What I do
I'm a leadership development specialist who helps individuals, teams, organisations and movements radically optimise their ability to deal with complex situations.
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 four ways.
Firstly, I help you find your way through a messy situation. For an individual, that could mean a new challenge or a new role. For teams, it could be when they are facing a restructure or a change in the industry, for example. Or it could be a complex, difficult-to-define problem that an entire community or organisation is facing.
Secondly, I work with your team to communicate better with each other and with their colleagues & customers, particularly focusing on helping people to make more sustainable decisions and deal with uncertainty and conflict.
Thirdly, I support individuals to have difficult conversations, whether it's planning how to deal directly with conflict, working out how to give bad news or something more straightforward (yet still stressful!) like an having an interview or making an important phone call.
Finally, I work as a presentation coach. Having coached getting on for 5,000 presentations by speakers from 22 countries (the experiences which lead to me writing Presentation Now), I can definitely help you (or your team) plan presentations or pitches, and help you deliver them in an engaging way. This also includes helping you plan how to participate in or facilitate the meeting that follows.
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, 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 ultimately found 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 conversations, presentations and collaboration. 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 as well as playing with Dutch), and I'm teaching myself to draw one terrible sketch at a time.
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.
After five years running a business in Asia, I'm now based proudly at the Impact Hub in Birmingham, UK, a community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs. I seek out opportunities to work with a diverse set of people, particularly women and non-binary folk from BAME, LGBTQIA+ and Disabled communities.
Whatever communication issues you're facing as an individual or an organisation, I'm there with you.
How we can work together
I work with individuals either on the phone or in person.
With groups I tend to work in-person, but sometimes do top-ups in conference calls.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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!