I admit to struggling over the past few weeks. Suffering with the weirdest virus combined with the coldest March since records began hasn’t helped. But watching a mad march hare from the train lifted my spirits as it danced and flipped about in anticipation of spring. And now as I write, the warm southerly winds have delivered cuckoos, rare butterflies, house martins and even the first swallows to the New Forest. So it was with rising enthusiasm that I treated myself to a day’s CPD in early April by attending a workshop in Abingdon run by OPP Ltd, designed to ‘refresh & reconnect’ practitioners with the MBTI personality assessment tool. The OPP cleverly used it as an opportunity to present and explain their new MBTI products which was useful and good fun.
As a horse lover, the Grand National is always an early April highlight and after enjoying a blast out on my own horse Che, in the morning, it was great to be tucked up in front of the fire to enjoy Ch4’s excellent coverage. What a result, no horses died and a complete outsider, Ryan Mania wins at on his first attempt on Auroras Encore at 66-1. Even more surprising 3 of the 6 top finishers had long odds too. It just goes to show it takes more than just breeding, training and jockey experience to win. The Eye Opener for me is that life sometimes mysteriously offers up a smidgen of opportunity when the odds seem firmly set against success. One just has to hold one’s nerve!
I was delighted to visit Bank of America Merrill Lynch near St Paul’s Cathedral early in April, to meet with a small group of internal coaches. They asked me to talk on my experience of executive coaching and my take on authentic leadership – a hot topic in the world of leadership development. This came just days after the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at his Easter address, warned of the cult of the ‘Hero-Leader’. After the global economic meltdown and environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is it time for a more authentic kind of leadership that’s more sustainable and ethical?
The following day I helped facilitate a leadership day at Warwick Business School on the distance learning MBA programme. This is always an exhausting tightly packed day, but great fun taking students from a range of backgrounds and countries through some very testing leadership material. As always, the Johari exercise is always an Eye Opener with participants struck by how much there is to learn about engaging and influencing others through honest and open feedback – feedback that goes both ways.
Mid-April saw me with my New Forest Partnership Board hat on, running our first ever Women in Business at the lovely Chewton Glen. We had a great attendance, lots of fun as well as gaining new members. I featured a short but interactive workshop on the link between motivation and success, plus attendees got a chance to exchange ideas in the plenary session. Interestingly the themes that emerged weren’t gender-specific but the age-old topic of competitive pressures and finding / keeping the right kind of customers. I’m delighted that NFBP will run WiB events at least twice a year, to which men who support or help women in business are also very welcome.
So… if you’re in the New Forest, east Dorset area the next WiB breakfast will be on Thursday, 10th October, 7.45 – 10.00 with another interactive workshop and an opportunity to share our expertise with others in the room.
In between all of this and getting the garden under control and heart-breakingly, showing potential buyers around Holly House, and coaching more and more fab folk, I’m managing to ride out regularly on Che and enjoying the first signs of summer coming.
Note 1: CPD = Continuing Professional Development.
Note 2: MBTI = Myers Briggs Type Indicator