February 2014: A quick news update

Coaching relationships are confidential, so how do we explain them?

I have posted a case study and called it a ‘Letter to Shefali’, that shows how long distance mentoring can work.  Our work related correspondence began in earnest last year when Shefali wrote and announced she was going freelance. She is a brilliant, committed and respected professional but had never run her own enterprise before. See the letter posted under Coaching.

Shared patterns to leadership challenges

At the start of 2014 I reflected on the leadership challenges that my mentoring clients were bringing to our discussions. Of course, everyone’s story is different but patterns keep coming up and they include:

  • Building sustainable business models for the organisation that challenge existing norms
  • Making one’s leadership style and actions explicit- telling the story
  • Confidently using one’s own voice whilst still staying attuned to the reactions and needs of colleagues
  • Dealing in highly politicised environments and with changing models of political accountability and governance
  • Working out how to take the next career step when the path is not too obvious.

Perhaps the last of these is the most difficult. Some of us know exactly how we ‘want to make a difference’ in the word from being very young, others of us say things like, ‘I cannot wait to know what I will be when I grow up’ but we change and our circumstances change.

More information is in the coaching section of this site but please contact me directly if you want to know more. I am always happy to share a cup of coffee without strings!


Supporting Social Entrepreneurs and Enterprises

I mentor award winners through UnLtd (UK’s Connect Programme). The dedication and commitment to their work is so impressive and in daunting circumstances. I refer to the commissioning climate, particularly around health and social care. It seems to be so tough for individual enterprises to break through, but my navigating skills are coming in handy and its good to see the national policy framework becoming more sympathetic to social enterprise.

Sue and Marika at OxJam for UnLtd

I was recently asked to reflect on the mentoring experience for an UnLtd Connect event organized by Marika Finne at UnLtd.  I reflected on the importance of the initial conversations/ scoping out the work because a trusting and supportive relationship is vital. Will you get on with one another? Will you be able to add value? Does your blend of skills fit with the organisation’s needs at the time. If so then you are in for some fun.

Mentoring highlights:

  • Taking part in a silent opera
  • Visiting the tranquil site of a well being project
  • Being presented with a giant courgette as a thankyou for my work
  • Speed mentoring at the Oxford Jam (Sue and Marika in this photo above)
  • Being a judge at the Big Venture Challenge

I have also signed up as a Trustee of Social Entrepreneurs South Africa, who are supporting UnLtd South Africa to take their next steps to growth, more to say later.


Travelling to think

I find when I travel that I have time to reflect on and compare current practice. My trip to Japan in November last was no exception. I was fortunate to have a day visiting public libraries in Tokyo and the report of my visit was recently posted in Public Libraries News: here is the link. http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/campaigning/a-glimpse-of-tokyo-library-life-by-sue-charteris

Pictures on the Flickr page also reflect this theme; frequently our pathways are not clear. I was fortunate to hike the Kumano Kodo Pilgramage Trail though; you just keep going till you reach the sea.


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