NO ONE DELIVERS TRAINING QUITE LIKE ANDY!
In a nutshell, possibly the best bit of training I have had in the Job. The Trainer was fantastic no nonsense or waffle & straight to the point..
Chris Allen L&D Manager HMP Brinsford
COACHING FRAMEWORKS FOR FRONT-LINE STAFF
COACHING FRAMEWORKS FOR MANAGERS
PREPARING FOR MANAGEMENT
PROBLEM SOLVING USING CREATIVE THINKING
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
COACHING FRAMEWORKS FOR FRONT-LINE STAFF
COACHING FRAMEWORKS FOR MANAGERS
PREPARING FOR MANAGEMENT
PROBLEM SOLVING USING CREATIVE THINKING
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
LIGHTNING COURSES Quick fire 90 minute / half day sessions covering...
CV and Interview Techniques
Create a winning CV and learn how to make the right impression at interview with this engaging half day session
Looking to change your career?
Is your CV not getting the attention it deserves?
Do interviews fill you with fear?
Do you dread answering questions about your Strengths and Weaknesses?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then this practical and engaging course is for you
A practical and innovative session designed to help you learn creative thinking techniques
Solve problems when you are stuck in your current thinking
Think outside the box if you have no idea what that means
Find possibilities you never knew existed
Take effective action by finding the most appropriate solution
Implement immediate ideas right away
Find your WOW resolution
Welfare to Work and Employability
Practical support for any organisation involved in helping people back to work
Understand how to deliver effective job search sessions
Know how to challenge negative thinking and objections
Construct effective work focused action plans
Access hundreds of coaching techniques designed to help clients achieve sustainable job outcomes
Understand the science behind procrastination and effective methods to get in to "Do" & "Win" Mode
Meet the Self Gratification Monkey who stops you from getting things done
Understand why the Panic Monster kick-starts action
Use simple Prioritisation techniques to plan action
Know how to get in to Do & Win Mode quickly and effectively
LEARN MORE ABOUT
Andy is fabulous!
If you are looking to improve the performance of your team then Andy is your man.
He has an ability to connect and captivate audiences at all levels throughout an organisation enabling them to bring out the best in themselves and each other.
His highly engaging approach is underpinned by an excellent technical knowledge and a real understanding of how to enable learning and development that delivers lasting results.
Ben Birchall: Director. Progression Consultancy
WHAT WE DO
We design and deliver bespoke practical solutions that you can quickly learn and put into practice the very next day
We create tailored programmes to meet your requirements
We work with small to medium employers, helping them make practical improvements that make a real difference to performance
WHAT WE DON'T DO
We don’t take products off the shelf
We don’t deliver qualifications
We don’t pretend to be something we are not
WE CREATE A FUN AND COMFORTABLE LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITH A LITTLE BIT OF ODD THROWN IN!
Latest NEWS :)
Keep up to date with the latest trend in Management and Coaching
Save Us from Another New Year New Me Post… Or how my broken knee changed my life!
New Years resolutions don’t work – that’s what the evidence suggests. It’s certainly true if the gym I use is anything to go by; so full of new people in January who have signed up to expensive yearlong memberships that it’s difficult to get on the carpark let alone the machines. Some of them will stick it out but most will have lost the will to carry on come February.
This isn’t a post about why people sign up to gyms in January, though it does focus on committing to a fitness regime. It’s really about having a reason to change, about having something to work towards and about resilience and sticking at “it” when things get tough.
I’m sat writing this post with heavy weights hanging from my knee, which looks as strange as it sounds. Almost 12 months ago to the day I fractured my tibia and ruptured almost every muscle and ligament surrounding my left knee playing “Oldman” Football”. It was horrible and very painful. I walked with a pronounced limp for a couple of months. Luckily, I avoided having to go into plaster, the thought terrified me especially as I work for myself, it would have meant in all probability losing my business. But not going into plaster was the only bit of luck. My knee was shot to bits, it was swollen to twice its normal size, my leg couldn’t straighten and it caused havoc with my back.
It was during a coaching session with a manager who needed help deciding whether to stay or leave her job when it struck me that I needed to follow my own advice. We were talking about Goal Setting and Coaching models, in particular ILED: Ideal – Locate – Explore – Do. The manager asked how I use ILED and I started talking about how I’d use it as a method to get over my injury. It had been just over a month since the injury and although I was still limping I decided to go back to the gym. My Ideal goal was to be strong enough to play 60 minutes of football before my birthday on the 10th September, a little over 6 months away. I needed to find out exactly how bad the injury was (Locate), an MRI revealed a displaced stress fracture and the resulting damage to the surrounding muscles. This information allowed me to Explore exactly whet I needed to do to achieve my goal. All that was left was the Do part.
It hasn’t been easy – there’s been lots of tough times when I thought I’d never walk without limping, let alone run after a ball for an hour. I was lucky enough to find a Personal Trainer at the Gym who specialised in sports injuries, every couple of days we go through a set of stretches and strengthening exercises that wouldn’t look out of place in a book of Medieval tortures. I also spend hours doing low impact CV workouts (something my old friend Jo would no doubt tease me about).
I achieved my goal, I played my first game in late August and each week I get fitter and stronger though my leg still won’t straighten completely hence why I’m sat with weights hanging from my knee (recommended by a proper physiotherapist).
If you are looking to set a goal or if you need to get your New Years resolution back on track, then I recommend ILED. I’ve used it with University Graduates anxious about exams and with people looking to lose weight or find a new job. Managers love ILED’s simplicity especially when it comes to Appraisals or challenging conversations about performance. But, like any model it only works if you commit and stick to the DO part. Of course, to commit to action and to make a lasting change your reason has to be strong enough in order to ensure you’ll stick at it!
If you’d like to find out more about ILED or how I can help you achieve your goals, then get in touch.
Listen Like Casanova
Listening is an underrated yet critical skill. Sadly, I haven’t seen “Listening” covered in too many Management programmes and I’m not sure it gets the attention it requires on Coaching courses either.
You may argue that Mindfulness and The Fish Philosophy have “being in the moment” covered and that concept goes far beyond merely listening anyway but I’d suggest that not everyone is a natural listener so it’s a skill that needs to be taught and practiced continually.
Rarely will listening feature as a key skill when I ask aspiring managers to list the attributes of a great manager, yet the best managers always take the time to really listen to their staff and customers. Conversely when I ask what makes for a bad manager, the attitudes and behaviours associated with not listening (or being present) always come high up the list.
So, if this is true for most people, then why aren’t we spending more time learning how to really listen?
I was fascinated by the historical Casanova who, although famous as the foremost seduction expert of his time, was also involved in setting up the first state lottery, wrote extensively about the places he visited and the food he ate. He squandered several fortunes but in the process always managed to turn the situation to his advantage, he eventually ended up as a Librarian in Bohemian castle where he wrote his life story. We only know so much about 18th century Europe because of Casanova’s life story. But what really interested me was Casanova's ability to listen, really listen to people and the opportunities they presented.
Russell T. Davies wrote this about Casanova… "When I sat down to read Casanova's autobiography, I discovered that our modern-day impression of a lascivious, misogynist man is hopelessly wrong. He's been filtered down through the centuries as a monster. I wanted to rescue him, to show what he was really like. This man genuinely loved women, and respected them with an astonishingly modern mentality. And never mind the serial philanderer - I also discovered that, outside his love life, Casanova was a wonderful, barmy, inventive man. And what a fraud! Like an 18th century Jeffrey Archer, but funny. He wasn't born an aristocrat, he lied his way into jobs and positions of power with charm and cheek and made himself a success each time. He's just irresistible." I concentrated on 3 key scenes from the miniseries the first 2 focus on Casanova’s ability to respond to the needs of the moment and his dedication to the pursuit of happiness and success. The last scene though explains how a young Casanova learned to listen. After an unsuccessful attempt to woo the youngest daughter of a notable Count, he ends up spending the time with her twin sisters instead. She explains that listening is the real route to understanding people, that listening is a seductive superpower. The older Casanova then goes on to prove the point by telling a young maid her life story even though she had no idea she’d given so much of it away. Back in training I’d demonstrate the same skills by telling each delegate all manner of things they’d revealed about themselves and then challenge them to prove that they too could be great listeners by remembering all manner of seemingly trivial yet important parts about the course. When I next met them outside of the training room I’d get them to tell me about 3 occasions where their new-found ability to really listen had been useful; the results were astounding, they’d been able to challenge with conviction and authority, they’d been able to show compassion when it was most required, they’d delivered outcomes that otherwise would have remained hidden, they’d been able to connect with customers by really understanding their requirements.
If you would like to learn about the seductive power of listening then why not book a course with One Degree Difference: click here to contact us
Management Lessons from A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens was a very clever fellow, on December 19th 1843, A Christmas Carol was published
just a little more than 2 months after he started work on his tale of redemption and good will to all
mankind. It resonates as much now as it did then and is a message that it’s never too late to change our ways.
Making choices has been a recurring theme of every blog or article I’ve written this year, I’ve looked
at choosing to be present in the moment, choosing to act rather than procrastinate and also about
making a conscious choice about the type of manager we want to be and this little piece is no
I’m going to focus on 2 key passages from A Christmas Carol which I feel are relevant to
“You were always a good man of business” Scrooge tells Marley’s Ghost. “Business, mankind was my
business; charity, mercy and benevolence were all my business!” is the spectre’s reply.
There’s the obvious straightforward message about social & corporate responsibility but I think there’s a
secondary theme about how organisations treat their people.
I’m working with several businesses that have all undergone massive changes over the last few years
and their stories are very similar, they employed consultants and project management specialists to
drive the change forward; plans were drawn up, Gannt Charts produced and every detail covered,
except how the change affected the people who worked in the organisations. The changes were
made to streamline, increase efficiency and to increase profits. Sometimes the changes worked,
sometimes they didn’t but in all the examples the result was an unhappier and more suspicious
workforce. It’s a shame an extra line on the Gannt Chart excel spreadsheet couldn’t be found titled
people or culture, they’d have saved themselves a lot of unrest and the need to employ me (every
The Ghost of Christmas Past introduces us to Mr Fezziwig; Scrooge remembers that his old boss had the power to render his workforce happy or unhappy; to make service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.
I often use Fezziwig as an example when talking to new managers or in coaching sessions. He also provides a template for creating a high performing and loyal team, balancing hard work with kindness and reward.
It’s easy to forget just what an emotional wake managers leave with how they choose to treat their
staff. It must be exhausting to choose anything other than trust and benevolence when managing
people, I’d much rather believe that people want to do great things at work rather than take
advantage, I think the best leaders and managers always do.
Once the spirits have done their work and Scrooge has resolved to change his ways. it is said some people
laughed to see the alteration in him... but he is wise enough to let them. He chooses to keep Christmas
well and become as good a man and as good a master as the good old city knew. I think this is a
perfect illustration that how we behave is a conscious choice, that it’s never too late to change our
behaviour for the better, hopefully we won't need the help of Marley and his 3 Ghosts to help us make that decision.
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
A Christmas Carol will also be on the TV all over Christmas and the e-book is free to download from Amazon
Latest News & Offers
Well we are mid-way through January already and it's shaping up to be a very interesting year!
We are hoping to take Football with Goals (FwG) to a whole new audience. I can't wait to share the news with you but we've had interest from a number of councils, a major bank and several schools. How exciting!
My old friends at Birmingham Institute for the Deaf have booked a 4 day course for their NEET participants with a focus on Employability and Communication so I'll be brushing up on my signing skills again!
You can find out a little bit more about FwG further down the page.
I'm also looking forward to catching up with Ben and the team at Little Green Frog as they open their second cafe and a second date with the Disaster Contingency Team at Himley Hall in Dudley.
A big welcome to Matt Jackson-Cook who's joining ODD to help me promote and market the business.
Matt is a student at Keele University and joins me as an intern funded through Santander's University programme. It really is a fabulous programme so get in touch if you would like an introduction. No doubt you'll be hearing more from Matt in the near future.
Thanks to my old friend Ravi Kumar from Aivi Rose Recruitment for putting me in touch with Keele, to Steve Hargereves for making the process so easy and to Rob at Santander for funding the position.
I delivered a 4 day programme in November for Birmingham Institute for the Deaf (BID) on Coaching, CV writing, Job Search and Employability skills to their new team, the majority of whom are deaf. It's been over 20 years since I taught deaf people so my signing skills were a bit rusty but it was a great experience and | look forward to visiting them once they are up and running. A big thanks to Mark at BID for the opportunity. After consciously avoiding Welfare to Work since starting on my own - I have several high-profile bookings for the sector starting in January, so watch this space!
Football with Goals is a highly interactive, flexible 2,3 or 5 day programme designed to develop individual and team working skills. It can be delivered as a Team Building or Management Development Programme or as a motivational event to support Employability Skills, Communication, Team Work, Leadership, Goal Setting & Personal Responsibility.
Suitable for both male and females, young and old - you don't need to be fit or have any prior football knowledge or skills just a willingness to get involved and an open mind.
The course is delivered by myself and Brad Russell who is a FIFA A Licenced Coach.
Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive:
"Looking at business through Football really worked for me"
"Learnt that football is a business and has given me an understanding for future self-employment"
"The course has given me greater confidence to speak in front of people"
"Getting into a routine has given me positive organisational skills"
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing people who have supported One Degree Difference over the 2017; Jolie and Juliette at Birmingham City University, Dal, Sam, Rachel and Simon at Prospects, Spencer and Andy at Pilot, Jackie at the Gambling Commission, Rachel at Future Skills, Phil at Braidwood, Julie at CTTC and Peter at YETI. I'd also like to thank Jim Brierley for his expert advice and all at Thinking Focus for their ideas and for involving me with an incredible new product they are about to launch.
Just a quick thanks to everyone else who has supported me, liked or shared a story or post on Facebook and LinkedIn or has recommended me in some way, It means a lot.
Lastly a big thanks to Steve at Alexander Stadium who managed to fix my fractured knee without me having to go in plaster - the man is a hero!
I'm running a quick offer till the end of January : 25% off the cost of any training session for new customers. Just quote ODD25 when you contact me.