Please let me introduce David Lucas. David works with Queensland Ambulance Service and is responsible for the leadership capability development framework. He has a background in organisational development and has been working in that particular area for fifteen years. David’s focus and area of interest is leadership development and, more recently, coaching. I recently caught up with David and asked him, “How has the QUT Executive Graduate Certificate in Business – Leadership Coaching (LCAM) program helped you?”
A summary of his story follows and I invite you to view the video (link below) in full if you would like to hear David expand further on his LCAM experiences and explain how he’s been able to use the program; the impact it’s made at his workplace, and for him personally and professionally as well.
Who or what influenced David to apply?
David was at a QUT Graduate School of Business event and heard a presentation about our Leadership Coaching program. The program struck a chord with him – it fitted with what he was doing with Queensland Ambulance and the timing was perfect as he was looking for a way to embed a coaching culture in his organization. So, fortuitously, that morning really did change his life…big statement but keep reading to find out why!
What was your personal growth story?
From the very first day, David was immersed into a coaching culture and quickly bonded with his like-minded cohort. That bond still continues today. Two years later, the connections with the people he studied with continue in a very positive and professional way. That is one of the powerful things with people in the coaching space, they are so very supportive of one another.
David freely states that the Leadership Coaching program has enriched his life both professionally and personally.
How did this study transform you and the organisation you work for?
The 12-month High Impact Project that David worked on as part of his studies has been adopted and adapted to the organisation’s needs with positive outcomes for all involved.
David has applied his learnings in the workplace by introducing a coaching element into Queensland Ambulance’s existing leadership programs and adding a three-day coaching program at an advanced level. This is very much based on what he learned in the program.
Then he adapted this further to introduce “coachable moments” across the organisation. Encouraging colleagues to ask the question “think about every conversation and how that reflects the organisation you’d like to be part of?” has had a positive impact on the organisational culture. These coachable moments have added value not just to David’s work practices, but to the organisation as a whole by encouraging conversation and support within the team. As David says:
…what we’re trying to influence organisationally is this notion that every single interaction we have with someone influences organisational culture and if we can be intentional about our conversations and intentional about our interactions using a coaching mindset we are much more effective in the way we influence the organisation’s culture”.
Another great outcome was introducing working with an indigenous elder, talking about leadership from an indigenous perspective. This had the added benefit of challenging the organisation to understand not only organisational culture but broader culture, different cultures, where different people come from, and how different people see the world.
What was the highlight of your study experience?
Having a leadership coach as part of the program was one of David’s most valuable experiences. He says, “I had a profound life-changing experience as part of LCAM, in my approach to my work and the way I showed up and understood ‘Who I Am” organisationally and, and the impact I have on people”. He attributes this deep change came from his personal coaching.
What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?
David says “I’d very happily recommend LCAM (Leadership Coaching) as a program. I remember thinking everything I’m learning here is not just theory. It’s directly relevant to my work and I’ll be able to apply this and use it every day in a real sense.”
It was wonderful to hear how much the Leadership Coaching program has, and continues to, contribute to enhancing David’s workplace journey. I particularly loved his comment:
And there’s more to come yet…it just seems to keep growing and growing and growing. Which is great, because it’s such a, almost insatiable thirst for [coaching] as people understand that this notion of “Ask Don’t Tell” and the difference that can make.
If you would like to hear more of David’s experience, please see the full video here, or read the full transcript below.
QUT’s Executive Graduate Certificate in Business – Leadership Coaching (LCAM) program was designed to transform your leadership style. Over the course of twelve months, you’ll discover leadership through coaching as a mindset. Join a new wave of leaders.
Fran: Today we’re joined by David Lucas. David is an LCAM (Leadership Coaching) alumni. David thank you for coming I’d like to ask you to share a little bit about your background with this, please.
David: Sure, thank you, Fran. My name is David Lucas and I work with Queensland Ambulance Service and I’m responsible for the leadership capability development framework at Queensland Ambulance. I have a background in organisational development; I’ve been working in that particular area for 15 years and my focus and area of interest is leadership development and, more recently, coaching. As a very proud alumni member of LCAM.
Fran: Fantastic. David, what influenced your decision to join the LCAM, our leadership coaching 12-month executive graduate certificate program?
David: It was quite fortuitous really, I wasn’t sure that this program existed and I came to a function here at the Graduate School of Business one morning and there was a presentation around the LCAM program which really appealed to me and certainly fitted in with where we were organisationally and the timing was perfect so it was a very lucky break I guess on that morning.
Fran: I remember that morning, it was fantastic, we’re so glad you joined the program.
David: And it all happened very quickly after that.
Fran: It did.
David: In a space of months and here we are.
Fran: Here we are indeed. Can you tell us a little bit about your LCAM journey?
David: Sure, it had been probably 10 years since I completed um some postgraduate work here at QUT, so I was a little ambivalent around what it would hold, but I, it was a very positive experience right from the, from the first, from the first day, and I remember in particular we had I think it was called a landing, a grounding, a grounding workshop where we came together as a group and I really felt this immediate bond with everyone in the room. It was very clearly stated purpose, a common purpose, around why they were all there. And the journey from there just to d to get better and better every day. It was a wonderful experience.
Fran: That’s fantastic and they certainly use that shared passion among our LCAM students and then continuing on to our LCAM alumni so it’s so fantastic that you got to experience that.
David: Yes, and I think in particular, Fran, just taking that further we were put into action learning groups on the very first and the very first day, and it was almost like this immersion into coaching immediately, and so that was the formation of a very positive bond and working relationship and I still have contact, two years later, with all those people in a very positive and professional way. it’s excellent.
Fran: That’s wonderful to hear, and that’s exactly what it is about, building those connections and building those contacts, and then you know continuing to meet up with those people and just share ideas as well as continue on your workplace journey.
David: Yes, it is, yes, yes, and we are, and I’ve had that privilege of meeting with a couple of them over the last 12 months to share my journey at work and other things and so have learned from them as well.
Fran: Just on that point, can you tell us about how you’ve applied LCAM in your professional work experience, please?
David: Sure. We’ve had a very busy two years since we started on this program and we’ve probably done four main things at work.
We’ve introduced a coaching element into one of our existing leadership programs; um, we’ve also started a new three-day coaching program at an advanced level which is very much based on what we went through in LCAM; we now are offering 360-degree feedback to a number of people with feedback from a coaching perspective rather than a standard feedback process for 360s and we’re running a number of other specially designed workshops that help people to understand how to apply the notion of a coaching mindset in five minutes.
So rather than going having to have a lengthy conversation that can take an hour or two for a coaching conversation, our business is very busy, and so people are very keen to understand how to apply those concepts in that mindset in one minute or two minutes and how to make every single coachable moment the best possible outcome they can have.
Fran: You just described these coaching moments, I guess, where it’s becoming more of a mindset and you’re talking about short opportunities to coach, so you talked about 1 minute, 2 minute, 5-minute coaching conversations. Can you share a little bit more about that with us, please?
David: Sure. That’s been one of the best and perhaps unexpected outcomes from our coaching program. So, we developed the three-day coaching program which is quite intense. What we learned from that is that our approach, that was very much about having a lengthy detailed coaching conversation, and one of our officers in charge from a very busy station said to me “David, this is fantastic I love it but I only ever have five minutes at best with my people, so how can we, how can we apply this?”
So, we developed a couple of the shorter workshop for people, and what we, what we’ve done is help people understand that with a coaching mindset they can identify, proactively identify, coachable moments rather than waiting for coachable moments to appear. And so, people are proactively looking for them and trying to make the most of a one-minute conversation or a two-minute conversation or whatever that length may be. So, what we’re trying to influence organisationally is this notion that every single interaction we have with someone influences organisational culture and if we can be intentional about our conversations and intentional about our interactions using a coaching mindset we are much more effective in the way we influence the organisation’s culture.
Fran: You described coachable moments that, it sounds like, have now become part of the culture or for your workplace. Can you share whether that was linked back to the high impact project? So, we complete the high impact project as part of our 12-month leadership coaching program. How has that overlapped with what you’ve done at work?
David: Sure, well the five-minute coaching conversation bit almost came about by accident. My high impact project was really focused on how we were going to try and influence organisationally this understanding of what a coaching mindset is. And so my primary vehicle for that was to develop a coaching program as part of our leadership suite of programs that we offered. But then this paramedic made the comment to me about applying that at a more local level so, it’s at.. my… it expanded my high impact project to include that. And there’s more to come yet which is why we’re offering 360s with the coaching feedback and a few other things will eventuate. It just seems to keep growing and growing and growing. Which is great, because it’s such a, almost insatiable thirst for this as people understand that this notion of “Ask Don’t Tell” and the difference that can make.
Fran: You’ve described a lot about the changes that have occurred within your organization and it certainly sounds like there’s been a cascading effect in terms of working towards embedding a coaching culture, which is exactly what we’re aiming to do with the high impact project. If you look at that globally, can you share with us where it, where it’s made the biggest impact?
David: Sure, I think there’s two things that come out of that. The first thing is, and this, we’ve been intentional about this and we’re happy to see that there’s starting to develop a common language organisationally around people joking about “that’s a quality conversation” or whatever the case may be so that’s been quite effective and in public fora where we’re from where we come together in large groups we try and introduce the language into the discussion there, So that’s the first thing.
I guess the second impact is, I’ve noticed that there’s been a change in the type of support where people are asking me to help them with this year in comparison with previous years. And what we’re seeing this year is not so much requests for us to deliver content in our organisational development work but to facilitate conversations and to facilitate groups and teams in understanding how to communicate better and how to improve the quality of their conversations amongst themselves as teams. So I’m seeing a change there as well in the sort of work that people are asking me to help them with.
Fran: What a fantastically positive impact that that’s had. Conversations are perhaps the number one thing that we work with people when we’re doing one-to-one coaching, because it is often communication breakdown that causes a lot of challenges in organisational settings, and you’re tapping directly into that.
David: Yes, and we found, Fran, that when we asked people, when we challenged people with the question “think about every conversation you’ve had today, every conversation, we’re in the hallway, making coffee on the way to work, think about every conversation and how did that reflect the organisation you’d like to be part of?
Fran: What a wonderful question to ask people. What a wonderful thing to put into their mind.
David: Mm, we do it at every single opportunity we can.
Fran: Think about every conversation you’ve had today. I’m gonna remember that too. I like that.
David, as part of the program you work together in small groups and we call them your action learning groups. They’re headed up by a coach, but they’re also a self-directed learning group. Could you please share with us your experience in the action learning group?
David: Sure. I hadn’t anticipated the value that we would get from the action learning groups I didn’t know we were going to do them before we came on the program and so at our very first gathering here at the grounding workshop we were put into groups and immediately started working towards the assignments and the presentations that we were required to do, and immediately started coaching in our novice way that we were. So that was the first benefit, and we stayed together for the first half of the program and formed a very, very strong relationship professionally and personally and we really, I think, I’ve benefited most from practicing the coaching because as with anything it’s practice and practice and practice. And the way the program the LCAM program is structured is that it supports that notion of practice, practice, practice. Come together all the time and practice. And so that was I guess the biggest learning I had from the action learning group it’s a very, very positive part of the program.
Fran: A very safe place to practice those coaching skills definitely. With regards to the action learning groups, what was most memorable about the experience for you?
David: I think the one thing that sticks in my mind the most, Fran, was I hadn’t anticipated how well we would form as an action learning group and how close that relationship would come. And halfway through the LCAM experience, we were required to change action learning groups, and I think that was disruption by design, as we moved into a module around groups and, and coaching and teams. And so that experience was, was quite challenging and we had to learn to be intentional about how we approached that, how we develop the new relationships and how we came together as a team very, very quickly.
Fran: You did indeed, and it is disruption by design, and we were mirroring what happens in the real world.
David: Yes, well, the change never stops certainly in our world it’s something new every day.
Fran: Absolutely. Can I ask you a little bit about working with a coach? So in the program, you receive one-on-one coaching and you also receive group coaching.
Fran: In particular, can you please share with us your experience working one-on-one with a coach
David: Sure, I would say the most valuable experience of LCAM was having a personal coach. Having not had one before, and certainly not one at the standard that we had, and I had a profound life-changing experience as part of LCAM, in my approach to my work and the way I showed up and understood Who I am organisationally and, and the impact I have on people. So, the coaching experience was very, very powerful for me, and very, very thankful for that. It was a very positive experience.
Fran: That’s absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. David can you share with us any unique or creative outcomes that you experienced as a result of undertaking the program.
David: Sure. One of the interesting approaches we’ve taken with our three-day coaching program at work is to work with an indigenous elder. And we’ve asked him to talk to us about leadership from an indigenous perspective. And his name is Billy, and he takes the group’s outside for three hours and he talks to us about leadership in indigenous culture and he talks to us about the important aspects of that. Aspects such as listening, respect for the other person’s perspective, and understanding in particular narrative and story and how people are connected to things. And not only is that challenged us to understand organisationally how we are connected to things, how we see artifacts and organisational symbols and how people attach different meanings to those, and from a coaching, perspective to understand how to tap into story and narrative, but it’s had the added benefit of them challenging us to understand around not only organisational culture but broader culture, different cultures, different, where different people come from, how different people see the world, and it’s had a really, really positive flow-on effect for us.
Fran: So really tapping into diversity in the workplace and it is also for patient care as well.
David: Absolutely, it’s been very, very powerful.
Fran: What a wonderful, powerful way of using the programming and building on it as well.
David: Yeah, we’re very excited about it. In fact, you can’t get on the programs at the moment, the waiting lists are so long. So, we’re very pleased and, and, it all, it all has stemmed around the structure that we learned from LCAM and the, the neuroscience and the literature has really supported the way we’ve approached this, and importantly it’s what’s worked for us well is the partnership we have with QUT in delivering the programs, but sitting behind that is the notion of relationships. The relationship we have with our participants, the relationship we have with our managers, our supervisors our patients, with QUT, and all the people we work with. It all is built on relationships and quality conversations and being intentional about how we do things.
Fran: If someone asked you whether, whether you would recommend the program and whether you think they should do the program what would your feedback to them be?
David: I’d very, very, very happily recommend LCAM as a program. And I remember Fran going through the program thinking, everything I’m learning here is not just theory. It’s directly relevant to my work and I’ll be able to apply this and use it every day in a real sense. So, I think that was the best value out of LCAM.
Fran: That’s wonderful. It’s great when you are working through something that you’ve actually got that opportunity to apply it immediately in the workplace and as we’ve seen clearly make a big difference.
David: Yeah and that was my experience.
Fran: That’s terrific David thank you very much for your time today I really appreciate you sharing your LCAM experiences it’s wonderful to hear from a participant’s point of view how you’ve been able to use the program and the impact that it’s made back at the workplace so thank you very much.
David: It’s a pleasure, thank you for inviting me.