Mastermind seminar: “Coaching at work for Suffolk EPB”

Coaching helps people to grow and succeed in just about any area of business and life.  Coaching is an amazing set of tools that can be used to improve management skills and personal development for individuals in the workplace as well as for their colleagues, peers, clients, suppliers and any group of people they are normally dealing with.

The Suffolk Education Business Partnership (SEBP) works with schools, businesses and the community to promote education business links to enhance and enrich the national curriculum.  They provide young people with work related learning opportunities developed in partnership with local business and industry and also organise events for teaching staff professional development.  The SEBP aims to be a single point of contact for the development and delivery of education business links.

The SEBP approached MaGa Coaching as teachers had expressed interest in learning the basic concepts of coaching to help them face day-to-day work issues..  MaGa Coaching, offered to put together its broad range of skills and formulated a 1 day mastermind coaching workshop. The results were well beyond the expectations of all delegates.

The group

Although the main topic for this group was around education, supported by having a several teachers in the room, we also had a head of finance for a school, a head of mentoring for a government funded organization, a liaison manager and a theatre manager.  In a mastermind workshop it is usually better to have people from diverse backgrounds to stimulate problem solving and learning from several different angles.

Preparation

Attendees completed an application form their 3 most pressing topics/issues.  These topics were listed on a flipchart and hung on the wall in a visible spot.  Several topics were common among delegates.  Most participants are in authoritative positions within the organisation they work for and they recognised the need to have alternative skills to be applied to their day to day job.

The process

Following a brief introduction from Dr Paul Nicholas who organized the workshop the day developed as follows:

  1. All participants were grouped in pairs and given some time to learn as much as possible from each other as they had to introduce each other to the group.
  2. The discussion then moved toward defining a common purpose for the group and ensuring that everybody was completely involved in the process.
  3. Following a number of refining activities the group defined and agreed on a common, shared purpose for the workshop: “Understanding how to enable ourselves and others to become effective coaches”.
  4. It was clarified that necessary skills and training to become a coach are achieved after several courses and exams and the workshop’s ultimate goal was to show how basic coaching techniques could be used to be more effective in the workplace.
  5. The group was then coached to move forward defining and clarifying what main skills and attributes a coach should have.  The group was asked to define some attributes: the coach confirmed total agreement amongst the group clarifying when necessary with examples and practical applications.  After a long conversation the conclusion was represented by the following list:
    1. Timeframe: coaching defines something to be done or achieved by a certain time
    2. Listening: coaching somebody is about listening carefully and being non judgmental in whatever you hear;
    3. Careful questioning: asking the right questions, open questions;
    4. Empathy: while some level of empathy is necessary the coach should be able to detach himself/herself from the person being coached;
    5. Ensure proper body language as 70% of our communication is non verbal
    6. Integrity: be truthful, do what you promise and avoid over committing
    7. Value the coachee: ensure to stress the positive in any achievement and allow the coachee to feel valued for what he/she is doing
    8. Stretch: always inspire the coachee to do a bit more than they would otherwise, stretch his/her boundaries beyond their comfort zone.
  6. Coaching is about action: deciding what you will do by when is the most important part of a coaching conversation, where the coachee commits toward the coach.  Once the list was completed to everyone’s satisfaction the group was asked to spend some time writing down a list of actions that they would commit to as a conclusion of the workshop and then reading it out to the group as a promise to themselves and the group.

Conclusion

By the end of the workshop the level of energy was very high and everybody was positively charged toward their next commitments and how these new skills will help them to be more effective in their respective jobs.

The following are examples of feedback from attendees:

“I found the event exceptionally useful in focusing my thoughts and developing a practical approach to more effective working.” Dr Paul Nicholas, Project Manager, Suffolk EBP

“Found the pace of the course was good. I don’t think it could have been changed  and really enjoyed the day and got loads out of it.” John Payne, Chantry High School, Ipswich.

“The event was very useful and I certainly took interesting ideas from the discussions.” Xavier Norte, Kesgrave High School.

Posted under Case Studies

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 27 July 2009

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