In 2015, LWB began the implementation of the Leading Practice strategy, aiming to build a learning culture among a 4,200-strong workforce that improves leadership and practice quality at the frontline.
Mary MckinnonNational Director Practice and Quality em Life Without Barriers
1. LEADING PRACTICE
IN LIFE WITHOUT
Implementing Our Practice Framework and Building A Culture Of Learning and Reflection
Not for Profit People Conference November 2016 – Mary McKinnon
2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
We would like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the
land we’re meeting on today, and acknowledge our gratitude that we share
this land today, our sorrow for some of the costs of that sharing, and our
hope and belief that we can move to a place of equity, justice, and
4. Life Without Barriers is a not for profit organisation committed to providing
community-based programs to assist children, young people, adults, older people
and families to live the best life possible. We are a values-based organisation
committed to achieve positive outcomes for all clients.
5. OUR PURPOSE - TO PARTNER WITH PEOPLE TO CHANGE LIVES FOR THE BETTERWHO WE
• 300+ communities across Australia
• 4,000+ staff
• Supported by 2,500+ volunteers
• Work with 15,000+ individuals each year
• Social-purpose organisation
10. WHY FOCUS
There are over 400 frontline leaders across Life Without Barriers
These leaders work with teams to support clients in a variety of
service types and settings including family support and out of
home care; disability services, mental health, youth justice,
support for refugees and asylum seekers home and community
Teams work in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote locations
‘Frontline supervisors influence virtually everything
we do. They affect how policies are followed and
what practices are encouraged.’
‘They set the tone and expectations in the workplace to
the extent that they are our keepers of culture.’
(Family and Children’s Resource Program, North Carolina, 2008)
11. The challenge of implementing practice and culture
change through professional development.
A national progressive rollout – Perth, Northern NSW, Victoria and
Training is great but…. It should be experiential and allow for skills
Recognition that learning is an ongoing process (not an event)
Integrated with existing workplace functions especially supervision and
group based activities
Coaching for success
Practice, practice, practice
Fixsen et al (2005), Gray and Gibbons (2002), McArthur and Thomson (2014), University of California
Training Academy (2013).
WHAT DOES LEADING PRACTICE LOOK LIKE?
IT? Relationships, reflection and learning
• Experiential learning, dispersed leadership
ideas and multi functional supervision
• Strong role for frontline leaders in governance
• Workshops co facilitated internally by LWB
• External expertise to provide individual
• Local implementation supported nationally
• Integrated with our national supervision policy
13. Uses processes,
Not topic driven -
and practice tools
14. • A ‘bridge’ from the workshop to the workplace
• Combination of information only and action oriented resources
• Covers topics such as:
–Organisation and social context
–Practical guides for reflective practice
–Relationship based practice
–Emotions and leadership
–Supervision skills and techniques
–Beginning, continuing and ending supervisory relationships
• New tools being progressively introduced
• Scenarios, videos, journal articles - internally and externally
• Available in hard copy, digitally on USB and on
the LWB intranet
15. • The learning cycle in introduced in the
workshop - participants are encouraged
to spend more time in reflection and
analysis in order to learn.
• Practice leaders have access to up to six
• Coaching participation is voluntary but
strongly encouraged and supported.
– what was
– why and
• A unique opportunity for a frontline leader to set and be supported
to work towards learning goals
• Uses the reflective learning cycle combined with the RE-GROW
16. Coaching is a collaborative, solution focussed, and strengths
based process between coach and coachee, focussing on
enhancing practice and ultimately client outcomes.
Successful coaching requires:
• Coach and coachee willingness to develop a relationship
• Time limited, goal focused approach
• Direct, sensitive and often challenging conversations
• Clear understanding of roles;
– Coach plays the role of facilitator of change
– Coachee’s responsibility to enact change
• An understanding that either the coach or coachee may elect to
terminate the coaching arrangement at any time
20. Planning and Implementation
• Support by senior staff is essential
• Enthusiastic, motived and supported local people make a real difference in implementation
success and impact on culture
• Local focus on embedding learning after workshops and coaching can support real change
• Facilitators need time together and support to prepare for workshops
• ‘Early adopters’ on first workshops in each location
• The workshop approach is different than many people’s experience of training – so participants
need to know what to expect before attending
• Where possible ensure a mix of skills, experience and support areas in each workshop
• Procurement of local external coaches can be challenging and take up to three months
• It takes time to explain and understand the coaching process and benefits
• Coaches should attend a workshop lunch session to familiarise
• Coaching can be individual or small group
• Coaching uptake takes time to build - word of mouth is helpful, as is support from managers and
23. About the workshop
“For the first time since becoming an acting Care Coordinator I actually feel like a leader
and I can do good things for my clients and staff.“
About the resources and tools
“I use the Circles of Control a fair bit in my assessments and with staff during
consultations. I also use the leadership paradigm to remind staff when they have taken
a leadership role and successfully reached a positive outcome. I use the reflective cycle
when debriefing staff and the sources of power tool”
“I have used the coaching that I received via the Leading Practice which has given me
ideas to try in Team Meetings. These ideas/activities proved to be a success”
“I just want to thank LWB for the opportunity to participate in
the leading practice training and coaching sessions. I will
continuously refer to the program to improve my management
skills and create a positive workplace culture“
National rollout around Australia including in remote areas – current
• Sydney and Southern NSW
• Hunter and Central Coast NSW
• Western NSW
• South Australia
• Reflect and learn as we implement and make changes
• Continue to develop and review practice resources and
tools as the sector changes and grows
• Continue the evaluation to measure medium and long
term outcomes and report on our findings
Family and Children’s Resource Program (2008). “Supervision and the Future of Child Welfare”,
Children’s services Practice Notes, 13 (2)
Fixsen, D, Naoom, S, Blasé, K, Friedman, R and Wallace, F (2005). Implementation Research: a
synthesis of the literature, Louis de la Parte, Florida Mental Health Institute, Tampa.
Grant, A (2011). “Is it time to REGROW the GROW model? Issues related to teaching coaching
session structures. The Coaching Psychologist, Volume 7, Number 2.
Gray, M., & Gibbons, J. (2002). Experience based learning and its relevance to social work
practice. Australian Social Work, 55(4), 279-291.
Life Without Barriers (2015). Pillars of Practice Framework, Available at lwb.org.au.
McArthur, M and Thomson, B (2014). “Getting more bang for your buck: what works best in
professional development in the child, youth and family workforce”, Developing Practice, 39
University of California Training Academy (2013). The Coaching Toolkit for child welfare practice,
in partnership with Case Family Programs, University of California, Davis.
The Pillars of Practice framework is designed to assist our staff to reflect on what guides their work and to consistently apply their knowledge and skills in Life Without Barriers’ organisational context.
Our practice and outcomes focus is critical to continuous improvement and delivering a quality service to each of our clients.
The Pillars of Practice are underpinned by the LWB values and represent the key activities that support the development of a culture that promotes good practice.
The Pillars of Practice framework articulates 'why we do', 'what we do', and 'how we do it'.
Leading Practice is a key lever for implementing our pillars of practice framework. It is in interaction with their supervisors that our frontline staff experience respectful relationship based work that they are being asked to implement with clients. Leading Practice is about the pillars concerned with supervision and team work but is fundamentally about all the pillars. We want supervisors and frontline staff and carers to have respectful, worker centred relationships that are characterised by our pillars.
Unlike many organisations LWB is investing in leadership at the frontline. Frontline leaders are commonly conceptualised in human services as managers who implement decisions made elsewhere in the organisation. LWB has challenged this approach by clearly conceptualising leadership as a day to day frontline activity – within the parameters of our practice framework and associated initiatives.
It can be difficult to be a frontline leader. These people are often “caught in the middle” with significant pressure coming from more senior leaders and from their staff and clients. Frontline leaders often feel quite disempowered and yet, in reality, they have an enormous influence over organisational culture and the client experience. We wanted to make it clear to frontline leaders that they have this influence and encourage them to use it.
Leadership initiatives are notoriously difficult to implement well. We have adopted evidence informed implementation levers that are proven to drive change. This includes the ongoing availability of practice tools to support frontline supervision and teamwork and supporting more senior leaders to support frontline leadership. It also includes the availability of coaching for all frontline leaders in the organisation – available straight after they experience a Leading Practice workshop.
The practice resources and tools that have been developed for Leading Practice are evidenced informed, action oriented tools that are easily applied in the real world. They include team building activities and supervision activities and reflective practice processes that can be done individually, in supervision or in a group. They are linked to LWB values. We have brought copies of the leading practice resources folder to the conference. If anyone would like to look at them please approach one of us. Colleagues with me today will role play a demonstration of the use of the practice tools in a supervisory conversation.
Coaching is a key element of Leading Practice and has been the most difficult to implement. Despite the success of the workshops and practice tools many frontline leaders have faced personal and other barriers to engaging in coaching. However with support and flexibility in coaching delivery uptake is increasing. Once leaders commence coaching we have found they tend to stay engaged and the coaching relationship is highly valued. Taking the first step is the most chalelening.
This is an example of a practice tool that is used in the workshop and has applicability in the workplace with staff and leaders. Steven Covey conceptualised the circles of concern and influence to help people experience empowerment at work and in their lives. Frontline managers and staff can often face many difficulties in helping clients with complex and entrenched problems that go beyond the immediate ability of the helping relationship to solve. Some issues are beyond the control of frontline staff and managers. Focusing on these issues is exhausting and disempowering. Switching to a focus on issues wecan exercise control over can be more empowering for both frontline managers and staff.
Let’s hear directly from a couple of our frontline leaders –Raewyn and Tham – 3 mins 22 sec
We have developed a theory of change to help us understand if Leading Practice is achieving he things we want. We have interpreted this theory of change into a program logic summarised on this slide. This theory of change and program logic forms the basis for our evaluation.