2017 APECS Symposium

Details of the individual sessions taking place on the day, with links to download blog posts or papers where available

Session 1: Emergent challenges of leadership

1.1 An Applied Neuroscience Perspective on today’s Leadership Challenges: Paul Brown PhD – Co-author of neuropsychology for coaches

Dr Paul Brown is a consulting clinical and organisational psychologist and Head of the Psychology and Applied Neuroscience Unit within the Office of Government, Lao PDR. He was previously Visiting Professor in Organisational Neuroscience at London South Bank University. 

Understanding how the brain works, how emotions underpin all decisions, and how energy flows in the executive brain is information that is becoming increasingly demanded by senior coachees as they become conscious of the way new knowledge about human behaviour is becoming part of general social discourse.  This session highlights the brain-based knowledge that Coaches need to have at their command as part of their professional responsibility to their clients.

1.2 Challenges posed by the VUCA world:: Simon Cavicchia – Co-Founder at Growing Edge

This contribution will be in the form of a series of provocations informed by the changing nature of social and organisational realities and their implications for leadership.  Not only are organisations characterised by ever increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, but post modernism, the loss of grand narratives, the proliferation of social media, individual and collective narcissism create conditions where all of us, including leaders are challenged in relation to knowing what to believe in, what constitutes for each of us that which is true and real.  I will propose that discourses and theories steeped in positivist assumptions of objectivity and scientific rigour, whilst having something to offer, are no longer sufficient alone for navigating and responding to these complexities. I shall propose a number of possible “expansions” in orientation and invite those interested to contribute their own perspectives on what the VUCA world and global challenges are calling forth in leaders, leadership discourse and the project of coaching itself.

1.3 The Leadership Gap: Aubyn Howard – Director of Psychosynthesis Coaching

At an individual level, leaders face increasing complexity in their organisational environments as well as inner lives, sometimes combining with pressure and stress to the point of overwhelm, shutout, breakdown or crisis.  Dealing with complexity is a prime imperative for all of us and involves developing new levels of awareness, capacities for understanding and strategies for action…  

At the collective level, the gap between the leadership that is needed and the leadership capability that is available seems to be widening, with potentially serious consequences for both organisations and society.  How does this shape the agenda for leadership education, development and coaching?  How might we think differently about addressing this gap?

1.4 Approaches to Supporting Leaders with Complex Challenges: Professor David Lane – Chairman of APECS

The purpose of the session is to explore how we facilitate coaching with leaders facing complex challenges. We will explore research on leading in high stress environments, recovery from traumatic situations as well as the literature on decision making in complex situations where no answer appears available. Between us as participants we hope to explore how coaches are assisting their clients in these situations. Approaches to help clients develop a bigger perspective through thinking differently, wider, deeper and with more complexity will be explored.…

1.5 Henley Business School research under Professor Peter Hawkins: Christopher Smith – GP Strategies

Will be presenting and discussing the findings of some current research around this theme of emergent challenges, involving Henley Business School (led by Prof Peter Hawkins) and several leading firms. More to follow prior to the Symposium…    

1.6 Leaders: coaching the perils of success…: Laurent Terseur – from a contribution to The Good Coach

A recurring theme I have been noticing in my private conversations with leaders over the past years, is that even those with a great track record and significant success in overcoming perfect storms, can experience moments when they look differently at the climate changing yet another time in unexpected ways. In these moments, they can happen to feel for the first time that a shadow is cast on their own ability to operate and lead….

Session 2: Sharing and building good coaching practice 

2.1 What is involved in coaching leaders for learning agility and tolerance of ambiguity?: Louise Buckle – Director and Head of Coaching Centre of Excellence, KPMG LLP & Tamsin Slyce – Director and Professional Coach at Talking Talent Ltd

How many people are chosen for promotion or leadership on the basis of their tolerance of ambiguity? How many have asked for coaching on it? And what does coaching for tolerance of ambiguity look like?

Building on the conversations started at our Real Session in January where we looked at the macro issue of the future of coaching in the digital, automated, VUCA world, this session looks more closely at the practice of coaching leaders on how to work with ambiguity and uncertainty. Tamsin Slyce and Louise Buckle will revisit the research they conducted as the financial crisis hit in 2008 and ask what has changed and what we as coaches can practically do to help leaders navigate the fourth industrial revolution.

2.2 What is called for from the coaching profession in an uncertain world?: Jonathan Males – Director of APECS, Founder of Performance 1

As coaches, we are regularly working alongside clients who are facing uncertainty, ambiguity and challenge. Political and corporate leadership is under increasing ethical scrutiny, as we navigate a ‘post truth’ world.  What does this context mean for us as coaches? How could or should we define our values, our ethics, and our ‘stance’ in the world? Do we risk bringing our own agenda into a coaching relationship if we deviate from a politically neutral base? Is this unprofessional? Or should / could we be more explicit about how we frame and present our values?

I’ve been experimenting with using a written manifesto to help clarify these questions for myself. I now invite colleagues to explore whether this approach might be useful.  Please look at http://performance-1.co.uk/a-leadership-manifesto/ before the session and then come along with your own manifesto, to share with peers in a safe and constructive environment.  This will help you refine, test and build confidence in your own stance in an uncertain world.

2.3 Leadership supervision – the art of experimentation in a chaotic world: Jeff Matthews, – The Madison Group, with Patti Stevens – Coaching Supervision Consultancy Limited

If the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’, how do we challenge today’s leaders to find time and space in a world with an addiction to screens and ‘doing’? Building on the ideas of Kline’s “Time to Think” we put forward a thesis that something called ‘Leadership Supervision’ (more than coaching, and different from Coaching Supervision) can offer a call to experiment in today’s VUCA world, particularly in the domain of one to one conversations.

Expect an eclectic mix of ideas to stimulate thinking, debate and discussion; linking Klein, with Sky pro-cycling, Snowden’s ‘Cynefin’ and our new approach to Leadership Supervision.

2.4 How can a supervisor exercise a duty of care with their coaches?: Ian Ross – MSc Henley, The Greenlands Partnership

The argument over whether supervision is necessary for coaches is now over.  It is.  But the question of what coaching supervision consists of remains. There is agreement on the best process: reflective practice, but the role and purpose of the supervisor remains a grey area.  Ian’s research project into the practice and beliefs of APECS members practising as coaching supervisors revealed a spectrum of attitudes ranging from ‘I can supervise anybody,’ to ‘you can only supervise somebody if you understand their profession.’  In the therapeutic professions, the duty of care is explicit.  In coaching it seems a matter of choice.  Where should we be on the spectrum?

2.5 The impact of improved self-awareness on leaders: Melanie Symes – Executive Coach and Supervisor

What is the impact of improved self-awareness on leaders?

If raising their self-awareness can help a leader create a more authentic style and engage their workforce, as well as delivering improvement on the bottom line, shouldn’t we be providing it for all our leaders as a key part of their development?

This session will consider the views of a small group of leaders who had undergone a programme of self-awareness and the impact it had on their roles.  It will consider the upside and downside of them knowing more about themselves and how the coach can play a crucial role in them coming to terms with all this new information.

Raising self-awareness is only the start of the journey as the more we all know, the more we realise there is to know…

2.6 Exploring how we use mindfulness in coaching: Peter Young – Bladon Leadership

I’m conscious of the extent to which mindfulness is becoming part of my coaching. I’m introducing it with a growing number of clients, and I’m curious why this is. Do I simply attract the clients who need to find greater support, resource and resilience, or is it about me and my focus, or is there something in the wider system at the moment?  How does mindfulness help our clients deal with emergent challenges of leadership?  What is your experience of using mindfulness in coaching?  How do you introduce it and how does it work?  Please join me for a discussion on the value of mindfulness in coaching…

Session 3: Coaching in another key – new or alternative ways of delivering coaching and techniques to use in coaching.

3.1 Somatic coaching experience demonstration: Fiona Adamson – transpersonal coach, supervisor and author, and Elspeth Campbell – somatic coach, supervisor and management consultant

Fiona and Elspeth will demonstrate how to draw upon a somatic and relational approach to coaching and then facilitate participants to do the same in a short practical session.  Coaching-with-the-body, our felt sense of awareness, is becoming increasingly accepted as part of coaching practice.  Instead of asking why something is the way it is, we explore how it is that our sensory perceptions and emotional responses have contributed to patterns of behaviour in interactions, and formed ways of being.

3.2 How to use neurobiological knowledge to understand the client and the link to coaching goals: Paul Brown PhD – Co-author of neuropsychology for coaches

Demonstrating how to use neurobiological knowledge to understand (a) the client and (b) the link to coaching goals.

The client who comes for coaching brings all of him-or her-Self, every time.  But how does the Coach make sense of ‘everything’ that is brought?  A working model of how to conduct a biographical enquiry in a coaching context is presented, together with its developmental and neurobiological underpinnings. The patterns that repeat themselves throughout our lives are what make each of us unique. But how do coaches understand that in practice? This session suggests an answer.

3.3 Solutions – focused or forced; Developing an SF stance in coaching: Jeff Matthews – The Madison Group

An introductory workshop in Solutions-Focused coaching, based on the original work of Insoo Kim-Berg and Steve de Shazer (Brief Family Therapy Institute, Milwaukee) and developed in the UK by Mark McKergow, Paul Z Jackson and in particular, BRIEF London.

We will explore this very powerful approach, frequently misunderstood (after all aren’t all coaches solution focused?) through a series of practical exercises. Join this session to have your world view challenged in this paradigm-shifting approach.

3.4 A constellations experience – and using constellations in coaching: Ruth Rochelle – Owner, Founder Creation

Systemic coaching and the use of constellations, as espoused by John Whittington, is a growing field of coaching that provides a way of engaging with the complexity of organisations as living human systems.  Ruth will demonstrate some ways of using constellations that draw upon somatic awareness and the use of space with groups and individuals.  Participants will gain a direct experience of how you might use this approach with your coaching clients and / or in self-supervision.

3.5 Purpose and block visualisation or dis-identifying and identifying: Gordon Symons – Milestones Consulting Limited

Gordon will lead a guided visualisation as an aid in exploring purpose, blocks to action and inner resources for overcoming the blocks to action.

Session 4: Resources for Personal and Professional Development 

4.1 Relational techniques for exploring and developing leadership capabilities: Simon Cavicchia – Co-Founder at Growing Edge

In this session, I shall expand on the propositions set out in Session 1 and offer a framework for thinking about the role of context, unpredictability, spontaneity and responsiveness in the context of leadership and leadership coaching.  I shall set out a number of developmental “directions” for developing leaders (and coaches) to be able to respond fluidly and creatively to the challenges of the VUCA world.  I shall draw on Gestalt perspectives of field, as well as complexity and relational ideas to highlight the vital role of collaborative meaning making and the development of “perspective taking capacity” for leaders in relation to their contexts, and coaches in relation to their clients and their contexts.  The session will weave together theoretical propositions and development practices that leaders and coaches can make use of in service of personal and professional development for responding to the challenges of our times.

4.2 Engaging the client’s Will: Sue Cruse – Leadership Mastery Limited, and Gordon Symons – Milestones Consulting Limited

When the client has awareness, commits to action but doesn’t follow through… This session will consider a) what is going on and b) how the Coach can support. We suggest that, for the client to follow through, they need first, self-awareness and secondly, access to their Will.

Our Will energy is often trapped in parts of us that are old, habitual and grew up in accordance with messages from authority figures in our past – our families, our education, our organisations and our culture. The parts grew up primarily to keep us safe and therefore tend to be more defensive and fear-based than proactive, courageous and creative.

In the session, participants will explore some of their own parts and consider those that they meet in clients. We will discuss how, if Will energy is trapped in those parts, then it is either not available at all or minimally available to make sustainable new choices in terms of behaviour, feelings and thoughts.

4.3 Psychosynthesis as a holistic psychology for integrating new developments in coaching: Aubyn Howard and Paul Elliott – Directors of Psychosynthesis Coaching

An experiential and interactive session revealing psychosynthesis as a holistic psychology for integrating recent developments in coaching, including systemic and somatic coaching, mindfulness and evolutionary coaching.  Introducing trifocal vision as our core model of psychosynthesis coaching, as well as showing how Roberto Assagioli’s model of the psyche (the Egg Diagram) helps coaches navigate the inner space of their clients.

Join our session to find out more about how psychosynthesis can provide a powerful context for leadership coaching as well as for your own personal development as a coach.

4.4 How to choose approaches to align with client purpose: Professor David Lane – Chairman of APECS

In parallel professions such as psychology the role of case formulation (conceptualisation) is seen a central to helping clients make sense of their worlds. Within coaching this has been influential for some practitioners and advocated strongly but is absent from much of the literature and coach training. This session will explore how different perspectives can be brought to the encounter to align the work of the coach with client purpose yet add value through the use of careful selection of perspectives that can inform the journey. For some coaches (who define a personal model of coaching) this is particularly important as a way to justify the decisions made. For those who adopt a specific approach to coaching it assists them to recognise when their model adds value and when it does not to the client journey…

4.5 Robert Kegan’s Competing Commitments and Immunity to Change: Jonathan Males – Director of APECS, Founder of Performance 1

Despite knowing that they need to change, knowing that it is a good idea, and even knowing what to do, clients can find themselves lapsing back to unwanted and seemingly illogical behaviour. This tool poses a series of questions that help your clients to dig deeper and discover the possible hidden, or competing, commitments and assumptions that prevent them from changing their behaviour. In this session, Jonathan will take you through the process as if you were a client, and afterwards discuss how you can use the approach in coaching.

Competing Commitments was developed by Robert Kegan and Linda Lahey. Their book Immunity to Change; How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (2009) is an excellent and highly recommended reference.

4.6 Threats to the credibility of coaching: Jenny Rogers – internationally renowned coach and author

Scams, Pyramids and Ponzi Schemes in Coaching: Do We Know, Do We Care?

Secure in the high castle of our APECS membership, do we know what is happening in some of the darker corners of the coaching world? For instance, there are training courses which promise beginner coaches a lucrative career and which offer ’10 questions for you to use which will mean your clients HAVE to change’. There are pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes all of which exploit the vulnerable for seriously large amounts of money. In this session, I will briefly describe some of the dubious practices I know of – and you may know of others – and ask how much it matters. And if it matters, what should we do? And what, if anything, could we do?

4.7 Getting the most out of coaching supervision: Dr Louise Sheppard – Director, Clarity, Clarity, Clarity Limited

Do you get the most out of your coaching supervision?

This working session focuses on how coaches can stretch themselves during coaching supervision.  It will include exercises to enable reflection on how we currently hinder and help ourselves as supervisees. The session will also inform our approach as supervisors. I will share the first framework and guidelines for supervisee-led supervision, based on recent doctoral research on the supervisee perspective in coaching supervision.