Friday 23 July 2010

A Day's Walking

I was due to have a day's walking coaching with a client yesterday, but by Tuesday the weather forecast looked so dreadful that we decided to re-schedule.

Then on Thursday morning, the forecast wasn't nearly so bad - cloud at 750m and a 40% chance of rain.

So I decided to take the day off and go walking with the family.  We had a fabulous time: went over High Spy, down to Deepdale Tarn, up to Deepdale Head, over Hindscarth and back down to Little Town where we'd left the car.  About 9 miles in all, with about 2500 feet of height gain.

Fabulous views of Bassenthwaite, Derwent and Buttermere, and all the fells surrounding them - and the rain stayed off, and we were just below the clouds.  And as ever, conversation is very rich when you are out for a long walk - which is why it's so good for coaching.  I'll have to blog about that next....

Monday 19 July 2010

Coaching Connect

Met Liz and Stuart of Coaching Connect for a pint and a chat last night.  They are on their big bike ride around England and Scotland, and have been taking the opportunity to interview some of the stars en route: Meredith Belbin, Nancy Kline, me...

Worth checking their website if you are in the business.

Thursday 15 July 2010

The cycle continues

Down to Colchester yesterday, for two events.  The first was a planning meeting for next year's Essex Futures programme; chaired by the VC, the main contributors were a couple of reps chosen by this year's cohort, to give us feedback on what had worked well and what could be improved.  Althrough they didn't pull their punches, and gave us some clear indications of things to change, overall their feedback was very positive, and we had a most productive meeting.

The second event was a celebration: hosted by the VC, all participants from the first two cohorts of the programme were invited for a drink and buffet - and a viewing of the video diaries I made of both programmes.  It was lovely to catch up with everyone, and great to see the links starting to form between the two cohorts.  We are keen to support that, and hope that being a 'graduate' of Essex Futures will become a part of peoples' identity and a real boost to interdisciplinary networking etc.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Facilitation Skills Training

Great two days with a group from International Paint at Felling.  Co-facilitating with Warren Scott (no relation!) which is always stimulating and creative.

The group were hard working, up for taking risks, and keen to learn, so we had an energising and rewarding couple of days, and they all left fired up and full of good resolutions: will be meeting them in September to see how they have performed in reality.  All their practice sessions were good, they formed some strong learning alliances (buddying) and they were very receptive to feedback, so I'm confident they will do well back at work.

Thursday 8 July 2010

In praise of flipcharts

For the recent transition workshops, I have been using no powerpoint (or Keynote, to be more accurate, as a devoted Mac user), simply a flipchart.  It seemed to me more appropriate for the kind of event I wanted to run.

This reminded me powerfully why I prefer flipcharts to projected presentations:

  • They are more intimate
  • They don't distract me or participants from each other
  • They put me on the same level as participants - not some slick professional presenter (though of course I am...)
  • My messy use of them makes it easier for participants when I ask them to prepare flips to summarise their discussions: I model that it doesn't matter about neat handwriting, writing in straight lines etc
  • I only use them when I need to, whereas it is all to easy to use ppt or Keynote as a crutch/prompt, resulting in endless slides...
Must stay low-tech more often!

Worst fears confirmed...

Chatting with a client recently about a bidding process I'm in the middle of.  He was trying to be reassuring: I'll be one of the successful bidders, so will be able to continue to do the coaching and training I do there.

However, he was less reassuring than he thought, as he told me that the results hadn't come out right first time, so he had to negotiate with procurement to change the scoring or weighting or something till it gave him the answers he wanted...

Transition Workshops

Just finished the last of four workshops for Cleveland Police for some of their people who are being outsourced.

It has been really interesting to see how quickly people are able to move through their distress and confusion in the face of unwanted change, and start to engage with the future in a more positive frame of mind.

Paradoxically, it was partly because we gave them permission, time and space to talk about their unhappiness that they were able to move on.

Used the framework from William Bridges' work (Endings, Neutral Zone, New Beginnings) to give them a structure for their thinking and conversation, and as ever it proved a very valuable framework.

Great that the Force sees the value of investing time and resource in this kind of activity: it will certainly smooth the transition, as well as reassure people going through a difficult time.

Saturday 3 July 2010

A busy week

A couple of days working with teams at Cleveland Police about to go through a major transition (via TUPE): really good that their management see the benefit of giving them some information on transition itself, and the chance to process that via team awaydays.

Then some time with a team from Northumbria University who wanted to look at their time management as a team - always interesting to approach time mgt from that perspective: there are many ways in which team members can help or hinder each other, both individually and collectively, when it comes to managing time.

Then a day's coaching, which is always stimulating and rewarding, and finally a day to catch up in the office (well half a day really, as WImbledon called...)

And next week looks equally interesting.  Beats having a 9-5 job...