Coaching in Adversity

Over the last decade Coaching has become a real success in people development, both for top level people to hone their performance and as a powerful way to shift cultures from within the organisation. The recent downturn has seen a shift in the need and style of coaching – coaching for resilience is far more likely to be the theme. The context is often one of survival as well as keeping going in these tough times, where it can be difficult to keep yourself and your teams motivated.

I recently ran a workshop on Leading through Adversity where the key themes were on the ability to focus on going forward with the right mental state to keep you there!  As a coach, I am often helping the less experienced executives, particularly if they have never been through this level of uncertainty before. Coaching helps them navigate their way through, learning some frameworks and techniques along the way, as adverse times require a different sort of leadership and mental state.

For example, controlling only what you can now and letting go of what you have no influence over prevents you from getting stuck in the problem. Deciding what impact you are going to have on what happens next and how you can maintain this keeps you thinking of your positive reactions for the future. These all contribute to being a more resilient leader; but you can’t do it all on your own and you need to keep working on it. Beating the downturn takes good health, mental resilience and focusing on your inner strengths. It also requires a collaborative approach and this is another key strength and area of expertise we have developed across both private and public sectors. And that is another subject for a blog!



Caroline on Radio Scotland – Thursday 6th

Caroline Donaldson will be on the Call Kaye show on Radio Scotland Thursday the 6th of Jan.


The Search for the Single Right Answer

We currently live in a world which can be defined by two things its complexity and the need for wide scale change. The world is complex – the accelerating pace of change, globalisation, new technology and the blurring of traditional boundaries all contribute.


The need for change is also apparent.  Even before we faced this economic crisis issues such as climate change and over-population were pressing governments (and us as individuals) to try make radical changes to how we think and act.


These issues however major and however theoretically important often seem a long way from the tough challenges of day-to-day life.  The hardest of these are those that involve other people and as soon as people are involved problems become really difficult to solve.


In my experience regardless of the scale of the issue faced, there is also a common blockage – the search for single right answer.


The hunt for the mythical one right answer seems to dominate so many conversations and more worryingly get in the way of things being done.  Complex problems will never have a single right answer so we need to stop wasting time and resources trying to find it.


Instead we need to find solutions that will help the situation and that we ourselves can implement.  Then we need to just give it a try – it might not work but it will always be work effective than searching for the single right answer that does exist.


Where is the hunt for the Single Right Answer getting in the way of you actually doing something?


IoD Magazine Article

You can read Caroline’s contribution to the IoD Summer Newsletter here

Leadership, Difficult Conversations and Coaching

Through our bespoke work we have recently noticed key themes emerging for our clients as they respond to the challenging market conditions. In response to this, we have developed a core suite of workshops that we are   able to offer  at  reduced rate.

Difficult Conversations – Many organisations have the right tools and processes in place to deliver successful people management. In our experience managers lack the skills and confidence to use these processes as well as they could. This programme uses the principles of having difficult conversations to ensure that the organisation makes the most of these tools. A recent programme focussed on Absence Management contributed to a 20% improvement in attendance rates.

“A key strength of Kynesis is their ability to tailor a development event or programme which not only focuses on the ‘real time’ key issues to be dealt with but which, more importantly, also encourages practical actions for dealing with them”

Frontline Leadership – Developing the Frontline leaders in an organisation is vital. Whether they are your emerging talent or your well-established load bearers this group have a clear influence on the service and performance of your business. Our 4 day programme develops the leadership skills of these individuals in a way that is engaging and impactful.

“Thanks for a great couple of days. I found the course to be challenging, thought-provoking and very inspiring”

Coaching Skills for Managers – A coaching culture isn’t about being supportive and caring instead it is about leaders challenging and developing their teams in a way that increases accountability and engagement. Most of all it is about performance improvement. This two day programme develops coaching skills for managers of all levels. Giving them the skills, experience and confidence to coach their teams to improved performance.

“Coaching for Success has helped increase the capacity of the organisation by creating a culture of supporting managers to think through issues and options to make informed decisions themselves”

Women in the Boardroom

On Sunday, Caroline was on BBC Scotland’s flagship Business programme discussing if there is a glass ceiling for women in the workplace? Follow the link here to hear the prgramme.

Public sector reform – the answer starts with…?

I hate posing a question when I don’t feel I have something to contribute to the answer. So when asked what needs to happen to make the step changes required in our public service organisations, I felt challenged by the complexity. The truth is, the smallest local authority in this country (and I’ve worked with some) is way more complex than the largest global private sector company (and I’ve worked with some). So how do we make real change happen.

There’s a number of facets to this but let’s look at the starting point.

Energy and focus. People need to know what they are working towards and feel inspired and accountable for that. Most people in, for example, the caring professions got into that because they wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. They didn’t take it up to manage, or even improve, the efficiency of service delivery.

I recently worked with some senior people from Health and Social Care. It was quite striking that when these very clever people discussed impact measures, they kept reverting to process improvements (integration of Health and Care). When forced to look at patient outcomes (people self-sustained in their own homes) the lights went on. They really got the necessity of working collaboratively – “We can’t do this on our own,” and they wanted to make it happen – “You know, I’ve just remembered why I got into this profession.”

Of course we then get the barriers – “But you can’t do these things in the public sector.” How do we tackle that? For my next rant!