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What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

When I was learning about coaching I read Time to Think by Nancy Kline which is all about the power of giving someone else time to think and being the person that can sit with them and hold ‘thinking spaces’ just by listening, summarising and paraphrasing what you’ve heard. It totally enables someone to really think about things. 

My mum is a huge advocate for this sort of thing and she came up with the concept of ‘rambling when you’re walking’. It is when you’re walking along with someone and talking about something and the other person is not allowed to say anything, they’re just there to listen. I’ve been a part of a lot of these rambles and it is fascinating, the person’s conversation goes off in so many different directions. Any questions asked would have just interrupted their flow.. It’s the power of giving that person the space and seeing what emerges. 


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?)

In the last 6 months, I bought a pair of running gloves and a running hat from a popup shop. It cost £25 for both and it has been great running in them since!


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours? 

When I was teaching, I taught a Year 9 group that I had no control over, in a very tough school with little senior leadership support. I would sit under my table and weep when the group left the room. Someone recommended that I film myself teaching, so I did and it was very eye-opening to watch myself because it made me realise that if I was a Year 9 pupil coming into that class I would not be happy either. I looked angry with them because I was so nervous before entering the room. No one could have told me that, I had to see it to realise.

The importance of one’s own ability to change things versus someone telling you to change is very powerful and I apply it in my work with others.


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?) 

“No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.” – Nelson Mandela

For me, this quote really embodies the reality of how we treat the most vulnerable people in society. What is happening in our jails is totally criminal and I think if most people understood the reality of the way that we are treating human beings that have been given the hardest life in general, everyone would be outraged and shouting from the rooftops. 

If you look at a country like Norway, it realises that it works to actually treat prisoners with respect, I believe it’s possible for them to change and give them support to be different when they are released. Whereas we spend £16 billion a year as a country on people reoffending. Very little about our system is working. Nelson Mandela’s quote really nails it on the head in the sense that what we’re doing really reflects badly on humanity and on us as a country.


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

Spending time with my two-and-a-half-year-old.

Learning to swim. Swimming gives me loads of joy. When I was younger I used to swim for Oxford County so I used to train a lot and invested a lot of time in it which means that now I can very easily swim as a strong swimmer. 


What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

If I see open water whether it’s the sea, a lake, a pond or a river, I need to get in it, it’s a real urge! If I feel tired or lethargic and go into the water, particularly when surfing, the salty sea and big waves make me feel like everything is okay again. That feeling of being totally rejuvenated by water completely resets me, particularly in cold water. 


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life? 

Getting back into running after being pregnant.

Being forced to go at a very slow pace, the pace of my two-year-old. I have learned that she is happiest when we go at her pace and that’s quite an important skill because you’re much more in the present. If you are there with them and exploring the world as they see it, then the payoff is that your relationship with that little person is a lot better. It has been a big learning curve for me and I have to work at it all the time but I think I am getting better. 


What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results? 

I know that regular meditation or yoga would make a big difference. I have to decide which things I use my limited free time for which happens to be running at the moment so I don’t have time for meditation or yoga but I think it would improve my life. 


Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

I’ve had coaching, therapy, mentoring, CBT and supervision. I have regular supervision with someone brilliant and I also did my own certificate in creative approaches to supervision including using art and drama to support someone to unpick something that they’ve experienced in their working life. It was fascinating and I’ve taken it back into the work I’m doing now with mentors.


Topic: Tribe Tuesday