Why did I get involved in learning and development? I took up my first leadership role around the age of twenty as supervisor of a team of ten people, all of whom had been with the organisation for considerably longer than I. During my first year or so, in the absence of any formal leadership or management training, I followed my natural instincts. As might be imagined, this was something of a ‘learning experience’.
Fortunately, I had two great bosses who kept an eye on me and who would take me aside for a quiet word from time to time. Their down-to-earth informal coaching, together with the more formal development I received over the following two decades, helped to make me a more successful leader as I found my way up through the organisation. It was through these experiences that I decided I wanted to spend my professional life helping others to develop.
What is it like to learn with me? I respect the experiences of others – and their views, even if I don’t entirely agree with them. I believe that most people, wherever they sit in the organisation, know instinctively how to get the best out of themselves and others, something which many people would call common sense.
However, common sense is not necessarily common practice – people are often unaware of the effects their behaviours have on others and even if they are aware, they often lack the confidence and skills to do something about it. I get great satisfaction from tapping into the knowledge, skills and experience of participants on my workshops and coaching sessions, helping them to reflect on their strengths and identify areas for development, and providing them with highly practical tools and techniques that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
What qualifies me to help? I’ve been there. Building on my earlier experiences as a team leader and manager up to senior level, I have spent almost twenty years working with individuals and teams from the boardroom to the shop floor, helping them to bring about personal and organisational change. I focus on the needs of organisations and individuals to ensure that my involvement produces results. As a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an Member of the Association for Coaching, I work to their professional standards and I am qualified to use a number of psychometric assessment tools to help individuals explore personality and behaviours and identify areas for development.
What do not a lot of people know about me? A self-taught guitarist, I played in a ‘boy band’ long before the term was invented. I learned karate in my thirties from someone half my age. I have a wonderful family, from whom I continue to learn a great deal. I have published three books, none of which have made me rich so far – but I live in hope.