Learning Log 84 – Coaching: the start

Number: 84

Significant Experience: My first meeting (proper) with my Coach

What Happened?:  I’m not going to discuss the actual content of what was said (as that feels quite self-reductive at this stage although I reserve the right to change my mind!) but more about how I and why I’ve started this journey. I’ve been thinking about coaching for a while, mainly based on the positive reflections and experiences of people who use coaching. I have been informally coached before – my Chartership mentor (and mentor generally) Gil used/uses coaching techniques. I had gone as far to sign up for my organisational coaching scheme, but I didn’t feel any of the  potential candidates were appropriate so I cooled on it. Then a mutually beneficial opportunity  (though I suspect weighted in my favour) came up which felt a much more suitable fit.

So What?: I feel this is an important step in my professional development as it makes more explicit  the commitment to develop from within, to challenge my self-perceptions and self limiting beliefs, to choose a course of action and to follow it. This feels more subtle than identifying a learning or developmental need and doing a course/reading etc.

Also it is a continuation of the departure from the mean for me that began with the Leadership Course and continued with the #fellowshipfive in that it is an approach that is focused upon the individual and is intense, at times emotive and discusses feelings and stuff like that…

Now What?: Get cracking.

When & Where?: January 9th 2018, Home.



Fellowship Questions, Answered.

At the last #Fellowship5 meeting, Yvette – the group mentor and spirit animal -challenged those of us mid journey with some searching questions about Fellowship attitude:

  • Will you achieve add-in during 2018? When?
  • Is it meaningful to me?
  • Are you committed to it?
  • Can i produce a plan?

This is my response… Yes x4.

But in longer form: 

I shall complete and hand-in during 2018, in fact I am going to say early March 2018. It is important to me personally to go on this journey although not overly confident of a successful outcome I am committed to it. 

I don’t see the fact that I may not be successful as a negative. It’s an acknowledgement that perhaps I’ve not done enough out of my bubble, but throughout the fellowship journey (c/o Jo Walley) I have reflected on this and it has given me the impetus to challenge this and the personal blockages to overcoming it.

It is important to me that I reflect on my professional and personal development of the last couple of years to shown how I have grown. I will be a more well rounded person for undertaking this and it challenges my default ‘looking forward’ approach.

I recognised in the last meeting that I am unable to commit the requisite time required to show the respect to the process and to myself in the current set-up. Work and family commitments do not allow for effective fellowshiping (also Persona 5 won’t play itself!). So between now and March I am committing 2 days annual leave per month to focus on fellowship – as well as our monthly group catch ups. 

And finally the plan!

Learning Log 80 – Fellowship Meeting 7 #Fellowship5

Number: 80

Significant Experience: The 7th meeting of the Fellowship Group

What Happened?:  As normal, I’m not going to discuss the contents of the session or the action learning set (that’s not my story to tell) but we followed the similar structure:- catch-up/report back, actions, ALS, future actions, laughs and coffee.

So What?: I find these sessions so, so useful – not just from a professional problem solving and fellowship progression (or lack of in my case) but emotionally as well. It’s good to be able to be alongside -with no underlying or passive work/networking pressures – like minded colleagues and work though issues enable self-led problem solving, and learn from others experience of issues to help us solve our own problems. I discussed my lack of progression as part of a wider reflection on the whole process and have resolved to ask myself some questions (below) as part of my action plan for the next meet-up. We also discussed authenticity, why ‘should’ is a four letter word demanding too much of ourselves, fellowship ‘blockers,’ the importance of these meet-ups, and a bit of running chat of course!

Now What?: I have set, achievable goals for the next meeting:

  • Ask myself:
    • Am I going to achieve Fellowship (hand-in) in 2018
    • If it is achievable, is it meaningful to me?
    • Am I committed to it AKA can I be arsed?
    • If yes to those – can I produce a (rough) plan for finishing?
  • Keep catching up on reflections
  • Read CV feedback, wipe away tears, and look at perhaps starting afresh with initial bullet points
  • Speak about a coaching opportunity to work through an issue I face
  • Look at ways to create time within working week as struggling to get time in the evening/weekends due to family pressures.

When & Where?: 21st November 2017, Manchester


Learning Log 78 – Advanced Searching Training

Date: 21/11/17

Number: 78

Significant Experience: I attended a 2 day training event on Advanced Searching techniques ran by 2 search experts – Julie Glanville and Carol Lefebvre

What Happened?: It was a 2 day course, looking at different techniques to improve how we search. It was a really intensive couple of days, covering a lot of ground including: resources to support searching; citation, text mining and text analysis tools; identification of search terms to build search strategies and much more! Whilst these may be obvious to many particular points that jumped out to me were:

  • Floating Sub-headings!
  • Collaborative search filter resource (ISSG)
  • Text analysis tools Voyant & Vosviewer
  • Pubreminer for those tricky to find search terms and more systematic approaches to identifying search terms
  • Frequency analysis in Endnote
  • Helioblast and implicit key words

So What?:  This was a really useful training event, both from a technical and a psychological perspective.

Of course, I have learnt lots of new techniques, picked up new hints and approaches and got to bounce ideas off two experts within the field. But it was also good to find out that, there was not a world of difference between my skill level, and those of our team that are (quite rightly) viewed as the leaders in terms of search – and that I had a similar approach to public health searching. Given how the importance of searching (and the resources available) had been diminished in my previous role, it gave me confidence not only in my abilities but also of our team as a whole.

It was also interesting to find that my perspectives (developed in isolation) on the difference between searching for public health and clinical searching were already established. Concepts that I discussed when training (anyone who has been trained by me will remember the ‘Hansel and Gretal’ approach and ‘sideways searching’ ) were discussed.

This session has not only improved my technical searching skills and showed me new ways to both produce and present searches but given me confidence in my skills and thoughts about how to share them with people supporting public health across the North of England.

Now What?: I am going to start using these tips and techniques to my regular searching. This will improve the effectiveness of my offer which will support the organisation to reach its strategic goals. I am also going to investigate interest in holding a session for librarians in clinical organisations that offer services to public health/primary care services to develop their skills as I believe I can help my fellow information professionals deliver a high quality service

When & Where?: 1/2nd November, London

Learning Log 66 – Fellowship Meeting 5 #Fellowshipfive

Date: 8/11/17

Number: 66

Significant Experience: The 5th meeting of the Fellowship Group

What Happened?: Normally the whole thing discussion is private but considering I was the presenter in the Action Learning Set I’m allowed to say! The problem was my inability to pick up/continue an ongoing piece of work after I have stopped working on it. The main discussion points were around organisational issues (expected) and professional confidence (*very* unexpected)

So What?: This was really very useful as it brought forward issues about my professional confidence/trust in my abilities that I had not consciously considered before. It also led to my thinking more about the value I place on my time.

Now What?: I am going to produce some ‘golden rules‘ to how I approach non-1 sitting finish work and examine strategies to breaking down these non-small works into more finish-able chunks. By doing this it shall improve my belief in my own work, which shall improve my effectiveness for my organisation both in quality and my honest time spent on projects.

When & Where?: 10th August 2017, Manchester

Learning Log 77 -Delivering Endnote Training

Date: 27th October 2017

Number: 77

Significant Experience: First time delivering training via Skype, first time delivering EndNote training, First time delivering training to strangers in *5* years

What Happened?: Following initial discussions about how we could support a team that was based throughout the Northwest a series of training sessions were requested on different aspects of information skills – the first of which were on EndNote, These were to be delivered group face to face but also with Skype screen sharing. The opportunities to deliver training had significantly reduced in my previous role, and it had been a long time since I had delivered to a group. This coupled with the technology (which played up – but not the Skype bit)  the fact it was on software I had only been using for 6 months and for a new organisation with their own standards/approaches.

So What?: My heart hadn’t grown fond of training in the five years I had not be doing it – much like presentations (or talking to people), i always viewed it as a necessary evil of the role, so wasn’t looking forward to it. But, as with everything, I have learnt that if i present as myself rather than what I think people want (or as a previous manager tried to make me do – as they would) or try to deliver someone else’s training session, I come across as more believable-and it shows. In terms of the newness of the topic, as discussed elsewhere – I had observed an EndNote expert deliver training, taken the key messages they pushed and morphed them into a message delivered in my voice which was both expert and authentic. Also I had used Endnote more in my 6 months than everyone else in room in total – just because of the job!

Now What?: I am going to take the confidence gained in the delivery of these sessions (and the positive feedback) to form the basis of future training delivery to ensure high quality, authentic training that will increase the users skills and understanding of effective information skills.

When & Where?: Manchester & Liverpool, 17th & 18th October 2017

Learning Log 70 – Fellowship Meeting 6 #Fellowshipfive

Date:  27/10/17

Number: 70

Significant Experience: The 6th meet-up of the fellowship group. The meeting on 15th September was cancelled.

What Happened?:  Although conversation will remain private, this session followed a different path as we were 2 members short (although their height is inconsequential) so led by SH, we had a round-table looking at our progress (me: non), reasons (me: many) and future actions (me: last times + catch up on reflections) – we then morphed into a ‘shut up & write session’. As ever it was a relaxed and welcoming session with plenty of LOL’s and pastries…

So What?: This was perhaps the most important meeting for me since the initial meeting as I had lost my way badly with all things fellowship, and I worry that if this meeting hadn’t happened I may have just gone full ‘fuck it’ mode. It is a good group where we can share and work through worries and issues that directly and in-directly effect our fellowship approach.

Now What?: I am  re-energized in all things #fellowshipfive going to complete my actions from last time – including my ‘golden rules’ to stop me restarting work. To counter-act the lulls that seem to happen during the extended breaks we are going to try an informal ‘this week I did’/next week I shall’ approach on the whats-app group…breaking it down into small chunks 🙂

When & Where?: Joule, Manchester, 24th October 2017