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Michael Cooke

Michael Cooke

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014

Nesta Fellow

How have the last few months been, Michael?

I have made progress on a number of fronts, particularly with the plans for my research project and my secondment. I have also selected a coach and had my first coaching session, which has proved very useful I am hugely looking forward to what 2015 has in store for me. Continuing to dip my toe into the water of public speaking has also been a highlight, leading a session for alumni from three business schools together with Kevin Munday.

What has been your greatest challenge?

I say the same thing every quarter, but the greatest challenge is always the same: maintaining a balance between work, home and the Fellowship. It has been an intense period of change at Marie Curie as we embark on delivering a new Strategic Plan, and I have also had my first experience of a budget setting round as a budget holder. It has been a very busy time to try to fit Clore Social around.

How is your leadership having an impact on those you work with or for?

I have found that my three days of Action Learning Set facilitator training have had a considerable (and somewhat unexpected) impact on my day to day management and leadership. I have continued to improve the way that I conduct 1-2-1 meetings with my team. I now feel more comfortable in allowing space for silence, and in asking pressing open questions to get to the core of issues more quickly.

In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?

I have started to use the ‘peer consultancy’ version of Action Learning as part of my management team meetings, which has proved a success. The open questioning approach enabled the five of us to have a very different sort of conversation, and members of the team were able to support the person presenting in a way that would not have been possible in our previous approach to team meetings.

What inspiration have you taken from the other Fellows?

Ruth Marvel’s advice to the 2014 Fellows at our induction day to ‘follow your nose’ has proved very useful to me. I was rather procrastinating on what to do about both my research project and secondment, crippled by the overwhelming degree of choice available in both and a fear of making the wrong decision. For both I have indeed followed my nose, and I am very excited about how these will develop in 2015.

Twitter: @databrewer

Current principal role: Strategic Development Director
Current principal organisation: Marie Curie

Research: Making evaluations work harder for international development
Secondment host: Retrak

Contact us
0207 812 3770
5th Floor, Kings Place, 90 York Way
London, N19AG

Charity: 1136727
Reg: 7222275
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