Coaching at Work in London

Well, why not?  It has been a while since I invested time in attending a significant CPD event and the Coaching at Work masterclass with Professor Peter Hawkins and the Coaching at Work Annual Conference are scheduled in London on consecutive days in July 2014.  I can’t wait to take time out to invest in me and to network with likeminded professionals working in the coaching world.  Brilliant!

So it’s off to London Luton early on Tuesday morning,  the train into the City,the underground and a nice walk to The British Psychological Society offices on Tabernacle Street.   Full of the joys of spring, or rather early summer!  I register and settle down to listen to Professor Peter Hawkins and his Masterclass on Systemic Team Coaching.,  Peter places the first challenge in front of the audience, “What can you (the coaching profession) uniquely do that the world of tomorrow needs?”  The discussion develops, another way of looking at this is “What do we need to let go of, or indeed what do we need to unlearn?” We are off and running!,

As the morning unfolds, Peter helps the enthusiastic and engaged audience consider the impact of the “unholy trinity” i.e. the challenge for us all relating to increasing demand, increasing expectations and decreasing resources.  So what does this mean for coaching teams at work?  The learning and questions include;

• Who is the team and who does it serve?

• Don’t always delegate to individuals but look to delegate to relationships

• Partnerships are about doing something together that we can’t achieve as individuals

• As coaches at work, our clients are our partners!

• Build relationships of trust, where people feel safe enough to get it out!

Professor Hawkins defines systemic team coaching as “a process by which a team coach works with a whole team, both when they are together and when they are apart,in order to help them both improve their collective performance and how they work together, and also how they develop their collective leadership to more effectively engage with all their key stakeholder groups to jointly transform the wider business” The team coach sees the team as a partner, not a client. Peter introduces The 5 C’s Model for Team Coaching which focuses on commissioning; clarifying; co-creating; connecting; and core learning.  Great stuff and I can see its relevance to several projects and clients, sorry partners, I am working with!

As the Masterclass draws to a close, Peter facilitates a “Picture Sculpt” which allows us to create a picture of our team, using shapes and symbols and acknowledging space and relationships between team members and stakeholders. An engaging, creative and stimulating activity that can become part of the OTTC Toolbox!

I touch base with Peter at the end and extend my thanks and appreciation for a very interesting, stimulating and relevant event. We shake hands and talk about rugby and The Heineken Cup 2014 and I head off to my hotel. London is buzzing, the weather is excellent and my mind is alive with thoughts on team coaching and OTTC’s unique future and its relationships with existing and new partners!

After breakfast at the hotel, it’s off to The Holiday Inn Hotel, Bloomsbury for the Coaching at Work conference 2014, themed around All Systems Go: holistic and forward thinking best practice in coaching and mentoring”.  I get there eventually,after several attempts to navigate through a busy and vibrant London. As the delegates arrive, I visit as many exhibition stands as I can and buy a copy of Professor Peter Hawkins book “Leadership Team Coaching”.  Peter is the first key note speaker and it is nice to have the opportunity to reflect back on yesterday’s learning. Within 18 to 24 hours, it’s amazing how much I can lose in such a short time!

Later in the morning, I sit in on Rachael Ellison’s interview with Anthony Ryland from Samsung. Really interesting insight into the Korean conglomerate and how coaching has been embedded into the UK subsidiary. Antony shares his learning during his time at Samsung in helping establish coaching, and challenges us all to remember that a coach should;

• Understand the coaching context and what is important for the employer

• Have an understanding of the business and have a business focus

• Relate in a creditable way to their clients and be able to build rapport

• Be patient when working in a changing environment

• Help partners SELF coach

A really interesting interview, followed by sessions on “Making the Coaching Relationship Effective” by Alanna O’Broin, “Mentoring as part of a Talent Programme at the Royal Mencap Society” by Alton Hobbs and “Your Ego and its Impact on Coaching” by Julie Starr. Julie’s message is really interesting, and provokes great thought around what our mind is doing! Towards the end of her presentation, she shares 3 key points with regards productive practice;

• Mindfulness – paying attention and remaining in the present

• Don’t believe everything that you think!” – come back to the present

• Cultivate compassion and be compassionate with yourself

Finally, after another stimulating day full of learning, Antony Grant from the University of Sydney shares his thoughts on “The Leader as Coach”. His “Performance and Well Being Matrix” is really interesting and the links, parallels and differences to the work I completed on “The Manager as Coach” project back in 2011 just about finishes me off!

Beyond the formal sessions during the Conference, I get an opportunity to connect with some great people including John from Belfast, Derryn from Milton Keynes and Ros from Lewes. It is wonderful to meet such talented individuals and I look forward to touching base again in the not too distant future. Thanks for your time and willingness to share!

So a wonderful visit to London is complete and I head back to Scotland full of new thinking, ideas and learning, which I hope will enable me to “do something uniquely as a coach that the world of tomorrow needs!”