Working with individual leaders, as a coach, mentor, adviser and guide, I help people through ‘transitions’ (e.g. new roles or challenging circumstances) as well as on an ongoing basis, with thoughtful support and challenge. I am also often asked to work with talented individuals to help them develop particular skills and capabilities, or to prepare them for more senior positions in their organisation.
For some of my clients I provide intensive ‘first ninety days’ programmes, with a mix of face-to-face and telephone sessions, to help them make the best possible start to a new role. For others, especially leaders in very senior roles) I act as a ‘friendly sparring partner’, providing support and challenge across the whole year, with annual programmes which might consist of four, five or six half-day (or more) sessions per year. These sessions might focus on specific forthcoming events (e.g. board meetings, conference presentations, organisational re-structures etc.) or particular relationships which need careful management, and usually result in the creation of very clear action plans.
Organisational life can often be hectic, pressurised and full of ‘noise’… and the demands on senior executives to deliver short-term results can sometimes lead to situations where there is no time to think about the longer term… or about ‘where it is all leading’, and ‘what it’s all about’ at a human level.
Space to Breathe is the ‘shorthand’ term for the philosophy (or way of being) beneath and behind my practice as a coach and executive developer, and which seeks to break the ‘vicious cycle’ of mindless (and potentially heartless) activity!
Space to Breathe draws on some of the age-old disciplines of the retreat movement (whether spiritual, monastic or secular). It is about experiencing the benefits of disciplined and frequent reflection, and the importance of ‘stepping back’, or ‘up and out’ from the ‘busy-ness’ of business and organisational life.
It is about ‘changing the space in order to change the state’, as a means of finding stillness and calm – and physically moving (preferably in the fresh air of the natural world) to allow different perspectives to come into view.
It is about the quiet, unhurried asking of questions, and about paying attention to the flow of thoughts and feelings that they inspire.
It is about arriving at well-considered courses of action. Essentially it is about a deep level of emotional, physical and psychological well-being.
The deepest, fullest and most memorable manifestations of the Space to Breathe concept are the Journeys of Learning which I take with some of my coaching ‘clients’. These can be one-, two- or even three-day walking coaching sessions (with overnight stays). So far I have taken people walking in many suitably inspiring places – such as the heaths of the Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands, the mountains of Scotland, the hills and coastal paths of Provence, the moorlands of the English Peak District, or the hills, fields and woods of the English Downs… always using the sights, sounds and smells of the natural environment to deepen and strengthen the learning experience.