Friday 5 June 2020

CPD during my Sabbatical...

One of the ways in which I am using my self-declared sabbatical is investing time in my own development. That includes a Leadership Team Coaching Programme, with Peter Hawkins and David Clutterbuck, a further Time to Think programme, with Laura Williams, and a Transformational Narrative Coaching programme, with Nick Isbister. And in addition to all that, I have also been working to improve my understanding of Trauma, in support of another project I am involved in.

All of these, of course, build on existing areas of interest and are intended to help me to work to an even higher standard with my clients.

The Leadership Team Coaching programme is proving very interesting. Hawkins and Clutterbuck are major figures in the coaching world, and have a wealth of experience as well as knowledge to share. Whilst the format (600+ people on a 90' webinar) was initially hard work, they have responded well to feedback and made the third (and most recent session) very much better. These webinars are supported by smaller online practicum sessions, as well as handout material etc.  I've also agreed to meet a colleague, who is also going through the programme, after each webinar to share insights and challenge each other to find ways to apply the learning, which has really helped to bring it alive.

People who know me will understand the appeal of doing a further Time to Think programme. Nancy Kline's Thinking Environment has proved very valuable in improving my practice over the last few years. So far, the training programmes I have attended with Nancy and with Shirley Wardell have focused very much on the one-to-one applications of the Thinking Environment. This programme, the Foundation Course, focuses on group applications, and is the precursor to the Facilitation Course, which I intend to do next. It will be particularly interesting to do this programme online, as that poses particular challenges to the Thinking Environment approach, particularly as it applies to groups. But, of course, at present, pushing the boundaries of what we can do remotely is particularly important, and I am confident that I will learn a lot from Laura, another expert in the field.

The appeal of Nick Isbister's programme should be equally clear. My own interest in narrative approaches goes back many years - Shifting Stories was in gestation (and procrastination) for many years before I published it in 2016. So when I found out that Nick was doing something similar but distinctively different, I was naturally intrigued.  So I bought his book, and booked a call. We had a fascinating chat, and I booked on to his programme. It's early days yet (I've only completed the first part of the programme, which has been very much about taking stock of my story (or stories) so far, and what I make of myself, as Actor, Agent and Author. But it has already proved a very rich and thought-provoking process, and I am looking forward to crafting my future story with Nick's help. Given how much the world is changing at the moment, this seems a particularly appropriate time to be investing in such thinking.

With regard to trauma, I have been reading Gordon Turnbull's account of his career: discovering the reality of post traumatic stress, and then pioneering approaches to help people to address it. I have also been reading some slightly more technical and academic books on the subject, recommended by colleagues. For me, this is not about developing the skills to work with those suffering from trauma - that would be crossing the line from coaching into therapy - but rather to understand better what the indicators are, so that I can make appropriate referrals, and be clearer about that boundary; and to support me in my work as a coaching supervisor, so that I can help the coaches I supervise to be equally clear about those boundaries and the limits of their appropriate support.

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