Coaching you

What is your true calling as a leader?

How could you live and lead more sustainably, inclusively and purposefully? How could you make a bigger difference with your strengths and influence?

If these questions excite, intrigue or agitate you, I would love to work with you as your coach. I partner with leaders and emerging leaders who want to bring about change in themselves, their organisations and the world to address our biggest challenges, notably the climate crisis, poverty, exclusion, and inequity. I provide a safe environment for you to delve deep into the being of leadership, connect with what matters most to you, and determine how best to make the impact you are capable of.

Together we’ll tackle challenges you’re experiencing, such as:

  • Stepping into the demands of a bigger role
  • Feeling overwhelmed by competing priorities
  • Influencing systemic change
  • Finding it hard to slow down when needed
  • Having a noisy inner critic
  • Lacking clarity about what’s next for you
  • Unsure how to make your biggest contribution

Coaching is an adventure involving deep insights, demanding climbs and inspiring new perspectives. I offer you space to breathe. To experiment, have fun. To explore your feelings, including the ones you find most difficult. To play to your strengths. To clarify your real priorities. To plan your next steps confidently. To move into making a difference with focus and intention.

I encourage, challenge and support you in the choices you make to achieve your aspirations and find fulfilment in being your best ‘you’, in service of the world. To discover the benefits of a coaching partnership with me, read the Client Testimonials on this page. Or contact me for a complimentary sample session.

What’s involved in coaching you?

I coach clients around the world by video call, phone or in person. I often coach outdoors, in the natural environment, where people find calm, inspiration and fresh perspectives. Moving or being still in nature, we can feel most connected to the Earth, our stake in it, and our biggest fears, hopes and dreams for our future here. We are part of nature, and nature offers us teaching for our human struggles, and evokes awareness of our responsibility to the living world around us.

My one-to-one coaching packages are flexible, designed with you to suit your needs and goals. A typical package consists of one-hour sessions every two weeks over a number of months. We’ll work with what your body is telling you as well as what’s going on in your head. The coaching may include exercises in visualisation, perspective and other creative tools, as well as my support between sessions as needed.

Team coaching: I also work with teams and groups in organisations, especially those involved in vital sustainability work. Coaching can facilitate trusting relationships and inclusive ways to collaborate, co-create and influence for success. It meets the team’s needs and agenda, taking account of the wider organisational system.

Pro bono coaching: I offer some pro bono coaching for people who’re not in a position to access coaching support in pursuit of making a difference.

About me

Like many people, I’ve experienced significant transitions in my career. I worked for nearly 30 years as a journalist with Reuters and the Financial Times, latterly writing about leadership, management, and change in the business world. My job involved asking incisive, challenging questions, typically of people in positions of power, to throw light on what was not visible and to get to the heart of the ‘story’.

I then created my own ‘portfolio’ career: writing books (on gender-balanced leadership, the future of work and inclusive work environments), speaking, advising, and facilitating group conversations and leadership programmes. These are described in more detail elsewhere on this website. Through much of this time, I’ve experienced the challenges of juggling career and family, and finding the right balance for me and my loved ones.

I came to coaching via my interest in inclusive leadership. Experiencing the transformative power of  ‘Collective Leadership’ (through three discovery retreats in a beautiful Dutch forest), I was drawn to enabling others to increase their impact through deep personal insights and more profound connections with others.

I work with established and emerging leaders, drawing on my knowledge of how to build positive relationships, communicate effectively, and facilitate inclusive and sustainable environments. The powerful questions I ask in coaching elucidate my clients’ worlds and serve their growth and fulfilment as leaders.

I’m collaborative, curious, driven and optimistic. My core values are caring, connection, courage, exploration, fairness, inclusion, integrity, perseverance, reliability and respect.

Qualifications

I hold the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential from the International Coach Federation, which sets and upholds the highest standards and ethics for the coaching profession. You can view my credential here.

I am a Co-Active® Coach, having completed CTI’s renowned, 104-hour Coach Training Programme.

I completed a 12-week training course with Climate Change Coaches in 2021, learning how to apply my coaching skills to support people who are active, or want to become more active, in addressing the climate crisis. I am an active member and volunteer in the Climate Coaching Alliance. As a climate-conscious coach, I work to uphold the Joint Global Statement on Climate Change, which states that coaches “have a significant role to play in fostering new ways of being in service to a healthy human society and a healthy planet.”

Also in 2021, I took a UK ICF Team Coaching programme, developing skills and techniques for coaching teams, in particular those working in virtual and hybrid settings.

I have since added to my climate-conscious coaching and facilitation by completing the Active Hope Foundations training and the Circles of Active Hope Facilitator Training. Active Hope is a process and practice, developed by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, to find, and offer, our best response to the ecological and social crises we’re in. I use a coaching-style of facilitation when bringing this into organisations, community groups and individuals working for a fair and healthy future for planet and people.

In addition, I am trained as an Enhanced Skills Practitioner in Conversational Intelligence® for Coaches, having been through the C-IQ immersion programme led by Judith E Glaser.

My ongoing learning, together with regular coaching supervision, gives me a huge range of resources and insights. I use these, combined with my professional and life experience and my intuition, to serve you in the best way I can.

Climate and biodiversity commitment 

The Flow Country, a precious expanse of blanket bog

As part of my commitment to do what I can personally to address the climate and biodiversity crisis, I donate 10% of the fees I receive from coaching clients to nature conservation and regeneration charities. These include WWF,  World Land Trust,  Tree Sisters and the Earth Community Trust, which endorses and raises awareness of the Stop Ecocide campaign. So the work we do together has an impact that will hopefully long outlast us!

Getting in touch

If you would like to speak to me, or to have a complimentary sample coaching session, please contact me via the Contact Me page.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

 

‘Alison has an ability to get to the nub of an issue in just a question or two. The sessions we have together are incredibly rich and useful, whilst feeling safe and energising, and I’m finding that much of the work is happening outside of the sessions. From our very first session, Alison has introduced simple processes and tools that help me clarify my thoughts in between sessions and that move me onwards. I feel safe and stretched. I can’t recommend Alison enough as a coach.’ ∼ Xavier Brice, CEO, Sustrans 

‘When I started coaching with Alison I knew I was ready to take the next steps in my career but I didn’t know what those steps were and I was struggling with the confidence to get started.  As soon as I met Alison I felt an instant connection, and her calm and positive approach completely rubbed off on me. Each session Alison teased out new themes and opened my eyes to new directions and considerations of what might be holding me back.  We used a variety of techniques including visualisation which I found refreshing. The most powerful thing we did was a session exploring values. I held a belief that I was somehow behind, but when I realised that my journey was closely aligned with my core values I let go of that limiting thought and was able to move forwards. I have now embarked on a new chapter as a sustainability lead for an insurance company. Working in a different and unfamiliar sector has been a huge challenge and I’m grateful for the extra tools I learned through coaching to navigate this. The work I did with Alison has given me the confidence to branch out, explore new opportunities and feel ok working outside my comfort zone.’ Jo Mihajlovic, ESG Manager

‘Alison has been an amazing coach. She’s made me listen to all the positive noises and take note of our achievements at times when it all becomes too much. Can’t thank her enough and also hugely recommend her .’ Dana Denis-Smith, Founder and CEO, Obelisk Support, and Creator, First 100 Years project

‘I went to Alison for guidance on how to consolidate several newly acquired skills into something beneficial that I could offer to other people. Through careful questioning and genuinely deep listening, she led me into the dusty corners of my own mind (and heart) where the answers I was looking for were waiting. Each session was led with skill and kindness that not only nurtured, but which sparked new forms of curiosity. I came away wiser. I can honestly say I felt I was in extremely good hands, and can wholly recommend Alison as a coach.’ ∼ Tamsin Walker, Environmental journalist and mindfulness trainer

‘I started my coaching with Alison in a moment when I felt truly stuck with respect to my career. It was hard for me to understand who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. She helped me tackle these issues, and guided me to find words for feelings, strengths, and aspirations I could not describe on my own. ∼ Alison’s style is reassuring and stimulating. Her call to support others is authentic and her presence trustworthy. Every session we focused on one or two specific objectives that were part of the journey defined together at the start, but we often took detours to explore unexpectedly fruitful alleys. She guided me through new ways to learn about myself, for example with powerful visualization exercises, and to shed clarity on what makes me happy at work. ∼ I have developed new resources that help me look at my future with confidence. If you also need guidance at some point of your career, I definitely recommend Alison!’  Ilaria Maselli, Head of Trade Flow Insights and Economics,

‘Alison is a joy to work with. Her calm, reflective and collaborative approach was a productive foil to my busy and often frenetic thoughts. My context in working with her was a mid-career sideways move into sustainability, combining short term commercial contract work with public sector policy work and volunteering for a climate change charity. I was struggling to feel that I was doing ‘enough’ while approaching burnout, with a side order of climate anxiety and overwhelm. ∼ Alison worked with me to clarify my purpose, hone in on my working style and help me reflect on how that can be used for good while staying true to my personality. She helped me find the confidence to be reassured by my actions on climate change and carbon reduction, being more selective on what I could class as ‘meaningful’ work. ∼ An early revelation was the personification of my negative voice to a named character who we were able to separate and interact with during sessions: this has proved incredibly useful. A helpful and unexpected additional value was reflections on my charity trustee role and how the organisation could develop and grow in the increasingly climate-conscious context of the 2020s. ∼ Alison: thank you for the gentle clarity and sensitive observations, backed by evidence and literature, that you provided, to help me chart this new course: you have been a welcome hand on the wheel, guiding the rudder and allowing me to fill my sails with reinvigorated purpose.’ Helen Burridge, Climate action coordinator and Trustee of Sustainable St Albans