Coaches Connect 2013 reflections

3 years ago I wrote a blog post Thinking BIG: Turning vision into reality where I had a vision of  what it would be like…. if we (coaches) came together and shared our practice and experiences so that we can learn from each other, extend our professional networks, collaborate….and from that the first Coaches Connect was born on 22 July 2011.

On the 7 June Coaches Connect 2013 took place on a glorious sunny Friday in Leeds. The warmth and the energy of the day was equally matched by the speakers and participants.

A day of sharing and connecting it truly was and I was delighted that the vision, values and ethos that I had in my mind’s eye when I started out back in 2011 was being played out before my eyes.

Geetu kicked off the day with an apt sentence ‘coaches need to connect and collaborate so that they can influence’. United we have a stronger voice for bringing about change. I also believe that by sharing good practice we are able to raise the standard of coaching and create a learning community.

CC13 Geetu 3

The ‘High performing teams through team emotional intelligence’ session brought out some new learning for me. These included the work of Susan Fiske in the 5 fundamental needs of the team and how interaction generates emotions and what the team does with that emotion affects its success and performance.

Emotions drive behaviour and the Team Ei survey tool is an intervention which considers the impact of the team environment on the person’s behaviour. It is a powerful and different way of  getting to the heart  of team performance.

CC13 Katy

Technology has opened up many opportunities for coaches allowing them to use their skills and expertise across the globe

Katy’s session ‘Local to Global– coaching beyond the boundaries’ provided practical  tips for developing effective coaching relationships with clients across continents and cultures.

As people shared their own experiences, tips and challenges that they faced in working this way, I reflected on how powerful sharing can be – in reaffirming that what you do is ‘right’ and that others can benefit from your expertise.

As someone who prefers face to face coaching, the one thing stood out for me, was that working this way requires the acknowledgement and mindset that it will be different. As simple as this is, it wasn’t something that I had come to terms with!

CC13 Suzanna

Suzanna’s journey of working with Doncaster College over the last 3 years to develop, deliver and implement a coaching culture was a fascinating one which demonstrated that sustainable change takes time to embed.

The ‘how to’, step by step approach provided real insight and examples of how this was achieved. What stood out here was just not the top down approach, the commitment of the CEO and senior management team, embedding coaching at every level of the organisation, but the holistic approach used. I did reflect that if organisations adopted a more  holistic methodology so much more could be achieved.

CC13 Lucy2

Lucy’s 2 hour workshop on Positive Psychology in action was energetic, participative and littered with activities to get us involved in the topic.

As a proponent of positive psychology I admired how she had utilised her knowledge and expertise and transferred them into creating practical tools such as frameworks, diagrams, cards…to use that are visual, stimulates conversation, insight and yet backed by research and evidence.

I particularly liked the practical exercises and questions which stimulated my thinking. I hooked onto the ‘we are often at our best, when our strengths work together as a cluster’ and the question: How does your cluster of strengths work in combination and define you at work?

One of the exercises was ‘Amplify or dial down’ on how our strengths can be overused and become our Achilles Heel. I could relate to and felt that at times my strengths were becoming my weaknesses and explored this in my blog, ‘Can your strengths become your flaws’ 

CC13 Gina and Helen

Gina and Helen shared their organic and systemic approach to changing culture at Burnley Council. Again this was practical and gave real insights into what they did and how they did it and their journey in achieving the 2012 EMCC Coaching Organisation Award,  IiP Gold and Champion Status and a National Training Award for the Coaching Ambassador Programme.

billBill’s presentation on how Saracens combine an evidence-based approach with a people-centred approach opened up some new perspectives for me. From the tough world of sports and analytics, the 2Ps of effective organisations were People and Purpose – hearts and minds, cognitions and emotions; care and focus.

Bill drew on the work of  John Wooden  a basket ball coach whose legacy of leadership transcends athletics.  Wooden defined success in a way that is within your grasp: Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.

Wooden’s Pyramid of Success consists of a set of philosophical building blocks for winning and his 12 lessons of leadership has at its heart character-based leadership.

As the day drew to a close and on listening to participants’ feedback  it was clear that the day had achieved what it set out to do:

  1. Enabling coaches to connect and build relationships
  2. Gain new perspectives, share good practice, add to their tool kit
  3. Get inspiration from the speakers and a day that is interactive, energising, engaging

I hope that in some small way it has made a difference to their coaching practice.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Goddin @ChangeContinuum  for engaging with us on the day via Twitter and special thanks to Jo Royle @ThePensiveCoach for promoting the event on Twitter. Thanks also to @JanBrause @susanjritchie @Emmyyeadon @katycatalyst for their Twitter support.

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About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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