Don’t take our word for it!

Delighted to have had the feedback from the recent delegates on the Spring programme of Getting to Grips with Management.

Designed to aid new and inexperienced managers navigate their way through the maze of challenges they face in their role, these endorsements are much appreciated and prove it “does what it says on the tin”


“I’ve loved this programme.  It’s been a huge help to build up my confidence in my role and Keith has been a fountain of knowledge for all of the extra questions I’ve been asking him.  I cannot recommend it enough!  Thank you Keith”.

“I loved the module with the actor.  This was so interesting and really helped me build confidence – especially giving and receiving feedback from other members of the group”

“Great course which is hugely helpful if you are involved with management.  All subjects are relevant and I have taken useful knowledge from each module which will change the way I manage going forward”

“I have enjoyed the activities as they’ve helped develop my skills and communication.  The resolving conflict and negotiation module helped me defuse difficult situations and the onion diagram in the recruitment module was a great example of getting detailed answers and finding out more about the candidate’s answers”.

Our next programme starts on 7th September at Brandshatch Place and Spa Hotel.  For more details or to discuss whether an in house management programme would benefit your supervisors and managers, email or call us on 01892 832059.


Assertive communication – 11th July at Brandshatch Place and Spa Hotel



Assertiveness-Training-ImageDue to demand, we have put on another date for this one day course – looking at personal communication styles and how to handle those who are more challenging in their behaviour.

A day packed with  fun and  practical advice, guidance and solutions that enables delegates to return to the workplace with techniques and tips on having the confidence to address all aspects of assertive communication.

If you would like more details, or to book yourself or a member of your staff on the 11th July course at Brandshatch, please email   – the course fee is £299 per person + VAT which covers all the training, materials, delegate manual, certificate, catering and refreshments.

Recent delegate feedback includes:-

 “It has opened up many ways to approach situations.  The day went really quickly and I came out feeing I have gained knowledge”.

“Really fun, knowledgeable and Leanne really got the group to open up and interact.”

Brandshatch Place & Spa Hotel – Revenue Manager Pete’s LONG distance fundraising walk

We have been working with Brandshatch Hotel Revenue Manager, Pete Tappenden of Handpicked Hotels for more years than any of us probably care to remember!

He is tackling a walking marathon feat in July, undertaking a 100km walk in just 30 hours, raising funds for Gurkha Welfare Trust and Oxfam. 

The Youtube clip is gruelling enough, and he’s been preparing since March, getting in practice walks – it is the equivalent of walking up Ben Nevis and Snowdon in one go! 

If you’d like to support Pete on his challenge, every little helps as they say, and will make all the blisters, aching calves and exhaustion workwhile. 

His fundraising page is –

Unkind criticism is the hobby of fools, the boast of the arrogant, the exploit of the jealous, and the spiritual gift of hypocrites. Learn from criticism if it’s justified; ignore it if untrue, unfair, or ignorant; and, if needed, respond to it with Christian grace (Proverbs 15:1, 2).

Over the Christmas break, we took some time to go and see The Greatest Showman in the cinema.  This was a couple of hours of catchy tunes, loosely based on part of P T Barnum’s life.  Perfectly pleasant and had the added bonus of 2 hours of watching Hugh Jackman!  However, the “critics” in print, on TV and radio have been scathing in some their reviews.  Some of the kinder comments included:

“A showy, confused, big hunk of nothing.”

“The director, Michael Gracey, delivers quick doses of excitement in splashy scenes but has little feel for the choreographic action, offers scant historical substance, and displays slender dramatic insight.”

Both are a fair reflection of how the individuals felt about the content, but many others who have attended a viewing, found it a pleasant afternoon’s entertainment, harming no one and thoroughly enjoyable.  It would have been unfortunate if the critics’ view had informed opinion to such an extent that individuals chose not to attend as a result of what someone else felt on that particular day.

Undertaking a voluntary role as a school governor, our role is often described “critical friend”….but can you really be critical and a friend?  When does honesty or challenging become demotivating, or worse, bullying?

We live in an age when there is 24 hour media coverage and people feel free to share their personal viewpoints at the drop of a hat – everything ranging from food, to music to politics and more – the fact we may have a different view from others leads to debate, conversation and hopefully an agreement to disagree if necessary.

In this era of social media, we often hear from “celebrities” of the comments that people make on their social media feeds including some truly horrendous thoughts and opinions, that are all the more sinister by being hidden behind anonymity.  Many have decided to close their Twitter and similar accounts rather than face the daily tirade with the opinions of others who they don’t even know.

The option to “delete” or “ignore” is almost impossible to achieve when you are in a working environment, and facing criticism by colleagues and senior staff.  Many view their appraisal and performance management as an opportunity for their manager to heap criticism on them, and hence go in with a closed mind and full of trepidation.

Remember though, their critical evaluation is just their opinion – UNLESS they can back it up with evidence.  When presented with something that is irrefutable, with strong examples of where something has gone awry, it is easier for everyone to then acknowledge, develop as a result and move on.  Keeping personalities out of the conversation is also crucial – “Hugh Jackman was pants” is an opinion and nothing more.  For everyone who may agree with this, there are just as many who would whole heartedly disagree.  Neither is wrong or right and is just an opinion unless there is specific evidence provided that he was – “Hugh Jackman struggled with the higher notes in every song, and seemed at a loss to master the simplest of dance moves”.

So, if you are required within your role to provide honest feedback or assessment with your staff, remember some key points:-

  •       Avoid using language that criticises their personality
  •       Provide evidence to specifically address an issue – “you’re always late” is too general.  “Over the last month, you’ve arrived 10 minutes late on 5 occasions” is specific and addresses their behaviour.  This allows discussion and how they intend to improve it.

You don’t have to like everyone you work with!  There’s no reason you cannot work with someone productively and co-operatively, even if you do not share their views or wish to spend your lunch break with them.  However, unkind comments and abrasive opinions about them walks a delicate line between your view and bullying.


Team Facilitation Day

Great feedback from the NHS staff in the CCG yesterday on their strategy and plans for future working.

The Belbin Team reports completed by individuals and on each other are always a great opportunity to get the discussions going and such a positive and forward thinking response to building on the great team spirit to go even further.

CCG Team day

Welcome Sophie


Delighted that Sophie has joined our Associate team and is off and running with courses in May and June already booked and has undertaken some mediation sessions this month for a Kent based client.

Sophie’s background is in HR and organisational workforce culture.

She was the winner of the Personnel Today Award in 2015 for Excellence in Employee Engagement, a finalist for the Personnel 2014 award for Excellence in L&D and received a highly commended award in 2015 by the Campaign for Learning, for the design and delivery of Learning at Work Week.

She has also led 2 organisations through Investors in People accreditation, both starting from Core and both achieving Silver in a 3 year period.

We’re delighted to welcome her into the Athelbrae family and look forward to a long and fruitful association.



Tailoring to your requirements

We were delighted to have received such positive feedback from a group of managers on a recent 8 module programme for management development.

Mandy, the trainer, worked hard with them to both address their long term development goals, but also importantly, flexed the sessions to allow for discussion and debate around key issues that arose during the programme.

This allows for them to share experiences (good and bad) and as a management team, they learn to support each other at different times when challenges arise.

The key to this is to be flexible to the demands of the individual clients and this starts with the proposal discussions, through to the planning and development of the course materials, the training itself, and just as importantly, the mid delivery reviews and end of programme assessment and meeting.  It should be a whole package.

The majority of management programmes the world over contain, in the main, very similar themes and topics for modules.  However to have an “off the shelf” offering, means that yes, they get the theoretical training, but if they cannot relate that to their day to day issues and the demands of the particular industry they are in, that is all it is – a theoretical learning, that frankly they can receive from reading any good management book.

If you are wanting something that truly reflects the industry challenges that your managers face, is flexible and adaptable throughout the programme and provides solid guidance and support from start to finish, demand nothing less from your training provider than an ongoing relationship to allow them to really understand what you need and how they propose to meet your requirements.

We are proud at Athelbrae Ltd to have clients who value our relationship based approach.  If you would like to discuss any form of staff development, please do call or email us.

Management programme [MR]