Change without threat

Is there such a thing as change without threat? The Wellbeing Collective have built a team of like-minded people wanting to make a tangible difference in other people’s lives. We coach, facilitate and support for a living, and in some ways our world is as simple as that. However, we are also a small business trying to hold on tight and become even better.


We have used Covid as an opportunity to review our business model. We have run a business review using techniques we use with other organisations such as Appreciative Inquiry and dialogic organisational development…. and so far, so good!  Our small team has come up with creative ways of redesigning what we do, and how we do it and to date it’s been a testament to team cohesion and trust.

The real issue now is that the ideas generated include a range of changes to our roles, responsibilities and probably more.

This has led me to ponder the question …. Is there such a thing as change without threat? Really is there?

Our team have been involved in the process, we share values and a purpose and yet as the leader I want to find ways to take these next potentially disruptive steps without causing a threat response in my valued colleagues. This is the first blog of a trilogy – today I will share my plans for trying to implement sweeping change without threat, the next Blog in this trio will be in the middle of the change and hear from those most affected (if they are still talking to me) and the last Blog will be a reflection on our journey and our overall learning. These really are important steps to shaping a desired future as part of the ‘D’ for destiny in Appreciative Inquiry.

My plans for minimising a threat response in my team during this next phase of our change project include:

  • Regular one to one time with each person to talk without judgement about the impact on them, their hopes, fears and any feelings of anger or vulnerability.
  • A crystal-clear vison as to where we are going, why we are changing, and their part in our future.
  • Opportunities for each team member to have as much control as possible in this process and to offer clarity over the things beyond their control.
  • A focus on each person strengths and talent conversations to support development plans that will run alongside the formal HR processes.
  • Meaningful communication and positive feedback for each person help people see that even though there is significant change that they are valued.

Amy Hobson, CEO  – The Wellbeing Collective

A different conversation


Over the last few weeks we’ve all been impacted in some way by the tragic death of George Floyd. The impact of a single event has resonated with many lives and reminded us how little progress has been made in tackling deep seated racism in our world. The surge of voices, the protests, the tearing down of symbols have conveyed absolute outrage that we continue to live and tolerate so many things in our societies and communities – our history is bleeding through from our past and ever present in our day to day lives. This is sometimes explicitly seen, but most of the time hidden, subtle and insidious.

We can no longer ignore racism’s presence! We are all having to deeply reflect, face uncomfortable truths, and engage in profoundly difficult conversations about how racism manifests in our thoughts, feelings, our conversations and the communities we live in. Indeed, recognising, valuing and celebrating difference and diversity is easy to do when everyone around you is white and from similar socio-economic background, but to step out, and seek out conversations with a black person about their experience of living as a black person is so much harder, but so needed right now.

As I’m thinking about how I may do this, I’m aware of how I could face my uncomfortable truths with a desired future in mind – one with hope, connectivity, reparation and restoration. I’m minded of my work around Appreciative Inquiry which can sometimes be viewed as just focusing on ‘feel good’ and positive things but is actually more about a deep sense of self-inquiry, a deep reflection on something the really matters. Using an AI lens, I’m wondering how I can discover a time from my past when I’ve had a deeply uncomfortable conversation that’s brought positive, enabling and powerful change. I wonder what dream I can have. What destiny I desire? It’s now time for me to act, to address my own ongoing dissonance, to find a future that values all human beings equally.


“Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of [what is morally] right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways.


I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”


Theodore Parker


Tim Coupland – Consultant, The Wellbeing Collective.

The Future in View


If we had asked ourselves in 2015 where we might be in 5 years’ time, we would never have said at home for 2-3 months, hardly going out and in the midst of a global pandemic.

Whilst the word unprecedented may have been overused in recent weeks, these are, indeed, unprecedented times we find ourselves in. It is in this context that I find myself reflecting on the number of times I have thought (and said) that I wanted the hamster wheel to stop for a few moments, for life to slow down, to have time to take stock, to now find myself in a world that has given me time to pause for thought.

Aside from my own experiences of these strange times, I have wondered how these times are experienced by others – undoubtedly covering a very broad range of events perceptions and feelings. There will be those people who are dealing with the premature loss of loved ones to Covid-19, our NHS staff have reconfigured their services at a remarkable pace and worked tirelessly to save lives. We have changed the way we live our lives and how we relate to others via the wonders of modern technology.

How we live with and/or move on from difficult times can vary depending on our approach. I am reminded of the inspiring story of Alex Zanardi, a former formula 1 racing driver, who lost both of his legs in a 200 mile per hour crash in 2001. This was a life changing and career ending accident, one from which some would struggle to recover their confidence and purpose in life. For Zanardi, in an interview with the Independent (September 2016), he says, “Even my accident that happened to me, became the biggest opportunity of my life… All of the things I am doing today are related to my new condition”, this was 15 years after his accident, at the time he had won a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics, to join the 2 he had won at London 2012. Zanardi concluded this interview stating, “I feel very lucky, I feel my life is a never-ending privilege”.

With this story in mind, I have been contemplating what I learn from this experience of lock down, which may help me as I continue to journey through life. Here are some of the questions I have been reflecting on:

  • What have I learned about what is most important to me in life?
  • What do I value more, that I have previously taken for granted?
  • What has pleasantly surprised me about my relationships with others?
  • What have I learned about how best to look after myself?
  • What have I learned about myself which may help me in the future?
  • What are the changes I want to make (or maintain) based on this experience?

For me, this is the essence of working appreciatively, taking the best from the experience to shape a desired future! However challenging I have found these times, I try to take a ‘glass half full approach’, to take the best away from this experience, projecting to a desired future where life will be richer, better and more rewarding.

Interested in having your own Appreciative Inquiry? Click here

Amanda Clark – Consultant, The Wellbeing Collective.


Everyone benefits from kindness, so let’s be generous

In preparation for writing this blog I decided to undertake an experiment to see if Kindness is real and what if any impact it has in my life on a daily basis.


My highly scientific experiment saw me counting every identifiable act of kindness. I jotted them down every time I spotted something that looked like Kindness over a 24 hour period……. Lets look at what I found.

  • 14 times food or drink were provided, including a colleague kindly being passed bowl of fruit by his husband while on a video call.
  • 12 emails, texts or messages that included a clear message of kindness, compassion, helpfulness or concern
  • 3 occasions where a neighbour kindlysmiled, waved and or stopped to chat for a moment or two
  • 1 example of kind and helpful customer care, as our summer holiday was having to be cancelled
  • 6 stories of work related kindness that I was told while virtual coaching people as part of my job
  • 1 time that a colleague kindly offered up time to help me unlock my password
  • 1 occasion when I saw someone being kindby helping someone they didn’t know with their shopping.
  • 8 examples of people in my household doing something kind with love, patience, service or generosity for someone else
  • A late night message from a friend who was recently bereaved reaching out for a little human contact received kindness from me

This rough and ready piece of action research highlighted over 50 acts of kindness that I received, offered or witnessed in one day. Being kind and having someone be kind to us raises our dopamine levels which means we get an increased sense of wellbeing.

I genuinely have felt more cared for and calm in the last day just because I have been looking forkindness and compassion all around me …… in all its forms.

Kindness when provided generously and recognised frequently can help us all live happier lives, kindness can come in all shapes and sizes and I wonder how many examples you could spot?

The Wellbeing Collective team choose kindness as a way of life and we know that by being generous with our time, compassion and experience that we get to be part of better outcomes for everyone we work with.

Amy Hobson CEO – TWBC

We don’t need restoration, we need regeneration…

Tim, one of my colleagues from TWBC heard a really interesting quote this week when discussing with a health leader about how to tailor the right type support for NHS staff at this time. They were reflecting on systems working, particularly integration, and how things had been achieved in weeks that normally would take months or even years to achieve. In considering what actions the NHS should take next, the health leader said to him:

“we don’t need restoration, we need regeneration…we need to create something new, innovative, different…to learn from this rich experience, to reshape radically from what we know”.


As lockdown is eased, so are many organisations beginning to move away from living with the urgency of the situation and taking more time to reflect on how to re-establish a sense of normal. Things feel calmer. The fight or flight response that emerges in times of crisis, whilst still in view, is less prescient. We are now beginning to take more time to reason, to judge, to assess and to learn.

Staying connected and learning mindfully about our emotions is now more important than ever. It is covered in our CALM modules and I am reminded of them when I think about what opportunities are set before us all now.

There are new powerful opportunities being presented to us – to change our way of life, to change the way we do things, to learn in a deep and profound way, to discover the keys to delivering long held ambitions. As I always say with most great opportunities, grasp them, they’re like gifts on offer, like rewards for dedication, commitment and focus.

Amy, CEO, The Wellbeing Collective

#learning #reflection #regenerate #mindfulness

Every conversation still counts

Hi Amy here, my colleague Tim Coupland really tries to live out our values. In these difficult times, they have become an anchor for him and as he reflected with me last week some aspects of life really do go on and the need to be courageous and compassionate is just as important than ever…here is just an example from him.


Is it ok to write a non covid-19 related blog? Whilst most days deviate from the normal pattern of things, some aspects of life really do go on; the day to day interactions with all those mini tensions or frustrations still surface. Is it right that I still find some aspects of my relationships with other challenging or difficult? Probably not, life really does go on and the pattern of things that I find difficult don’t just evaporate. The difference, at the moment, is they go largely unspoken: to share something difficult for me feels somehow misplaced, inappropriate or in the bigger scheme of things just not that important.

This week has not been straightforward where relationships are concerned, I’ve worked hard, yet one of my colleagues raised an issue with me about the way I’d gone about a specific task. I experienced a range of feelings, some uncomfortable – some of them not very adultlike! Like most situations like this, my way of working it through it to go for a run. It somehow seems to calm the emotional centre of my brain and activate those higher functions of reasoning, logic and judgement – to bring about some deep reflection…akin to what the CALM mindfulness module [insert link] describes as the ‘what?’, ‘’so what?’, and ‘now what?’ (Rolfe’s model of Reflective Practice).

So, what did I discover? I do love it when deep reflection brings about something unexpected…halfway through the run I realised that my error in judgement was due to something initially out of my awareness, an unconscious judgement about something that made me behave as I did. Unconscious bias is the common term for the implicit assumptions or quick judgements we make about others in the context of our values and background. They are often about deeply hidden stereotypes that surface unexpectedly and shape our responses and/or behaviour. To capture these, in the moment is difficult, I am only human, but I’m certainly glad my colleague raised it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again, some things are quite difficult to shift. It just means that I’m now aware of it. Whilst still uncomfortable, it revealed something hidden and presented an opportunity to address it in the future.

I can’t speak for others but can be fairly sure that, even in the grip of such unprecedented times, difficult and uncomfortable exchanges will still occur. To find time to reflect, to talk these through, to tap into things out of your awareness, like unconscious bias, is still just as important. I’m now off to talk with my colleague about it…

Discovering your inner child

From Amy,

Like all companies, we’ve had to make some tough decisions in recent weeks. Here’s Becca, one of our staff talking about her experience.

Discover your inner child

Living in the moment – not something I do very often. I like plans, I worry about those plans, I look forward to those plans. I don’t really like change. Well, that’s pretty much all gone out the window whether I like it or not. I’m on furlough, at first I was worried what that would mean, how it would affect my plans. However, after a few days I have noticed something. I don’t plan past what I am going to do with my toddler in the next few hours and what meals I will make from our essential shop. I’m playing, having fun with my child, being a child myself. Getting back to what makes me happy. Not caring if someone sees me pretending to be a turtle or lion on our walk. Not worrying if my hair desperately needs a cut and roots dyed, not worrying I am in muddy jeans and no make-up, just enjoying being in the sunshine and having this unique time. I’ve learnt how to make a car out of cardboard, pretend to be a firefighter with chalk fire on the walls and the hose, hunt for colours on our walk… I am taking in what I wouldn’t give a second glance to usually on a commute to work, or in a rushed weekend when we try to squeeze in so much. The stuff we thought was essential chores, but now we know, they really weren’t or aren’t!

At TWBC, we often use the PAC part of transactional analysis  (Parent, Adult, Child). We share some of this as part of our CALM model Going back into my Free child state, living in the moment, relishing every additional second I have with my child, remembering the carefree fun I used to have at his age – it’s life changing. No more adult ties to abiding by the societal rules we are taught and place on ourselves.

We can take every opportunity and either focus on the negative or the positive. I choose positive. I will have my up days and down days, but I have the power to choose how I remember this time. I have many more months and years to worry about plans, but right now, for the remaining time we are living in this situation, I am going to enjoy every minute of not planning and just being my childlike self.

How are you viewing your furlough journey?

Becca Godfrey – Business Development Lead (TWBC)

What will you choose? Reflecting on strong emotions.


I am sat here on my garden bench taking a short lunch break, sun shining,  coffee in hand and reflecting on what I need to do this afternoon for work and this evening for home.

From almost no where find myself smiling in a moment of feeling properly happy, but as quickly as that feeling arrives it is overshadowed by a thought….. how can you feel Ok when its clearly just not ok for so many people right now?… people without  gardens, exhausted key workers, overwhelmed NHS colleagues, the people feeling lonely and all those devastated by Covid 19.

In that second, the thought turns into a strong set of feelings;  sadness, guilt and helplessness.

This is where I have a choice and deep down I know it…. I can….either…

Absorb those emotions, allow myself to be drowned by them and work extra hard without decent breaks or looking up at the sunshine…in order to make up for the fact that I am ok and my world is less difficult than others right now, believing that the only way to make amends is to make things harder for myself too….


Allow those emotions to sit with me momentarily, particularly the sense of empathy and then turn any feelings of guilt into gratitude for what I have and think about how I will make the most of that and turn the helplessness into focus, making my day useful, productive reflecting my own wellbeing needs and the needs of those around me.

It’s not every time that I choose wisely when I get flooded with harsh emotions… however I do seem to always have an endless number of opportunities to choose the right options and often I do.

Amy, The Wellbeing Collective

You are making a difference.

Blog April 16th V2

Our fourth week of strict social distancing and I don’t know about you but I personally needed the Easter break we just had. The intense emotional, physical and mental feelings were becoming a little overwhelming. Should I be doing more? Can I do more? Do I even want to do be doing any more than just following guidelines?

But then I remembered the following and I wanted to share it – as I hope it may help one of you reading it.

It doesn’t matter what role you have, or what your situation is. If you are a key worker, a parent juggling work and childcare, home alone – all of us, together, are making a difference. You are making a difference.

TWBC has a core value, ‘Every conversation counts, every action adds value’. This really resonated with me this week.

Stay safe. Stay home. We are in this together.

#lockdown #isolation #UK #everyconversationcounts #everyactionaddvalue #stayhome #protectthenhs #staysafe #together #youareenough #youaremakingadifference

‘There is some hugely creative and adaptive work happening that I think we can learn from now, not just when CV-19 is over.’

Nick's blogHere at The Wellbeing Collective we are hearing from many NHS staff sharing their experiences of working day to day in an unprecedented way, doing unexpected things and making decisions at pace. In the midst of this is a strong and collective sense of team determination and camaraderie, but also palpable strong emotions as we anticipate what lies ahead of us.

As a Wellbeing Collective Consultant and also an NHS Manager, one of our team members wrote a really moving piece [not for a blog, just in an update], and we asked his permission if we could share some of his words:

‘Obviously work is busy, the call to action though is very impressive and humbling.  More impressive is that pace at which things are getting done and relationships are changing, and I think despite the difficulties ahead, there are going to be a raft of things that change during this process that will make the NHS a more efficient organisation, albeit one with a lot more grief to process.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about and working on in my NHS role, is how we can learn when we are working at this sort of pace, so not just the coping part, but include break points to pause our key decision making structures, quickly look back, and take that learning into the next phase of decision making.  There is some hugely creative and adaptive work happening that I think we can learn from now, not just when it’s over.’


#protectourNHS #stayhomestaysafe #stayhome #positivemindeset #learning #wewillbeatthis #creative #adapt #frontline #heroes #NHS #isolation #lockdown #UK #covid19