Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017: Reflections and the year ahead

2017 was the year I grew a baby and landed a new job!

This time last year I had almost completed the taught element of the Aurora Women in Leadership course, was waiting to find out if I'd been awarded FHEA accreditation and was hoping to develop a more holistic approach to my life and work.


The Aurora course and the mentoring aspect of it had an incredibly positive impact on my year and most of what I have achieved since then stems from its completion.

For me, the course was a real luxury in that it provided me with the time and space to really focus in on my passions, values and motivations as well as practical advice on finding work which correlated with these. In addition, it provided useful tips on dealing with some difficult situations I was experiencing.

I was successful in my FHEA application and this paved the way to my new job. Again, i found this piece of development rewarding due to its focus on reflection.

I am still very much interested in coaching so had some refresher training and joined a lovely group to practice with. It is still one of my longer term aims to become a qualified coach.

I'm a great believer in passing things forward so used what I had learned this year to write several articles for CILIP, blogposts and provide a guest lecture at University College London for the Leadershp and Management module of new LIS students. I'm not the greatest or most prolific of writers but I do enjoy it. While it's extremely unlikely that I'll be writing much while on maternity leave I do hope to continue when I return to work


There was a lot I'd hoped to do in my home life that having a toddler, being pregnant and working full-time didn't really allow. I didn't do any running but did continue to practise yoga, my garden is still a mess, and while I still ran the monthly mindfulness classes at work I neglected to practise it as much I'd like myself.

A note on the latter - doing these classes really gave me a sense of joy - I love seeing the change in people's demeanour and attitude as they progressed through the activities.


I'm on maternity leave for much of this year so my aim is to recover as much possible as two pregnancies, one labour and two caesareans have taken it out on me both physically and mentally. I've already started this by choosing to take longer leave, even if it means financially we are under more pressure.

Along with helping my new baby to develop, I hope to get out into more green spaces, see more of the UK, fix the house up a little, squeeze in as much yoga as is practical and try to fit in lots of small things to make me feel more human.

Longer term aims still include coaching qualifications and yoga teacher training but these will have to wait a while...

I'd love to hear what your hopes and dreams are for 2018 (especially if you have any tips for making it all balance out!) so feel free to comment below. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Maternity leave

Next steps: Found on

I will be on maternity leave for a little while.
Come back later to hear about my new role as Lecturer in Higher Education, coaching, mentoring and becoming a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Using the GROW coaching model to help someone reach SFHEA status

As part of my interview for my new role as Lecturer in Higher Education, I was asked to deliver a ten minute presentation prior to the questions. This is fairly common in the education sector and makes sense in any sort of teaching role as you are showing that you can present knowledgably and engagingly, even when incredibly nervous, as well keep to time (a very important and often underused skill).

The topic was:

“My approach to supporting an experienced and senior academic begin to apply for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy”

I have never helped anyone gain Senior Fellowship before; however, I have had many conversations with experienced and senior academics and, while I still have some of the wounds, I believe I've learned a lot from them. As many of you know, I'm a great believer in the power of coaching and think it can be enormously beneficial, so I decided to take this approach and use the GROW model to demonstrate it.

GROW is a coaching model acronym which stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Will.

I talked about how finding out what the Goal was for the academic - why were they trying to achieve SFHEA status? Had they been told to do it? Was it something they knew the value of? If I knew their motivations I would be able to better support them.

I then moved onto Reality. Did they meet the criteria of the UKPSF Framework? The accreditations for the Higher Education Academy are not hierarchical; for example, a highly established researcher may be very eminent in her field but if she doesn't support the teaching of others then she will not meet the criteria for Senior Fellowship and would be better going for Fellowship instead.

Options included how I could support the academic: through different types of workshops, through a mentor programme, through providing templates and so on.

With Will, I discussed investigating the level of motivation and commitment of the academic. Ultimately, the process was up to them and it's important they understand this.

In a bid for extra authenticity, alongside my explanations of how I could enable a person to grow and flourish, I was able to include lots of pictures of gardening, seeds and vegetables (another area of life I'm passionate about). It felt very apt!

My new role will involve much more mentoring and coaching so I am really looking forward to putting this into practice and I hope in future to be able to complete a coaching qualification to cement and add credibility to my work.