Community Managed Mental Health Management & Leadership Program

9 September 2016 By Aaron Lange, Neami National

During day seven of the Community Managed Mental Health Management and Leadership Program, the focus was on coaching, change and conflict.

In the morning, Leadership Victoria Associate Louise Thomson gave us a crash course in coaching, highlighting key concepts such as the importance of listening well and asking open questions. She also introduced us to the GROW® model of coaching – Goals, Reality, Obstacles/Options, Way Forward.

We practised GROW® on each other with the presence of an observer who gave us useful feedback on our performance. During this workshop, Louise drew a distinction between transactional and transformational leadership. Transactional leadership – where you tell someone what to do - has its place. But transformational leadership, which is arguably harder to practice, involves coaching someone so that they can grow and develop as employees in ways not possible via a purely transactional approach.

The coaching workshop was followed by a guest presentation from Andrew Johnston, General Manager Operations. Prestige Inhome Care. Andrew shared with us his insights into leading organisations through change, based on his own professional experiences. He highlighted the need to strike the right balance between implementing a change quickly and seeking buy-in from stakeholders. Different approaches to managing change could range from “telling”, “selling”, “testing” and “consulting” to “co-creating”. The best approach in a given situation will depend on the organisation’s readiness for change.

GROW® Model developed by Alan Fine, John Whitmore, and Graham Alexander.


Returning to Louise in the afternoon, we become acquainted with some models for managing conflict. While different, each model encouraged us to understand the other side’s perspective and to look for resolutions that would benefit both parties.

 Article by Aaron Lange, Acting Project Manager NDIS, Neami National - Community Managed Mental Health Program participant