What I do
I'm a leadership development specialist who helps individuals, teams, organisations and movements radically optimise their ability to take wise and timely action in the face of complexity and mess.
I have spent my whole working life helping groups and individuals do their best thinking. Whether I'm coaching, facilitating, speaking or consulting, I function as a steady presence, allowing clear practical steps to emerge from each unique situation.
I help in three ways.
1. I help individuals and teams evolve their leadership capacity.
2. I help individuals and teams with presentations.
3. I help organisations become more inclusive and agile.
How I got here
I tend to dive deeply into topics, buy all the books, read all the articles, meet all the people, let the learning change my view on the world, then I drop the clunky/dogmatic bits and move on. This means you get someone who is adaptable and flexible rather than someone who is always looking to shoehorn in their specific approach.
I started work as a skills trainer for a national IT firm, then became the internal Learning and Development manager (though we still called it 'training'!). I had to create all the soft skills training for the whole company, so I quickly learned about and synthesised sessions on selection interviewing, disciplinary interviewing, coaching, Train The Trainer, time management, problem solving, assertiveness, selling skills... It was a real baptism of fire in terms of learning how groups function and how they gain expertise fast.
At the same time, I trained with the creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming as, ultimately, one of a handful of Master Business Practitioners. I ended up finding that world empty and brittle, so you won't see me "doing" much NLP, but it taught me to really hear the words people say and see the plain truth of interactions somewhat outside of my set of filters.
I do the research and synthesis so you don't have to. And if I don't know enough about a particular topic, I love finding out. I think it's important to always be a beginner at something. Work-wise, I am constantly reading and thinking about, discussing and experimenting with approaches to human development, conversations, presentations, collaboration, group dynamics and social justice.
(I put out a periodic email sharing what I'm reading if that's your jam.)
A friend called me Dr Book once as I always have a book (and often a chapter!) to recommend. In my spare time, I am a total language nerd (I'm currently polishing my Spanish and German), and I'm teaching myself to draw one terrible sketch at a time. I'm also currently doing six month's of research into how we evolve from independent leaders to interdependent leaders.
I'm motivated by equipping individuals to make the world better so I'm interested in providing you with skills to do your thing better. I'm constantly on the lookout for ideas and practices that have the widest utility.
My aim is to always approach things with a combination of pragmatism and compassion.
My clients often remark on how calm I am when coming to work on their projects and that comes from a sense of perspective stemming from years of being in the thick of it!
In the past, I have helped businesses from one-person micro businesses, high-growth tech and law SMEs, through to HSBC (in UK, Hong Kong and China), GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens, Merrill Lynch Bank of America, and even 10 Downing Street. I have worked with accountants from the Philippines, IT managers from India and bankers from Canada to Mexico.
I have trained trainers in Thailand and engineers in Indonesia. I have run workshops from New York to Bali, from Kuala Lumpur to Basel. I have coached software developers in Guangzhou on how to present in English, business development teams in Canary Wharf on how to be more persuasive, and IT directors in Hong Kong on how to run successful conference calls.
I meditate and write every day, so I know about the power of stillness, emotional wellbeing and how to stay steady in the face of challenges.
I am Queer and trans non-binary (which means I experience and express my gender in ways that are outside of the conventional boy/girl binary) and am constantly doing the emotional and intellectual work to unpick oppressive socialisation and see through false binaries. I wrote a thing here about where I'm at with this.
After five years running a business in South East Asia, I'm now based proudly at the Impact Hub in Birmingham, UK, a community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs. I particularly love working with folk from marginalised backgrounds including (but not limited to!) women and non-binary folk from BAME, Queer, Trans and Disabled communities.
Whatever challenges you're facing as an individual, team or an organisation, I'm there with you.
How we can work together
I work with individuals either on the phone/Zoom/Skype or in person.
With groups I tend to work in-person, but sometimes do top-ups in conference calls.
Inside organisations, along the way there could be 360 reviews, coaching, workshops, book clubs, forums, bespoke online video, downloadable support documents, facilitation, training or consulting. It all depends on what the project needs.
Beginning the process is the same for everyone.
1. You drop me a note on the contact form (or email me email@example.com)
2. I send you a link where you can book in a 15-min chat.
3. If after chatting we both want to go forward, we talk (maybe in another, longer chat) about three things: what outcomes you're looking for from working together, what value those outcomes are going to give you/your organisation, and if there's a budget you want me to come in under. Have a look at the Fees page to learn more about how I price my work. I think you'll like it.
4. Unless it's a super-simple project (coaching you towards a presentation that's a couple of weeks away, for example) I go and put together some options and email them to you.
5. You choose the one you want.
6. I invoice you.
7. You pay the invoice.
8. We begin!
I'm happy to chat to your boss, come in for a meeting, fill out supplier/PO paperwork, whatever your organisation needs. And, yes, I take cards if that's how you want to pay.
If you'd like to have a gentle explore of if we're right for each other, head to the Contact page and let's get a time booked in to talk!
If you're the kind of person who wants to know what kind of person I am, here are my social media feeds...
Who do you think I would enjoy having a (literal or virtual) cup of tea with? Hook me up. I need (even) more good humans in my life.