Introducing The Wonders of Coaching and Reverend and The Makers

At the beginning of the week I had 2 wonderful telephone meetings with the coach that will be delivering the taught aspect of the coaching qualification we are hosting in March. I will be working alongside him getting a feel for delivering the course sometime in the future. As always a conversation with Anthony always leaves me motivated and positive. A large part of the second meeting was a mini coaching conversation concentrating on my feelings about my role in the teaching sessions and my role as lead coach. We examined where I see myself and what presence I want to have in both sessions, and what mindset I need to have to create a comfort in that presence. As with all successful coaching conversations they go beyond the meeting and continue internally throughout the rest of the day and evening. The next day I was due to co-deliver a one day manager as a coach training session. The questions and challenges posed by Anthony sat with me in the evening before asking me to exam my approach to delivering the content alongside the author.

I met up with Lucy the author of the training day before the session. Lucy is my manager for the 2 Coaching lead days I work. She is however more than my boss. She is a fellow coach and is responsible for me becoming a coach and doing the role I do. So she is my sponsor, mentor and coach. Because we have this relationship I feel comfortable discussing my feelings and insecurities about teaching alongside her. When you co-deliver a training session that provokes discussion it is important to learn how work in harmony. I like to think of it as a dance. When you first dance with someone new you sometimes step on each other’s toes. The key to becoming seamless is to accept that this will happen and check in with each other during the day. I love working with Lucy in these days, we have a lot of fun and I learn so much from her.

The training day itself was a success. The candidates played their part and contributed to the day, creating an energy in the room. The best training sessions is where the session is not dominated by one voice, but everyone contributes and we all learn something, that certainly was happening on Thursday. The most successful aspect was that there are now 7 more leaders that have realised the power of high quality questions and hopefully have the confidence in trying them out.

On Friday I was on my own giving a brief half day introduction into coaching. This was the first time I had delivered it. I spent Thursday evening and Friday morning wondering how I was going to get all the information needed to introduce coaching into a three and a half hour teaching session. In the end it was simple really, have a coaching conversation and discuss it. That is essentially what I did and then we ended with everyone practicing a coaching conversation. I was coached by one of the participants and found that 10 minute conversation so powerful that I felt quite emotional. That is how powerful a simple short coaching conversation can be. Some one who at the beginning of the morning who did not think they could coach someone and when faced with coaching me looked terrified, was able to raise my awareness on my career progression to such an extent that I felt quite emotional. All she did was ask 4 high quality questions. Granted she had a list of questions that she could use to help her, however she chose the 4 questions that she thought would help me raise my own awareness. It was quite incredible.

As you can see I have had another inspiring week at work. Personally it has been a little more frustrating. The pain in my heel is still preventing me from running and I cannot motivate myself to find an alternative exercise regime. I have found myself concentrating on work so have not put any thought into any other action plans. We will see over the next week or so how that pans out. I feel that fitness will rise up my priority list soon, as I am on holiday in a couple of weeks.

Last night we went to see Reverend and The Makers at Northpoint Shopping Centre! Yes you read it correctly as part of the UK City of Culture, bands and other acts are invited to perform in venues throughout the city that would not normally be used for arts.

If I am honest I did not fancy going. They are not really my thing, I was tired and my foot was hurting after being on my feet most of the day. I went thinking they would be entertaining, it would distract me, I might end up liking them more and Lisa really wanted to go. I went along not really feeling it, but trying my best to be positive and open minded. The wait for the band coming on seemed to me to be forever. It was an hour and half. For some reason there was no support act. I am sure there are plenty of local bands that would have been happy to play for free, to get the exposure. We were not so lucky, instead we were subjected to a very strange Indie disco in a shopping centre with no heating, with around a thousand drunk and getting more drunk by the minute middle aged couples (we were sober, that is myself, Lisa and our friend Paula). The band came on at 9pm, by this point I was cold, tired and pissed off. They were going to have to be amazing to win me over now. Unfortunately they fell short of amazing for me. They started ok, then they had some technical issues with a guitar. They started to lose the crowd and for a short while you could sense that this could go south quite quickly, especially after they tried to soldier on and destroyed their most famous song. They did however manage to turn it round and won quite a few people over and the bouncing recommenced. I wasn’t one of them I am afraid, they were alright but I was cold and tired and wanted to be at home. God that sounds so middle aged. If they had, had a decent warm up act I may have felt different, but I fear they needed to have been a different band.

Oh well you cannot have everything and on balance this week has been very positive,

Here is a picture of last night, as I said those in front appeared to be enjoying it.

Painful Heel, no running, play acting and living the dream

Last Sunday, it felt like I had broken something in my foot (I am a big baby when it comes to pain)! It turns out after much drama, involving me limping around the house moaning and whinging that I have plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia, which I think is tendon on the bottom of my foot). See my heel has been sore and my ankle stiff for a few weeks, I wrongly thought it was arthritis so thought the more I use it the better it will be. Well no! The more I ran on it the worse it got, culminating in my agony last Sunday. So the advice is from my running expert friends and NHS Choices is pain killers, rest and gentle exercises, so no running. That has seriously pissed me off. My running career had been hit and miss and I was just beginning to get back into a routine and it has stopped again! Anyway I am resting it as much as I can and taking my pain killers. Hopefully it won’t be too long before it settles down.

Other than that last week was very positive at work. I am in the process of putting together the cohort of the coaching course we are hosting, and it is beginning to take shape nicely. I have also been asked to help deliver clinical supervision training across the trust. For both of these courses I will be working alongside 2 incredible trainers who have influenced my own approach to delivering training, so it is so exciting to be working with 2 legends. Then on Wednesday I was helping out a development centre, where we help existing managers stretch their management and leadership skills. I am often asked to help out in these due to my dubious acting skills. I always play the role of a dodgy professor, with suspect working practices who is interested in doing some new and radical treatments. These managers are tasked with managing my work plan and my expectations without damaging my massive but fragile ego. I had the most enormous fun, and I must say the managers did an incredible job to take me to task without destroying me.

The weekend was taken up with domestic chores, Lisa was working so I was let loose with hoover, mop and iron along with my usual cooking duties. I know how to live. I did think about trying to get a sick note for all things domestic due to my injury but thought better of it. In fact I particularly enjoyed mopping in my funky mopping socks.

Really what kind of week has it been?

Have the weeks been shortened? I am sure we used to get more of week when I was younger.

I started thinking about what I had done this week and realised that was the week before!

There are so many things I need to do at the moment, that time just seems to fly by.

We all say we don’t have enough time to do things we want to. Well I challenge that notion. I know I said the week has flown by, but if I am honest I have done all the things I wanted to do. All the activities and work I have done, I value higher that the activities and work I didn’t do. Sometimes we like to think we want to do something that sounds worthwhile or is good for you, but don’t by saying we didn’t have time. That might be visiting friends or family, going for a run, writing that book, organising your office. You tell yourself you would have done them if you had the time. I say no you wouldn’t! Ask yourself what activities at work and at home are immovable, you will do them no matter what? For me that is currently completing monthly training compliance for each staff member, meeting staff members for coaching, cooking tea for my family. I will not, not do these, and become distressed if I cannot do these. I value them above say going to certain meetings, going to the gym, and cutting the lawn (in the summer). It is not always things we enjoy that we prioritise, often it is what we think is important or that we don’t have a choice over. There will however always be something we enjoy that we make a priority even if we don’t like to admit it. I know plenty of people that work late on a regular basis and do so because they get engrossed in what they are doing. There are others that feel guilty not prioritising certain things and end up staying late to finish them. That for me is worrying that they don’t value their personal self, and will end up being less productive and increasingly unhappy. These are the people who need a coach with them to raise awareness of their values.

Any way my week has been very productive. I have been talking to potential coaches about starting our coaching course. So lots of varied conversations that have actually raised my own awareness about my coaching. I spent Monday and Friday talking to our rotation nurses and setting their objectives. Tuesday was spent talking to students from Hull college, showing them how to make beds and discussing patient hygiene, pressure sore prevention, privacy and dignity and professionalism. I love talking to young people about my passion for care and compassion. I also spent some time re-igniting and not doubt prioritising some work I started on nutrition, and preparing to launch our children’s sepsis management plan, now the paperwork has come from the printers we can make final plans for launch (another change of priority, something that has been in the background whilst waiting for the paperwork to arrive).

There is no surprise really that the week flew by.

What kind of week has it been?

sleepy-bear1

What kind of week has it been? Feel free to answer if you wish, the question was initially posed by myself to myself to figure out what I was going to write about today.

I woke up this morning at some ridiculous hour for a weekend morning. This is something I do every Saturday to witness my youngest wake up and stumble out of the door to go do his paper round. This is often a painful anxiety ridden routine that is repeated just by me on a Saturday, but is played out every weekday morning with Lisa, plus or minus my insightful albeit irritating (according to my youngest and Lisa) interjections. On a Saturday however the pleasure of this delightful early morning encounter is all mine. I say all mine, I know Jack is present, but his take on the whole episode is very different from mine. To give you a better idea of my angst ridden Saturday morning I will describe it to you in some detail.

The day starts at 5am with Lisa’s alarm going off (or is it 5:30, not sure but it is bloody early). This is to alert her that it is time for Ben (our eldest) to get up to go to work at the Newsagent. This is essentially a redundant exercise as Ben is always up (he is like his Dad, he has no problem getting up and getting ready). I then go back off to sleep. 10 minutes later Lisa’s alarm goes off again! This I assume (I know I shouldn’t assume, but it is ten past effing five in the effing morning) is to remind her that Ben is getting up, for the life of me I don’t know why she needs reminding, at this point he is either eating breakfast downstairs or brushing his teeth. Now I am awake feeling a little stressed and guilty. I am feeling guilty that I am feeling bad thoughts towards my family and how much nicer it was when I could just lay in bed until say 8 O’clock (as I write this it is approx. 8:20am, and Lisa is still in bed!).

By about 6am I start to drift off to sleep again, only to be startled by to wakefulness by my own alarm at 6:30am. Time to remind Jack of his contractual obligation with the local newsagent. Jack does have an alarm on his phone, but we have discouraged him from using it, as for some anatomical anomaly he is incapable of hearing it, and yet the rest of the effing house can hear LOUD AND CLEAR! I find normally that if you repeat his name 4 times starting with a normal tone raising to a near shout is effective in the short-term.

It is now 6:40am, now my understanding is that he is due to be at newsagent at 7am, however Jack assures me most Saturdays that he needs to be there after 7:15am due to the apparent tardiness of the weekend newspaper delivery driver, and the owner cannot face having spending more than necessary amount of time in the company several adolescents that early in the morning and in such a confined space. As I explained Jack gives me these assurances on a regular basis, I am sure he is telling the truth, however every week, I manage to ignore this and start to get anxious, about him being late and getting in to trouble or even sacked. In the cold light of day, for the life of me I cannot understand why that would be a bad thing,  but then that is just me being a grumpy old bastard. So at 6:43 after I have visualised him being summarily dismissed from his position as newspaper delivery boy, I venture out into the freezing cold garden in my pyjamas to prepare his bike, safety equipment (hi-vis and helmet) and paper boys bag.

6:45am I am back in the house shivering, there is no sign of any movement from Jack’s bedroom. I shout up the stairs.

“Jack are you awake?”

“What?”

“Are you awake!?”

No response

“Jack!!!!”

“What!?”

“Are you awa…… doesn’t matter.”

I then hear the door shut. I feel better, he is up, I can relax.

7:08am I have not heard any movement since the door shut.

“You do know it is ten past seven?” I shout upstairs.

“I’m getting ready!!!!” Is he incredulous reply.

7:10 he is down stairs putting his trainers on staring into space, something comes on the TV that grabs his attention. It is as if someone has pressed his pause button.

“Jack! You are going to be late!”

“Calm down Dad, I tell you every week we don’t need to be the until after 7:15.

He gets up and leaves, shouting see ya as he walks out the door.

I do need to take a leaf out of his book, and just chill. He still gets there when he needs to. I just cannot be like that, I need to be somewhere early just so I know I am not late.

So that was my Saturday morning and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I started with the question, what kind of week has it been?

Well it has been a great week. I may tell you about it tomorrow.

 

The Confidence Factor

I am back on track with my goal, of running the Hull 10k in June.

Being on the cuddly side of large, having confidence is a considerable factor when it comes to running.

The confidence is 2 fold. There is the confidence of being out in public in sports wear, looking like you are about to collapse in a pool of sweat gasping for air. Then there is the confidence in my fitness and ability to run any kind of distance.

Now back in November I was running 5km 3 times a week. So I can do it, I can have the confidence to run a good distance in public in shorts. After all not 18 months ago myself and Lisa stumbled round the Great North Run in front of thousands of people. The problem with confidence is though that it can leave you. When you stop doing something, or when something happens, that changes your mood.

Because I had a break from running for December and now most of January my fitness level dropped, and my mood dropped. Then I felt guilty that I wasn’t keeping fit and running like I said I would. Then I tried to start back up, without much planning and thought. So when I did go for a run a few weeks ago it was hard work and that took me by surprise as it was harder than I thought it would be. That knocked my confidence and dropped my mood further.

So what is different this time? Well I have planned for the run to hurt and for me to feel like s fat blob running in treacle. You know both the run on Sunday and today were hard but not as bad as I expected. I did feel self conscious but not as bad as I thought, I also made sure I ran when there was less people. I have also set myself a slow conservative regime slowly building the distance I run, but with the permission to run further sooner if I feel confident enough. So yes it hurt yes I feel a twit in my running gear, but in my mind I have the image of me in June running 10k and feeling so proud of my achievement. In fact I am feeling all emotional writing it.

I know I will falter again, each time I will re-examine my goal and my plan and keep doing that until I achieve my goal.

How are you doing with your goals?

I don’t know about you……?

lack-of-motivation-tshirt

Since New Year my motivation has been seriously waning. As previously mentioned my main goal this year was to carry on running and improve my fitness.

Well I am ashamed to say my progress to continue this goal has been completely pants. My motivation has not gone completely but it is not what it should be. One reason is that keeping fit has dropped in my priority list, and getting in from work and lazing around on the sofa has gone up in my priority list. This no doubt is a symptom of putting a lot of effort into my work at the moment, with the change in my working patterns still new. However this is not the full picture. I have also neglected my goal and the reasons why I why want achieve my goal. It is vital to check in regularly with your goal and your motivation to achieve it. This then leads you to examine the action plans you have put in place and test their effectiveness. I also have to accept that my goal maybe is not specific enough and it is not completely clear when I will achieve and what my level of commitment is. In a nutshell I have lost my way and let my goals drift.

I am certain if I had used a coach or even coaching conversations I would no doubt still be working successfully towards my goal. As I am a coach maybe I subconsciously decided to coach myself, or just fell into the trap of coaching myself. Self coaching though rarely works. As mentioned before coaching is about raising your awareness, shining a light on previously unnoticed potential, and noticing and testing assumptions. It is very difficult to see examine yourself objectively and not collude with your emotional self. A good coach can do that by asking high quality but really quite simple and obvious questions, that do what I described above.

Now I thought I would get us all started on defining our goal, testing our desire to achieve, exploring what actions we need to take, identifying the potential difficulties and so on. By asking a series of questions in a blind coaching style. So if you are up for it and would like to define your goal better and ultimately achieve your goal answer the questions below. This will get you started, however you will need to check in with a coach or someone you know that will not try to hijack you by giving you advice. Someone that will help you keep motivated. I am going to do it and check in with a coach at work I will then let you know how I am doing periodically.

Get a pen and paper, open your mind and be honest.

  • Do have something you want to achieve?
  • Can you write it down in a sentence?
  • When do you want to achieve this by? (Give an actual date such as 27th July 2018 instead of 6 months)
  • How will you know you have achieved it? (How will you measure your progress and achievement)
  • Using a scale of your own devising (1-10 if you like), how much do want to achieve this? (If your score is 5 or below have another look at your goal)
  • What can you possibly do to achieve your goal? (Possibly is the important word, use your imagination)
  • Is there anything else?
  • What resources could you possibly use to achieve your goal?
  • Is there anything else?
  • Who could you possibly involve to help you achieve your goal? (again be imaginative, don’t just think of people you know and speak to, think about who you admire, who has an impact on you)
  • Is there anybody else?
  • For those people you have contact with, how are you going to persuade people to buy-in to your goal?
  • Is there anybody else that could possibly help you?
  • What are the possible barriers to you achieving your goal?
  • What are the possible pitfalls you may encounter on the way to achieving your goal?
  • What are the possible risks to you achieving your goal?
  • How can you possibly overcome those barriers, avoid those pitfalls and reduce those possible risks?
  • What are the possible implications of you achieving your goal? (Both positive and negative)
  • What possible assumptions are you making about achieving your goal? (can be about you, other people, the goal itself or the result of achieving your goal)
  • When are you going to start achieving your goal? (again write down a specific date)
  • How much time will you need to set aside to achieve your goal?
  • Do you have space in your routine to accommodate this time?
  • If not what are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve your goal?
  • Can you write down in your diary, planner or calendar the time you have allocated to achieve your goal?
  • Using the scale you established earlier how likely is it that you will achieve your goal in the time scale you have set? (Be honest with yourself, your score is on or below the halfway point on your scale, then go back and examine your goal, your actions and timescales)
  • Now close your eyes and imagine you have achieved your goal. Imagine the feelings that evokes. What are your friends and family are saying? Spend some time creating a clear mental picture of your success to help you motivate yourself when you start to struggle.
  • Last of all what are you going to do to celebrate when you achieve your goal?

 

Now this will get you started, but if you are serious in making this change a permanent change then find a coach, to help you stay focussed on what you want to achieve. It does not have to cost a fortune, find someone you trust and who will not be tempted to offer you advice.

 

An Exciting Week of Coaching

Last weekend I wrote about the prospect of mixing my 2 roles this week.

Well so far so good. It has been a challenging but exciting week. Monday and Tuesday I suppose were standard kind of days. Monday was a nurse educator day, with a mixture of time in my office and an afternoon of auditing on a ward and then a lovely discussion with a teenage patient her Mum and their nurse. We spent about an hour in total talking about the teenagers experience on the ward and her treatment. It was a really informative chat getting a 3 way perspective of inpatient treatment on a Children’s Ward. To keep track of the impact our care has on the young person, their parents and the nurses delivering the care is so important, but manage to do that in one go with all three parties there is a first for me and quite brilliant, I hope the parent, young person and nurse found it useful too.

Tuesday was a coaching lead day. A large part of this day was spent preparing for the launch of the coaching network, the rest of the day was taken up with a team meeting and preparing for the next day’s Human Resources time-out.

So Wednesday was the HR time-out day. I was there to introduce so coaching skills and techniques to the HR Advisors. I had developed a bespoke training session (well I took an existing training day for managers and adapted it for HR Advisors). This was the first time I had trained anyone in coaching techniques singlehanded. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was a complete needy wreck all morning. Once we were into the second half of the session and into the practice coaching session I started to relax and enjoy it. I can honestly say for large parts of the morning I was out of my comfort zone, and only in hindsight can I appreciate the session as a success. It was certainly a training day where we all learned.

Today I was back in my comfort zone with fellow nurse educators, holding the second day of the new starters catch up day, hosted by our Practice Development Matron. I facilitated the feedback session after the nurses had worked in small groups to analyse their first few months in our Trust. This is so important that both the Nurses themselves and the organisation take responsibility to learn from what worked and what didn’t work to improve our induction programs and to help us all to respond to the changing demands of delivering healthcare in 21st Century UK. Despite the challenges that are definitely evident it is heartening how positive the morning was with the emphasis being on solutions rather than problems. There are truly some talented future health leaders amongst these nurses. I certainly feel positive about our future healthcare.

Following the feedback I gave them a chance to form their own personal goals using blind coaching. I asked them a series of high quality questions designed to formulate a smart goal, examine how they are going to achieve it, what difficulties they may encounter and create a commitment to achieve it. Time will tell if any of them turn that goal into a reality.

One day left and another coaching conversation due tomorrow. A good week in all. I feel I am starting to make a difference, and influencing people’s relationship with coaching.