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.
Date: 21st December 2017
Significant Experience: The 8th meeting of the #fellowship5 collective
What Happened?: As usual, the details not included, but followed standard pattern of previous actions followed up, next fellowship steps, Action Learning Set. But as ever – it was the conversation and reflection the was most useful. We also went for a cracking end of year celebration meal at Bundobust Manchester.
So What?: This was excellent as ever – and for the first time (as the 2nd member is on the group of submitting) we discussed the evolution of the group. I suspect others in the group may have got to this conclusion earlier but the group isn’t really and has never been about fellowship, rather it is a (library leaders) peer assist and support group which has had a fellowship focus for its first cycle. We have decided on a finish point (July 18th) that is the fellowship cut off and we will officially move from the mentor>5 candidates approach into a more natural peer support group
Now What?: I shall be focusing on getting the fellowship handed in by March 2018 as that is my self-prescribed hand in date. Wealso need to think of a new hashtag…
When & Where?: Manchester, 16th December 2017
Date: 15th December 2017
Significant Experience: Presenting at my organisations North West Away Day
What Happened?: My colleague (Rachel) and I were asked represent at the away day as part of the market place session (5 tables with 5 presenters having 15 minutes on each). While a great opportunity, it also had some challenging circumstances:
- Time – only 15 minutes to introduce, solidify and sell a concept or service
- IT – no technology of any sort which limits what we could demonstrate
- Audience – wide range of audience from admin to directors and all in between. Difficult to pitch correctly
- Size – 120ish over 5 groups in same room
So we had to find something suitable around our core service offers that met needs of organisation, that was achievable and interesting but could fit into 15 minutes and work within the setting…
Pub quiz! Critical appraisal fundamentals around a current theme! Hence the #fakenews quiz was born (and only took a couple of hours thanks to some smart googling and NHS Behind the Headlines). The quiz was a success – enjoyed on the whole and raised the profile of both the service and of Rachel and I. We’ve received new work from it already!
So What?: This was important as presenting is not something I have confidence in and I was very pleased with how it went. It was interesting and relevant to the participants and was an example of me both challenging myself personally in an area of weaknesd but also supporting the organisation by increasing user knowledge
Now What?: This has given me great confidence in my presenting style and how I deliver them. Going forward I am going to use this confidence and belief in my style to help deliver better training to ensure higher understanding and more effective learning with the participants.
When & Where?: Liverpool, 12th December 2017
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!
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: 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
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