Coaching approach

Want to know more about my coaching activities?

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll already have a good idea of who I am and how I view coaching. Here’s some more information – about the kinds of coaching work I’ve undertaken, as well as my style and approach. Take a look under the following headings:


Who do I coach?

Currently I work in one of the largest universities in the UK Higher Education (HE) sector. This means I’ve coached individuals and teams from a wide variety of backgrounds, professions and skill sets. I’ve successfully coached academics and researchers, as well as staff in Professional Support Services (PSS) who provide operational support to academic activity. PSS staff inhabit a whole spectrum of occupations, from specialisations in administration and finance, to student-facing customer-service-orientated functions, to individuals and teams supporting and designing IT infrastructure and services… and more.

All this means that, whilst as an academic I may have an affinity for the HE sector in particular, my focus as a coach can shift way beyond to cover the many professional areas from which the ocean of talent I’ve already worked with originates.

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What do I coach?

I’m generally dealing with facilitating client identification of pathways to resolve issues, or development of strategies which help clients move forward towards particular goals. This normally involves identifying and contracting for specific goals and outputs, worked on for a specific period of time over a specific number of sessions. I’ve typically had input on the following kinds of scenarios:

  • helping clients determine what they’re really looking for, working to identify values, skills, preferences and priorities – frequently involving a ‘journey’ which starts with the discovery that what a client originally presents is not really the issue at all
  • identification for clients who feel ‘stuck’ of goals and strategies based on what they really want to do – as opposed to what they’re trying to avoid
  • dealing with the effects of perfectionism and/or ‘Impostor Syndrome’, wherein clients inaccurately perceive themselves as incapable frauds risking exposure as undeserving of the (often senior) positions they currently hold
  • the process of coping with and accepting change, helping clients deal with emotional reactions which get in the way of reaching a position of ‘choice’ in what they do next
  • the process of recognising and dealing with stress
  • facilitation of client self-insight to help deal with negative experiences, leading to a process where the client has a ‘safe space’ to create bespoke tools to help achieve attitudinal and/or behavioural shifts
  • facilitation of development and/or improvement of aspects of Emotional Intelligence
  • facilitation of improved work relationships and team dynamics, related to deepening client insight into how multicultural and/or multi-ethnic groups can interact with greater insight and mutual understanding
  • career coaching (sometimes involving a combination of the above), including issues related to refocusing after returning to work from maternal or parental leave

I can also contract specifically to provide a confidential sounding board, particularly for individuals at high levels in organisations, reflecting back their input to facilitate the gaining of perspective on self and situation.This may take the form of a one-off consultation, or a series of consultations spread over an extended period of time. This format provides a necessary confidential, independent, effective, non-judgemental ‘listening ear’ for such individuals which might not otherwise be available to them at the level at which they operate.

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How do I coach?

Feedback from clients has indicated that certain aspects of my coaching have been significant:

  • I’m very easy to talk to, engaging and able to build rapport quickly with even the most introverted of individuals
  • I’m non-directive, non-judgemental and respectful of the individual, taking an ‘I’m okay, You’re okay’ values stance
  • Whilst using the GROW model as a backdrop in structuring interventions rather than as a rigid ‘plan’, I pay a great deal of attention to exploration of Goal and Reality in the widest sense to ensure when contracting occurs we agree something that is coachable and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and to be undertaken within an agreed Time frame)
  • Where possible, I trust clients (with facilitation) to be able to work out for themselves pathways forward. Rather than immediately offering ‘off-the-shelf’ tools or structures, I help them design bespoke solutions that suit their own style and situation – which ensures the levels of awareness and self-responsibility necessary to achieving whatever goals they set
  • The level of trust and rapport built up in the coaching relationship means I’ve been able to provide a ‘safe space’ within which clients have been prepared to face up to and work with serious challenge, whilst being able to move forward from  circumstances and limiting self-beliefs which were holding back their progress

Key aspects of my coaching approach are:

  • deep active listening combined with appreciation of the value of silence in enabling thought and insight
  • sensitivity to non-verbal communication to build up the ‘real’ message beyond the words used (I have a Diploma in NLP)
  • patience in providing a space where the client can (often for the first time) dare to discuss his/her issue with him/herself, secure in the knowledge I’m there to support that self-insight and to provide a mirror reflecting back what the client is discovering
  • non-judgementalism in enabling clients to make decisions for themselves
  • ability to absorb extensive amounts of information and to summarise/reflect back accurately what has been said in such a way that clients are enabled to pick up on consistencies/inconsistencies as well as ‘problem areas’ for themselves
  • bringing a mindful compassionate attitude to both my and the client’s experience in the coaching, channelling (where appropriate) insights from my own mindfulness practice as well as 8-week MBCT-based ‘Mindfulness for Mental Wellbeing’ training
  • keen attention to encouraging the client to decide on appropriate practical action points, combined with firming up resolve via use of ‘Scale of 1-10’ scenarios
  • being clear right from the start that part of my job is to challenge (where appropriate), so that the best possible client thinking/exploration occurs in the moment, and the best possible client choices are made (bearing in mind the circumstances) – once internal barriers have been recognised, compassionately worked with, and (where possible) overcome
  • adhering to the joint European Mentoring & Coaching Council UK and Association for Coaching Global Code of Ethics for Coaches & Mentors, whilst undertaking regular Continuing Professional Development activities and supervision by a qualified coach supervisor

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Where do I coach?

Currently I’m active in the Greater Manchester region of the UK. If you’re an organisation or individual interested in exploring coaching with me, get in touch via the Contact Form below. I’ll get back to you to see if we can take things further.

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