Sharing the Coaching Message

It has been a distracting week. I can back from leave on Monday and was still preoccupied with thoughts about the health of a member of my family. They are getting better, but I live and work the other side of the country and I am a natural worrier. I speak to them everyday so I am reassured daily, which is lovely, however it does not stop my emotional brain running riot and jumping to conclusions in between. I have been talking about my worries with friends and close colleagues who have been helping me find perspective, so thank you to all of you. So as I say it has been difficult to keep my focus on other parts of my life (like work). Saying that it has been quite a full on week, in both my roles. I have been doing quite a few one to one coaching and clinical supervision sessions. In times of stress I find these quite therapeutic. When I am stressed and feeling vulnerable I like to move into my comfort zone, and my default setting is compassion and empathy, so entering into a one to one with someone who have stuff to work through is perfect for me. I can sit listen and be a witness to their emotions, offering observations, asking questions to help them get to where they need to be. There are points in our life where we just need to wallow, and just feel sorry for ourselves, with someone we trust alongside us. I know I have certainly done that this week, and I have gladly performed the role of witness/supporter for others. What is important when you are being the witness/supporter is that you suppress the desire to make it better, that is not for you to do. Just by being there and offering your ear and shoulder is all the help they need. Not everything can or needs to be fixed. Well this blog was supposed to be about my day at the HEAT 2019 medical conference, but as what normally happens I have spent half a page sorting my own feelings out.

So back on track! I spent yesterday attending the 8th annual HEAT 2019 Conference. This is a medical education conference for Hull University Hospital NHS Trust. As Coaching Lead for the Trust I was invited to deliver a coaching workshop, which of course I was delighted to accept. The theme for this year’s conference was Health, Well-being and Resilience (right up my street). The key-note speeches were on resilience in the face of adversity, returning to practice, fatigue and the coaching service offered to trainee medical staff. The afternoon were dedicated to workshops including my brief introduction to coaching, mindfulness, and resilience.

As they had, had a very comprehensive introduction to what coaching is, and the documented evidence of it’s usefulness, the workshop was an opportunity for the participants to be coached. Once I had set them up and goal them thinking about a goal they wanted to achieve and provided context to the techniques I would be using, I then coached them using the blind coaching technique, where I ask them all a series of questions that deliver more detail to their goal and starts to populate an action plan with time frames and metrics to measure progress. Each participant is invited to write down their answers to the questions and use their answers as the basis for their action plan going forward. If anything this technique demonstrates that coaching is more than just a conversation and can be quite a challenging relationship, that is focused on achieving results. t

Both the workshops when well, with everyone fully participating and appearing to get something for it. I found it rewarding but mentally tiring. When I am feeling vulnerable like I am this week, I default to my introverted attitude, therefore delivering a workshop for Doctors required a lot of mental energy. All I wanted to do was to sit quietly and listen to others speak. But I stole myself dug deep and put myself in the arena. When it had finished I was spent. I dared greatly and as far as I can tell it paid off.

If you are interested in knowing more about coaching, don’t forget I offer 1:1 coaching skills for leaders and short masterclasses for small groups. If you work for the Trust I run a Manager as Coach course and more dates for next year will be out soon (all this years are fully booked).

If you think you may benefit from being coached get in touch.

Week off to re-charge

I had rather an eventful week last week, popping over the other side of the country to see a member of my family who was poorly. They are fine now, and I am certain it was more for my benefit than theirs. My mind is at rest, and I have now stopped letting my imagination get the better of me.

You may remember in my last blog, that I have started a course on strategic coaching, and I was doing some research in preparation for writing my assignment, on coaching and mentoring in an organisational culture. So everyday this week I have spent a couple of hours continuing the research and making copious notes, on organisational culture, coaching and mentoring policies, and people strategies to name a few of the subjects I have been immersing my self in every morning this week. So for many of you that may sound as dull as ditch water. For me it has been restorative and enlightening. I know! I’m a boring bastard! When I have not been writing I have been re-acquainting myself with one of my favourite writers Brene Brown. Before I went to Chester I ordered Rising Strong, so it was waiting for me on my return. If you are feeling less than resilient at the moment, if you have been knocked down and are struggling to get back up, then this is the book for you. Have you seen her Netflix special yet? If not seek it out, I laughed, cried and felt inspired.

It has been a week where I could work at my own pace, where I could just allow my anxieties and worries wash over me. Where I could just let myself be me.

I spent the other evening trawling through Spotify to compile a playlist, as you know I love music and often bang on about my eldest son’s band (incidentally they are playing in Manchester on 30th April at The Castle Hotel, please pop along and say hello if you are in the area), oh and now my youngest is in a band now, so I will be boring you all about them soon enough, I have heard some early demo’s and they are pretty awesome. Anyway as I was telling you I spent the other evening compiling a playlist of new music. There is a lot of really good music with something to say at the moment. So if you are interested in music and if like me it holds mystical restorative powers for you, I have included a link to this playlist for you.

Ahh April Playlist


I hope you enjoy the playlist, I generally use music to help me be present, it suspends my thought process as I let the sounds wash over me, I can then focus on what is happening to me at that moment, how the music interacts with my senses and allows me to tune into my environment. I have started running again. I wish I hadn’t stopped, as it has been harder than ever to get going with it again. I am using a couch to 5k app, and it is really helping me, but so is using my playlists, they don’s stop the discomfort but they help me reconcile it, and gets me through that initial discomfort. I am beginning to feel they I am making progress, which is good really as I doing the Hull 10k in June (no pressure). Wish me luck!

All in all another good week, roll on the next, and lets see what adventures that brings.

Back to The Books

After a 2 year gap(ish) I have gone back to studying. A correspondence course this time via Brighton School of Business and Management and the Chartered Management Institute. You guessed it, it is another coaching course.

Over Christmas I was looking round for a coaching course that was the next level up, that would benefit me day to day work as coaching lead and compliment my private coaching work. So I asked myself, what makes me feel the most uncomfortable, what do I find the most difficult, what do I avoid if I can. The answer is simple really, it is the strategic side of coaching and mentoring. In essence the embedding of coaching and mentoring within an organisation. How do I make a service that is robust enough, and simple enough to become second nature in an organisation. I want to create a service that makes a difference and continues to evolve. As well as creating a fantastic coaching and mentoring service and culture in my own organisation I want to be able to support other organisations, big and small create their own coaching and mentoring culture. So that was the aim I set myself.

I found this Level 7 Strategic Coaching and Mentoring Diploma via the CMI and went for it. Each module answers the questions that worry me. It is going to push me, but looking at my first assignment and the materials on offer it is going to do more than help me strategically, it will help me see my coaching practice through a new set of eyes. I am already thinking about how I can support Executives and business owners, to help them develop an excellence mindset. In fact I have already started to adapt my coaching offer to reflect this. So if you are an Exec or a business owner that wants to try out something new to flex your performance, send me an email, it would be great to explore it’s benefits.

You may notice though that as deadlines for assignments gets closer there may be fewer blogs. It will also slow down the book progress (which to be fair is quite slow anyway). I may however share as many nuggets of wisdom as I find.

Just a short blog today as I am still at my Mum’s and I need to get ready to travel back to Hull.

Have a lovely Easter weekend

Please lets look for what unites us?

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 MATTERS TO YOU?

How Do We Know if We Are Truly Resilient?

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.

Realism

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.

Purpose

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.

Resourcefulness

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.

A Week of Compassion and Ethics

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.

Roll on next week and more adventures

Is Spring in The Air?

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.