How we’re supporting Learning at Work and International Coaching Week

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Monday 18th May Playing to Strengths

Supporting local business ‘Partners PR’ in identifying their team’s strengths and running sessions with individual members so they can maximise on these strengths and find opportunities to develop them further. If you’d like to know more about the importance of learning about yourself and others, developing self-awareness, living to your values and playing to each other’s strengths why not read our blog.

Tuesday 19th May Discover York; Discover Coaching Event

Pro-Development are facilitating ‘Discover Coaching, Discover York’ alongside fellow coaches Jules Wyman and Karen Hickman. Why not join Michelle, Sue, Jules and Karen for a reflective walking experience of coaching as we take to the glorious streets of York. This event is open to anyone who would like to know and understand more about coaching and those who would value doing so in a reflective and experiential way. This event involves walking and will last about 1hr 15 minutes, it may involve climbing stairs.

For more about this event and to book your free place, go to the Coaching York Website.

Wednesday 20th May CIPD West Yorkshire Annual Meeting 2015

Michelle will be joining an esteemed panel in a ‘question time’ type event at First Direct arena in Leeds, where delegates will be given the opportunity to ask questions relevant to their own employee issues. Michelle will be a great addition to the panel in terms of how organisations large and small can work smarter around employee engagement.

Thursday 21st May Reviewing Pro-Developments learning needs.

Spending time in the business, looking at our learning requirements, and capturing our key learnings over the last 3 ½ Years.

Friday 22nd May International Coaching Week Celebration Lunch

Following such a busy week, Michelle will join fellow coaches for a well-deserved lunch and celebration of coaching over such a fantastic week.

How can you support Learning at Work and International Coaching Week?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Learning at work week

There are lots of thing you can do to get involved. Here are some ideas to get you started.

• Talk to your employees about their development needs and career aspirations.

• Run a couple of events where you can share with your team what development is available and how to access it.

• Run lunch and learn sessions. These are short sessions (20 minutes – 40 minutes) on various topics to support your business.

• Run workshops, various durations on various topics.

• Ask members of your team to deliver some lunch and learns/workshops. This is a great opportunity for them to gain some experience in presenting and public speaking.

• Put on a mix of work-related and non-work related activities designed to engage and inspire all employees to learn.

• Design activities where colleagues meet each other from different parts of the business e.g. market places, skill swaps, job shadowing.

• Devise some quizzes or run competitions about the business, encouraging cross team engagement.

• Ask individuals to share how they have developed and grown within the company.

• Engage senior managers in activities that promote and embody the value the organisation attaches to learning.

• Develop manager’s skills in supporting a culture of learning in their teams.

• Ask the Chairman/MD to share their story to inspire and motivate the team.

• Set challenges to learn about your industry with a prize for the best entry.

• Share Adult Education offerings in the area.

• Contact Pro-Development for help and support.

• Attend the free ‘Discover York, Discover Coaching’ session on the 19th May 2015 in York City Centre. If you can’t attend this 1pm session, there are 2 other sessions at 2.30pm and 4.00pm or alternatively, have a look at the variety of free events running for International coaching week organised through Coaching York.

If you are interested in taking part in Learning at Work Week and would like some support in getting started, you can also go to the Get Started section of the Campaign for Learning website where you can register online to access planning materials and resources and you’ll receive their regular newsletters with special offers and updates.

The skills to grow your business, the funding to make it happen

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

We are pleased to announce that Pro-Development are now an registered provider with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Skills Service.

What this means

This is exciting news for SMEs as it means if you work within the Leeds region 50% match funding is available for training and development provided that the eligibility criteria is met. You’ll also be pleased to learn that the Leeds Region incorporates SMEs that are based in York, Harrogate, Craven, Selby, Barnsley and all of West Yorkshire.

More about the LEP

The LEP promotes the Leeds City Region’s interests on a national and international scale, helping business and enterprise to thrive by unlocking potential through partnership. The LEP’s vision is to unlock the potential of the City Region, developing an economic powerhouse that will create jobs and prosperity. They aim to do this by being a relevant, essential and enabling partner to growing businesses within the City Region, and by opening the door to a new relationship with government. The LEP also have a skills service which you can access, if eligible, for the match funding. This means if you have a budget to put towards training, you could also be eligible for funding of between £500 and £50,000.

Is your business eligible?

To be eligible for skills funding your business must:

• be based in the Leeds City Region (which includes York, Harrogate, Craven, Selby, Barnsley and all of West Yorkshire.)

• employ fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover of less than £40million

• be able to provide a contribution to the cost of training, as a minimum 50%

• be in one of our priority sector, which are:

  • Creative and digital
  • Finance and Business
  • Medical Technology
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Low Carbon
  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Transport and logistics
Map Eligible and want to access the funding?

1. Go to the LEP site, skills page

2. Complete the on-line form and answer some questions about you and your business, and the required skills development including:

a. What training is required and for how many people?

b. What will the added value be to your business by undertaking this training?

c. What are the objectives for undertaking the training?

3. You will then be asked ‘do you require further support in identifying a training provided’ –at this point you can select ‘No’ and enter Pro-Development as your registered training provider.

Interested and would like to find out more?

Why not have a look at the LEP site. The site is packed full of information, go to the skills page for specific information about the funding for development which we are accredited to deliver for you. This really is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the region, we look forward to working together to help your business flourish and grow.

Appearing in venues near you…..Management Development Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro-Development PresentDid you see our blockbuster? 145 hits and counting, small steps again, but small steps do lead to big changes.

So if you need a change in your business and need managers who engage and inspire the team to deliver great results then get in touch and we can share how this programme can unlock potential and create a life changing experience.

Remember we are a Growth Accelerator Accredited Leadership and Management Provider so, if you are part of the GA programme, you can access matched funding for the programme – don’t miss out!

If you would like to know more about the programme Click here, and if you would like to secure your place Click here for a booking form.

We’re going to Venturefest…are you?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Venturefest 2If you are an entrepreneur working in a science, technology, creative or high growth business then you will find inspiration, advice and investment at Venturefest. Maybe you are an investor or a business that works with businesses in these sectors then you will find innovative ideas and motivated business people to invest in and meet. We’ve been going every year and always come away inspired – it’s definitely worth a visit and we are exhibiting this year with our partners in crime One to One Recruitment. Follow the yellow brick road (all will be clear on the day) and join in our fun!!! Featuring a very special guest speaker! We are very proud to announce that our very own Michelle Mook is guest speaker at Venturefest and will be talking about how important employee engagement is to the success of your business.. It should prove to be a great event – hope to see you there

Pro-Development’s 12 Day’s of Learning …

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

DEC 2014 Newletter tree

We have had some amazing feedback from the last participants of our Management Development Programme and it inspired one of our managers to create this yuletide ditty based on her experience of the programme which we absolutely loved. Here it is ….

On the twelfth day of learning, Pro-Development gave to me,

12 feet on fire

11 legs a leaping

10 people dangling

9 broken arrows

8 barrels bobbing

7 fantastic workshops

6 coaching sessions


4 horses teach

3 maps guide

2 wonky sails

and a programme that truly inspired ME!

If, like Karen, you would like to be inspired by our management development programme in 2015, walk this way


Management Development – Managing others through change

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries


This month the Management Development programme took us to HowStean Gorge where our fearless delegates embarked on a journey in an ever changing environment and led a team powerfully to success.

During the day the team conquered orienteering, caving, abseiling and gorge walking and in doing so experienced denial, resistance, anger and fear. They learnt on the way the importance of creating a vision, sharing that vision and to keep communicating the vision so its fresh in everyone’s mind. They recognised the importance of listening and to keep listening all throughout the change.

The team needed to enable actions to remove obstacles in their way. Obstacles could be a number of things but presented itself to us as resistance, fear, and not listening to your own state. However the obstacles were overcome through authentic leadership, revealing vulnerabilities, being brave, trusting those around them and supporting other through the change.

The results…the team achieved things they hadn’t even thought of, and took the time to celebrate their success and to recognise everybody’s contribution. What a day! What a team.

The Great Giant Sunflower Grow Off 2014! Winners!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Sunflower winners

Our congratulations must go to Angie Crossan and Karen Deigton from DE Ford who are joint winners of this years Sunflower Grow Off.

Both Angie and Karen managed to grow their sunflowers over 8ft. We asked this green fingered duo to share hints and tips of their success!

“Get dad to start them off” says Angie

“Don’t strap ‘em too tight or too much..let them blow in the wind” added Karen.

Inspiration to us all

Thank you to all of you who entered. As you know this years competition has had it darker moments, we’ll never forget squirrel gate! Not deterred though…the grow off will be back in 2015, we already have a list of competitors, so if you think you can follow in Karen and Angies footsetps, let us know

Sunflower Oct 2014


Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized

TJ awards 2014_Finalist

Everyone who knows us, understand that what makes Pro-Development different is our innovative and creative approach to all we do.

Our approach has now been recognised nationally and we have been shortlisted for a prestigious award in the Training Journal Awards 2014. Michelle was nominated by Escalla who we worked with on the project with the Cabinet Office earlier this year that saw us travelling the length and breadth of the country.

We are over the moon to get this far and are up against 5 other big contenders for the Learning & Development Professional of the Year 2014 category – see here for details of all the finalists. It just goes to show that we may be small compared to some of the other nominees that have been chosen for this amazing award but it proves that you do not have to be big to catch the eye of the judges. We are delighted to be a finalist and this is recognition of our commitment to growing and developing people and is a tremendous achievement”.

Lou Mooney from Escalla described the approach we took as a truly “game changing” learning experience. His full testimonial is available here.

The Awards ceremony will be held at the TJ Awards Gala Dinner on Wednesday 26th November at The Brewery in London and is tipped to be a sell-out. We’re already picking out our posh frocks and are getting ready for a night of champagne and glamour – we’ll keep you all posted.

Management Development – Bringing out the best in your team

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

What a team

As ever, the management development programme brought a different element to learning, and in August it was leadership though horses. Unlike people, horses will only co-operate from a place of connection and mutual respect and trust. When you can lead teams from a place of heart-felt connection and trust, rather than intimidation and fear, you form high performing teams where everyone contributes and plays an active role. We learnt so much over the day about:

• Being authentic and showing your vulnerabilities

• Trust and respect are key to bringing out the best in others

• Giving clear direction and always being purposeful

• Setting the right pace and tone and enjoying the journey

• Having honest conversations along the way

• Being prepared to step out of our comfort zone

• Thinking about how best to lead the individual and the team

• Finding ways to work in harmony with our team

• Believing in ourselves and others

• Observing what is going on (without judgement)

• Remembering that leaders don’t know everything!

It really was a fantastic experience; people were operating outside of their comfort zone and achieved more than they could have imagined. One delegate emailed us the next day:-

“My only complaint … it wasn’t long enough – I wanted more … both working with the horses but also the learning!!!! After a full on day, it was great to read that and we agreed too. There were a few people who slept well that night 🙂

Our thanks go to Julia Felton at Business Horse Power for supporting us and making it such a great day!