​Coach training course in Guernsey, the community & the Prison course

One of the most exciting areas I’ve been involved with since becoming part of the MOE training team in 2013 is the development of the MOE community on the beautiful island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.

It all started after Darren spoke in April 2014 at the inaugural TEDx conference in Guernsey created by the Dandelion Project (aka Marc Winn and Jon (Jock) Pettitt).

At the conference Darren told the MOE story, how MOE came about and what it had already achieved in the 2 years since it had been launched. As a result of Darren’s talk, several people (Marc & Jock included) convinced Darren to bring MOE to Guernsey and the first coach training course was run in Guernsey in June & July 2014.

I was not involved with the first 3 days of the first course as the fantastic James Wright, one of MOE’s fabulous trustees, led the training, but I was asked to join James for days 4 & 5, so that I could help with the assessments, and that, as they say, was the beginning of a wonderful journey for me helping to develop over 100 coaches on the island and countless wonderful experiences.

What I love about the Guernsey MOE community is that it is so close knit. On an island that is 12 miles long with an area of just over 24 square miles and a population of just over 63,000 people, the island probably already has the highest ratio of qualified coaches per head of capita in the world.

Also, because nobody lives too far away from anyone else on the island it also means that there is always a great turnout at any MOE events on the island and fellow MOEbsters from the UK always comment on the special energy and feeling of community that exists amongst the Guernsey MOE community.

On the Guernsey MOE courses I’ve seen long-term unemployed people who haven’t been able to get a job, land a job at their first interview after their course, people who said on the course they absolutely hated public speaking stand up and speak in front of a large group and say that they absolutely loved it, and course participants who have thanked me for changing their life, but then corrected themselves and said “actually, thank you for helping me to change my own life”.

One of the highlights for me in Guernsey was the 1-day introduction to listening, communication and coaching skills course I was asked to run in Guernsey prison with a group of offenders, and the most exciting project on the horizon is the 5-day certified MOE coach training course that we are planning to run in the prison starting in late March 2019 with a mix of prison officers and current prison residents, something that I believe will be a world first!

MOE is truly having a positive impact on the culture of the island, but it doesn’t end there. The first MOE course in Jersey is also launching in March this year.

​An Insider’s Guide to MOE by Joy Blundell

The MOE Foundation, can you tell me some more about it? The question has been asked enough times to warrant time spent to tell the story, so here’s my low-down of the MOE Foundation

MOE Foundation was founded by Darren Robson. The story is moving: raised in hardship as a young person, Darren was inspired to give back when his dear mother passed away, herself being a great pillar of strength for the communities and lives she touched. Her children, his siblings, decided to create MOE as part of her legacy, and with that they started a coaching movement.

With the help of Carol Wilson, they re-bundled her executive coaching course so that resources for this movement could reach as many people in need affordably. The aim is still to help young people in tough circumstances, but it also helps those looking for a way to transform their personal and professional careers and relationships. And it really does.

How it Works

The course runs about 4-5 times a year; each cohort ranges between 15-25 people. The cohort will spend 5 full days together: the first three days learning, the next 6 weeks practicing offline, and the last two days learning some more and finally getting assessed.

During the 6 weeks, students pair off to practice with each other over four sessions and produce a case study report which will be reviewed by a supervisor, in addition to a check-in call the week before they return for the final couple of days.

The course is paid for through nominal donations. It covers those who are not able to afford the course, and other expenses. Trainers give their time to the cause, so donations go straight to other participants.

The Cohort

Composed of people from all walks of life, the diversity makes the course extremely valuable. We have folks who know the ropes of coaching, those like me who have little clue, professionals, entrepreneurs, freewheelers, parents, transitioners, all at the brink of a deep tissue transformation they did not see coming.

More than that, the quality of conversations we have with each other in the name of coaching exercises are deeply meaningful and open that they gift a special bond between the cohort; we are friends who support each other and want to see each other succeed.

The Results

With the little I have done with MOE, seeing two classes go through some significant shifts has been hugely rewarding. The level of awareness the course brings to you, and tools to create interventions is practical, looks small, but transformative. The emphasis on listening, looking for non-verbal cues, breaking assumptions about the way we communicate are learnt by observation. The style of teaching is largely facilitative, allowing the group to reach their conclusions, and share their learnings in an open way. Which broadens scope for reflection and individual self-directed learning.

Certification

Once you have passed the course (yay!), the MOE certificate qualifies you for membership with the Association for Coaching: this gives you discounts to coaching publications and events run by AC. If you enjoy decorating your business card, you may suffix your name with additional letters. 

Where Are They Now

There’s a path sketched for those who wish to give back with their time through MOE. For those who wish to return as trainers, they run a full-day workshop featuring exercises on the materials, presentation, vocalisation. There are Coaching Accelerator days for those who wish to refresh their coaching skills by practice, and bi-monthly meetups to check in on how other MOE coaches are doing.

My Version

This is the version I tell everyone who asks: I took the course without the intention of becoming a coach.

My first encounter with MOE was at their inaugural MOEvement Conference (big thanks to @nicolejberg), where I heard a series of entrepreneurs and MOE coaches speak about their personal journeys. There was something so special about the group of 150 people in that room that day; it is hard to put into words.

Possibly the best description is their quality of human spirit, an openness and vulnerability they could trust to share over an implicit acknowledgement that each one of us had or were going through something similar.

It was an instinctual choice to find a way to grow closer to this community, and one of the more obvious ways was to take the course, and now return as a trainer to the course, helping and witnessing great personal and professional transformations take place.

Two Cents

As a non-coach participant, I cannot state enough how much this course has done for me. It came during a pivotal time, and enhanced the mileage travelled during my months of training as a facilitator, making new friends, running new projects, and so on. It served my personal relationships as well, inquiring more, hijacking less, and trusting that the person sitting across from you knows best about their problems, shifting your responsibility to facilitator, not advisor.

More importantly, the course rewires your instincts to notice more, and surrender control over discussions, and allow the other to explore possibilities not usually available to them. In a way, you become a channel for reflection and introspection.

All that to say, becoming a coach is not essential to choosing to take the course, but what you learn from the course is essential for life.

And with that, I’ll end with a sketchnote about the Reticular Activating System which was part of training delivered last week.

Joy Bundell

@joyatlarge

joyatlarge.com

​Living Legends conversations with the Masters


We have privileged access to some of the worlds greatest thinkers and minds. Living Legends conversations with Masters is where we openly share their insights, life stories and thought provoking ideas and ideals.

Our first Living Legend is Sir John Whitmore, author, performance coach and former British racing driver.

​A MOE mission accomplished and so much more

Naina Oliver tells us about the latest Coach Training collaboration between MOE and African Prisons Project.

As I waited for 5 Senior Ugandan prison officers to arrive for day one of their five day MOE Coach Training Course I felt a mix of trepidation and excitement at what might be a challenge for me as a trainer. I had read about conditions in Ugandan prisons. Chronic overcrowding in facilities not fit for purpose and healthcare that is virtually non-existent. There were claims of human rights abuses and an unwieldy criminal justice system which sometimes even imprisons people on remand for more than 6 years simply as they await trial.

So what would these officers who work in such extreme environments be like and what will they make of our coaching course?

I do tend to approach each MOE course with joy and a great deal of optimism because, as anyone who has been on one of these courses will tell you, there is a steep learning curve and a transformative nature to the work that leaves people altered and usually elated. I wondered if our cultural differences might mean a different outcome in this case. My mission, I decided, was to make sure they understood the basics of coaching and took away at least something of value from the course.

They arrived wrapped up against the winter cold and responded with blank expressions when I said it was much milder than usual. They knew nothing about coaching as a concept and said they had been enrolled on the course as part of their 4 month secondment to the UK organised by the African Prison Project. They had no preconceptions or expectations.

They were very polite and quiet. Initially I wondered if they were engaging with the subject but then as we began the practical exercises and got to know each other it was clear that something special was unfolding before my eyes. They had a voracious appetite to learn and to practice and to understand what it is to coach and to be coached and after the initial politeness and gentleness what emerged was evidence of keen, sharp, enquiring minds and a group not afraid of challenging themselves, me or each other, not afraid of delving further into the world of coaching. They were optimistic about using and sharing this new knowledge. They were also excited about how they might apply the principles to not only their work but also their personal relationships and individual goals. There were long discussions about use of language and reframing conversions, shining goals and noticing and using body language. The days flew by.

They confirmed that the reports about the Ugandan prison service were not far from the truth. But it was also clear that here were 5 people from that system who were filled with humanity, intelligence a willingness to change the status quo or at the very least do their bit to improve conditions for their staff and inmates. They discussed how coaching could lead to a cultural shift in prisons and, while acknowledging this could take a long time, one of the participants said he could envision himself introducing similar coach training courses to create hundreds, if not thousands, of coaches in Uganda. The female participants talked about trail blazing for women in the prison service. The coaching that they were receiving and giving allowed their own ambitions to come to the surface.

There was a great deal of laughter and fun along the way, loads of lightbulb moments and when we came to the end of three days I had made 5 new Ugandan friends and we all knew that we were all altered, as is the way with this course, and elated at the promise of change from future coaching conversations.  Six weeks of coaching practice followed and they passed their final assessments with flying colours under the continued guidance of my colleague, Jeffrey, who has travelled the journey from MOE trainee to trainer.

Several months later, as they prepared to leave for home in time for Christmas, I was proud to hear them give an extra special mention to the MOE coaching programme as having been a particular highlight of their trip to the UK.  A MOE mission accomplished, and so much more.


​Entrepreneurs seek forgiveness, not permission

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