Whatever facilitators may say, when it comes to peer-based learning, it’s the participants that make the difference between a good programme and a great one. Oasis has worked hard to attract great participants, and it’s mainly because previous participants talk to potential participants, that people who are open, willing and prepared for development have found us. Over our thirty years, it’s a privilege to work and learn alongside truly inspiring participants. This year’s Coaching and Mentoring Programme has been no exception.
This cohort has attracted experienced and senior-level leaders from across Yorkshire and Europe, people making a radical and profound impact in their organisations, and the world around them and Angela Lockwood, CEO of North Star Housing is one of them. North Star is an awarding winning Housing Association and Angela has been recognised as one of the key influencers in the sector.
Angela and Oasis have been partners through a significant and longstanding collaboration, which has resulted in a radical shift in the culture of North Star Housing, not only in how it works but also in how it looks and operates in the external landscape.
It can take some guts for an active CEO, even one who is known for ‘walking the talk’, to take the time to develop their coaching and mentoring skills on a substantial development programme, and embrace the inevitable risks involved, from being vulnerable and stepping outside their personal comfort zone, to gaining unmediated feedback from peers and coaching clients.
We were curious to find out more and we asked Angela what encouraged her to take such a step.
Here’s what Angela has to say about the programme
The importance of cultivating a relational culture
At North Star we have been working on organisational development for many years, shifting to a more relational culture. With all good organisational development programmes, there is a need to start with oneself before moving to the “we” and the “all of us”. So with that in mind, I did some Executive Development and worked out what I needed to do differently to enable the organisational change I was seeking. This approach has continued and to some extent links to the Coaching & Mentoring programme.
Leading others from integrity
I was keen to further embed a coaching style across the business, and I realised that whilst I fully understood the theory around coaching, I hadn’t undergone any focussed development in this area. So committed to “putting my money where my mouth is” I signed up for the programme. I couldn’t really expect others to undergo development in this area if I wasn’t prepared to myself. There was of course the added benefit of developing my skills to enable me to be a more confident coach and mentor.
Practice, as well as theory, are fundamental to learning
So here I am and I have learned loads, least of all the breadth of tools and techniques available. I realise that throughout my career I have inevitably developed some coaching and mentoring skills through the management of people around me, which in my experience gets more challenging the more senior you get, as those around you are also more senior. The programme has drilled down further into the often inspirational thinking that informs the doing, it has provided lots of space for practice, and introduced a whole new set of tools. It’s incredibly helpful to receive feedback from colleagues who are learning together and having “permission” to be clumsy whilst practicing.
We learn when we’re prepared to learn from each other
I have loved the parallel running of coaching and mentoring people whilst on the programme which means I can bring back issues, challenges and successes for discussion. This sharing is a rich form of learning whilst doing for me, and one I hope I can continue. All in all, a number of things have been achieved; I have led from the front in terms of organisational development, I have developed new skills and techniques and very importantly, I have learned I really love doing it!
CEO North Star HG
To find out more about our Coaching and Mentoring Programme which is accredited by the Association of Coaching, click here