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With applications now open for our leadership programmes, we spoke to Established Leaders alumni and their colleagues about how the programme transformed their leadership and organisations.

Stress, burnout and imposter syndrome are all very real foes in this work, but the programme is an effective antidote to keep us focused and moving forward positively.

-David Hoskins, Charity Director, Forest Churches Night Shelter

It’s lonely at the top. Perhaps an over-used cliché, but definitely a concept which has rung true for David and many of the 48 CEOs and senior leaders who have taken part in our Established Leaders programmes so far. As Jo Carter, CEO of Glass Door, put it:

One of the main reasons I wanted to join the course was to meet other CEOs in the sector.

And she wasn’t disappointed – Jo, David and their peers in her cohort, who graduated from Established Leaders in May this year, soon struck up tight-knit bonds. Jo went on to explain:

Little did I know that I would not only meet other CEOs, but also the most amazing bunch of human beings. I feel so fortunate to have met them all and look forward to staying in touch.

When Established Leaders launched back in September 2022, leaders and organisations were still reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic. And no sooner had we all started to recover, than the cost-of-living crisis hit – and now the uncertainty brought about by the general election. As James Allen from Beacon Leeds, who took part in Established Leaders for Senior Leaders in 2023, put it:

Given current challenges in homelessness services we need this programme more than ever.

There’s no doubt that having a peer group to provide support in tough times is a huge benefit for many leaders who have taken part. As another CEO said:

Homeless Link did so much to create an environment in which we have been able to learn loads, freely, confidently and confidentially share challenges, and form what I think will be long lasting peer to peer support relationships.

Much of this peer learning was facilitated via Action Learning Sets. Action Learning Sets provide a safe space for leaders to work through an issue they or their organisation is facing, using the collective wisdom of the group’s questioning to work towards actions. Paul Morrish, CEO of Land Aid commented:

A good Action Learning Set needs three things – clear structure and discipline, great facilitation, and attentive, thoughtful and generous participants. Our first session had all three, and as a consequence, we had two great sessions focusing on two completely different challenges which in turn provoked interesting commitments to action.

Another core component of Established Leaders is a series of workshops, in which an expert speaker or CEO facilitates a discussion on a particular aspect of leadership, taking participants on a leadership journey over six months. These sessions were packed full of practical insights and tools.  One CEO, who graduated in Spring 2023, commented:

I loved last week’s session with Steve on the end game and about creating a high-impact, high-performance leadership team -and this week Jan’s session tied in neatly into helping me to design my programme which will involve all my stakeholders as we map our journey ahead for the next 10 years.

All participants in Homeless Link leadership programmes can also opt to take part in leadership mentoring or coaching, creating a safe space to reflect, discuss, share and let of steam, with a neutral external person who is either an experienced leader in the homelessness sector themselves (in the case of mentors) or a qualified coaching practitioner (in the case of coaches). Marcus Bond from ARC Inspire commented:

Steph creates a safe space for important discussions about the difficult aspects of leadership, introduces valuable frameworks for leaders to use, and provides the tools to help clients discover their unique brand of leadership. She creates a clear and accessible path forward for clients to become effective leaders that build successful organisations.

We were delighted recently when both our Established Leaders and Emerging Leaders programmes were certified as ILM-recognised, meaning they meet the global quality standards of the Institute of Leadership and Management. But the proof of the pudding is very much in the proverbial eating. What do colleagues make of the impact of our leadership programmes? Here’s Lois Wild, Director of Engagement at St Petrocs in Cornwall, commenting on the impact of Homeless Link’s leadership programmes on her colleague Amanda:

Amanda found it to be so incredibly beneficial to her in her work with St Petrocs, it has been a gamechanger, and really helped us in our work widely across the organisation. It has had rave reviews!

Our leadership programmes are accepting applications till 29 July. To find out more, please visit our leadership webpages.