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Releasing Potential workshops: The Resilient Researcher

When and where?

Thursday 21st March 2019, Federation House, Manchester City Centre, 9.30 am – 4 pm

Aim & content:

What is your potential as a researcher? Imagine having the support of a group coaching process to support and challenge you to achieve those important goals…

Dr Will Medd and NHS R&D North West ran a series of workshops to release attendees potential.

The challenges of research life can make it hard to sustain a sense of personal resilience and well-being.  Research life can be unpredictable, precarious and challenging.  Research life can feel chaotic and throw up a whole barrage of challenges that can include feeling overwhelmed at the tasks in hand; insecurities about funding uncertainties; self-doubt in a world of knowledgeable experts; confusion about the best way forward; and the impossibilities of balancing research and the rest of life. The list could go on. It can be easy to lose yourself, your sense of direction and well-being. Indeed, it can be hard to sustain your personal resilience when you’re feeling insecure about the next stage of your work and yet resilience can be key to maintaining your research effectiveness.

Unique to this workshop, attendees were not simply told what resilience is, and what they SHOULD do to build it.  Resilience comes in many shapes and forms, generally pointing to the ability to recover from setbacks, to adapt to changing circumstance and keep going in the face of adversity. However, the workshop was designed to build on attendees’ own experiences and the collective wisdom of the group, to develop an understanding of what resilience means for them and how they can develop strategies to nourish and sustain it in everyday life.

This one-day experiential and interactive coaching-based workshop created an opportunity to re-engage with attendees own sense of personal resilience and well-being and be challenged with how to bring that into their everyday lives.

Who was it for?

The Resilient Researcher was for academics and researchers at any stage of their career, who could benefit from exploring how to nourish their personal resilience: for example, they may have felt out of balance, overwhelmed and overstressed, or lacking confidence in some way.  The workshops had previously been attended by PhD students, researchers, lecturers, and Professors, sometimes at the same time.  They had been attended by people from all disciplines – from physicists to creative writers, sociologists to mathematicians, health researchers to economists.

What was involved in the day?

  • Setting up: introducing a coaching approach and the relationship between performance, potential and interferences; sharing current experience of research and life; identifying what we want from the day and agreeing how we’ll work together.
  • Experiential exploration: exploring what it feels like when we are ‘resilient’ and when we don’t feel ‘resilient’; locating a sense of personal vision and values, how in balance they feel, and the implications for personal resilience; learning what knocks you off balance and how to come back to your centre; identifying personal strategies to sustain everyday resilience.
  • Throughout the day we’ll be moving between whole group exercises and discussion, small group exercises and personal reflection time (the balance will depend on the group and what we collectively agree). When appropriate, there will also be individual interventions from the coach.

What did attendees get out of the day?

  • Recognise what resilience means for you.
  • Reconnect with what resources your resilience and well-being.
  • Explore what knocks you off balance and how to regain it.
  • Identify personal strategies to sustain everyday resilience.
  • Learn from the collective wisdom of the group.

This workshop was offered at £45 + VAT for NHS staff, 50 % was funded by HEE.

For non-NHS staff it was £90+ VAT to attend. 

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