Annual Report 2013

In January 2013 I rented my first permanent ‘consulting rooms’ to grow my business. And just like so many of the clients I see, this decision to expand felt like a risky transition for me. After a thorough search, I found an office in Newtown which is accessible, professional, private; and therefore ideally suited to my coaching and consulting work. Now more than twelve months later, as I reflect on the year, I can see that my risk has paid off. Particularly, I’m so thankful to have not only increased the work I’ve done with social sector organisations, but this year I’ve also expanded my coaching to individuals more broadly negotiating key transitions and work challenges in their lives.

All of my work this year was via referrals from past and present clients. I’m incredibly grateful that people continue to recommend me to other people and organisations in their own networks. And, as this was a year of growth for me, I wanted to share a snapshot of the work I undertook. Given that part of my expertise is to provide bespoke consulting services, my work can often feel hard to measure in meaningful ways … But ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with a ‘plain old number count’ at times to begin, and so…

Here’s what I did in 2013:

• 85 coaching sessions
• 13 action learning sets
• 11 training sessions in action learning facilitation
• 5 training sessions on adaptive leadership
• 5 training sessions with young people in advocacy, facilitation and consultation skills
• 7 conference presentations on social sector leadership, management and self care
• 2 conference presentations on the future of youth affairs in Australia
• 3 residential programs
• Consulted to 5 organisations on their strategic change initiatives
• Facilitated 2 consultative forums for government and
• Designed and led 3 team building days.

I worked with people and organisations from every state and territory in Australia.

My work resulted in:

  • 40 people trained in action learning facilitation skills
  • 70 social sector people trained in adaptive leadership
  • 45 young people trained in advocacy, facilitation and consultation skills
  • 600 people at social sector conferences learnt new ideas about leadership management and self care
  • 12 people experienced transformational learning through action learning sets
  • the development of a regional plan for homelessness
  • the development of a resource for mental health professionals working with LGBTIQ clients and
  • being selected to be the Secretariat for the Social Innovation Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Alliance of Australia (SIEEA).

In addition to spending 10% of my time working pro-bono, I also sponsored the inaugural NSW ‘Youth Worker of the Year’ Awards.

Themes that emerged in my coaching work were:

  • learning how to make purposeful transitions: within the social sector, from government to the social sector, from high school to university, from full time work to self employment. I helped clients learn these skills, identify their goals and a plan of action aligned to their values.
  • developing management and leadership capacities: these skills can take years of reflective practice to develop and are rarely taught. I mentored many social sector leaders in the ‘art and science’ of managing and leading effectively.
  • developing effective boundaries: working in the social sector can demand a lot of people, and burnout is a real risk and reality for too many. I helped clients clarify their own values and behaviours and develop their skill in asserting these needs in their personal and professional life.
  • business development for social enterprise: I helped individuals develop a robust strategic business plan for their new social enterprise ideas.

Themes that emerged in my consulting work were:

  • managing transitions: social sector organisations are facing dynamic and challenging times. I helped organisations make purposeful decisions by facilitating dialogue, providing strategic advice, and developing new business plans to help them navigate these pressures with integrity.
  • developing teams: social sector organisations are only as effective as their staff. I have helped teams improve their internal communications, identify individual and collective strengths, and constructively deal with ongoing team challenges.
  • creating meaningful conversations: I have helped organisations, networks and government create suitable contexts for having forthright and productive conversations.

In 2013 I worked intensively with people from 135 social sector organisations.

And what might this mean for 2014? I hope it shows that I too take risks, work hard, and continue to bring the empathy of close to 20-years in the social sector each and every time I work with people and organisations. I love this work.

I also hope it shows that I am a person you contact if you, someone you know, or an organisation is:

  • facing a transition
  • uncertain of how values are fitting with one’s actions or situation
  • needing to have a critical conversation either one-to-one or at scale
  • wanting to be more effective at work
  • wanting to be more effective and purposeful in life.

I work with individuals, social sector organisations, government around Australia. My approach is very much underpinned by the notion that ‘learning leads change’.

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