Category Archives: L+D

Fluffy

When you describe me as fluffy…what does that mean?
Do you mean it derogatorily or was it intended as a compliment?

Do you mean I don’t get the hard stuff? Or I can’t do difficult stuff? I’m not assertive? I’m not strong or tough? Or scientific in the way I work?

Do you mean that I’m too nice when people need to be ‘told how it is’, ‘spoken to’ or given the hardline?

Do you mean emotional? Because I work with emotion, not against. Because I have a human brain not a mechanical one, with an amygdala and a wonderful neo-cortex waiting to be used to its full potential, and an endocrine system that will always keep me on my toes. Because I encourage people to feel something and notice it?

Do you mean that I think empathy is the most important thing in the world, and that I ask too many questions to try and understand more, and better? Like asking how someone is and persuing that line of inquiry with acceptance.

Do you mean fearless? Fearlessness in moments of complexity and discomfort, and choosing to go towards instead of retreat because you know however uncomfortable the physiological response gets, and however much my mind plays negative thoughts on a loop, the vulnerability will be worth what happens afterwards.

Do you mean compassionate? Compassionate towards people and in moments when it’s hard to be because you deeply disagree with the behaviours of that person and feel that turmoil in your stomach but you know compassion is the better choice.

Do you mean determined? Determined to create and design impactful learning opportunities that get people reflecting, and thinking, and feeling….and uncomfortable …way out of their comfort zone and into their stretch zone. Instead of the same theories again, and allowing adults to default to a student position which they arrive eager to do, just to please me(?) and to play the role they think they should, or rebel from it.

Yet in my fluffy state I’m too soft and weak for all this …I give up.

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Do It Anyway

Unsure.

Bright eyes.

Look to hear more.

The micros.

The macros.

Seconds loom like minutes.

An empty stage.

An open mic.

A space.

To fill.

And you wait.

You wait.

You breath.

And you wait.

And your silence communicates everything we need to hear.

Unsure.

Bright eyes.

Short breath.

Delicious discomfort.

We do it anyway.

No pull.

No push.

A choice to follow.
#nationalpoetryday

Learn! Live! Baby!

[to be read, to the pace and tune of… Ice Ice Baby. If that means nothing, please complete this recommended pre-work by clicking here and watching for atleast 30 seconds]

Alright Stop! Collaborate, and Listen!

LPIs back with a another convention

Something, to make your mind shine brightly, Flow like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  

Is it any good? You better go!

Interactive workshops, then you’ll know.

MC Don will rock the mic like a vandal. A personalised learning experience so you really get a handle.

Chance, rush to the speaker in that room, Sparking  your thinking with a knowledge boom. 

Ready, to soak up Masie and Wiseman, anything less than the best is not right man!

Live it and learn it, I bet you can’t wait, you better be ready for the second day. 

If there was a problem with OD you’d solve it.

Check out the website with this link that unfolds it.

Ok, ok, I’ll stop. It just felt like a perfectly apt tune that makes me think of Training Zone‘s Jon Kennard – not sure why!?

This September 7th and 8th will be my fourth Learning Live! The annual conference for L+Ders by the Learning and Performance institute, and I’m getting excited. This year I’ll be supporting the backchannel for those of you not able to attend, by brining the event to Twitter, blogs and probably a bit of Periscope.

The thing about putting on a learning event for people who work within learning and development, is that the expectations are high. Your audience are familiar with being the facilitators. Comfortable there infact. I’d make the assumption that they arrive eager to be engaged in learning. You might conclude that makes them the best and/or worst audience. I’d choose the former.

This year the LPI are offering ‘Personal Learning Experience’ with consultation and guidance to support you in embedding the learning in your organisation, and maximising your time at the event. For example if you’re looking at improving your digital offer to engage a national audience you might want to attend Jo Cook‘s session on virtual learning, or hear what VirtualSource Technologies have to offer. I’d like to know who is using an mobile app, how and what for!

The keynotes each year have been excellent, and I’m really looking forward to this years. Elliot Masie is an author, speaker, columnist with masses of L+D experience to share, known for developing learning models to accelerate the spread of knowledge, learning and collaboration throughout organisations. He also publishes a Learning Trends newsletter. I’ve been a Richard Wiseman fan for some time, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology. He’s written several pop-Psychology books including Quirkology, and the Act As If Principle. He makes psychology accessible and de-mystifies misconceptions, and I’m all for that! I particularly enjoyed the guided happiness diary concept of his ’59 Seconds’ book. The idea being you only need to spend 59 Seconds attending to something each day to have a impact and shift a habit or thinking pattern. I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s working on now.

Hope to see you there! not too late to book tickets here.

If you can’t make it, we plan to bring the event to you, via the backchannel. Here are the dedicated SoMe team you might wish to follow: @Michael_LPI @kategraham23 @PhilWillocx @ilikelearning2 @Jo_coaches @Amy_Brann @WildfireSpark @s0ngb1rd  Also, the crew behind the LPI and making is happen: Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) – @DonaldHTaylor, Colin Steed (CEO of the LPI) – @ColinSteed, Ed Monk (MD of the LPI) – @EdmundMonk  and the main account @YourLPI

Open Space II

My favourite people are those with whom I feel an ease and mutuality. Even better when it’s from the off.

Early 2015 part way through my academy journey where lots of my free time was happily spent nose first in articles and books about leadership, and coaching, and emotional intelligence and the like…a valued friend nudged me towards a ‘Coaching and Mentoring Research Day’ at Sheffield Hallam Uni.

He described it: a full day of learning about coaching and mentoring at a different uni to my place of study, with different people, different academics, a different space. And the best bit, it’s fully and completely open-space learning. No lectures. No presentations. Just coaches and postgraduate students in the topic. I booked a place and got excited.

Then as the day got closer, I wondered why I was going and whether I’d have something valuable to contribute. I’m new. There would be people who’ve been doing this for years, and some who have been published.

I was early and first to arrive, so I signed in and met David Megginson. I wasn’t expecting him to be here. My initial thought… ‘you are legendary both on paper and in person, I am so in awe of you’. And yet, his presence and way of being didn’t allow for that traditional educational neck-aching hierarchy (a barrier which I’d been experience on my MA course). He only knew mutuality, and without being able to tell you exactly how, he only allowed me to be mutual too. I use the word allow meaning a mutual giving of permission with every part of your communication without explicit command. When someone looks at you and in to you, and uses your name, doesn’t forget it, and means it.

Open-Space – based on the principles of Owen

The 16 chairs were in a circle. On the wall was a sheet of flip-chart displaying a blank time-table. 3 open spaces, per hour, with lunch in the middle. A pile of post-its and markers lay on the floor in the middle.

Paul Stokes lead us though introductions, and then set the scene.

The time-table is decided by you, now. Take a post-it and pen, and write down a topic or a question that you want to learn about today. Then place it on the time-table wherever you like. As the topic setter you are the Convener. The only commitment being that you show up and start the conversation. You don’t facilitate it, or present it, you just commit to being there to start it.

5 time slots, over 3 rooms, throughout the day = 15 opportunities.

Then, we negotiated. Moving post-its around so we could plan our preferred time-table and not miss the learning sessions we wanted to be part of. Once it was final, we took a photo or jotted it down so we knew what rooms we wanted to go to when.

With open space, when it starts it starts, when it’s over it’s over. Whatever happens is the only thing that could happen, and (my favourite and the most important part) whoever comes are the right people.

The Rules: only one, the law of two feet. If you want to leave a session, you leave.

The Roles: you might chose to be a bumble-bee cross pollinating from group to group, or a butterfly floating around on the periphery… you choose. Tea and coffee are free flowing.

The richness followed. Meaty, thoughtful, considerate discussions with challenge and curiosity. No echo-chamber. No seeking approval. No stage. No sage. Self-leadership and direction for own learning. Everyone, listened to everyone. It was tangential, and emergent and organic. Thoughts followed paths and opened up ideas and new thinking I didn’t realise was there. It didn’t matter if people agreed, or disagreed. In fact the latter was better. For the first time I felt fully respected, fully valued and fully appreciated as an adult learner. This is what it should be like.

Everyone, listened to everyone.

A space and way of being that honours thinking and values diversity.

I’m still in awe of David Megginson… for all the right reasons: ease, mutuality and brilliance. These open space days have definitely changed my learning and practice and remain my favourite most impactful learning days!

 

On 22nd Sept 2016 multiple @LnDConnect Unconferences will be held across the UK and abroad. They will be open space. I hope you can join us!

Open Space I 

A blog inspired by the #LDInsight chat on Friday 12th August, hosted by the @LnDConnect Twitter account at 8am to 9am… which I’m still thinking about.

Every week there is a different question or statement intended to evoke exploration within Learning and Organisational Development. This week the question was ‘What is your experience of working with people with disabilities in relation to their learning?’

More often than not with the #LDInsight chat question, I have an initial response. Sometimes answering the question in one sentence, and feeling ‘I’m done’ … ‘Answered it’. Sometime I tweet the immediate response, and sometimes I pause and think about it some more. The former approach is my favourite, because it usually means I jump into an hour of open space learning with lots of fansinating people who challenge my thoughts and nudge me (just by there contributions and presence) to explore my intial response and many other seemingly tangential but surprisingly valuable conversations that stem from the main question, lending insight and knowledge, and fuelling curiosity for more! It’s filling and my thinking feels honoured – it has a space, no one is interrupting it.

I’m still thinking about learning disabilities. Understanding my ignorance. Accepting how I’ve experience unwanted emotions in different situations …that were hard to accept and not self-judge. The latter making the physiological reactions even harder to sooth.

There’s a storify but I wanted to share some key insights that I’m still pondering:

  • It occurs to me that Twitter can make me feel disabled
  • Above all be respectful. There’s plenty of information on the internet but that’s no substitute for asking
  • Seek to understand, research, accommodate, don’t underestimate the emotional aspects, don’t ever discount
  • There’s more to hear than just sound

And then this about the Twitter chat:

  • If this isn’t a safe enough space then find or ask (or ask) for a space that is safe enough for you. Discussion is important.

The chat was particularly quiet, and I wonder if that’s because of summer hols, or the topic.
With credit owed to @DavidMcAra @BrunhamLandD @niallgavinuk @ChangeContinumm

G1 Using New Forms of Change to Create Meaningful L+D Opportunities

Professor Cliff Oswick is from Cass Business School, City University London and delivering a masterclass for us today on New Forms of Change to Create Meaningful L+D Opportunities.

Cliff wants to talk about whats been happening in the field of change. We don’t spend enough time looking at how learning and development is a vehicle for change – that’s our focus today.

First, what has influenced change…


The mechanical and the biological sciences are more diagnostic L+D, whereas interpretive and complexity sciences are more about dialogical approaches, e.g. world cafe,

Old Diagnostic OD
scientific, problem-centred, reactive linear, punctuated and descrete, concrete and tangible, top-down
‘lets get together and decide what went wrong’

New Dialogic OD
generative, solution-driven, proactive and rhizomatic (see below), abstract and tangible, multi-directional
‘lets get to gather and co-create a future state’
Rhizomatic learning is a way of thinking about learning based on ideas described by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in a thousand plateaus. A rhizome, sometimes called a creeping rootstalk, is a stem of a plant that sends out roots and shoots as it spreads – www. davecormier.com

Examples of dialogical OD…


Cliff predicts an organisational equivalent of flash-mobs – social connectedness is important!

“Whats the difference between a social activities and a business consultant? A: the special activist care more and don’t get paid to.


So what can we do…


The blue things… are hierarchically planned. These events are still mostly top-down decisions and occur in a bound way on a given time on a given day.

The green things… are emergency and rhizomatic.


Hotspot Engagement – the network, people who are energised, highly effective, highly respected. If you don’t seek to involve these people positive within the org, they can damage the org because they care and wont to be involved

Betterworks = an organisational equivalent of Facebook. You can post challenges and receive support and feedback from people…develop your personal learning network.

Valve Employee Handbook = a game developer, with a system where all the desks are on wheels. They can work wherever they want, and work on whatever they want, no managers, no IPDPs – ultimate freedom at work. The handbook describes your responsibility for your own responsibilities. The collective make decisions about pay, performance, and other HR functions.

Agora = all decisions usually made by a board are outsourced. You can registered and be part of the cohort of people who vote on these decisions. e.g. the soft drink flavours?, and what supply chains should we use?, what shall we do with the profits?

Cass = internal crowd-sourcing and getting anyone internally involved in decisions making who wants to be…some people don’t “horse to water…”

Cliff promotes intergenerational mentoring and encourages the reciprocity of learning that a “baby-boomer” and a “millennial” collaborating can enable.

What Are The Implications for L+D?


And a real-life example…Cliff says have a look here at Do OD Organisational Development within the NHS.


If you create the conditions for emergent change, you find people will get involved in both the positive and the negative decision making, and take this collective responsibility.

Question from the floor called this out as a paradox. Answer from Cliff, leadership but not control. Get top-level commitment to it..then let it happen. You cannot make someone autonomous and self-directed in change but you can facilitate it. Caution: Cliff isn’t promoting commune organisations. These approaches are about releasing some of the grip – a blended for of organising.

Another question about getting buy in from the board and Cliff encourages us to read more – there’s lot of research out there to support your argument.

As Cliff continues to chat with Julie Drybrough next to me they conclude that it’s better to demonstrate and promote non traditional change initiative via non traditional methods eg seek the qualitative evidence.
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Thursday 12th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views will undoubtedly contribute to the tapestry of this story. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]

F2 Developing Culture By Extending Coaching Capability

My second session of the day is with Paula Ashfield, Head of Learning and Danone, and Gaelle Tuffigo, Learning and OD Specialist and Anthony Newman, Director of Brand, Comms and Marketing at Cancer Research UK providing their organisational case studies of how they developed culture by extending coaching capability.

Ian Pettrigew (Chair) opens the session and asks us to think about what we want to get from the session, and the room is alive with the buzz of peoples intentions to leave with some learning.

Cancer Research UK

Our first speakers are Anthony and Gaelle…[I’ll write as ‘one’ speaker as they’re interchanging]
Cancer Research are the words largest origination research all types of cancer with a aim to: Prevent, Diagnose, Treat and Optimise (treatments).

Anthony start with WHY did they focus on developing culture this way:
They’re already high performing, well respected around the world, and rate high in engagement scores, and they have a “nice” (from the feedback) strengths-based culture. HOWEVER, improvements can be made: There are pockets where performance could be addressed better, and we have high turn over in some areas, people aren’t always loving the relationship with their manager…feeling disempowered, e.g. “a parent-child culture”. People feel looked after but not enabled to grow.

At the same time Cancer Research UK were doing a Fit for the Future campaign…


Anthony emphasises that their action to resolve this was guided first bit ensuring that L+D strategy fits to the business strategy.

The solutions:
Coaching approaches empower and enable people to act autonomously, and move away from directive management
Improve retention by focusing on the purpose and value of every individual

The challenge:
People feel they’ve already done this – but it only got applied for senior leaders and ‘heads’ of
“we’re doing it already, we don’t need this training” – confused with what coaching is, and what mentoring is

The route map…


What Gaelle did…

Nail your business case – do good secondary research and find evidence to back up what you intend to apply in practice, don’t just rely on your influencing skills
Secure a sponsor – get the right one, not just ‘a sponsor’
Socialise the approach within the business –

The difference between coaching and mentoring…? Coaching is drawing out, Mentoring is putting in. They wanted a blend of the 2

Aim: To equip everyone in Cancer Research UK to use coaching conversation throughout their working relationships: in the lift, in the kitchen, in 1:1s, in meetings.

Priority = coaching a management style

5 point plan…

Also…
• Training action learning set facilitators, and enable them to train others in facilitating these.
• Career and talent development coaching for people who want to stay, grow within, or leave and move on
• Maximised their volunteers – found what skills they have and invited some to be mentors
• Coaching resources available on the intranet, including tools
• A pack for managers to deliver learning – all about coaching, why and what – to their teams
• A group on yammer for exchanging tips and sharing examples

How does it align to the business…

Antony starts to talk about metrics, how important this is for the organisation (and any org) and the challenges they’ve faced. Have you every had the experience of implementing something then when it’s done, been asked to retrospectively measure something? He shares something they didn’t win: they tried to show the impact of coaching upon performance management, but the engagement measurement tool agreed upon didn’t ask people about being coached or their experience. How can you asked people questions about coaching if they don’t know what coaching is? There are so many different definitions.

“I would never say…If you can’t measure something don’t bother doing it” otherwise you might miss a huge opportunity. It’s an add-on not a art point. Don’t let it define what you do.

What they did do…

Record the Impact: when they interview people asking about their experience and opinions of how the coaching and mentoring has impacted them, they gained qualitative data that supported their original aim.

Biggest learning point to share… “There is a big difference between agreement and commitment” – they had agreement, but this didn’t always transfer into commitment.

Danone UK

Paula is a lot further ahead on the coaching culture journey, and she focuses on a sub-business ‘Danone Nutricia’ (early life nutrition) who provide Cow and Gate, and Actimel which has a really strong core purpose built of a history of science and expertise.

What were you doing in 2011? What happened for you? 2011 is known as the year that things happened – Paul suggests we google it. Their were signification stockmarket drops and the word of business was struggling, whilst at Danone Nutricia they were doing ok: growth dropped from 18% (2009) to 8% (2011). You might have expected this was positive, to thrive in this climate. However there was not buzz, only a committed drive to sustain filled the organisation.

Hot Spots – Book by Linda Gratton. Analogy of a thermal image of you business. If you could thermal image your business what would it look like?
Green – routine, things happen, but not much buzz
Ice-Blue – when green for too long, things get harder, energy drops
They were looking to fine the glow spots…

“ambition was to spread a nuclear thermo Mexican wave – growth glow”

The sosiblitliy fo business and possibilities to talent

Heads were down and full of purpose and people were busy doing. Thats what they knew. They was comfortable “a comfort blanket”


To take a bold step forward they first needed to establish trust. Coaching has been used in pockets – and its impact was an innate belief that it worked in developing trust. So they sought reports and evidence based to support their strategy.


Coaching was going to be the enabler to trust. With patience, and space.
They had a clear impact about how implementing a coaching culture would impact the business, the people, the growth and the buzz. This was defined and understand from the beginning.

1. Set Expectations 2011

  • individual development plan, giving manger basic coaching skills to start using coaching conversations (programmes available to EVERYONE) and learn together, helped people see learning isn’t just in the training room.

2. Create Momentum 2012

  • tsunami of coaching effort that hit the business and pervaded everyone in someway or form: accredited all senior leaders as business coaches (22 people in total). In stead of a pilot, they ALL when through this at the same time together on a 6 month programme. It created a profound effect on the business. It had significant amounts of practice and by learning together in this group we coached each other and provide peer support to each others development. Result: coaching cross functionally, coaching peers. We understood more about each others teams that the person leading that team. Increased trust, collaboration and shared responsibility. Whist you’re doing this, you’re gaining insights from across the organisation and learning the business.

3. Embedding 2014

  • hold tight, dig in, trust the process, keep your nerve and persist
  • made in part of a graduate development programme
  • ensured field workers were using

4. Renewal 2015 (its embedded)

  • develop internal coaches – qualifications
    challenge: keeping track of all relationships going on, to ensure ethics and standards
  • The programme…


Key Learning…

  • If those senior leaders ‘failed’ the accreditation (not everyone did first time) and the organisation believes in those people, they will continue their development until they achieve the pass. Everyone is now accredited.
  • our L+D spend has reduced, because we re-invested into the organisation
  • their L+D team use coaching skills throughout their whole role: consultancy, identifying needs, stakeholder engagement

PHOTO STATS

What an exceptional example of how to tell a story! Thank you Paula.
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Thursday 12th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views will undoubtedly contribute to the tapestry of this story. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]