Posts Tagged ‘creative’

The Diana Award

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Diana award Here at Pro-Development we’re proud to be working with the Diana Award, mentoring a group of young people to help instil citizenship, improve workplace readiness and develop resilience and determination. The Diana Award was founded in 1999 as a legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world and inspire those around them. Through the Mentoring Campaign, young people are encouraged and empowered to take positive actions in their school, local and even global communities by undertaking a social action project and skills training.

The young people we work with are full of energy, enthusiasm, and a belief that they can make a difference. Although we became involved with the Diana Award to give something back, we come away after each session with a renewed sense of positivity and a belief that if young people are empowered and given the skills they need, they do have the power to make changes in the world and to be inspiring role models.

If this sounds like something you would be keen to get involved in, The Diana Award are currently signing up individuals and teams of mentors across York, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham to start in mid-November, or at the end of March 2018. As a Mentor you would work in a team with other volunteers, giving a group of students an insight into your role and world of work and supporting them to develop a social action project around a topic of their choice. If you are interested in finding out more please email:

A curious week

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Curious and creative coaching Last week was Learning at Work week, with the theme, ‘Curious and Creative’, and was also International Coaching Week. Coaching York, an organisation with the aim of making York the coaching capital of the UK, promoted running coaching sessions to businesses in York, and to celebrate both initiatives, we ran a ‘Curious and Creative Coaching’ session here at Forest Farm Business Park. We were delighted that some of our lovely fellow resident businesses joined us for the session in the fabulous facilities provided by Tailormade Conferences.

Most of the people who attended the session had little or no experience of coaching, and coaching is very different to training. In non-directive coaching, we need to think for ourselves, which can feel very different. Using creativity increases insight, and develops innovative thinking. It gives the coachee time and space to explore different perspectives and provides a safe vehicle to describe our goals and what might be stopping us achieving them.

You might be wondering how we made the session creative. A range of materials was used including photographs, coloured paper and pens, pipe-cleaners, and magazines to cut up, and linked to our value of having fun while we’re learning. Most of those attending created a collage to represent their goals and their current state in relation to the goals. We then asked curious questions to explore creative ways of achieving the goal. All of those who attended achieved insight into their goals and new ways of how to go about achieving them.

And the real power of coaching? Traditionally we’ve thought of people as little empty vessels in which everything has to be poured. In coaching we think of people as little seeds who have the potential within them to be magnificent plants and trees. We need nourishment, encouragement, and the light to grow and develop, and this is what is provided in coaching. To find out more about our creative approach to coaching click here.

As you watch your sunflowers grow, consider this; are you and your people being nourished and encouraged to grow and develop or do you just pour learning into them? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk to us.

Meet the boss – Article printed in the York Evening Press 27th May 2015

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

It was 2011 when Michelle Mook set up Pro-Development, an employee engagement and development specialists now working with SMEs in and around Yorkshire and the Humber.

The venture was established to deliver bespoke people, learning and development solutions that drive value and achieve the right outcomes for businesses.

With more than 20 years’ experience in employee engagement and development, and a passion for delivering solutions, Mrs Mook feels Pro-Development makes a tangible difference by developing people and helping businesses to grow.

Ms Mook left school at 16, very unclear of her career path. After attending Beverley College for a year, her first job was working for a small business in Market Weighton before joining Humberside County Council in 1990.

It was while working here that she was offered an opportunity to deliver a training programme for Social Services, which is where she discovered her passion for helping others to learn and develop.

Around the same time, she started studying part time at the University of Humberside, and achieved a degree in Business Management in 1995.

Ms Mook went on to work as a training consultant for a Microsoft Certified Training Centre before joining York Hospitals Trust as a training manager, where she spent a number of years developing other trainers. In 2006, her creative and innovative approach to learning and development was recognised by the Learning & Performance Institute, and she was awarded a Gold Award for Trainer of the Year in 2006.

Her passion for helping business to grow through employee engagement has also led her to volunteer with the national Engage for Success movement, which is committed to helping businesses release more of the capabilities and potential of people at work by enabling personal growth, organisational growth and – ultimately – growth for Britain.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

“I’ve always loved film and television, and had aspirations to be an actress when I was younger. I settled with supporting local amateur dramatics, where I have performed a number of starring roles: a cat called snuggles, a hockey-playing bumble bee and a nun (when I was six months pregnant!).”

Greatest achievement?

“Personally it would have to be my two wonderful sons, who I am so proud of. Professionally, it’s the recognition I have received for my innovative and creative approach to learning and development which, last year, led to being selected as a finalist for Learning Professional of the Year against massive corporates such as Tesco and Barclays Bank.”

What makes you most angry?

“My core values are honesty and kindness, so I struggle with those who aren’t and also people who are disrespectful.”

Biggest mistake?

“Gosh, where to start! Leaning on a table when I was training a group, only to discover it had wheels (it broke the ice and nothing else, fortunately!). On a more serious note, leaving it so long to set up Pro-Development. As a result of this, I have learnt to take more risks and be brave, though.”

What do you need to make life complete?

“I feel very lucky to be doing what we do, with such a great team, working with some amazing people and businesses in such a beautiful part of the world. I’ve got two fabulous boys, the best family and friends and I always find the fun in whatever I do. What more could a girl want? I guess the only thing would be to meet that special someone to share it all with.”

Why do you make a difference?

“Because we’re passionate about what we do, we’re creative and innovative and not afraid to be different. We always make sure that we have clear outcomes, which we always aim to exceed.”


“She believed she could and she did.”