Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is consultancy? How can it help me?
We have tried really hard to come up with an alternative to the ‘consultancy’ term, as it has accumulated so much negative perception over time. But we haven’t found it yet! Consultancy boils down to change – in people, processes, procedures or structures. At TogetherBetter, we pay attention to two vital aspects of collaborative consultancy:
- We provide great content (the ‘what’) – we are experts in our field, our cognitive, analytical and technical skills are first class, and we will walk alongside you to discover solutions to the strategic and operational problems that have been holding you back. It might involve strategic planning and advice, team development, knowledge transfer, performance improvement. This is the visible and outputs-driven element of consultancy, and many stop here.
- We are in it for the people (the ‘how’) – so we invest in relationships, communication, connection, meaning, humanity. The stuff that is often referred to as ‘soft’, yet makes the difference between successful, sustainable change and not. It is our exquisite attention to the human dimension of work that sets us apart from others.
Clients come to us looking for help with something they are stuck with, and usually something which is business critical. We help them to fine tune their understanding of the issues, discover new perspectives, scope out possibilities for the future, and plan a way forward through to implementation and review. And we do it with a view to putting ourselves out of a job. The sustainability of the work we do, beyond our intervention, is a measure of success for us. We have a structured approach to our consultancy and we are transparent about the phases. We find this helps us to reach a shared understanding of what we are doing with you, as well as clarifies mutual expectations and commitment.
What is coaching? How can it help me?
Coaching is about transformational change, through action-oriented reflective learning, with both individuals and groups. The role of the coach is to guide and facilitate the process, using a structured approach based on well-established principles and methodologies, which are deployed according to the specific needs of the client. Unlike broader consultancy or mentoring, it does not involve content expertise because it is not about the coach giving advice or fixing problems. The client does all the hard work, while the coach manages the process to elicit deep reflection towards learning, new perspectives and action.
Clients use coaches for different purposes but all are likely to involve making some kind of improvement in their working lives. It might be preparing for a career move, working on performance in their current role, or transforming their leadership skills. Coaching is an immensely powerful tool for personal development, and one which is increasingly recognised as a core component of any leadership development effort in organisations.
What training and experience do you have?
Continuing professional development features strongly in our ethos. We never stop learning, whether that comes through experience or formal training. We are disciplined in capitalising upon our learning to improve what we offer to you.
Anna worked for over 16 years in NHS senior management and Board roles in the mental health and social care sector, primarily in general management and strategic development. Since 2015, she has worked independently in the same field, but with a stronger focus on helping people and organisations to improve and transform their impact through OD-based interventions. She has particular subject expertise in co-production, citizenship and personal recovery, as well as quality improvement and patient safety.
Formal training since graduating in 1997 with a business degree includes:
- PGCert Health Care (DeMontfort University)
- PGDip Health Care Management (University of Birmingham)
- King’s Fund Executive Leadership Development
- IHI Patient Safety Executive Officer
- Advanced Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring (UWE & ILM) – current
How do you approach a new piece of work?
While we draw on well-established methodologies and experience, we tailor each new commission to the client’s specific needs and context. We spend time listening to what you are looking for, and helping you to fine tune the brief. If we think we can add value, we then co-design the work with you, being clear about goals and outcomes, and contract accordingly. An outline of the process is here.
Who inspires your work?
Our inspiration is renewed every time we see people working in new ways together, discovering changes they never thought possible, rediscovering humanity in the workplace, and even in times when things are a bit rocky and our skills are being put to the test. We couldn’t do this without the inspiration and guidance we find amongst the authors and leaders who help us to make sense of what we are trying to achieve. Have a look at the links and book recommendations for our ‘go to’ people.
Do you practise what you preach?
Well, we try not to preach, but we are passionate about our belief in people, so we practise *a lot*. Our MD undertakes a number of community-oriented public service roles on a pro bono basis, read more. This is an integral part of the ethos of TogetherBetter. If you would like to involve us on this basis, please feel free to ask!
Do you collaborate with others?
Well that’s a resounding ‘yes’! Collaborating is what we do. We work in all sorts of creative ways to form alliances and partnerships with others, because we believe that together is better. So, whether you are a consultancy looking for a delivery partner, a community looking for some expertise, or a potential client looking for a strategic relationship, we’d love to talk.
What about governance and compliance?
We take pride in our professional integrity and reputation, and that means being thorough in the governance of our work. We are scrupulous in compliance (e.g. new GDPR regulations). We hold professional indemnity insurance. Our executive coach offer will be fully accredited when it goes live in Spring 2018.
Where are you based?
Our base is in West Wales, and we travel all over the UK to deliver our work.
How is the work priced?
Our main focus is in increasing value for our clients. When you work with us, you can expect to see positive results that add value in your organisation and its success. We price our work accordingly, and for each individual commission. We are transparent, and work on the basis of ‘no surprises’ so we tell you the costs we anticipate upfront. And it’s probably more affordable than you think!
What if I’m not happy?
We are dead serious about continuous learning and improvement. We work hard to develop a trusting relationship with you from day one, so that if a problem arises, we have mutual confidence to raise it and address it there and then. We back this up with an ongoing commitment to contracting, not only in the business sense but also psychologically. So, we regularly check in with you to find out if you’re happy and if we need to make any adjustments. And if something needs to change to work better for you, then we change it. Simples!
Got a question we haven’t answered here?
Get in touch and we’ll do our best.