Man with tattoos bearing fists covered in rings

A few nights ago I caught the recent BBC documentary on the culture within the British Cycling world-class programme. To me the whole thing reflects how unchecked bias can corrupt leadership and culture. Here I question how, in this instance, it seems to have been driven by fear and insecurity and whether it's now time to reconsider the coaching approaches being employed in elite programmes.

Droplets of water on a sheet of glass

This is a continuation of my story about finding a new way of coaching which unbeknownst to me drew me in to begin living in the paradigm of systematic correspondence. This is a way of thinking and being that has really gotten under my skin. It's of a distinctly Chinese flavour, mostly influenced by my love of Tai Chi Chuan.

It's part of a series of articles published on The Good Coach which is all about coaches sharing their practitioner experience.

A quick societal review tells us that there is quite a lot of anger around in the world right now. There are rifts of conflicting opposites, each side of which mounts up on a parapet, face-to-face, shouting as loudly as possible.

About as fruitful as shouting in the wind.

(This was first published as a guest blog post on on 3rd February 2017)

Unsurprisingly, stress is something that I come across a lot in my line of work, coaching business leaders, entrepreneurs, and athletes in extreme sport. They tend to be under a lot of pressure, a lot of the time, of course.

However, most of my clients wouldn’t necessarily admit to suffering from stress, even if I suggested it to them. Is this because they’re denying their reality, lacking in awareness, or could it perhaps be more nuanced than this?

Fort William

I work in what seem to be completely contrary environments.

In one I've got clients that spend much of their lives outside in open, wild and risky environments and in the other it's indoors in typical office space.

With one set of clients I end up spending a lot of time outdoors and in the other, I'm cooped up in their offices with them.

This gives me a unique perspective on coaching in different physical environments and why it's more important than we think...

(This was first published as a guest blog post on on 5th January 2017).

Delegation and how to do it successfully is a perennial problem in business. I would be surprised to find anyone who hasn’t found it a challenge at some point in their working lives. In my executive coaching work, I find it to be particularly problematic in smaller, entrepreneurial start-up companies, especially when they’re growing.

As I a came off a telephone call with my client I didn’t feel very good. I had a rising sense of panic derived from a big dose of self-criticism and a mixture of other feelings all rolled into one: inadequacy, shame, embarrassment, sadness and hurt but at the same time this was tempered by some relief and elation.

I sat for a few minutes in this really rather uncomfortable space to consider what might be going on and then texted my client to thank him for his feedback. Like it or not, when I reflected on what had happened it was a really important development, not just for me in a coaching context, but also for the coaching relationship with my client.

All rolled into one, I’d ended up feeling pretty vulnerable in this coaching context.

So I went on a search to find out about the subject of vulnerability in executive coaching and leadership development..I did some's what I came to.

Checking in….only to check right out again.

This article is part 2 of a series of musings on the subject of Resilience - is it cultivated through nature, nurture or just what does the concept actually mean? If you haven’t read it, part 1 is here: Resilience by nature, by nurture…or just what it might mean.

This is more of a personal reflection in the here and now relating to daily function and effectiveness..

A little while ago I was watching an athlete batter himself both physically and mentally trying to complete a series of new tricks for a film piece. It was pretty extreme. A few days later I saw someone else battle their fear to be able to do a pretty dangerous climatic trick for their new short film.

Not that any of my clients would use the term, but since it is much more in popular usage, it made me reflect on the nature of resilience, especially in terms of its use in business as well as wider afield in personal development.

It’s been building for a few decades now, but the forces behind some popular psychology and self-development techniques have reached epic proportions in some spheres. In some of these, breathing plays a pretty important role. Well, in reality it’s an essential life critical one, but what I mean is that..

(I originally posted this article on 17th March 2016 on

I’ve been motivated to write this article by a recent outpouring from a number of entrepreneurs, in particular James Routledge and the sentiment around Mental Health being anything from a hidden secret right the way through to an embarrassment, weakness, or even a failure on the part of the person experiencing it to cope with their world and the pressures it exerts upon them.

This article comes into the debate from a different angle, that is of one who works in this environment, helping clients, not just psychologically, but as a whole person in this context.

I’m beginning to write this post as I have yet more questions about Mindfulness echoing around inside my head. It comes up a bit in my coaching, and in the space of a week, I’ve had three lengthy discussions with individuals where it isn’t producing the desired effects, but ‘it should be working’ I’m told.

Once upon a time I sort of thought I had a fairly good idea what it was about, but when I stopped to think about it, I began to wonder..

The wonderings that were coming to mind ranged along the lines of what’s it all about, what do we get from it, all the way to is it really all it’s cracked up to be? 

As the answer, I’m really not that sure, emerged from my gut, I was taken back a little bit. I felt the need to explore this a little and thought it might be useful to write about it while I did so.