Patti is managing director of the Coaching Supervision Consultancy Limited (CSC) through which she offers supervision and supervision training. She also co-founded membership body, the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS).
Her supervision experience in both the public and private sector has enabled her to help design both the MA in Coaching and Mentoring Practice at Oxford Brookes University - on which she is a senior, visiting supervisor - as well as the University’s first Professional Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring.
Patti is also The Institute of Leadership & Management Collaboration Ambassador.
What does ‘leading differently’ mean to you?
I work in the executive coaching and supervision domains, supervising leaders and those involved in developing others. So to me, leading differently means a leader who has committed to being in a supervision relationship, to start to learn about themselves. This is about the leader having a really deep understanding of themself and the issues that arise for them, evoked by the system in which they work and the people they work with. That really contributes to leading differently because it brings another dimension to the practice of leadership.
This reflective practice enables leaders to have more self-awareness, and awareness of the dynamics that exist between themselves and their teams in their leadership landscape, which in turn leads to a more collaborative way of working.
So what is unique about your leadership style?
“Be true to thyself.”
In the different leadership roles I’ve had, I’ve always taken time to attend, not only to others but also, to my own self. On-going personal and professional development is hugely important - and I do stress the importance of continuing personal as well as professional development. So I take time to attend to reflective and reflexive practice.
One phrase I use – because I work a lot with metaphor – is ‘leadership posture’. If you think about dancing, you move, you take different postures with different partners, sometimes it flows and sometimes it certainly doesn’t and sometimes it’s important to learn new postures – and that takes time. So I attend to my own leadership posture.
What has been your greatest learning experience that has helped you develop your style?
I did my own Masters research on the psychological contracting between people within organisations. It’s a hugely overlooked part of the dynamics of relationships within organisations. So understanding the psychological contract has helped me tremendously.
The psychological contract is about checking out and gaining clarity about expectations, hidden aspirations and the concerns of others and oneself. Often these are implicit and really do need to be made explicit, where expectations are explored and understood by all parties in a team. Making explicit these implicit expectations and exploring assumptions so that everybody is in tune with everybody else is so important, as is revisiting the contract fairly regularly, because things move at a hell of a pace in organisations.
My own research that I did with senior leaders in organisations was around their understanding of the psychological contract within organisations. It was a very interesting piece of research in that it tends to be overlooked because it’s an implicit contract and this is the problem.
Leaders have expectations, but just assume that others that they’re leading get it, and understand what the contract is about, but often there is a mismatch and that can really cause difficulties.
What can people expect to learn from your session?
They will take away an understanding of what leadership supervision is, the benefits of it and what a contract might look like.
They will also understand how supervision can fit into their own leadership landscape.
Looking to the future - how do you think leadership is changing?
There’s nothing so constant as change.
Looking to the future - and this is where the supervision relationship really supports and works with leaders and indeed managers - there will be far more focus on accountability and ethical issues.
Shareholders have a very important voice and considerable expectations, so there’s going to be far more focus on the leader themselves and how they work and implement their values, therefore requiring a far more collaborative way of working.