I normally avoid current affairs and politics on my blog, but I feel I need to write about what is happening in the UK right now.
Every time I turn on the news, open my phone or computer, I am bombarded with anger, accusations, mistrust and disconnection, and worst of all I am drawn into it and find myself getting angry about people’s choices and starting to hate people for their political views. This cannot be right. This attacks all my values of care, inclusion, and generosity. If I am not living up to these values I do not feel courageous and useful, which are my core values. If work against my core values, I feel lost, sad and anxious.
I am noticing that there are a lot of people that are struggling with their well-being at the moment. They are either more angry and short tempered than normal., or quieter and less buoyant than they are normally. I wonder if they are feeling like me, and are not living up to their core values.
The country feels so sad and so angry at the moment. It feels like the anger comes from, something I always considered a strength of this country. We have always been able to agree to disagree. The people of these islands from my view have always accepted difference (they might not like it, but you would often hear the phrase “each to their own”). That seems to have left us, decency and fair play have left us. It is OK now to attack people because they are different, have a difference of opinion.
Don’t get me wrong I know there has always been bigots, thugs and racists in our society, but there has always been the sensible, kind, inclusive voice that on the whole has shouted louder. That voice recently seems quieter, the reasonable majority has either fallen silent or has become the unreasonable majority.
There is a very real prospect that over the next few weeks, these differences are going to get worse. Either we will leave Europe with or without a deal or we will stay in Europe for a little while longer, no matter what happens one group will feel aggrieved. I am really worried that this will boil over and worst damage could be inflicted on our country.
I know I may be, being a little dramatic, but maybe it is important that we all take a pause, try to understand each other and make a plan that is good for all of us. We all need to rediscover what unites us. If you are a remain supporter, have you spoken to a leave supporter and listened to understand why they believe leaving Europe is the best thing for the country and vice versa. Please lets listen each other and find out…“What matters to us…”
What is really funny is that over the past couple of weeks I have been writing about and researching resilience, not noticing that I was becoming less and less resilient myself.
For the 2 or 3 weeks now I have been running around tending to others needs and delivering content. Now I get a lot out of both delivering teaching sessions and one to one sessions with people. However I was not noticing my own well-being and listening to my own advice. I was not giving myself time to recover (or sufficient time). I was underestimating how much all of this work takes from me, physically and mentally.
My preferred attitude is to be introverted. I find it very difficult to talk to people I do not know, or embark on new activities that involve speaking to strangers. For instance if I cannot find something in a shop I will walk out rather than asking a shop assistant. Given a choice I prefer to email or text people rather than talk on the phone.
Us humans are complicated so my introversion is not the full story. I also like to be recognised for doing a good job and I like to make a difference to people’s lives. I have learned to enjoy extroversion and I am now happy to stand in front of people to deliver content, and have coaching conversations with people. To get me to that point though requires quite a lot of energy.
This has been the problem recently, I have been coaching and teaching a lot, and I had not noticed how much this was taking from me. That is until this week. By Wednesday I could feel my resilience waning, and by Thursday night I was completely spent, getting up a going to work on Friday morning was so difficult. In fact how I felt on Friday morning reminded me of what I felt like when I was at my lowest and was unable to go to work. Yesterday I went to work. I had a plan.
I had a lovely walk in to work in the sunshine taking in the views and just being in the moment. When I got to work I talked about what was happening to me with people I trust. I could feel myself re-energising. After work I went for tea with my work colleagues. We drank we laughed, we laughed, we drunk some more, laughed some more and then went home.
I am tired this morning, a little hungover, but optimistic. I will when life gets busy, when I am required to be an extrovert, that I need to schedule in extra recovery time. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to recover. Paying attention to yourself allows you to be the best person you can be.
I have got a couple resilience projects on the go at work (in collaboration with some wonderful people) and this has peaked my interest in the subject and encouraged me to do a little bit of further reading around the subject. It has made me realise that my approach to coaching whether that be inside or outside of my work place is to build and maintain resilience, and a lot of what I was reading for the first time was in step with what I had read previously (when I was looking for inspiration for my connected living work). It is always a great feeling when you notice that all the research around, success, resilience, and well-being essentially say the same thing, it does suggest there might be some truth to it, so you may well be barking up the right tree.
Anyway, so what have I found out about resilience? As we everything the key to resilience is pretty obvious really, but not that straightforward to put into practice. Saying that it is clear that some of us naturally resilient, whereas the rest of us have got some work to do. I was reading an article from the Harvard Business Review (I know get me!), by Diane Coutu entitled ‘How Resilience Works’ (https://hbr.org/2002/05/how-resilience-works) . So Coutu suggests that resilient people and organisations possess three characteristics. When I read this it really resonated with me and I could connect it with how I approach my connected living idea and my coaching offer. So what I would do is address each characteristic and how I see it show up in my self and people around me. Hopefully it will resonate with you and help you become more resilient, at home and at work.
The 3 characteristics that Coutu suggests are present in resilient in people and organisations are: Realism, Purpose, and Resourcefulness.
How realistic are you about you current circumstances, including the risks and opportunities these circumstances hold. It is easy to deliberately not notice what is going on around us, or take our circumstances for granted. It is worth taking a few moments to critically analyse what is really going in. Ask yourself those simple questions: What assumptions am I making about my circumstances? What are the implications if I carry on this way? Is there another way to view my circumstances? What risks are there to my current circumstances? What do I need to do to reduce these risks? What can I achieve based on my circumstances? Do I need to change what I am doing to create more opportunity?
There are many more questions you can ask. The point is to raise your own awareness to help you anticipate potential threats and challenges. It is not about being risk averse, is about being risk aware.
The idea is that if you go through life just hoping for the best, you will be disappointed. It is after all the hope that kills you. If life or work is hard you need to acknowledge that and prepare for it. For instance working as a Healthcare Professional anywhere in the world is hard work, and is relentless, with very little reward. If you hope that it will get easier and that one day you will go into work and have more resources than you need, everyone will get better and your boss will send you home early with a well earned bonus, you will soon become disheartened. Whereas if you expect to work really had with limited resources and plan for that, and can see all the positives that you get from caring for people (the personal satisfaction that comes from making a difference), you are much more likely to thrive in that environment and be successful.
Does what you do, have a purpose? Are you clear why you do things? Is what you do in concert with your values? If we don’t fully appreciate or believe in what we are doing then we can feel disenfranchised from our work and lives quite quickly. As we have discussed before having meaning is vital for our well-being. This is as important for teams and organisations as it is for individuals. We have to buy into the values of the organisation we work for and see that those around us also buy into those values including the senior management. It is worth finding out what your core values are using the values exercise I offered in my previous post https://mattycoach71.com/2019/02/10/my-writing-progress/
It is worth understanding when you work with your values and and when you don’t and how that makes you feel.
The third characteristic is being resourceful. It is not always possible to have the resources you need to get the job done. So sometimes you have to be creative with what you have got, whether that is physical or psychological resource. Do you find yourself moaning about not having the right equipment, or that you don’t have enough, or it is out of date? Do you say to yourself or others that you don’t know how to do something a certain way, so you give up? In other words do you work from a point of view of scarcity? Being resourceful is turning that on it’s head and looking at what you do have and how you can solve the problem, rather than looking at what you don’t have and what you cannot solve. This takes practice and challenge to change your mindset. Having the negative mindset however does not change what you need to do. Exploring possibilities opens up options that you may not have see were there.
Just having one or two of these characteristics is not enough to be resilient. To be truly resilient you will need all 3 characteristics. On the face of it, it seems quite obvious. It is however not that easy and takes practice and persistence to achieve.
By all means get in touch if you want to discuss your personal resilience or the resilience of you team in more detail.
Before I start talking about what has happened to me this week, I would just like to share something that I am noticing about myself at the moment. My weeks seem to be going a lot faster at the moment. I know it is a very middle aged British thing to say. It must be that I am so engaged with the content of my week that I do not notice the time passing. There you are, just something I wanted to share.
So Monday and Tuesday saw me introducing Compassionate Clinical Supervision to 6 senior Nurses/Practitioners. Compassionate Clinical Supervision is the particular style of Clinical Supervision we have adopted in Hull and are teaching our Nursing and ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) staff. Clinical Supervision (in the Nursing world) is an important but much neglected practice. The purpose is to support the nurse in their practice, and improve outcomes for patients. Now we have added compassion into clinical supervision. The emphasis of our supervision is restorative, with the premise being that a Practitioner will be better able to show compassion to their patients if they are able to accept compassion from themselves and those around them. Healthcare is challenging, it always has been and always will be, and in the context of modern society can feel more challenging than ever. Therefore it is more important than ever to formalise an approach that goes some way to restore our Nurses/Practitioners. So that is what we are doing by training Nurses/Practitioners to be Clinical Supervisors.
The training we offer is held over 3 days. The first 2 days are positioned consecutively with the third day about a fortnight later. Day 1 and 2 are quite full on, so that is why we have a gap before we come back with the 3rd day.
Normally there would be 2 of us delivering the training as the training is very practice heavy, therefore it is easy to observe what is going on during the practice supervision sessions with 2 sets of eyes. However my partner in crime had succumb to the dreaded respiratory viruses that circulate this time of year. That meant that I was single handed, a challenge but one that I relished.
I met 6 wonderful people who made the 2 days extremely enjoyable, and I would like to think that all of us took something valuable away from those 2 days. We had some really useful rumbles that allowed us to really dig into the group supervision process and tackle some of the more challenging moments that turn up when supervising groups.
When I got home on Tuesday night I felt mentally satisfied but exhausted. I was glad I had experienced those 2 days but also glad it was over.
Wednesday was spent running around catching up with people that I had not seen for a few weeks. Just checking in with them and making sure they were OK. There are some days that are just taken up with restorative conversations, or making arrangements for various staff to get the support they need and deserve. Wednesday felt like I was just paying attention to some of my spinning plates that were maybe at risk of running out of spin and going crashing to the floor. There was also some work on resilience that myself and some colleagues needed to get started. So it was a running around kind of day. I love days like that (well at least one a week, a full week of them is a little testing).
Thursday was spent in Leeds attending to the second half of the title of today’s blog. Attending a CPD day on Ethics in Coaching. in terms of my coaching journey, this at the moment feels like one of the most impactful days I have had. It is always great to connect up with other Coaches that work in healthcare, and then add on some really useful content and that turns it into a quite special day. I found it particularly useful in the context of me learning to be a Coaching Supervisor, my role as a Clinical Supervisor and as a Coach. The tools and concepts that I was introduced to, resonated with all of those roles I hold and I could clearly see how I could apply them to help either myself or my client consider the ethics of what is in front of us. When I booked on the day I felt it was important to do to understand the boundaries and rules of coaching, but I thought it would be quite dull and dry. I never anticipated it would have such an impact on me and how I view my work. I was completely engaged during the whole day, and was disappointed the day had come to an end.
Friday was dominated with the resilience work for me. We spent a large part of the afternoon thrashing out a presentation on resilience for leaders to be delivered early next week. I love coming up with ideas but struggle sometimes with making a tangible product, so I was glad of my colleagues who have more of an eye for detail. My day ended with my own coaching. I have felt frazzled for a few weeks with so much happening, so I was really looking forward to some restorative coaching, and my coach did not disappoint. She gave me the space to talk about all the things that are making me frazzled and getting in the way of me achieving my goals. It was one of those sessions where I could feel a physical change in myself after the coaching. Thank you Coach.
What a fantastic morning it is this morning in East Yorkshire. After such a stormy few days, wondered to myself when I was taking the the dog out, is Spring in the air?
The daffodils are blooming, there are buds on the trees, there is birdsong in the air and the sun is shining.
There is something so restorative about springtime, it signifies new life, all the trees and flowers come back to life, hibernating animals wake up, the birds start building nests and laying eggs. We all get out in the garden and start tidying, and planting, we throw open our doors and windows and start our spring clean.
Maybe we need to harness this positivity, and start making a difference in other parts of our life? Is it time to spring clean our professional life’s, or is time to start a new project?
For me spring brings new possibilities with starting my strategic coaching diploma, being halfway through my coaching supervision course, delivering clinical supervision training to nurses across the trust, and delivering my new manager as a coach programme to managers in the trust. Incidentally I have developed a a non-NHS manager as coach three day programme, that can be delivered to small groups of managers and leaders in small to medium businesses and voluntary groups. I also rolling out my connected coaching product outside of the NHS. This includes one to one coaching, workshops, short presentations, and a book. Bloody hell I am going to be busy this spring. The work outside the NHS is a little more challenging as I have spent my whole working life in the NHS. Therefore marketing is something I have never had to think about before. I am however enjoying the journey and discovering skills I didn’t know I had. So watch this space this spring both inside and outside the NHS. if you are thinking of a project and think you might benefit from a coaching critical companion approach, get in touch. If you would like me to deliver manager as a coach training, then get in touch, or if you just want a chat to exchange a few ideas then again just get in touch.
Let’s make this spring special, with all that is going on around us, we certainly need it.
Thursday and Friday saw me in Leeds with my friend and colleague Becky, on a Coaching Supervision course.
What a restorative couple of days it was too. I met up with some amazing fellow coaches, who have the same outlook on life and coaching as me. We all work for the NHS around Yorkshire in largely similar roles, but with different professional backgrounds.
It was just lovely to meet new people that share my passion for coaching and supporting people. When we are busy in our little silos it is easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and the issues where we work. When you meet up with people from around the region, you realise the problems you thought were unique are shared by others, and you notice you are not alone.
I had a wonderful 2 days and made some excellent connections that will support me on my coaching journey.
The content of the course is also worth a mention. So far this has been one of the most useful courses I have been on and has given me the confidence to get supervising coaches and at the same time helped me reflect on my coaching practice. Being in the presence of expert coaches is so restorative and inspiring. I am really looking forward to the next 2 days.
Since my blog last week I have been pondering the worries, and anxieties we experience when we are growing up.
Exams, deciding on our careers, the pressure of succeeding, coming to terms with our identity, forming relationships, grappling with our sexuality and whether we are getting enough of it, and learning how to be an adult.
However when I explored all these themes I started to recognise and remember the tremendous fun that can be had growing up, and finding your way in life.
The thing is the build up to this early adulthood can be full of fear, and trepidation for what comes next. Am I going to pass my GCSE’s? Will I get the apprenticeship I want? Will I get to do the course I want to do in sixth form? Will I get enough points for the University I want to go to? Will I fit in? Does he/she fancy me?
As mentioned before we are hardwired for pessimism. We look for what goes wrong to protect ourselves. When we are adolescents our rational brain is still developing and our emotional brain is in full swing. So fitting in and succeeding as a tribe member are more important than anything else. We push our boundaries with our parents as we prepare to leave the nest, whilst still needing to be looked after and nurtured.
It is very easy for young people to get caught up in this desire to succeed and fit in, that they can forget to appreciate all the great things that are happening around them. The picture above illustrates that there are plenty of young people having a great time. There are also plenty that struggle through their adolescents, and then there are the majority who fall in the middle, who if they were a little more mindful would have so much more fun than they are having.
If you are between 16-21 years and spend a lot of time worrying about succeeding and fitting in, or if you have a child who worries about their success and fitting in, then it is possible to re-frame how you or they look at the world around you or them.
The connected coaching approach of getting to know and understand yourself and how you view your world. Once you appreciate what makes you tick and what triggers you, you are then able to challenge yourself and offer yourself an alternative viewpoint. Now this takes a bit of practice and will not happen over night. If you are prepared to spend some time going practicing these techniques you will change the way you view your world and get so much more from it.
If you are interested in finding out more then please get in touch.