‘Down to Earth’ What does your #OnePP say about you?

Executive Director at Action on Hearing Loss, Louise shares how she uses her one-page profile professionally; introducing it into their recruitment process and using it to break the ice with colleagues and families when meeting for the first time.

Louise's one-page profile

Louise’s one-page profile

Written by Louise Pritchard

At Action on Hearing Loss we have made a commitment to personalisation and have a programme approach looking at ways we can improve as an organisation to be more person centred.

One of the things we have been doing is asking everyone working in our Care and Support directorate to have a one-page profile.  The process of creating these has helped people and teams to understand each other more, and provided an insight into the best way of working with colleagues. By creating my own one-page profile I recognised that I am a pragmatist and a realist and now my colleagues know not to be put off if I put creative ideas down, they know to work with me to find a practical solution.

We live in a culture where giving or receiving a compliment can feel uncomfortable.  Using like and admire in team meetings has broken down this barrier and people have said afterwards they feel they can be more honest and open with each other.  Staff have found it really helpful in appraisals and one to ones too. The profiles facilitate positive feedback and open up conversations.  We have found that talking about “how best to support me” makes it easier for staff to ask for the support they need from their manager.

I can see when a team has adopted one-page profiles as they “gel” together and work in harmony; they understand how to get the best out of each other. People have found it easier to work out issues when there is no blame – just “this is how I see it”. When other depts. have seen the positive impact this work has had its inspired them to create their own one-page profiles.

We use one-page profiles as part of recruitment, asking people to create their own profile and bring it with them to interview.  This means the people we support can get to know a bit about candidates and be more effectively involved in the recruitment. We want the people who work for us to understand they need to give something of themselves in order to create trust and build a relationship with the people we support.

My one-page profile has given me insight into the way I work, and how others see me. I have two BSL sign names that have been given to me by people I work with, one is a clawed hand on the back of the head as I always wear my hair in a bun, and the other is the sign for “down to earth”.

When I am out visiting services or attending events some staff can find meeting an Executive Director a bit daunting, but after reading my one-page profile it breaks the ice and people know they can just talk to me, hence the sign name “down to earth”.

I attend a lot of conferences and formal gatherings, and I get sent the conference pack with biographies of speakers, or asked to send mine.  They tend to be very formal about the person’s professional achievements and where they have worked, but don’t give you a sense of the person or what’s important to them.

I am often tempted to send my one-page profile instead of the traditional biography but I have so far held back as I wonder if people would know what a one-page profile was. Next time I will be brave and put it out there with the biography!!

First create your own, then support others to create theirs

An example of how by creating their own one-page profiles professionals can feel confident and empowered to support others in the process.

Written by Rebecca*

Rebecca's one-page profile

Rebecca’s one-page profile

I’m employed by a provider of learning, support and care for children and adults with learning disabilities. I manage two services and we encourage all members of staff and the people we support to have a one-page profile.

It is a really good way for families to know who is supporting them, and for them to get to know the kind of people employed. In the services I manage, there are often staffing changes due to the type of support provided and sometimes the support is brand new, having come from another provider. My one-page profile breaks the ice with a new family or member of staff, giving them information about me, so they see a person, not just a name or job title. This makes it much easier to communicate.

I completed my one-page profile myself, but found it difficult to think of the ‘what people like and admire about me’ section so I talked to friends, colleagues and family to ask them about what they thought. I completed it over a period of time, thinking about it in my work and personal life, to really reflect on what is important to me and the support that works well for me, which made it more comprehensive.

I use my one page-profile with my staff team and with people who I support so they can get to know me well. It was also used as an example to the people we support as the kind of thing that staff should be aiming for when helping them produce their own. Staff found it helpful to write a one-page profile for themselves before doing it with the children and young people they visit.

Producing my one-page profile helped me to think about the things in my life that are important to me and therefore helped me to think about what was important to the people I support.  Perhaps before, I might not have thought about it in that level of detail. For example, because my family are important to me, it made me realise that it was vital to include children’s families when supporting them to complete their support planning process. It was helpful for me also to see that the things in my personal life that were important to me impacted on the way I like people to work with me and support me. As a result of developing my own one-page profile I am more confident; family and friends have been proactive in helping me to think positively about myself, I feel reassured in my way of working and feel uplifted as a result. It’s increased my respect for myself and given me greater confidence in working with others.

Having a one-page profile has been really helpful, particularly in building those crucial initial relationships with the families we support. It has helped them to get to know me as a person, with specific interests and has opened up conversations helping them to feel more confident about the company. It has achieved much for the service, especially in helping other staff to complete them for themselves, and for the children and young people they support. One-page profiles are developing more throughout the service, with staff members and people we support, people are enjoying creating them and using them to get to know people better.

*names have been changed.

5 top tips for using one-page profiles in divorce

Sue Atkins

Sue Atkins

Written by Sue Atkins

I am a Parenting Expert, Writer, Speaker, Broadcaster, Parenting Coach and a mum! I’ve used one-page profiles in my work for many years and with my own family and can’t rave enough about their usefulness for improving communication, relationships, a child’s self esteem and self confidence

More recently I have been using one-page profiles to help children and families going through the often challenging and traumatic experience of a divorce as well as working with children whose parents have separated, experiencing  all of the changes that this can bring; from living in two different homes,  splitting their time between mum and dad, moving schools, to experiencing lots of changing routines,

This is a subject very close to my heart as more than a year ago my ex husband and I started divorce proceedings.  I discovered via Facebook that he was having an inappropriate relationship with another woman which came as quite a shock!  We had been married for 21 years and had brought up  two wonderful children and shared a full life together.  But as  I tell my clients,  divorce is a process not an event and over time you begin to see the opportunities that change can open up for you.

My children are grown up now but many of the parents that I work with have younger children and they come to me because they understand that divorce is life changing and that whilst the adults are making the decisions the children can be left feeling like everything that they knew is different, leading to feelings of powerlessness, insecurity and isolation. By using one-page profiles with families going through divorce we are able to uncover what is working and not working from the child’s perspective, what is important to them and for them and what support they need during this time. It puts the child at the centre of the decision making and brings back the focus to them so that their voices are heard above the noise of a relationship break-up.

I use one-page profiles with parents too before we sit down with the children.  Supporting mum or dad to feel empowered and in control is critical to their wellbeing and therefore their ability to support their children through divorce. The more I work with families and see the results that one-page profiles can have, the more I would like to see them being used more frequently with children whose parents are getting divorce. Perhaps it is a service that divorce solicitors could offer to their clients to help their children process this life changing event? What if all schools used them and were able to help a child communicate their feelings through their profile when things are difficult at home? I often think about how we can get this resource out there to as many people as possible so that they too can experience its benefits and feel happier and better supported because of it.

I know first-hand that one-page profiles can be invaluable to keeping communication flowing and reminding us all about what is important and to whom during divorce and I’m just glad that more people are going to hear about them through this blog. Here are, in my opinion,  the top 5 benefits for using one-page profiles in divorce:

  1. It puts the child at the centre of the divorce, ahead of the emotions of the parents, ahead of any disagreements and firmly at the heart of all decision making.
  2. It can make a child feel listened to at a time when their voice could be lost amidst the noise, drama and pain of a relationship break-up.
  3. It helps parents gain clarity; direction and confidence about what mum and dad need to do to support their child in the way they want to feel supported through all the changes.
  4. It gives children and parents who use one-page profiles a sense of choice and control at a time of extreme change.
  5. Because of the way a one-page profile is structured , the information is so simple, quick and easy to digest it can be shown to school, other family members and friends so that people outside of the immediate family can contribute to supporting the child during the divorce process.

Sue Atkins is a spokesperson for one-page profiles because she believes in their value and would like to see more people learn about and be able to use the tool in their own life. If you would like to learn more about Sue Atkins and the work she does with families please visit her website.

Helping children feel heard in divorce

An example of how one-page profiles can be used with parents and children to overcome family issues that have resulted from the separation of mum and dad.

Sophie's one-page profile

Sophie’s one-page profile

Written by Sue Atkins, Parenting Expert

Sophie’s ex Gary had a new girlfriend and the kids didn’t like her. They didn’t want her staying over when they were with their dad and this was making Gary unhappy. This was a difficult time for Sophie. She felt trapped, coping with her own emotional issues about this as well as trying to support her children.  She needed clarity, direction and confidence in handling this particular issue.

Sophie came to see me in my office and we worked on building her one-page profile. Our first aim was to give her back her confidence and self esteem – we then looked at ways to support her first and once that was agreed we looked at ways of approaching the sleepover issues and the kids not liking their Dad’s new girlfriend.

It was important that when the girls joined us on the next session that they were relaxed and comfortable so we did this around my kitchen table keeping it informal and friendly.

We created one-page profiles with the girls with arts and crafts. The profiles we bright, colourful and 3D which is what they wanted and as we had music as we spoke so the whole experience felt fun and uplifting.

Then we looked at what the kids wanted to see happen. Both the girls came up with really wonderful ideas by themselves. This is why the one-page profile is so good to use with children; it helps them to feel heard, understood and part of the process.

We agreed that they would put their ideas into practice over the coming week and report back on how it went. This gave us the opportunity to discuss new issues, tweak our approach and talk about new approaches.  We did this over the period of a month.  At times it was challenging to get it all to work – but we got there in the end and everyone felt more relaxed.

I believe that one-page profiles yield massive results over time. In this particular case, the family kept tweaking and adjusting the ideas, the ways they behaved, the way Mum spoke about Dad and the new girlfriend. Despite Dad not being fully on board with the process, the kids and Mum carved out their own solutions to that particular issue. Now we are working on a few of the others using the same one-page profile process.

When homelife changes – Finding a new path

This family were struggling under the pressures of a divorce, a pending move, arguments and stressful exams. They needed support to rebuild their confidence, listen and hear each other well. An example of how one-page profiles can be used to support families experiencing divorce.

Yasmin's one-page profile

Yasmin’s one-page profile

Written by Sue Atkins, Parenting Expert

Yasmin worked for a University as a PA. She came to me because her home-life was changing dramatically. Her teenage kids were suffering from arguments as they were both studying for important exams. She had a comfortable lifestyle but was going through an acrimonious divorce and was transfixed with fear about losing her home and how she was going to cope with all the changes that lay ahead.

Yasmin wanted support to rebuild her confidence, determine her new path in life and form ideas about how to handle her husband’s furious outbursts in front of the children during the divorcing process.

Yasmin had found out that her husband, a doctor, was having an affair with a younger nurse at the hospital. He suffers from OCD himself and the unhappy atmosphere in the house was unbearable as her husband initially refused to move out despite his affair. This family lived in Birmingham and the daughter was studying for her A Levels whilst the younger brother was studying for his GCSE’s during this traumatic, stressful time. Things were so difficult that Yasmin’s daughter started suffering from alopecia.

Yasmin and I had three, one-hour secession over the phone where we created her one-page profile with the aim of giving her clarity, direction and empowerment. Then I coached each child for an hour over the phone to help them in creating theirs. I always start with parents when creating one-page profiles with a family. It is so important that mum gets her confidence back and feels able to express herself, identifying what is important and what support she needs first in order to be able to support her children.

Whilst creating the one-page profiles we had good conversations about what was working and not working. This was the most powerful part of the process for the children who both finally felt heard and could be supported in the way they wanted to be supported.

The process of healing and forgiveness began and the kids bonded more with their Mum. She in turn gained in confidence and they TALKED more and looked at solutions not just difficulties.

I heard recently Yasmin and the kids were in Time Square celebrating Yasmin’s 50th birthday – they had moved into rented accommodation and were slowly putting back the pieces to their lives. We still do Working/ Not Working every 2 months during the transition then I do what I call “Wriggle Room” where they call me when they need me or get a bit stuck. It’s a powerful empowering process.