I’m “gweird”. “Gweird means weird, in a good way”. This is what I was told by an American Indian shaman during my career break in Bali. One of my coaching clients said that she liked the way I am “playful yet firm at the same time”. I spent a long time being very serious, trying to fit in to a full time corporate job. So, I’ll take “gweird” and run with it.
First of all, you're in safe hands:
- I understand business. I have 20 years’ experience across multiple industry sectors in various jobs, mostly within Accenture. My last role was on a global IT outsourcing account, and previously I managed people transfers in outsourcing deals, and supported communications for large internal change programmes. I have proven skills in the areas of communication management, culture change, training and people development.
- I am a Business and Leadership Coach, having qualified with the Association of Business and Leadership Coaching, which has a quality award from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). I am also qualified as a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and coach, a Myers-Briggs practitioner and have been trained in Transactional Analysis.
- I’m at my best when helping clients to articulate exactly what problems they need to solve, and building with them a robust, outcome-focused plan to achieve their goals.
One reason why I enjoy coaching and consulting is that I'm curious, and love meeting people who have different perspectives:
- I speak fluent French and German, lived in France for over 10 years, worked in Germany and Spain and did some volunteering and general exploration of Life, the Universe and Everything in Bali. I’ve worked in global teams, including colleagues from Asia, Europe and the Americas.
- I like exploring and adventure - I’ve been scuba-diving in some very exciting places (despite having been petrified while doing my PADI qualification!), and I enjoy being part of the global diving community - people from very different backgrounds who all love and respect the ocean.
It's not always been easy:
- For a very long time, I lacked self-confidence and direction. It didn't exactly help matters that I'd chosen to go and work in Paris, where I ended up surrounded by Parisians who seemed to be very self-confident. With hindsight, what better way to reinforce a sense of inferiority? I've been lucky to have met certain key people along the way who have been supportive, and done some great training and self-development work, and I now have a much clearer idea of the direction I'm taking, and am enjoying the ride!
- I know what it’s like to work long hours and not look after myself. When I was in the middle of that, I couldn't really see why, but now I can see that it was linked to my lack of self-confidence. These days, I’m proactive about managing my physical and mental health. The golden rule of first aid: look after yourself, and you’ll be in a stronger position to help others.
We live in times of accelerating change. I believe we can all play a role in creating a better future:
- In the last couple of years of my corporate job, I took on new responsibilities: embedding sustainability into the way employees work, through education and a travel reduction programme; leading the UK/Ireland Environment Action Group; designing an online eco-engagement toolbox used by employees around the world.
- Since leaving my corporate job, I have discovered the joys of volunteering, and have done so in various sectors, such as marine conservation, environmental education, recycling/waste management, self managed learning for children and refugee support. I love to connect with like-minded people and support organisations which are doing something which contributes to a better future.
- I am passionate about life-long learning and self-development. I'm a work-in-progress, and that's one of the things which makes life interesting.
- I am particularly interested in "nature connection" and the benefits it has for individuals and teams. This can be as simple as the joy and wonder we feel watching the latest David Attenborough show, going for a walk in a park, learning to make fire with a bow drill, or spending a few days in the countryside with no wifi and finding some real connection. For clients who request this, I will integrate this into my offerings and work with the inspiring specialists I've encountered in this field.
- I like to seek out people who are challenging the way we do things. For example, I'm enjoying learning about the "circular economy" (see Dame Ellen McArthur's TED talk) and "teal" organisations - how humans can self-organise without a hierarchy. There are many examples of teal organisations which have better results and happier employees. They are more robust, as they function like a living organism able to adapt more quickly to rapid change - a useful characteristic these days!
- Over the past few years, I've changed my diet - I am a “flexitarian”. Although I do still eat meat sometimes, I am dabbling more and more in vegan cuisine, where I’m enjoying food which is delicious, has a lower environmental footprint, is not cruel to other creatures, and doesn't fill me up with growth hormones and antibiotics. I’m also dipping my toes into minimalism, as I can see how this frees people up to enjoy life and reduces the demand for "stuff".
There are plenty of things I would like to change in the world, and it can get overwhelming. I admire people who dedicate their lives to certain causes and sometimes feel ashamed that I don't do more. Then I try to catch myself, as it's not serving anyone to dwell.
What I can do is seek ways to "be the change" I want to see, as Ghandi suggested. That is within my circle of control. And I'd also like to help others do the same.