The Invisibility of Grief

I attended a conference once where one of the presenters said that when people undergo a major change in their lives they experience something very similar to grief. ‘Similar?’, I thought to myself. ‘No, it is more than similar, it is identical; it is grief’. Grief is our reaction to loss, not just our reaction to bereavement. This sounds a very straightforward statement to make, and yet I regularly encounter situations involving significant losses other than death where the people ...

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Influencing organisational culture

‘Essentialism’ is the technical terms for the idea that each us has a fixed nature: we are who we are and there’s not a lot we can do about it. Despite ample evidence to show that this is a seriously flawed way of thinking, it remains a very common (mis)understanding of human psychology. While it would be foolish not to recognise very strong and lasting patterns of behaviour, though and emotional response in each of us, it would be equally ...

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Book review: Roots and Wings: A History of Outdoor Education and Outdoor Learning in the UK

Ogilvie, K. C. (2013) Roots and Wings: A History of Outdoor Education and Outdoor Learning in the UK, Lyme Regis, Russell House Publishing. ISBN 978-1-905541-84-3: £39.95 + £1.50 delivery: www.russellhouse.co.uk.

This is a mammoth of a book, with over 800 pages in total. As its title indicates, it has a strong historical focus – and that focus is also very wide, locating outdoor education in the context of wider human history, beginning the story over ten million years ago. As someone who ...

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The challenge of leadership

The challenge of leadership

I was recently a speaker at a conference on leadership. It is a topic that has interested me for some time. I have been particularly intrigued by the idea of a leader as someone who influences an organisational culture in a positive direction. The conference chair used a phrase that made an impact on me and which I have already started using in my training on these issues: he described a leader as a thermostat not a ...

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Developing a community of learning

In the build up to launching the Avenue Professional Development Programme a few people have asked me what the thinking behind the initiative is. Perhaps it would be helpful if I put it in the context of how my thinking has developed.

For several years I taught students week in week out and the advantage of that was that I was able to link ideas together from one session to the next, respond to any concerns or confusions and help people ...

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Learning for life

I have just completed a very busy period where I provided a great deal of training for a number of organisations. Reflecting on the experience what strikes me is the huge difference in attitudes to learning. At one extreme we have the semi-burnt out cynic who seems determined to let their negativity spoil the positive learning environment I have worked hard to create. Thankfully such people are in a small minority. At the other extreme are the people who become ...

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Be tutored online as part of my Avenue Professional Development Programme

I will soon be launching the Avenue Professional Development Programme. The SILVER version will allow members of the people professions to be part of an online learning community, with me as the tutor. The GOLD version will include all the facilities of the SILVER programme, but with the addition of one-to-one e-mentoring with my good self. Find out now how you can be part of this important innovative online learning programme at a surprisingly low price! Download the full-colour brochure  Continue Reading →

Asking the right questions?

I was recently contacted by someone who wanted my advice on asking the right questions in a coaching context. He explained that he worked as a coach and regularly used certain questions to encourage his clients to think about how they can move forward with their work and their learning. He asked me whether I thought they were the ‘right’ questions to ask. Of course, I had to reply by saying that it all depends on the context. What will ...

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Taking diversity seriously

A recent survey carried out by HR Magazine found that a high proportion of organisations were claiming to take diversity issues seriously but only 57% had a diversity strategy in place. This reminds me of the early days of anti-discriminatory practice when there was a lot of rhetoric about the importance of tackling discrimination and oppression, but nowhere near as much evidence of concrete steps being taken to promote equality by translating the verbal commitment into actual practice. Tokenism is ...

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Learning from each other

I was lucky to have the opportunity recently to play host to two Latvian visitors, two university lecturers interested in developing workplace well-being in their country. They had received funding to help them research how workplace well-being is being developed in other countries, hence their time with me to talk about the UK scene. They enjoyed their trip and were pleased with what they learned, and so they were very grateful to me and my colleagues for our time and ...

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