because we evolved to stand on two legs so we could carry things using our hands and cover distances. So, your bottom is not for sitting on!
5. Show some teeth! Use the 4-minute rule by asking yourself ‘What would the best (insert job title) look like act like and feel like’?
6. Stay above the line, take:



Any time you are feeling negative you are below the line.

OK, so United lost to Arsenal on Sunday, their first defeat in the league since Ole arrived. But he has already shown he has ‘bouncebackabilty’, do you?

Leading with a smile – The Norway Option

In the last few weeks there has been a groundswell of support for the Norway Option. It will hopefully keep us in Europe this year and next. No, it is not ‘Common Market 2’, I’m talking about the resurgence of Man United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, their new caretaker manager. Since taking over from Jose Mourinho, United have gained 25 points in nine league games taking them above Chelsea and into the coveted top 4 league position which, if sustained, will guarantee them a place in the European Champions League next season.

I know you may be thinking, ‘How does this apply to me?’

Well, here is what Ole has done and you can apply the same concepts in your role:

Ole leads with a smile and has created a positive atmosphere from day one. His language is positive and his focus is on success. Think of it as focusing on winning rather than NOT losing.

He has achieved this by adopting a counter attacking strategy focused on scoring goals whilst strengthening the defence with attacking and midfield players who willingly track back.

He coaches the strikers and passes on his own knowledge to build their confidence and capability.

He has looked at strengths and put people in their best roles.

Performance is rewarded and therefore his best performing players are selected, although he does also give others a chance to shine.

The players are happier, the fans are happier, and the United Board may well go for the ‘Norway’ option on a full-time basis.

That was until they got stuffed by PSG in the first leg of the knockout recently! Will Ole be able to bounce back and win 3 nil in Paris? That is the test. Has he got the resilience to bounce back after a setback? And have you?