Hello, I'm Simon Darnton.
I have an innate passion for the nature of experience. Especially about how our experience shapes our sense of self in active connection with our environment and how this relationship can be used to realise growth, transformation and support sustainable performance, both socially and individually. I've always been fascinated by how this plays out in organisational contexts, but also in our unique personal contexts.
Over the years, I have developed a niche interest in 'Chinese thinking' (or correlative thinking) and philosophy, particularly how it can be embodied to enable growth and effective action. This is also relevant to cross-cultural 'East-West' understanding and relations.
These interests are born out of a mix of life experience such as:
I became fascinated by psychology, or more accurately, human consciousness from an early age thanks to my grandmother. She was heavily involved with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India and ran its London base for many years. I became interested firstly in mental states and then the cultivation of my mind and consciousness through meditation and this has become a life-long learning edge for me.
I've built a career in business working in a variety of companies and sectors, most notably engineering, technology, and professional services. I worked my way up to a senior management position in Deloitte where I held UK wide and international responsibilities. I have either done consulting work within, or worked for, some major global names including Microsoft and Apple and I have run my own independent consulting practice.
My work has always focussed on the human aspects of projects, much of it to do with knowledge but including how people experience new technology systems and change, how to manage and design systems with human experience in mind.
One of my particular interests has always been about the nature of the human journey from technique to artistry.
I was struck by a life changing, complex illness, poorly understood in medicine. I have experienced years of treatment and rehabilitation, having to reassess my entire life as well as my self. During this time I found a love of coaching and Tai Chi Chuan.
This illness and its day-to-day management demanded a complete change of direction for me.
I trained as a counsellor to BACP accreditation level in my early twenties, practicing part-time for 7 years while also working in business.
I have plenty of experience in mental health and illness, but I've always found myself more attracted to the other side of the coin - the psychology behind transformation and growth...and how to thrive as a person.
Whilst I've done plenty of what's called coaching in the business domain, I began formal coaching with motorcycle racers helping many to find their best performance and develop themselves as racers. (I used to race motorcycles and they've played a huge part in my life - my illness ended my racing ambitions too.)
It was through my work with motorcycle racers, mountain bike racers and athletes in other adventure sports that I learned about rhythm and its influence on performance.
I completed a Master's degree in Psychological Coaching which is a foundation of my work today.
My sudden illness represents the major convergent force for me in my life.
All my previous interests came together during this time to help me figure out a new way to be in the world.
I formalised my coaching with an MA in Psychological Coaching which brings me to do what I do now; working with senior people, small teams and athletes who have a desire to grow as well as improve performance in sustainable ways, especially those interested in deeper personal transformation.
I found Tai Chi Chuan, which now forms a major part of my life. I founded my own Tai Chi school in Bath and teach several weekly classes. The philosophies underpinning Tai Chi have become a major influence in how I work in coaching, particularly in respect of Correlative Thinking, Embodiment, and Presence.
I find most of my work is most helpful when done either 1-to-1, or in small groups.