As you know I have been a little fed up over the past couple of weeks. In my previous blog I mentioned the tonic of being coached for my well-being which was truly excellent.
Then on Thursday morning I woke up to this song on my Spotify. There is nothing better than hearing something one of children has produced with his band mates. They are so talented and they deserve all the recognition I am sure they are going to get. Please click play and have a listen, I know I am a proud dad but they are bloody brilliant. If you are in Hull on 13th February 2019, pop down to the Polar Bear to see them in the flesh. Tickets are available via Hull Box Office or you can pay on the door. They are supporting another talented Hull band Mauritia.
Make an old Dad happy give them a listen and let them know how good they are.
If you are a regular reader of my blog or know me, you will know that for part of my working week I lead the coaching network at my place of work. We are a fledgling network, so therefore we are still training our coaches. We currently have 2 cohorts running and by the end of the year we will have around 40 coaches with an ILM level 5 qualification.
The 2nd cohort (which is really our 3rd but the 2nd I have supported), were in this week completing the coaching for well-being module. My friend and coaching mentor Anthony (I may have mentioned him before) runs the course for us, which in turn is awarded through Leeds Beckett University. I always sit in on the modules, to develop and practice my coaching skills and to learn how to teach the course. Module days are always the highlight of my month, and coaching for well-being has to be my personal favourite.
To be honest it could not have come at a better time, as I mentioned last week I have been a little frazzled lately, and it was clear that that there were others in the room that had similar experiences during January. All the modules that Anthony delivers are very practical heavy with plenty of time spent coaching each other, interspersed with the relevant theory. For this particular module the students pair up with the same person all day. As there was an odd number this week I had the opportunity to pair up with somebody for the day.
So I had a day of talking and rediscovering some different models of well-being coaching and having the opportunity to try out some different approaches and using models in a way I had never done before, whilst at the same time supporting someone else’s coaching development. It was such a fulfilling day, and on top of my own coaching contracting meeting on Tuesday.
My old coach is moving on to pastures new, with a new and exciting job (good luck and thank you so much Vicky), so I have a new coach. It had been a while since I had had a coaching session, and with so much going round in my head, with a million and one projects I was feeling overwhelmed and stuck in the future, causing me to doubt my ability to achieve the goals I had set myself. So on Tuesday I had my first contracting meeting with my new coach.
It was quite liberating. For the first time in a while I had an opportunity to empty my mind in the presence of someone who was just prepared to listen, in the first instance and then probe and challenge. The whole thing took 2 hours (which is longer than I would normally feel comfortable with), there was so much that needed to come out that it felt more like 30 minutes. I talked, she listened, I talked some more she asked me questions, she invited me to draw it, I drew it, she asked me some questions, I drew it some more, I wrote a list and then drew some more, I cried, she listened, asked me some questions. After all that we had a purpose for the coaching and a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. We then set our boundaries and timings for our continued coaching relationship. It was massively helpful. When I walked into the meeting my jaw was tight, my fists were clenched and Foggy was having a field day. When I left my jaw and fists were relaxed and Foggy had gone to be. I had a clear goal and an action plan for the next month. I was back in the present.
Reflecting on that coaching session now, the most impactful aspect was the level of empathy shown throughout. Saying that though being challenged to have an action plan alongside the empathy (compassionate challenge) probably had the greatest impact. We all need that space to talk out what is going on in our heads, especially during these busy, stressful months.
I have not felt great this week, it has been one of those weeks, where I have just felt out of sorts. Nothing I could really put my finger on, just a bit down on my self.
I didn’t notice my mood until Thursday when I reached the bottom of my mood. This is often the case with my funks or low moods, I generally don’t pick up on my journey down there, however everybody around me notices my descent. I had a few people ask me if I was OK and a few wishing they had avoided me.
So Thursday morning I really did not want to face the world, on Wednesday I had been like a bear with a sore head, and on Thursday morning I just felt terrible about it. Foggy was having a field day, by the time I was on the way to work he had managed to drag up all my shortcomings and exaggerate them, to the point that I was despicable human being who was not fit to be a father, husband, educator or coach, and I was definitely not fit to deliver Human Factors training. According to Foggy my credibility was shot. Wow that escalated fast I thought (no doubt so are you). That is what happens when you let you thoughts run away with themselves.
I did though manage to deliver Human Factors training on Thursday and Friday and as far as I can tell my credibility is intact. In fact I am quite grateful to Foggy for escalating things as dramatically as he did. He made me realise that I was not paying attention to myself as much as I should. I had been too busy concentrating on the future and not paying attention to what is happening to me know.
So on Thursday by the time I had arrived at work I had brought myself to the present, and was beginning to set myself free from my thoughts. I spent the next hour and half concentrating on preparing my room and materials for the training session. Now don’t get me wrong this did not get rid of those unhelpful thoughts completely, but what it did do was diminish them and as the day progressed they got smaller and smaller. So by the time I got home I was able to apologise for my grumpiness with sincerity.
Since Thursday I have been practicing a mindfulness to keep check of the negative self-talk. Nothing too dramatic, just noticing when my mind is either wandering off to the future or past and rather than dwelling on those thoughts, just bringing myself back to the present, either by paying attention to my physical self (my breathing or noticing sensations) or paying attention to my surroundings. It reminds me that those thoughts are not real and not necessarily helpful, and what is real is what is happening here and now.
Now I do not want to get rid of these thoughts completely, as they are part of me after all and can be useful (as described earlier). So I accept them as part of me and know that they will raise their heads quite dramatically from time to time, but that is OK because I know how to quieten them.
If your self-talk is getting in the way and you want support turning down the volume so you can get on with being successful get in touch either by email, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Everything seems a little frantic at the moment. Feelings are running high and there are a lot of people letting their emotions doing their thinking.
Every time I turn on the news I hear people abusing each other whether that is politicians or world leaders abusing each other or overreacting or protesters shouting abuse at politicians live on television.
The media appears to be highlighting all that disconnects us, leaver or remainer, Democrat or Republican, Left wing or Right wing, Muslim, Jew or Christian, Male or Female, Pro-Gun or gun control. You are with us or against us mentality.
Then I go to work and I hear about staff being dismissive and ignoring new staff, senior staff appearing thoughtless towards each other and direct reports and members of the public verbally and physically abusing staff.
Life is tough at the moment, especially in healthcare, our population is getting older we are facing more and more complex conditions. Healthcare industry is growing faster than economies around the world, and are therefore under resourced. This creates an enormous amount of pressure on the workforce, and add on that societies’ expectation for state of the art health care and you create a toxic environment. Then we have populist politics which thrives on scarcity and difference and we have angry people on all sides, including those that think anyone who is different from them are the cause to all the problems we are facing.
We need to stop the line, we all need to start being civil with those around us. We all know what it feels like to be under attack verbally by a colleague a friend or a loved one. So if we know how it feels and we know that we are not in danger, then we have a choice not to inflict that kind of harm on others.
Ask yourself what you are telling yourself, what assumptions are you making about why you feel the way you feel? What emotion are you feeling and why is that? Will tearing someone off a strip change the situation? Can you change the situation yourself or is it out of your hands? If you cannot change it, what does being angry about it achieve? Is there a better way to deal with it?
If we all pause and think about how we are about to react before we react, then we can turn this epidemic of incivility off and start concentrating on what connects us.
As you will know I have been banging on about Connected Living for quite some time.
It is something I came up with in the summer inspired by some wonderful writers. It is has become an obsession of mine. I am writing a book about it, I have written a presentation and talk on it, and I have developed a coaching program based on it.
But what is it and why should you want to buy into it?
Connected living is a program that gives you the tools to manage all aspects of your life more efficiently, by learning and understanding how you view and interact with the world around you and how to get the best out of your relationships.
Your own health and well being
The map of your world
Why you react the way you do and how you can change that
How to be comfortable with your vulnerabilities
How you prefer to behave, make decisions and make plans
How to work outside your preferences
How to challenge you view of your world and have a different perspective
How you want to be viewed by others
Connecting with Others:
How do you prefer to work with others, do you ask or tell
How do you communicate with different groups of people
What groups do you live and work within
Do you belong
How do you manage difference
How do you react to conflict
Do you appreciate the complexity of others
Commitment to Change:
What requires development
How will you do this
When do you want to do this by
Who can help you
Who do you need to bring with you
What will you need
What might get in the way
How can you navigate round this
Are you making any assumptions
What implications will there be, if any
How will you know you have achieved this
What will you do to celebrate your success
If you want to know more or you want to book a presentation or a package of coaching email or message me.
2019 is nearly a week old. Last week I looked back on what I had achieved in 2018, so this week I thought I would look forward to what 2019 might have in store for me.
The most pressing issue I have on my mind, is to further develop my connected living project. Well that is the first time I have called it a project, I was just grappling with the words to describe this thing I call connected living. The first word that popped into my mind was concept, but it is more than just a concept, it is actually a thing now, it is not just in my head any more, I have the beginnings of a book, a presentation and 2 coaching programmes, so it is definitely a project. So by the end of this year I want to have a full package to offer to people. That means finishing and publishing the book. The presentation and coaching packages are good to go. I have used the presentation with a team at work, but as it is my presentation written in my time I am eager to share it with people outside of the hospital. I would love to share the message of connected with yourself and others to a wider group of people. I know I have this forum but actually communicating this message to people face to face is so much more powerful and the message becomes real. People can see how the concept of connected with yourself to enable stronger connection with other others is not just talking and that there are some simple actions you can take that will make a difference. So yes finishing and publishing the book is important but getting my message out there through talks and one to one coaching is also important.
My plan (which is still in development) is to raise my profile as a coach and to raise the profile of my project. That requires networking and moving outside my comfort zone. My default attitude is introverted, therefore I do struggle sparking up conversations and selling myself. With this in mind my first action is to practice this new habit of talking about my passion I have for this project, and my passion for supporting people to reach their personal best by looking for the resources within themselves, by connecting with themselves. Over the next few months I will be continuing to connect with myself and embracing my own complexity to help me connect with those people outside my circle of supporters to create new connections and sell my project to them. Clearly when I write this plan down for myself I will have much more detail, about when I will start how I will know when I am practicing this effectively. Also what will I do when I meet obstacles and setbacks, and how am I going to use my core value of courage to give me the motivation to continue when I face these problems. Over the next few days I will be detailing the actions I will actually be taking to make this plan real. Who am I going to talk to, how will I create the opportunity to talk to these people, what message do I want to get across, and so on. I will not be doing this alone, and I will be using a coach to create the support and challenge I need to ensure the plan I create is the best I can come up with and to support through the implementation. So that is my plan for putting myself and my project out there. If you want to support me in this project or you are interested in understanding more about connected living please get in touch by messaging me.
Then there is the plan I have for completing my book. So firstly I plan to finish the outlines for each chapter (the ones I have been sharing). Once I have done that I will look at the feedback and then go back to put more detail into each chapter. Once I have done that I have a few people that are willing to proof read the book, prior to me publishing it. I have given myself until December to complete this process, so this time next year the book should be available for you all to buy.
I offer two 1 to 1 coaching packages and a presentation to groups, if you want to know more or you would like to book me please get in touch, I am happy to do talks to voluntary groups for a much reduced price.
Thinking about 2018 now, I have realised how busy I have been, turning myself into a coach and growing in confidence.
I have to start my year actually in December 2017 where for me the shift in my life started. In December 2017 I was seconded for 2 days a week into the Organisational Development team of the Hospital I work in (my substantive role was Clinical Nurse Educator for the Children’s Nursing Team). I was seconded to be Coaching Lead for the Hospital. My role was to set up and maintain a coaching and mentoring network. This included working alongside my friend and mentor Anthony Owen to deliver the ILM level 5 Coaching and Mentoring Certificate (through Leeds Beckett University) locally. Anthony does all the teaching and I make sure everyone gets to the modules and have all the materials. I am also constantly learning from Anthony. We are currently on our second cohort of coaches, and we now have around 30 coaches, coaching staff in the hospital. This year has been such a steep learning curve, and at times very stressful making sure everyone is in the right place with the right materials (we have had the odd hiccup) but most of all providing support and a listening ear to the trainees. So onwards and upwards with the coaching network, we plan to run another cohort later this year to maintain a steady amount of coaches, and to support coaching in the local health economy.
As well as the formal certificated coaching qualification, we provide introduction to coaching and manager as a coach training. This is provided bite-size sessions, which are very useful to expose leaders to a coaching approach. The only problem is they are too short to provide a meaningful impact on the culture of leadership. Now my boss Lucy and the rest of the Organisational Development team have been working hard on various leadership programmes that were crying out for a robust coaching course to complement them. So I have spent the last few months of this year working on a revamped and extended manager as a coach program that over 3 days provides more coaching practice that works well as a companion piece for our leadership programmes. This sounds a bit like a training brochure! I am so passionate about coaching and developing a compassionate supportive approach to leadership that I get a little carried away.
Earlier in the year I was invited by my other friend and mentor Janis Hostad (my work Mum) to support her train nurses in and support a hospital wide roll out of Clinical Supervision (essentially coaching for Nurses), and her long-time collaborator was about to retire. So I went along to Janis’s and Lorna’s training. Within 10 minutes of the training it was as if I had come home. I felt so lucky, not only was I being paid to coach and teach coaching, I was now going to be paid to teach clinical supervision, alongside 2 of the best people I know. I love working with Janis, and we are so excited about the clinical supervision we are teaching and providing that we are planning to edit a new book on the subject, so watch this space. We have got so much to do though so the book will take a while. We have got 300 nurses to train to be clinical supervisors, we are presently training supervisors and trainers to help us get through such a large number of nurses. 2019 will certainly be a busy year, but also an amazing year working alongside some great people.
In the summer I started to think about how people can change their lives by changing the way they view their world and themselves. So I decided to put together a presentation called connected living, this gave me an idea about writing a book and developing a coaching programme. So at first I put together 2 coaching programmes a 6 session programme entitled connected self and a 12 session programme entitled connected living. (if you are interested get in touch) I have also started writing the book (as you may have noticed), and I am planning to self publish later this year.
2018 has been pretty special for me, it has been the year where I have found my tribe and my confidence. On the way I have become friends with some incredible people who have helped me move in the direction I wanted to go. To top it all I was given the job of coaching lead permanently in December. So I work 2 days a week as lead coach and 3 days as coaching lead. I am living my dream, which is amazing and long may it continue.
Happy New Year to all of you and thank you to everyone that has supported me this year.
If you have a dream that is important enough to it, you can reach it, if you really want to.