Leaders need to understand themselves before they can understand others.
The purpose of my work is to walk that path with my clients, and engage them and their people in Deeper Conversations, unlocking individual and collective performance.
The work helps leaders and groups to build clarity, develop teams and resolve conflict.
I work with clients who passionately want to develop themselves and their people through the power of real conversation. My approach supports people in becoming more aware about who they are and what they do, and to shift their consciousness from the limited to the limitless.
My commitment is to help leaders to have conversations that enhance both effectiveness and wellbeing, and lead to greater collaboration and stronger engagement.
I have been helping to resolve conflicts in organisations for ten years and have developed a specialism in working with groups of all sizes to overcome conflicts and enhance collaboration. I also train mediators and run advanced mediator training. I abide by the European Code of Conduct for Mediators.
I am a member of the College of Mediators and the European Mentoring & Coaching Council.
The environment I grew up in was traditional middle class England, in which strong emotions were neither encouraged nor expressed. I rarely experienced anger or many other feelings, and my parents never seemed to argue or express their emotions.
Emotional ‘incidents’ were so rare that when they did happen, I did not know how to deal with them. When I was a teenager my mother threw a jug of water at my father across the dinning table, which shocked me hugely. I felt totally unprepared for it, and I can remember rushing out of the house to be on my own and struggling to process what had happened.
Upon leaving school I went to work in agriculture in Africa, where I discovered conflicts I could not previously have imagined. There I learned that one way people dealt with conflict was to shoot each other. I witnessed deep racial and cultural tension first hand, and stood open mouthed as a white farmer threatened to kill a black worker with a brick.
Returning from Africa, I discovered my parents were splitting up. My mother, disabled from a debilitating illness, needed caring for and I experienced her pain and tears, without really being able to understand what she was going through. When I went away again, I worked in London and discovered a world of workshops and new types of thinking.
I became interested in what was going on inside me, how I related to other people, and they to me. This took me away from my traditional upbringing and over the next 20 years I travelled a lot and spent long periods in a variety of countries including Nepal, India, Holland and the USA. In this period I took part in huge numbers of experiential workshops, therapy sessions, seminars, retreats and training courses. I lived and worked with different groups in different countries around the world and experienced conflict (interpersonal, organisational, institutional) like I’d never experienced before, feelings like I’d never experienced before and understanding I’d never experienced.
I learnt how destructive conflict could be, and realised how ill equipped we generally are for discovering the hidden truths that are embedded within conflict. This is how I developed an interest in looking deeper at personal, interpersonal and organisational conflict and exploring ways to transform it.
I learnt how so many relationships break down because of an inability to work through conflict constructively. I learnt how empowering and rewarding it is to sit, look, listen and learn – and how hard it sometimes is to do that when the emotions are burning.
I experienced the positive side of conflict and how we are all in conflict with ourselves, in one way or another, while we continually try to work that out with others or through others, and often blame others.
I experienced that it can be hard to choose the best path and to have the deeper conversation that defines you.
I saw that there is a place beyond the whole blame game of right and wrong, good and bad – and that’s a place really worth looking for.