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What's been going over the last few months?! (click on month to scroll)

February 2019:  Coaching and closing

During February I had some brilliant coaching conversations with clients from across the public and private sectors.  However the month was noteworthy for it being the end of two projects that I have had a project and people management role in.  Both were for the National Institute of Health Research.  The first was a change project to implement a new application process for all applications for funding with the NIHR.   The project has delivered in a way that was recognised as being good practice in change management in a complex organisation.  Key to this was effective sponsorship, agreeing and abiding by clear principles for the work, proper stakeholder engagement and effective communication.  The second was supporting a multicentre research project looking at how effective digital tools are in supporting the recruitment of patients to clinical trials.  Effective recruitment to trials is critical to the evaluation of new healthcare methods and policy and the use of the digital world to help in this process without losing the human connection between clinicians and their patients.  Results are being written up for sharing at conferences and in the scientific literature later in 2019.

Coming to the end of a project is always a bitter sweet moment as the science is concluded and the fellowship of the people involved is disrupted.   However, there is the learning to reflect on and the network to keep intact for future collaboration!

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January 2019: Group coaching and awards!


I have been doing some great work with groups in January.  I combined facilitation with group coaching while supporting a meeting of colleagues from the National Institute of Health Research.  There discussion was around how the NIHR could be better with its communication to the general public as well as patients and their carers.  This communication is so important in increasing awareness of the importance of clinical research now to ensure an effective healthcare system of the future.  That awareness then needs to translate into people making an informed decision to become an active part of clinical and social care research by engaging in clinical trials.  Further it needs to support recruitment of the public into the decision making apparatus of the NIHR to ensure an active voice of the public in the decisions of what is an important research question, decisions on allocation of funding and playing an active role in designing and delivering the research project.   Fantastically important work and involving complicated messaging that needs to be expressed in plain English!  

I had another interesting half day the Sabbatical Officer team at SUSU.  We used Circles of Influence/Concern (Covey); David Rock's SCARF model; and the Lumina Spark model  as three frameworks in which to discuss how to develop emotional intelligence and resilience.  As alwasy the best work is done when a group gets motoring with their thinking and I step back.  To observe discussions like this is a real priviledge.  

SUSU are going to use Know You More ( to deliver some coaching to student officers who have expressed an interest in it.   That brings me to the news that KYM have been awarded the European Mentoring and Coaching Councils International Coaching award for 2018.  Great going and well deserved.

If you would like to know more get in touch via the contacts page.

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December 2018: Coaching and courage


I have been doing a lot of coaching in December with a very diverse group of clients who all share a common attribute.  Courage.  The courage to put their thoughts, often previously unspoken, 'out there'.  Just simply saying them out loud gives them a different form that can be anything from comforting through to frightening.  Once out there in the conscious world they can be thought about and the related feelings analysed more dispassionately. 

Anyway, I have been doing that with a range of leaders from University Residential Services, UK Directors in a large multinational and Exec team members in a NHS Trust. 

A couple of these clients came through working with Know You More, a fabulous values driven coaching organisation, of like minded coaches.   KYM is now two years old and growing quickly because it never confuses the prioritisation of  whizzy IT that facilitates online coaching with the human connection that is so important to achieve during a coaching conversation.  The former is a great enabler while the latter is critical to KYMs particular success.  Want to know more about them - check them out at  I am pleased to be one of their founding members.  

If you would like to know more get in touch via the contacts page.

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November 2018: Thinking about cathedrals and wellbeing


I was invited to facilitated at the annual Away Day of the Executive of the Association of English Cathedrals.  They had an important discussion to formulate their response and associated actions to some proposals being made about how cathedrals are governed.  It was a fascinating day in which I was reminded of a quote that I set a lot of store by 'if I am the best informed person in the room then I am in the wrong room'.   As a facilitator you have to get used to not being the subject expert and as a learner I always want to be learning from the experts.   This event was brilliant on both levels in that I trusted in my facilitation skills but did not try and claim subject expertise yet my learning need was met by listening to experts and reflecting back what I heard to them.  It was pleasing to note that one key objective of the facilitiation was achieved through the leader noting that a particularly positive element of the day was 'the imaginative and incorporative way in which the discussions took place, it achieved its purpose by being fully inclusive...'

Through November I also offered a series of discussion sessions based around well being to the membership of David Lloyd Southampton.  Three 90 minute sessions where each based around a particular quote (see to the right) and covered (i) increasing self awareness (ii) thinking about values and strengths (iii) understanding your own stress response.  The discussion was lively at each event!  It was fascinating to see a group of individuals, who did not know each other at all, gel into an effective self-help group able to support and challenge each others' thinking.  I was really struck how important it is to offer this sort of event to the general public.  There is both value in doing it and an apetite for it.

To find out even more in touch via the contacts page.

Excellent. Well worth doing.  Beats any MBTI experience I have ever done!

‘Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate’  Carl Jung

‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are’  Anais Nin

‘Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response’ 
Victor Frankl

October 2018: When things go wrong maybe its because you are doing too much of what you are good at?


I really enjoy using Lumina Spark with groups.  It creates the opportunity for conversations that really matter!  I used it with two different groups recently, one within the NIHR and another part of the Academic Health Sciences Network in the NHS.  In both cases the personalised Spark Portraits for each group member worked as a resource for them as individuals but also as a window into their preferences, they way they prefer to be and how behave when being themselves.  The opportunity to create common understanding and build ever more effective rapport using conversations around Spark portraits is almost  without boundaries.  The language is so rich and accessible.  Simply the word 'preference' shows that Spark is not about typecasting you.  It is about recognising that how you behave is context dependent yet you will have a preference that represents the core of you.

These two events also worked a lot with the Spark concept of overextension.  The fact that very often when we are not at our best it is because we are overusing something we are naturally good at, something that we do almost subconsciously.  This really does help people to work together in getting the best out of each other, and to hold each other to account.

Some comments from attendees are noted below, responding to the question 'what was the value of the Lumina Spark experience for you?'.  You can find out a bit me about 'Lumina Spark and me' and to find out even more in touch via the contacts page.

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Excellent. Well worth doing.  Beats any MBTI experience I have ever done!

Helps you think more deeply about what makes you tick, how you handle stress and strain, and what qualities your choose to display to the world.  Not a skill or asset based experience, but a quality based one.  A choice based one.

Extremely valuable in building a strong team at work and also refecting on your personas in your personal life.

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