I’m just returning from latest Coaching & Mentoring “research day” run by Sheffield Hallam Business School (SHU). For those of you who don’t know, the round trip to Sheffield from my home in Norfolk is over 7 hours by train. Not something I undertake lightly but these “research days” are worth every minute!
The train journeys also give me time to work & blog...
The value of the Unconference format
Run with an OpenSpace format by the Coaching & Mentoring faculty at SHU these “research days” might also be described as quarterly unconferences.
I’m a big fan of the unconference format but I believe there’s always a risk that they won’t produce any tangible community action. There may be lots of great individual learning, connecting and discussion but leading to what?
Assuaging my unconference fears was last months’ first #LDConnect Unconference (#ldcu). This has generated some great thinking which has continued and developed after the event and is in my opinion building towards real action.
Today’s “research day” went one further.
In one session, a very lively group of us explored the dynamics around Coach Supervision and the expanding number of coaches becoming Coach Supervisors.
On the one hand there was appreciation for the role of Supervision as part of our development & professional practice. On the other hand, the rapid growth of income generating Supervision with a focus on coaches and not mentors felt like a big warning signal.
After some great discussion a vision for the future was loosely developed. I won’t go into too much detail here & now as it’s going to be developed into a co-created article for the Industry magazine “Coaching at Work”...
A positioning paper from a group of professional coaches/mentors & academics to challenge the status quo. To share our collective thinking on how the industry could adopt a more suitable approach to developing professional practice.
Now that is what I call action!
Was this group special? Yes and no...
We developed this thinking collectively around an area of common interest. We saw something wasn’t quite right but we were keen to develop our understanding through open dialogue. We came to a joint conclusion on what could be done to constructively (not destructively) create a better future. We decided to take action - collectively.
It was that simple and for that it is also a bit special.
What you going to do?
I know we’ve not completed our journey yet. We’ve not yet shifted the thinking of the industry let alone the professional bodies. But we’re going to try in a constructive & collaborative manner.
We could all do similar - something simple, something special.
So why don’t we just do it?