‘DAS Management’ - 2015
The Directorate for Academic Support (DAS) at the University of Wolverhampton recognised that their working practices were counter-intuitive to the philosophy they wanted to engender in their leaders. Collectively they knew that changes were necessary to cement a holistic approach to leading people in a demanding and vital role within the wider university community.
DAS leaders explained that they had experienced continued issues with communication, conflict and in delivering a collective approach to leading their teams, which if improved would offer value to both staff a customers alike.
During a two day workshop, DAS began identifying all the ‘Elephants in the Room’ by labelling the daily behaviours and practices that had hampered the Directorate’s development. They also, for the first time, acknowledged the outstanding achievements they and their team members had attained over recent years and made a commitment to promote the positive aspects of their teams performance from then forward.
DAS also explored a model of leadership that enabled them to recognise where they and their teams were at in terms of development and were also given the tools to lead team members to the next level. Time was taken to explore evidenced personal qualities available to each leader, which were then shared in the collective group.
The directorate leaders were also introduced to a perspective tool, which enabled them to reflect on all aspects of current conflicts and difficulties they each faced and to identify real solutions. The whole workshop experience was challenging for the DAS management team, who collectively brought a pace and energy to the experience making an experience that was memorable for both delegates and the trainers.
“From a high level brief given, excellent translation into a challenging, entertaining and informative 2 day course.”
John Dowd, Assistant Director, DAS
'Howard's Way' - Experiences of Mindfulness in the Workplace - 2015
After a career in the Armed Forces, Howard spent some years as Head Chef in a hospital based restaurant. He described how experiences from his military service had left him with traumatic memories that had, over time, influenced his outlook on life and his behaviour. Howard explained that he had not slept properly for years and that he was often prone to be snappy and overbearing at work, which had given him a reputation of being someone to avoid.
Despite having tried various forms of therapy, Howard had not been able to make the progress he wanted, leaving him devoid of hope that the future may offer any release from the burdens of his past. The prospect of facing a future of ongoing personal pain and difficulty in forming professional relationships may well have got the better of Howard in time.
Howard tentatively began an 8 week ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace’ course in 2015 and initially found the practices, both on the course and at home, to be challenging. However; he remained committed to the process of daily mindfulness practice and by only the second week, had begun to notice significant changes in his working and personal life.
Howard explained that he had begun to sleep soundly and his temperament at work had softened. He felt more inclined to enjoy his time in the workplace and started to acknowledge and value his own personal characteristics. For the very first time he began to accept that the past did not have to influence each day and that he had the ability to dictate his own temperament and future.
" I can honestly say, mindfulness has changed my life."
'Beyond the Ball' - Manchester United Foundation - 2014
Coaching young people in any sense can offer challenges to the most seasoned of teachers; however the coaches of the Manchester United Foundation are tasked with delivering more than just quality football coaching in socially deprived areas of Manchester. They are also there to help install a moral compass within those young people and encourage them to reach their fullest potential. No mean feat that.
Such inspiring delivery has to reach beyond the expectations of those coming to one of the Foundation's schemes. Coaching staff need to be adept at responding to a young person in a holistic way that extends far past teaching the basics of a sporting discipline.
United's coaching staff were able to consider the needs of young people in the training room, and the impact this had upon them. Establishing relationships was a key component of a training workshop delivered by Auctus Bespoke Training Solutions and is so vital in enabling a young person to express themselves, gain trust in others and grow emotionally. Coaching staff explored positive psychological techniques designed to remove blocks, such as ego, from the relationship process to increase the likelihood of successful engagement by their client groups.
Active listening, rapport building and boundary setting was also developed in the training room to offer coaches an improved kit bag of supportive tools to enable young people to open up, if the need and opportunity arose. All staff embraced the human aspect of their role and understood that wearing a badge with the prestige of Manchester United Football Club meant they could be seen as immediate role models to any young person who came their way.
Positive Psychology in football is no new thing and the similarities between developing the mind-set of a premier league star and that of a twelve year old young man from Moss Side are there, if you care to look for them. Both need support from people with whom they identify, respect and can easily communicate. Both need to know that their coach values them, their input and their potential, and is prepared to create an environment by which such potential can be steered towards success.
"Simply the Best" - John Shiels, Chief Executive, Manchester United Foundation