Turbocharge Your Writing? Hugh Kearns and a dose of TNT

As a coach working in Higher Education, I’m conscious that academics, students and staff can obsess about their supposed lack of writing ability. A strange thing for highly educated, articulate, skilled professionals to obsess about? Not as strange as it seems. Welcome to the world of ‘Impostor Syndrome’ and chronic procrastination…

I recently attended a presentation-cum-workshop called  ‘Turbocharge Your Writing’. Given by Hugh Kearns, it was thought-provoking  –  not only for the insight it gave into what causes procrastination amongst writers, but also for how it brought together what seemed to be hundreds of eager researchers and academics keen to rid themselves of one of the cruellest banes of their lives.

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What coaching isn’t…

‘Coaching’… This word seems to be everywhere these days, a catch-all term amongst some organisations and individuals for anything that isn’t ‘training-in-a-classroom’.

pixabay-what-is-coaching-1248059_1280There’s increasing evidence that strategically rolled out, clearly defined coaching interventions produce significant benefits for organisations which impact employee engagement as well as the bottom line. Where coaching programmes are seen to be supported by top management, and leaders model ‘coaching style’ behaviours, results can be powerful. Coaching is taken seriously, and people buy into it.

But what happens if coaching is not so clearly defined?

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Book Thoughts – Time to Think by Nancy Kline

There have been lots of reviews of Nancy Kline’s classic exploration of what conditions, when brought together skilfully, are conducive to bringing out the best in human thinking and igniting the human mind. So what can I add that hasn’t already been said?

What about my own point of view…? I’m sure Nancy would agree that this is precisely what I  should  be encouraged to contribute, given her definition of what she terms a ‘Thinking Environment’. In a Thinking Environment, the ideas and inspirations of all are equally valued, and Nancy spent long years researching how practically to establish such an environment. It is to creating one across society that her life’s work has been devoted.

In  Time to Think. Listening to Ignite the Human Mind  (first published 1999), Nancy describes ten components without which a Thinking Environment will not exist:

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Why another blog, and why me?


Hello, and welcome to my blog! 

So why ANOTHER blog and why me?  Well, those are good questions, and ones I’d answer this way…

First of all, why me?

I’ve come to coaching via a circuitous route in the Higher Education sector. As an ILM-qualified internal coach in one of the largest universities in the UK, at the same time I’m a historian specialising in making research impactful and easily accessible to the general public (‘public engagement’ to those in the know). This is an unusual combination, which I’ll be ruminating about in another post

Suffice it to say here that as far as I’m concerned ‘coach’ and ‘historian’ are actually two sides of the same coin. Both listen and observe keenly; both deal in narratives which combine ‘facts’ and perceptions; and both in an ideal world do their best to be scrupulously faithful to and reflect back the sources…

Writing entertaining yet academically sound copy has become one of my skills, and as I delve deeper into coaching practice, I feel the pull of trying to do the same for the subject that is fast becoming my all-consuming passion.

Secondly, why another blog?

I am adamant that complex things can be presented in simple yet profound ways. This being so, a blog is an ideal format for me to tinker around recording my thoughts and reflections, as well as to put together a kind of database of information and tools I think are important for coaches to consider.

I would be the last to claim the status of ‘authority’, although I have met and read the work of some impressive individuals to whom I would allocate that description. Nevertheless, I do believe that a knack of making things simple and understandable is in itself of value. Therefore,  with time and patience, I hope to build up here in this space what we might refer to as a ‘repository’ of ideas, facts, tools, inspiration and fascination that anyone, coach or non-coach, would enjoy perusing.

Maybe I’m deluded. Maybe I’m not. But if I succeed in making the complex simple, and other people out there find what I do useful, I’ll know I’ve done my job.

Once again, welcome to my blog!

Drop in any time, and do get in touch to say hello. Your views are even more valued here than mine…