Individual personal development
You might be visiting because you’ve identified some areas for personal development, either for yourself or for one or more of your team. Some reasons that people approach us for this kind of work:
- You’ve been given some feedback about ‘how you come across’, or have noticed that you don’t always get the reaction you’re hoping for when communicating with others.
- You are looking to move into a more senior role and want to develop how others perceive you, or get help with an interview.
- You want to access practical executive coaching (with a multitude of different reasons and contexts for this).
One-to-one coaching - personal impact
We can help by working with you to understand what you’re hoping to achieve, being really clear where we think you are hitting the mark, in other words where you are aligning intention with impact, and helping you understand where making some small changes to your strategies, your behaviours or your mind-set might add up to a big difference in how the rest of the world perceives you. Here’s an example:
One of our coaches worked with a Director of a large professional services firm. He came to us requesting one-to-one impact coaching support following an unsuccessful attempt to secure promotion to Partner. He had received some feedback about his impact during the selection process and needed help. What emerged during the coaching process was that his deep knowledge of his subject area was getting in the way of his ability to build relationships with clients. Our coach worked with him over three months, rehearsing aspects of the interview process, as well as other leadership challenges.
Our client developed his ability to:
- Deal with nerves
- Create congruence of mind, body and voice
- Handle tough questions
- Tell ‘trust in me’ stories
- Consider the various strategies available to him when under pressure
- Manage physical and vocal presence in high stakes situations
- Consider how he can effectively deploy his expertise, whilst taking care of relationships too
This story has a happy ending. He is now a Partner at the firm and has referred several colleagues to Practive for similar coaching support. See testimonials here.
We offer coaching to leaders, directors and high potential senior executives in a wide variety of sectors. Our coaches create robust, strong and confidence-building working partnerships which are underpinned by sound coaching principles and well validated techniques. They ask questions, challenge assumptions, help provide clarity, provide resources, and yes, sometimes, with permission, provide advice!
You may be interested in running a one day workshop on specific skills, or finding a facilitator for a large group event that you are running. The kinds of workshops we are often asked to run include those below; we tailor these according to our clients' needs and objectives, so this is not an exclusive list in any way. Please read more for some examples and please contact us with your specific requests:
One view of leadership is it happens ‘one conversation at a time’. We are famous for our bespoke, interactive, practical workshops that equip participants with the theory and practice to help them have productive, honest and meaningful conversations, whatever the context.
“The facilitators were lovely, very good at what they do– insightful and supportively challenging. The workshop was highly relevant to being a leader in today’s world, irrespective of backgrounds and years of seniority.”
Courageous conversations and managing conflict
These workshops are designed to support leaders at those times when they find themselves managing challenging situations, having ‘difficult’ conversations, or leading people through change and uncertainty. For example, we explore how to give clear and direct messages, manage emotional reactions (in ourselves and others), give honest and unequivocal feedback, negotiate realistic next steps with individuals and gain commitment to future actions.
"Feeling empowered to manage conversations & difficult situations with more confidence. A very inspirational & supportive day with colleagues."
Our definition of influence: ‘the ability to affect the way people think, feel or act whilst maintaining a co-operative relationship’. These workshops are designed to build the confidence of leaders to influence, challenge positively and understand others’ perspectives in the situations which they encounter day to day. We explore and practise different strategies, behaviours and approaches, using real-life scenarios and using a model of influence as the framework.
"It was really powerful in as far as we could mimic some scenarios and get real testing of different techniques and approaches, which you can’t get if you just do a classroom experience."
Storytelling and narrative
We all know the power of a story to connect with others, inspire action, bring to life important messages and truths about life and the situations we encounter. Stories engage with the heart as well as the head; they create excitement, connection and empathy. In these workshops we experiment with different types of stories, offering tools and techniques to help create compelling, powerful narratives. We also work with the storyteller to develop the skills and behaviours that help us to communicate so that our stories ‘land’ in the way we intend.
"A great session - informal and approachable teachers, who were really experienced at adapting the course for our needs and interests."
These highly interactive workshops explore how leaders can present with confidence and impact in different situations, whether to a small group, their own team, to a Board meeting or a large conference audience. Presentation is a live art, so we always include lots of opportunities to practise and experiment.
"Very useful / helpful format – message & practice. Very skilled facilitators. Good mix of interaction / input & moving around (creative)."
What are the factors that affect employees’ performance? How can we set clear standards and objectives? How do we monitor performance over time? How to manage ‘good’ as well as ‘poor’ performance? How to run a great performance review meeting? These workshops are interactive and participative and include lots of opportunity to explore real situations and to try out the techniques, tips and hints on how to manage the performance of others.
"This was an excellent workshop the interaction really supported learning and showed how skills could be used practically in the workplace."
Coaching skills for managers
These interactive and highly practical workshops explore the essentials of coaching using well recognised concepts such as the GROW model alongside our own model which examines the continuum from a directive style of coaching to a facilitative style.
Other areas covered include structuring a coaching conversation, questioning and listening skills, developing an appropriate mind set, managing the emotional reaction of others, and guidelines for giving feedback effectively.
"Excellent session, well planned & informative. Supportive learning environment"
Chairing and handling meetings
We sometimes have the view that meetings are getting in the way of what we’re really meant to be doing. Yet they are essential in order to make decisions, collaborate, share information, involve people and demonstrate public accountability. These practical, experiential workshops cover topics such as: planning and preparing; structure and process; beginning well – examining how to open a meeting, set the tone, establish ground rules and your authority as chair; leading the meeting, including working with the group dynamics, ending well and constructively.
"Loved that it was more practical than theory. Small group work was perfect. Facilitation was fantastic & very engaging."
This workshop is designed to help leaders to explore how they can get more control over how they are perceived by others. Leaders need to have the impact they intend as far as they possibly can as it is linked to their ability to lead and influence others. There is no ‘one size fits all’ – this is about developing the skills to ‘be yourself well’ in all situations. We run a range of personal impact workshops from ‘bite-size’ sessions to three day workshops.
"I wish it could have been longer! I have raved about the workshop to family, friends and colleagues. The course made a profound impact upon me. It has taught me a great deal, in terms of advice and how to manage my anxiety. I truly believe it will enhance my impact and I am looking forward with great anticipation to developing what I learned and putting it into practice."
Working with groups and teams
You may be interested in this because you know something currently isn't working or you know something is about to happen and you need support to prepare for that.
We have extensive experience working with teams. For examples of recent work please read more:
Executive team development
We worked with an Executive Team in the Health Sector who wanted to develop their ways of working. They were a high performing team in many ways, and were coming under increasing pressure which was affecting relationships. We carried out a number of interventions:
- One-to-one confidential calls with all the team to understand their view of the issues.
- An initial session playing back the themes from the calls (unattributed) to sense-check and start the development process.
- A series of development half-day sessions, helping the team to understand each other better, to have courageous conversations, to explore the impact they were having on their own organisation.
We have worked with many different boards in a variety of contexts - for example:
- Brand new boards who need to get to know one another and agree how they are going to work together
- Existing boards who would like some feedback on how they operate
- Boards who need to agree how to deal with a particular process – e.g. conflict of Interest
- Boards going through a transition after, for example, new appointments
Our practical approach to these different contexts include:
- Filming the board at work and producing reports of the behaviours we observed
- Creating bespoke scenarios for the board to work through using actors
- Offering individual coaching to board members after observing them in action
- Running ‘Away Days’ for boards to step away from the day to day process and take some time to examine how they work together
Team preparation for a pitch
International Engineering Firm
We worked with a team of people who had been put together to lead a bid for a large project. They needed time to prepare, practice and get to know each other better. After consulting with them, we put together some material that would help people to open up and understand how you can have the impact you want when under pressure. We then created the conditions for them to practice - we gave them time and we gave them feedback. We also offered to be there on the day to support anyone who needed any last minute rehearsals.
Building a high performing team
What makes for a high performing team and how can you develop to work even better together in the service of a common goal? We work with many different teams, at different stages of their evolution, to help them, for example, develop and build trust, agree purpose and ways of working, understand each others’ strengths, give feedback to each other, surface and encourage different views in order to get to the best outcomes.
All of our work is co-created with our clients so the first thing we do is to get to know you and your team as well as we can - to create trust and understanding on both sides. We will be guided by you and what you need or want. One day of training, a half day workshop, a programme, some coaching for individuals, a film. There are so many options. What we will do is talk to you and your team and agree together what will work best.
Working with organisations
You may be interested in how we can help you lead change across your organization or system, whatever that involves for you. We have worked with leaders in a number of different developing organisations and emerging systems on a wide range of presenting issues and needs.
Some of these include:
Rolling out new systems or processes
We worked with a global engineering firm who wanted their senior leaders to buy into a new approach and philosophy to managing performance across their organisation.
We worked with leaders in the civil service who wanted to develop a culture that was congruent with their new processes for managing performance.
“Very good. Excellent trainers. Good balance of presentation/ theory and interactive work. Liked the theatre item - haven't come across that before. The study books/ papers were also very useful and I'll be referring to mine regularly."
Linking leadership behaviours to brand
We worked with an organisation that specialises in providing qualifications and education programmes who wanted to develop their senior leadership community to be transformational global leaders, with a robust foundation of people management skills.
“Just to thank and congratulate everybody responsible for designing and delivering this course. It really has been the best training I have ever done in my professional life”
We worked with a recently rebranded organisation that provides national information, data and IT systems for health and care services who wanted help to build and strengthen their new brand by ensuring that their leaders actively lived the behaviours commensurate with it – both within their organisation and across the systems they influence, inspire and service.
“Superb programme with a great group of people. It has been fun, hard work and really insightful. I feel I have some key areas that I now need to work on. Really enjoyed it.”
Supporting system and team leaders through change
In the health and social care system in England we have worked with clients who are developing a more integrated approach to providing care.
In one example we designed and delivered a programme to offer some ongoing support to the key leaders and teams involved. These were delivered through a series of bespoke modules to a group of senior operational leaders whilst also working with the front-line teams who were coordinating and delivering the new models of care.
The sessions with the operational leaders included a mix of leadership development with some practical sessions to help them find more integrated solutions to the challenges they were facing. The sessions with the front-line teams helped them to form as a team, build trust, resolve differences, work creatively and, ultimately, deliver care in new and innovative ways.
In all of these examples we co-created a range on interventions that were suitable and appropriate for the participants with whom we were working, and the desired outcomes we wanted to achieve.
We have created unique and bespoke leadership programmes which were delivered over several modules, with action learning sets, coaching sessions and integration projects between the modules.
Typically, each module will be designed around a particular aspect of leadership development. For example, for one programme we have designed modules on ‘Leading Self’, ‘Leading Others’ and ‘Leading in Context’. For another programme we designed modules on ‘Context and personal style’, ‘Influencing for engagement’, ‘The confidence to challenge’, ‘Leading a 21st century service’ and ‘Sustainable leadership’.
In between modules we can offer a range of interventions that help to imbed the learning from the modules. These include 1:1 coaching sessions (in person or by phone or Skype); we run small group Action Learning Sets and we have also co-created integration projects with our clients that allow the application of the learning through a relevant project that also benefits the business or stakeholders of the business.
Flexible development sessions
We have created a series of flexible development sessions which were continually updated and adapted to ensure they were appropriate for the fast-changing nature of the evolving system in which our clients operated.
At the beginning of the project we consulted with key stakeholders and co-created the overarching framework for the development sessions. Then, at the start of each session we checked in with the participants to ensure the session was still fit-for-purpose. If necessary, adaptations to the agenda were made. At the end of every session we reviewed and developed the plans for what we had scheduled for the next session, which, again, were reviewed at the start of the following session. In this way, we provided to the participants a series of bespoke development sessions that were always in service of the changing needs of the system.
Specific focused interventions
We have undertaken the research necessary to create some specific interventions such as Verbatim Theatre or Forum Theatre to allow the organisation or system leaders to experience how they were perceived by various stakeholders.
These two interventions are examples of the creative output we can produce on the back of our extensive research with the stakeholders of our client.
In our Verbatim Theatre sessions we use the anonymised and unattributed verbatim quotes from clients to create an appropriately balanced picture of how a client is perceived by their stakeholders. We can also use dramatic techniques to highlight certain messages and our style of presentation allows a client to engage fully with the key messages without feeling blamed, criticised or attacked.
In Forum Theatre we present to the client audience an example of how they are perceived to interact with specific stakeholders. In this way, we can ‘hold up the mirror’ to the client and bring to life their current reality. This then allows the audience to make decisions about what they want to keep the same and what they want to change about that reality. The session includes an opportunity for the client to make suggestions about what changes they want to put in place and have these tested in the room as we bring these suggestions to life.
Across this range of interventions we brought different skills, qualities and attributes that we believe are closely associated with our brand.