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.
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
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
Date: 27th October 2017
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
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
Significant Experience: I observed an Endnote training session by a colleauge
What Happened?:To help prepare me to deliver upcoming training (never before on Endnote, and no real training done for years!) I observed an Endnote expert deliver training for some members of staff
So What?: I found this very interesting as although done in a completely different to style than I would use, it was just as effective in a similar group setting. I also picked up some ‘cheat’ tips that I am going to use!
Now What?: I am now more confident in my ability to deliver this training in October and November. I am going to use what I have learnt and shape it into ‘my voice’ to deliver an authentic session.
When & Where?: 4th October 2017
Date: 18th May 2017
May 2017 PKSB Full Report.
Significant Experience: I produced my Professional Skills and Knowledge Base (PKSB) for my new role
What Happened?: After the first week or so in my new role, I realised that the PKSB I had produced in March 2017 was not fit for purpose, and for both my new role and for Fellowship, the most sensible approach would be to re-do my PKSB as this would also provide a baseline for my new management team
So What?: I found this a really useful exercise, as in only 2 months, that had been a significant change in my professional development needs. Reflecting back on my March 2017 version, it included areas that were not relevant to the role, but had been previously and in which I was not confident. This new one is purely about me as a professional in 2017 and is about developing me, not an idolized version (March 2016 version) or what righting past wrongs (March 2017 version). I also feel that I will have more support beyond ‘time’ to develop professionally.
Now What?: I shall use this document to form the basis of my professional development in the upcoming months, to help me become better in my role and more effectively support my end users.
When & Where?: Home, May 2017