This is a picture of the summer view of my garden from the room where I meet coaching and supervision clients. When on the phone in my office, I see a slightly different aspect but still a view filled with trees and the sky beyond. This natural container holds both me and my client in a broad and deep perspective to the benefit of the work we do together.
This page outlines the current incarnation of the kind of work I’ve been doing for more than twenty years under the trading name of Originate. It describes my activities in the material world.
v.t. give origin to, bring into being, initiate, cause to begin.
v.i. to have origin, to begin.
[ L. origo, beginning, birth – oriri, to rise.]
Since becoming an independent practitioner in 1998, I’ve offered a blend of consultancy, executive coaching, coaching supervision and leadership development workshops focused on embodying dialogue practices. Now I’m concentrating mainly on one-to-one work, largely working from home with some in-person sessions where needed. I’m beginning to offer one-day open workshops and continue to do in-house work with small groups of people who are committed to changing their practice.
I am an APECS accredited executive coach and am accredited as a coach supervisor by The Coaching Supervision Academy. In my earlier career, I worked in finance in many differing roles, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1991.
Read on to get a flavour of my activities, the factors that shape them and the qualities I aspire to bring to them.
“Work is love made visible”
As my prospective client, you are likely to be working in a leadership role where the challenges are complex and your environment is uncertain, dynamic and demanding – or coaching people in similar settings. You are curious about your leadership and/or coaching practice and the impact you have on those you work with. You want to hold yourself to account and broaden your repertoire so that you can engage skilfully with the different priorities and styles of others whilst remaining calmly true to your own values and concerns.
In working with you, I draw on all my experience and it is my aspiration and intention that every client leaves a session in better shape than they arrived, whether energised by a fresh perspective, feeling more resourceful in adversity or simply feeling better about themselves. If we do good work together, you will re-enter the fray with renewed commitment to creating the conditions in which others can thrive.
Prior to the pandemic, touch was central to my workshops and programmes as they all included Leadership Embodiment practices. Whilst many practitioners took to online approaches, I decided to pause my group work until I could safely work with physical contact again. That time is now here and I’m beginning to offer occasional ‘open’ events. I also continue to work with small groups of people within an organisation, with a focus on changing leadership practice.
From time-to-time I host small reflective practice groups to explore leadership through the lens of my book, Weekly Leadership Contemplations. The first in-person offering of this work is at the planning stage.
Working with groups
“Energy organises around what is most articulate in a system.”Wendy Palmer
My work is shaped by...
My work is shaped by two key disciplines, Dialogue and Leadership Embodiment. These practices inspire me to create the conditions for conversations that are rich, thought-provoking and productive. This underpins everything I do.
In all my work I seek to balance support and challenge to create a healthy environment for growth. Over time, I’ve come to believe that personal development isn’t about acquiring more knowledge, tools and techniques. Instead, it rests on increasing our capacity to put what we know into practice, especially when the chips are down. This premise is at the heart of my approach.
My route into this work hasn’t been linear. I did a degree in mathematics and then joined a ‘graduate programme’ in The City of London. After 5 years I moved to Edinburgh to train as a chartered accountant. I then worked related fields, eventually becoming a director of finance in the NHS.
A turning point in my development was winning a scholarship to do a full-time MBA at Lancaster University. This prompted me to think about organisational change, leadership and systems thinking. It was also when I first encountered T’ai Chi – which proved to be a life-changing practice, sowing the seeds for working with mind and body.
In my early years as an independent coach and consultant I used a variety of frameworks and approaches, but none of them defined my practice. The delineating disciplines came in the form of Dialogue practices and Leadership Embodiment practices.
It isn’t happenstance that practices are central to my work. At critical moments, the approaches we draw on need to be second nature – familiar enough to be used under pressure. This requires practice, repetition over time. I’ve travelled this path myself and now try to support those on a similar journey.
The qualities I aspire to bring to my work...
Fundamental to my work (and life) is a belief in our shared human-ness. Each of us is a work-in-progress, navigating the adversities and absurdities of life. As a temporary colleague, I keep faith with you and appreciate the efforts you make. I seek to understand what’s motivating you and invite you to explore how you might have even greater impact in your work, life and leadership.
I hope you will experience this as a sense of warmth and generosity of spirit as we think together about how you might make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt.
I’m told that I bring a clarity of thinking to conversations, supporting and challenging others to reframe a situation and discover more potential within it. As a temporary colleague, I draw on my aptitude for discerning patterns and on the neutrality of not being directly involved in your predicament to prompt you to clarify what matters and to explore the wider system influences that might be in play.
I hope you will experience this as a clearing of the ground that offers fresh insight and increases the range of options for what you choose to do next.
In the midst of unrelenting activity, I aim to create opportunities to pause and exhale so you access greater perspective about your circumstances, contribution and evolution. As a temporary colleague, I encourage you to raise your gaze and include more of your environment in your deliberations. In the spaces between the obvious calls on your attention we might consider what is not known and the possibilities this presents.
I hope you will experience this as a fertile space in which to breathe, reflect and reconnect to your leadership spirit, resourcing you to re-enter the fray.