About Paula hanlon


Posts by Paula hanlon:


Paula’s coaching has made a significant impact on me both personally and professionally. She has helped me understand many issues from different perspectives, challenged me on the areas I needed to address and counselled me to get beyond the barriers that were holding me back. She has the insight to ask probing questions and get at the heart of the problem, at the same time maintaining the right balance of encouraging, listenin and understanding. As a result of our time together, I have seen improved performance and job satisfaction in my team members, a greater self confidence in my own ability to lead and an increased positive perception about my role that has led to new opportunities I never thought possible.When looking for professional development, I highly recommend Paula Hanlon as your coach.


I am only human….and that’s ok!

My first thought is one of embarrassment when I look back at the date of my last blog! But when I reflect on the why it eases the shame! Life has just been busy and that has felt great!!

Last year I was afforded the wonderful opportunity to work on a Government scheme helping unemployed people back to work. My role was initially to work in a coaching capacity doing all the things I do with my own private clients – help build confidence and self esteem, help someone find what their ideal career could be, pinpoint what motivates them and identify their values, to ensure any decision they have to make is the right one for them.

The direction then took a fork in the road – and unexpected one, but equally as rewarding. Using all my transferrable skills from previous roles, I started working in a training capacity. For me the irony was, that when I reflected back on roles within the Bank I had really enjoyed, training was way up there. I just had totally forgotten that.

Now I have the best of both worlds….I coach and train in equal amounts and am getting to use the skills I love on a daily basis.

So will I try and get better and blog more often….definitely!

But am I going to beat myself up because I haven’t been as organised as I like to be – No – Because I am only human ….and that’s ok!!



Are you thinking about changing careers?

I was recently asked to write a blog for Irish Jobs around changing jobs and that big question – will I / won’t I?

Changing career can be a huge decision, particularly if you intend to leave something that pays well and you are the major breadwinner at home. Without doubt, in this current economic climate, financial considerations must be taken into account but they shouldn’t necessarily be the only factor when you are considering making a move.

I noted with interest, while watching the current UK Master Chef series, the number of Chef judges returning who had make fundamental changes to their careers. In particular, I was intrigued to see the number of now successful chefs who worked previously in some form of medicine – from doctors to nurses. How lovely to have found something that really gives them a reason to jump out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day ahead. What was even more interesting, was the number who commented on working longer hours and being paid less as a Chef but all that was overridden by the fact that they were doing a job they loved. Food for thought for anyone reading this considering a career in a new direction……

I have attached the link to the Irish Jobs blog – have a read and I hope the article helps any readers in this space at the moment. In it I ask certain questions that you should ask yourself before doing anything major and also give some valuable pointers to consider which may help ease your stress along the way.



Are you controlling your money or is your money controlling you?

Practically every household in the entire world has felt the financial pinch over the last few years. In Ireland, we seemed to go from being a cash rich nation to a financially burdened nation overnight. For years we had enjoyed a glorious time of being able to buy what we wanted to buy, travel where we wanted to go and treat ourselves to whatever we fancied at that moment. Very many of us used our houses like ATM’s – whenever we need cash for something, we marched off to the Bank and took out a loan. Then the crash happened and suddenly we needed to tighten our belts which felt ‘new and uncomfortable’ for many of us.

The subject of money often comes up during coaching with my clients. Some may have come for that very reason while for others it just comes up as part of the process.  Many of them admit that money controls them and they have no idea how much it costs them to live month to month. This inevitably leads to feelings of fear and anxiety and can often put additional unnecessary strains on a relationship.

The good news is that with a little work and a WILLINGNESS TO try, it is possible to get back in the driving seat of your finances. Here are some of the things I ask my clients to do for one month which may help you:

1) STOP BURYING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND: you will never get to grips with your finances if you have no idea how much you are spending every month. Set up some sort of spread sheet and record EVERY day how much you spent the previous day…. you must not cheat – record everything by category – food/gas/electricity/going out/clothes etc etc. This might seem like hard work but it will be worth it. At the end of the month you will be able to identify quite easily where your money is going. Be prepared for a few eye openers….

2) LEARN TO SAY NO – if your finances don’t allow it, don’t do it. (remember this is just for one month)

3) LOOK AT WHERE YOU ARE SPENDING YOUR MONEY – is it possible for you to reduce your outgoings by bringing in your lunch 3 days of the week instead of buying out every day? Where in your life could you make small savings?

4) LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES – could you walk to work instead of always getting the bus – two advantages in one – not only will you be saving a few euro but you might even loose a few pounds in the process. What other alternatives could you do?

5) ARE YOU PAYING FOR SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE NOT USING – one lovely lady client was paying out on a monthly membership for a gym only to admit that she hadn’t been in a whole 12 months!! Are you paying out for something that you get no benefit from? If so cancel it.

6) BEFORE YOU BUY SOMETHING – STOP and ask yourself ‘Do I really need/want this?” Very often we impulse buy when we are feeling tired, lonely, bored. If after 2 minutes you still want it go ahead and buy it.

7) START SAVING!! There is nothing as motivating as seeing the euros increasing. So open a savings account or buy a piggy bank. The real benefit of a savings account is that when you do decide to splurge on something, you can be guaranteed you will really appreciate it as you are less likely to impulse buy on your hard earned savings.

8) CONSIDER GETTING ANOTHER INCOME STREAM – is there something you love doing that you could get paid for?

9) STOP TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES – I am as guilty of this as you. Be your own person and if something doesn’t interest you, don’t do it or don’t buy it.

10) SHOP ONLINE – this has worked a treat for me. I was often guilty of grabbing a take away mid week just because I had nothing in for dinner. Now I plan my weekly meals in advance and do all my shopping on line. This not only ensures I have everything in I need, it also means I’m not tempted by offers that I don’t really need.


I hope some of the above tips will help you. In my experience, the first point is the most important on this list. Once you know what you have coming in versus what goes out, you will be in a much better position. That knot in your stomach will soon start to disappear and you will feel much more confident around your finances.


Good Luck


“Go ask the Coach” – from the April edition of Upside News

This is a copy of my recent column published in Upside News (April 14) ….enjoy

It’s funny – coaching has been around since the early 90’s and yet people are still confused when I tell them what I do.   My job is to help you get from where you are in your life to where you really want to be.  I know my clients have the resources within themselves to unlock their own potential and come up with their own solutions. My job is to help them navigate through that change, ask the challenging questions, support them if the water gets choppy, believe in them when they doubt themselves and always in a supportive, confidential and non judgmental way.

Here are some of the topics that often come up for discussion during coaching. To make it easy to read, I have answered this in a Q & A format:

Q:   I find it very difficult saying no and when I do I am eaten up with guilt. Please can you give me some tips to help me be more assertive when I need to say no?

A:    This is something lots of my clients tell me they have difficulty doing, so don’t worry, you are not unusual. Very often, the reason people find it hard is they don’t want to disappoint someone or it’s just easier and will lead to a quieter life. I have lots of different coaching tools that I use with my clients and this is one of my favorites. Try this simple technique the next time you are asked to do something you really don’t want to do. “Put yourself in the center of the decision” and feel the difference. When we do this, it will ALWAYS be the right decision for us and it will immediately feel right. Any hang-ups of guilt will disappear because we are doing what is right for us. If this still sounds scary, that’s normal. Start off easy and make a commitment to yourself that you will try this out once over the coming week. It doesn’t have to be a big fat NO it that feels easier for you. Try it on something small – maybe you don’t want to go somewhere at the weekend? The great thing about putting ourselves in the center of our decision is, that we will over time, just do it without thinking and our family, friends and work colleagues will respect our decision when we give it.

So go on, try it and remember – the more you practice the easier it will become.


Q: I have a lot of negative thoughts running around in my head.  I always see the glass half empty rather than half full. Is there anything I could do to stop these negative thoughts?


A:  Most of us can relate to this but the good news is YES there is something you can do to get your thoughts under control. One simple technique that works really well is, when you become aware that your brain has gone off at 100 miles an hour in the opposite direction, stop and ask yourself “where is the evidence of this?” or “is that really true?”. Very often, when you answer that question HONESTLY, you will discover the answer is – ‘there is no evidence!’ This allows us deal with the facts, gets rid of the negative thoughts and allows us very importantly move forward in our thinking without the garbage.

Have you a question or specific topic you would like me to cover in the next edition of Upside News – please email on paula@paulahanlon.ie. No names will be published


We’ve only got one life to live – don’t waste it….

On my face book page (click on link to follow on home page) I regularly share tips and tools that I hope will help my loyal Facebook followers in some part of their life. Most recently, I posted some soul-searching questions around living with Passion and Purpose. Judging by the reaction I got, I certainly pushed a button and got lots of you thinking.

For our lives to be meaningful we must have the two P’s – Purpose and Passion. But what does it really mean? Here is an example of how it applied to me.

I was very fortunate to have a great career in the Bank and while I loved the people I worked with, I got to a stage in my life where I knew I wasn’t doing what I was put on this earth to do. A bit deep – ok yes – but very true to how I felt at that time. When I looked back at my career over 24 years, the times I loved my job the most, was when I was developing, mentoring and coaching my team. I managed large operational areas with up to 100 staff, so I was lucky that I got to work with a wide variety of people all with their own unique personality and individual needs. On reflection, these were the times when I jumped out of bed and looked forward to the day ahead. Seeing people blossom and move forward in their careers gave me great personal satisfaction. These were the magical moments that made work special and gave me the Passion and Purpose in my professional life that made it all worthwhile.

As the Banking world changed so radically over the last few years, this part of my role became less and less. For all the right reasons, governance and compliance became the priority and my role changed significantly. I noticed over time that getting up in the morning was becoming a struggle and instead of looking forward to the day ahead, I was dreading what another day would bring. I got to a point where I knew something had to change. I had a ‘choice to make’ and a ‘decision to take’.

It wasn’t easy. It scared me half to death but nervously I took a giant step out of my comfort zone and left a ‘secure and pensionable’ job. Initially I decided to take some time out. It was during this time I began to acknowledge what I was good at, understand where my strengths lay and what I valued in life and appreciate what was I really passionate about. I knew I was passionate about helping others. I know I have a unique gift that can help bring out the best in people. And my natural listening skills made me think that a career in coaching would give me the two P’s that I longed for in my professional life.

Do I have them today – most definitely! Is life as routine as it once was?- no, but am I glad I am where I am today, doing something that I absolutely love – YES.

Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones and already have Passion and Purpose in your life. If not, try this simple exercise to help you find yours:

Create 3 lists:

a) What do you really VALUE in your life?
b) What are your STRENGTHS?
c) What are you PASSIONATE about?

So I will end with another soul-searching question – the average person will spend over 100,000 hours at work, surely you don’t want to spend the rest of your life not doing what you were put on this earth to do?

The Power of a Daily Habit

I bet when you saw the word habit in the title you immediately thought of a bad habit you have? Well the good news is a bad habit can be turned into a GOOD habit and the even better news – it only takes 21 days to form.

Our current habits have such an effect on our lives and sometimes we don’t even stop to recognise how doing something the same way every day, week or month is ruining our chances of living a better, more balanced and happier life.

What prompted me to write my blog about habits this week is due to a lovely slice of cream cake. I decided to give up biscuits, sweets and crisps for Lent and was delighted yesterday to discover that I am 3 weeks down with only 3.5 to go. Every year I do this. To be honest, it’s more to do with loosing a few pounds than any religious reason. Sorry I digress. I substituted the biscuits with a piece of fruit over the last few weeks when I have my mid morning coffee. That was until my son’s birthday earlier this week. For the occasion, I bought a lovely fresh cream sponge and what wasn’t eaten on the day was left in the fridge. This morning, as I proceeded to cut myself a rather large chunk of what’s left of the cake, I realised that I had eaten practically all the remaining cake over the last few days. Suddenly, I coped that I had started a new bad habit. How easy was that to let myself fall into that trap! Now I know, I can stop, which is why awareness is so important.

When I work with my clients either in their professional or private lives, examining their habits is always one of the most beneficial things that happens as part of their coaching journey. Often we are blind to our habits and don’t realise the impact they are having on our lives. One of my clients is an Executive in the Corporate world. When he examined his daily routine, he discovered that once he turned on his laptop, his day and his actions were being dictated by other people’s requests. By simply deciding to refrain from turning on his laptop for the first hour of the day, gave him the opportunity to concentrate on what he wanted and needed to do. He said he could not believe how replacing an old habit with a new habit could yield such wonderful results in his work life. Immediately he felt he was more productive in work, his mind was clearer, he had more control over his day and he stopped chasing his tail. The benefits also spilled over into his personal life. He brought less work home, his mind wasn’t preoccupied with work when he was at home and he could enjoy more valuable time with his family.

So that’s the easy bit – noticing the bad habit and replacing it with a good one. But the trick is to do it for 21 days. When we do something for 21 days our brain automatically thinks, hey this is a new habit and your sub conscious kicks in. But we are all creatures of habit lets be honest…. creating a new habit requires energy – more energy than we usually have to expend as this new habit doesn’t feel familiar….. YET!!

So, how do you go about ensuring you stay the course? Here are a couple of things that might help:

1) Simply get a blank piece of paper and write across the top what your new habit is. Then divide the sheet into 21 boxes. Hang it somewhere visible and each day as you complete your new habit, tick the box. A visual aide is very powerful and as you see the boxes being ticked, it will give you the motivation to keep going.

2) Ask someone to hold you accountable. I can’t encourage you enough to do this. The power of being held accountable really works it magic. Try it.

3) Promise yourself a little reward at the end of the 21 days …. nothing like a little retail therapy to act as a motivator. So if your habit is to cut junk and loose a few pounds over the 21 days, reward yourself so that the benefit of the habit really means something for you.

4) If you fall off the wagon, don’t worry. Start again. Ask yourself why have you slipped? Is there something above you didn’t do that may have helped? If so, what was it and start again tomorrow.

5) Start off small and build it up. Maybe you have gotten into a bad habit of having 6 cups of coffee a day. Stopping them all and going cold turkey might not be the answer. Maybe the habit would be to cut out all the cups after lunch for the next 21 days and see how that feels. Who knows, maybe in 42 days time you might be down to one a day!!

6) The ‘No Exceptions Policy’ – I love this one. By applying the no exceptions policy removes any temptation in your mind. So in the example above, my Executive made a conscious decision not to turn on his laptop for that first hour in the morning – without exception! There was no debate happening in his mind whether he would or wouldn’t. And the results he got spoke for themselves.

Now time to ask yourself – are you doing something in your day to day life that you know is a bad habit and isn’t serving you? Or, is there something you could start doing that could equally serve you well…..

I would love to hear your stories of a) how applying a good habit changed some part of your life, b) what you did and c) how you ensured you did it.

We all learn from each other so please share ….

Bye for now


I’m so glad I’m Walking my Talk….

It would be a little rich of me to pontificate about the benefits of using a Life Coach when I don’t use one myself wouldn’t it? Well I am glad to say that yesterday I put that right:) After my session, I felt so much better and thought to myself “why did you leave it so long Paula?” The honest answer – I guess I knew that if I wanted to see results in my life, I was going to have to put in the hard work or else I would be wasting my money and my very precious time. You see I am human like you. Sometimes, even the thought of change and doing something totally outside my own comfort zone scares me half to death.  I allow the saboteur in my head talk me out of something that I know deep down, I am well capable of achieving.

So how did my coach help me? Well firstly, she got me to talk about my current reality. This is so important as I have a tendency to let my mind take over. She kept bringing me back to the reality of the situation I was talking about and looked for the evidence as to why I thought I couldn’t do something. Each time she did, guess what, there was no evidence! It was all just ‘stuff’ going on in my head. Once I had cleared the negative thinking, I was able to concentrate on what I could do and draw on examples of where I had successfully achieved things like this before.  Our minds can play nasty tricks on us – I had forgotten all the great things I had achieved in the past. So what does this clearer thinking give me now - Courage to Embrace the Changes I want to see in my life and Confidence to know that I am Capable of making them Happen. Eureka!!

I had also asked my coach prior to the session, to push me hard. She certainly did but in a very supportive way. You see, I know that I need someone to really challenge me and tell me honestly and straight up, no frills attached, the way they see it. For me, getting this feedback from my coach is much easier than hearing it from a loved one. Regardless of the feedback she gives me, I know there is no judgment attached. This is what really creates the safe environment for me to open up and say things that I would never have the courage to say to someone else.

The other thing that really works for me and from what my clients say, I know works for them, is the power of being held accountable! Research has proven that when we write down our goals we are much more likely to achieve them but take that a step further, and ask someone to hold you to account – watch as the magic happens and you are propelled into action!  I will let you in on a little secret. I agreed with my coach, that I would use Thursday mornings going forward to write my blogs – being really honest, I am sure I wouldn’t be sitting down writing this now, if I wasn’t being held accountable. Result already and not even 24 hours has passed….

Yesterday was the first step for me along on a new path I want to go.

Yesterday I silenced the aliens running around in my head.

Yesterday some of the fog lifted and I have a renewed sense of direction.

Yesterday I gave myself a chance.

Yesterday I made a decision that I was worth it.



Spring is a great time to “deep clean” your House and your Head!!

Isn’t it great to hear the birds chirping in the mornings and see the evenings staying brighter for a little longer. The children are out playing when they come home from school and daffodils have begun to flower in my garden. I feel Spring is truly here which always makes me feel more energetic and know any day now the house is in for a really good Spring Clean.

This got me thinking today – why should I limit myself to just deep cleaning my house – surely my head is equally as important and deserves a good clear out? Great coaches have to ‘walk the talk’ not just ‘talk the talk’ so I got on the phone today and made an appointment to see my own Life Coach.

Being in this profession and seeing first hand how coaching can really transform someone’s life and obviously benefiting myself when I work with my own coach, I know it’s time for me to clear out my hard drive in my head. I continually work on my own self-development but know, if I don’t clear my head of my own self limiting beliefs there will be no room for all the new information I want to put in. It’s a bit like going on a shopping spree, buying lots of lovely new clothes, only to come home and realise that your wardrobe is so full of stuff you haven’t worn in years that you have no where to hang up all your new clothes! I can see you all nodding as you can see this picture in your own head…..


Well our heads are a bit like are wardrobes – they need a clear out every so often to allow us move on with all the new stuff we want to do. Regardless of how hard you work trying to program your head with new things, there just won’t be the room unless you clear the old stuff out first.

Today is the start of Lent – it’s only 6 weeks to Easter – imagine how good you would feel knowing that if you make a commitment today to do something for yourself, you could be well on the way to achieving your goals by starting that Spring Head Cleaning today!


Why not give me a call or send me a mail – you will be so glad you did:)







It’s a No Brainer!……

Coaching has been around since the early 2000′s and has been growing significantly in popularity since that date. In a recent article published by the Washington Post they said ” in the next few years coaching will become the norm in the business world.” And it’s easy to understand why when you actually look at the benefits people can achieve either in their professional or private life when they work with a coach.


Here is my A – Z in terms of how coaching can help you:


a) You get to take time out of your busy life and talk about what you want to talk about.

b) It’s always your agenda!

c) It’s a safe environment for you to really say what’s going on your head.

d) Everything remains totally confidential.

e) Your coach is non judgmental.

f) Your coach NEVER gives advice.

g) You will always be coming up with your own solutions – that’s one of the main reasons why coaching works.

h) During the session, your coach will always be concentrating on the positives.

i) Your coach will always be honest with you and not just tell you what you want to hear.

j) You will be challenged to push yourself.

k) You will be encouraged to try things that you wouldn’t normally do without any judgment if it doesn’t go right first time.

l) You get to look at things from a different perspective which can be difficult in your normal day-to-day life.

m) Your coach always believes in you and knows you can do it, even when you might doubt yourself.

n) You will have fun along the way.

o) You will surprise yourself in terms of things you didn’t know you were capable of.

p) You will feel energised and motivated after a session.

q) Coaching can help you with any change (s) you are having to deal with in your life.

r) You will come out of the process a more balanced, motivated and happy person.

s) You will get to know yourself better and understand why you think the way you do.

t) You will get really clear in terms of what you want from your life.

u) If you put in the work, you can go from having an ordinary to an extraordinary life.

v) Your coach will always be in your corner.

w) In coaching you will be encouraged to look forward – not back.

x) You will be supported every step of the way – this is key as moving out of our comfort zones can sometimes feel scary.

y) You will learn some practical and valuable tools that you can take away and apply in your life.

z) All the top sports people and successful business people in the world have their own coach – why shouldn’t you?




It will be the best investment in yourself you ever make! Guaranteed.

Give me a call – you will be glad you did:)