Monthly Archives: January 2016

You want what to happen in here?

Sometimes, you talk about things, but you don’t do them. You tell me you’re a coach and then when you’re not in ‘coaching mode’ you think it’s perfectly fine ask my intrusive questions laden with assumptions. I’m not talking congruence as such. (Another word being overused with the result undermining its meaning – which is important). I’m thinking more about …who are you? what are your true colours?

I purchased shiny new laptops for my colleagues, those I manage, and heard you say “you should keep the new one, you’re the manager, give them the old one”. That’s not my style. In fact I can’t think of single good reason to do that. Yes my laptop is a brick and doesn’t travel well. A new one would be nice. Gifting this old one, to a new colleagues – what does that communicate?

‘Look how much I value you’

‘See how much more important I am than you, and how much more important the work I do is than the work you do is’

‘You should be grateful you have this job and a laptop’

Can you think of any more?

You set the scene. You set expectations with the tangibles too. The office chair, the desk, the pen. The room, the space, whatever is on the walls. Today he’ll start his new role on 4th Jan with a shiny new laptop.

When I lived in Nottingham as student the local KFC had large plastic screens across the counter and you ordered through small holes in the plastic. Only large enough for sounds. I later learned this setting wasn’t dissimilar to probation service receptions around the country.

What does that say? When you walk into a place with a screen across the counter what does that tell you? What pieces does your mind put together? What are the expectations here?

You ask me for some L+D delivery for your team. We establish what you want, we have a plan, and then last…we book a room. “Yes it will seat everyone comfortably” you say, and “yes, there will be everything you need”.

And your request is that they are better/more motivated/better skilled/more effective after some time in this space together.

Then the facilitator arrives and:

  1. The ‘room’ is last weeks ‘store cupboard’ indicated by the old plaque still left on the door. No windows.
  2. The space provided is the corridor, with doors leading to toilets, kitchen, entrance, office.
  3. There are posters about overdose and injecting lavishing the walls.
  4. The room is accidentally not booked and/or the room has been move due to more important happenings.

What does this communicate? Not just the to the L+Der…what does this communicate to the value you put on the learning and development of others?

The value you place in the development of others is spoken in the whats wheres and hows. Yet when I query this you look at me like the space doesn’t matter.

I argue the opposite. The above just means more work for the facilitator, but oh the space matters.
When you think about the role of an L+Der, about learning, about developing others, about culture change – Please add learning environment creators to their repertoire.


[Late] It’s been a year 

If I’d have known this time last year what I know now…I’m not sure I would have had the courage for 2015. But luckily I didn’t know, and much to my surprise, I did find the courage. So thank you 2015.

Someone said to me today “coaching isn’t always useful as people don’t necessarily know what their goals are”. I publicly apologise to coaching because considering the two topics we’d already covered I didn’t have the energy to stand for you, and so pleasantly explain “but that’s not coaching”. Well it can be. But the best stuff in my experience can emerge from having no coaching goals at all. Goal setting is just one option. I’d argue that you don’t even need to know why you’re there. And even when you do, it might actually end up being a whole different reason in the end. When you pause, reflect and look back. This is actually the same for my masters study. The space and time to think I experienced as a coachee this year has given me so much – I made changes I didn’t know I wanted/could make.

Being the coach has also featured heavily in 2015. Meeting some remarkable people and getting to know them. Learning to honour more difference. Learning to flex and flow within coaching. Learning ease, to soothe my own urgency, to listen with 100% attention and appreciation for the person with me. You have been amazing. You still are.

I was part of making the ‘largest merger of our sector’ a resounding success. I have to say it didn’t feel like that during, and it still feels ongoing, but I’ll take that evaluation as indicative of hard work and dedication paying off. The merger also saw every central services team restructured, apart from L+D. In fact 2016 starts with 2 new L+Ders at Addaction – fantastic! I say L+Ders, because I know they will be.

I’m ending the year in a new house, a new home, with a Christmas tree made of books, and so far two superbly comfy chairs that have been kindly gifted by two very generous friends.  Thank you. 

A Dylan’s Eye View 

[Day3 Jan 3rd, on the park near home]

I currently get to have Dylan around 50% of the time…it will never be enough as he’s such joyous company. So 50% of the time I’m missing him.

There’s no such thing as ‘just’ a dog, he’s a family member.

I’ll always chose to be a dog’s human. It’s a lovely job, and I thrive on the lifestyle of getting outside, everyday, whatever the weather. Collies never turn down a walk even when it’s dark, bleak, and minus degrees he’ll be bouncing by the door ready to go. Somehow, getting home after a long slog in the rain on a cold day feels like an accomplishment – we made it! – and can set me up for the day. This was especially apparent when recently walking down from a coastal ridge in 50mph winds, which lifted Dylan from the ground if he skipped (he likes skipping). But together, the three of us made it to the beach.

I’m clearly leaving out the amount of mud, sand and leaves Dylan regularly accumulates in his double coat, and the rolling, nay diving into cow/sheep/dog poo or dead rotting animal. And, the shaking! Oh the shaking! Because all of that is heavily outweighed by the pleasure of walking with him. Of knowing him. Of cuddling him. His massive smile and sense of adventure.

[7 years ago today]

It’s 7 years since we collected Dylan. A superbly adorable ball of energy. That makes it 6.5 years since he consistently returned to a whistle call – which sounds like nothing, but it was a big big moment. And 6(ish) years since the words sit, stay, wait, leave, and down all started meaning the same things to us both.

So Dylan and I are doing a #photoaday from a #dylanseyeview

 [Day2 Jan 2nd, breakfast in Dorset]

Having just returned from Dorset I’m amazed by the genuinely dog-friendliness of the pubs we visited. The same can be found in Northumberland. I recommend websites Doggie Pubs and Alistair Sawday Special Places for great places to eat and stay that are genuinely happy to meet your dog and have him stay.

This TED animation about how dogs seeing with their noses is brilliant! I’m looking forward to viewing the world from his point of view over the next 363 days.

 [Day 1 Jan 1st Happy New Year]