As well as several bespoke groups that have taken place throughout this academic year, the latest cohort of the Skills and Education Group’s Emerging Leaders programme concluded recently. This cohort included several internal staff from the Group, along with staff from Action Housing and Support Limited and education providers Nottingham Trent University, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, and Leicester Adult Education.
Tom Hughes, Senior Brand Officer at the Skills and Education Group, was one of the staff who completed the programme. In this blog post, he provides an insight into the programme and its benefits.
A variety of tips to take away and apply
The programme covered a wide variety of topics related to leadership, including the role of management, mental health and wellbeing, inclusion, confidence, and coaching. Each session was delivered by an experienced trainer from the relevant field and provided a huge variety of tips for participants to takeaway and apply in our roles.
Here are some of the most valuable things I learned on the programme.
Kim Rutherford, Psychotherapist and Founder of DaltonWise Coaching and Therapy, spoke about the importance of work/life balance, and made the point that directing our energy to the right things at the right time can help to maintain this.
Vanessa Boon, Lead Difference-Maker/Founder at Energise, delivered a session that covered the many ways in which people are different – not just in terms of protected characteristics, but other factors too, such as confidence levels, introversion and extroversion, and life experiences. I learned that it is important to be mindful of these things so that we can be the best possible leader for all of our team members.
Hayley Gillard, experienced coach, trainer and founder of Compassionate Leaders, delivered a session on ‘Confident and Compassionate Leadership’. In this session, Hayley covered the fact that there are so many things in your life that affect your confidence; experiences from early life may still influence your thoughts and feelings years later. This resonated with me and has helped me to recognise the things in my own life that have impacted my confidence.
Karen Plowman, Head of Professional Development and Learning at Skills and Education Group, and Dr Alison Scott, Lead Professional Development Advisor, introduced Klasen and Clutterbuck’s Four Basic Styles of Helping in their session on ‘Appreciating the Importance of Coaching and Mentoring’. These four styles include Coach, Caretaker, Facilitator and Counsellor roles, which each differ in terms of how directive they are in how much they stretch or nurture someone. Understanding these different roles has encouraged me to try different approaches with my team, becoming less directive and more stretching in order to challenge them more.
Enjoyed the Action Learning Sets throughout and these provided great support and offered perspectives. Really enjoyed the scenario-based problems, real issues. Group work was enjoyable whenever it was part of a session.
Developing confidence and working relationships
I particularly enjoyed how the programme gave plenty of opportunities to speak about myself. This has helped me to be more open with my team and improve my working relationships with them. For example, at the beginning of the programme, all participants took part in an icebreaker activity that involved completing sentences such as ‘The person that inspires me most is…’ and ‘I could not get through one day without…’ My team and I then repeated this exercise in a team meeting, which helped us to get to know each other better.
The programme also included Action Learning Sets. These were small groups in which participants would each share a challenge they were experiencing at work. Through asking questions and making suggestions, the rest of the group would help them to find solutions. Talking through my own challenges helped me to crystallise my thinking, while it was great to get new ideas and perspectives from others.
In the final session, each participant had to deliver a short presentation about their experience on the programme. I was able to complete this successfully and calmly, which showed how my confidence and presenting skills had improved through the course.
360° questionnaire highlights progress
At the start and end of the programme, all participants completed 360° questionnaires. The survey comprised 40 statements covering the different elements of leadership, with options to strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with each statement. We each completed these questionnaires ourselves and shared the questionnaire with four or five colleagues.
The questionnaire results were presented on a wheel diagram which provided a visual representation of our progress throughout the programme. My survey results showed noticeable improvement, plus I am now also aware of which areas I still need to strengthen in order to become a better leader.
Recognising your Leadership Potential - I really enjoyed this session as, having done my strengths assessment, it was a really personalised experience in that no one has the same set of strengths. Allowed me to think deeply about how I can use my own strengths to become a better leader and manager.
Comments from other participants in this cohort included the following:
“Enjoyed the Action Learning Sets throughout and these provided great support and offered perspectives. Really enjoyed the scenario-based problems, real issues. Group work was enjoyable whenever it was part of a session.”
“I am currently using the EDIP coaching model to pass on knowledge to new officers enabling them to carry out their role. I have also used the 360° feedback in a Johari Window to initially show what was ‘known to self but not others’ and then to evidence that this same information had moved to ‘known to self and others’ as a result of the second feedback questionnaire.”
“Recognising your Leadership Potential – I really enjoyed this session as, having done my strengths assessment, it was a really personalised experience in that no one has the same set of strengths. Allowed me to think deeply about how I can use my own strengths to become a better leader and manager.”
And here’s where it could take you…
Completing the Emerging Leaders programme was probably one of the best things I’ve done at the college – I learned loads. Since then, I’ve had two different job roles. I moved into a Senior Content role and had to recruit a new team from scratch and build a new content function. And I’m now in a Marketing Campaigns and Engagement Manager role, which I’ve been in for about 10 months.
Could you or your colleagues benefit from the Emerging Leaders programme?
The next cohort of our Emerging Leaders programme gets underway in September 2023 and is open for bookings. You can find out more on the dedicated webpage. This programme can also be delivered through a tailored approach to meet your own organisation’s needs. If you have any questions, please contact our Professional Development team.
13 December 2023