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May 2023 Recap: Discover Reflective Practice

Simon Hague hosted a content-packed and thought-provoking session on Reflective Practice. We explored what reflection was all about, when as coaches we practice it, and whether it needs to have purpose to be effective. We looked at how we can help clients reflect resourcefully with ideas including breathing and grounding exercises, using pictures to prompt new thinking, useful memories or even a song! Asking clients “what did you notice?” helps introduce a pause and enables less judgement around something that happened.

Simon introduced some useful models including Gibbs Reflective Cycle and 7 Positions of Reflection to help use reflection for ourselves and our clients in a resourceful way to enable growth and learning.

It was a wonderful evening of learning and growth for us as coaches, with both laughter and deep thought all in one evening!

Simon is an accredited ICF local coach and experienced supervisor. If you’d like to discover more of his insights, you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter ‘COACHd’ here

Simon explaining Gibbs Reflective Cycle

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March 2023 :’Becoming a Master Coach’ with Ray Charlton

We met face to face at in Solihull in March 2023, led by guest speaker Ray Charlton. Ray is a familiar face at Coaching Central and many of you will know him for his wisdom, humour and presence. We invited him to speak to us about Mastery given he is an Association for Coaching Accredited Master Executive Coach and an AC Accreditation Assessor, and an all round amazing human being.

Ray helped us explore what is mastery in coaching, sharing aspects of his own coaching journey with us. He asked us ‘what is mastery?’ which got us all talking about different skills and abilities from being a Michelin chef to a world-class Olympic athlete. We touched on the idea that mastery is a journey, not a destination. Being on the journey and constantly learning can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable, because we know that we don’t know everything there is to know….and we never will. Ray shared several thought-provoking models with us to help us process our thinking – see the photos below along with some book recommendations for further reading.

At the end Ray got us all involved in what he called a ‘concert’. Using excerpts from various Alchemy of Coaching’s monthly discussion papers ‘Base Metal’, we all read out different sentences one after another. Here are some of the sentences we read out:

“an expert wants to get to the answer as quickly as possible and a master is willing to stay in the not knowing as long as possible” (a quote from Aboodi Shabi)

it is the apparently intuitive choices that the coach makes that are the sign of mastery. This “intuition” is the product of learning over many hours, occasionally trying things out that do not work, making mistakes and learning from them and always seeking to improve.”

“as a coach, I believe that learning and change begin with me. In order to be fully present to my client, I will prepare myself and seek to be in as resourceful a state as I can be. This does not mean that I am perfect!”

It was a captivating, and in many ways a moving experience, as we ended the evening with some powerful coaching insights.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Alchemy of Coaching’s ‘Base Metal’ for more coaching insights, click here

Ray’s book recommendations for further reading

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February 2023

The MAGIC happens in the silence:
A guide to the art of reflective coaching

In February we were joined online by guest speaker Rosie Nice, author of “The Magic happens in the silence.” We learned all about MAGIC Coaching Methodology, which provides an excellent framework to guide coaching conversations. We explored:

  • What is MAGIC?
  • What are the benefits of a MAGIC approach?
  • How does it happen in the silence?
  • How can you use MAGIC in your coaching?

It was an inspiring session with some great ideas about how to frame coaching conversations and provides an invaluable set of core questions to accompany you through the coaching process.

If you would like to know more about Rosie’s book, check out the link:

  • Enhance your skills and confidence as a coach
  • Gain clear focus and direction by utilising the MAGIC Methodology
  • Build a succinct library of insightful coaching questions
  • Enrich your coaching with a range of creative tools and techniques
  • Realise your own potential and support others in doing the same
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How to create a signature coaching programme that sells

In January 2023 we were joined by guest speaker Joanna Lott,  a qualified business coach who helps coaches stand out and get clients with honesty not hype. 

Joanna helped us understand how we can differentiate our own service offering from all the other coaches out there, and communicate the value of what we do for clients in a much clearer way. Joanna shared her simplified step by step system to help us map out our own Signature Coaching Package. We focused in on the concrete problem we want to help clients solve, our niche and building a simple framework to help us market it more effectively. Joanna generously shared her knowledge, experience and advice with us all as she facilitated a session full of value.

The session was hugely valuable, we had lots of positive feedback and all left with some actionable next steps.

Joanna Lott

Speaker’s Bio: Joanna Lott

On qualifying as an Executive Coach, she set about learning everything she could about business, sales and marketing and quickly built a profitable career and executive coaching business around her young family. Other coaches started asking her how she did it, so she’s supported 25 coaches in the last year alone to help them to build their business and get clients so they can make a living doing work they love.

Joanna blends her love of coaching and marketing into a system of support called The Business of Coaching, that’s turned out to be a space that works incredibly well, so that more coaches are profitable in their brilliant coaching business.  

Joanna’s qualifications include: ICF Associate Certified Coach, ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching & Mentoring. 

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2021: January Reset, Refresh, Reboot: Kick-start 2021 with a 90 day plan!

January’s meeting (during lockdown) was a great time of the year to press pause and focus some quality time on our businesses.  With everything else we have going on, we often get caught up in working in our businesses and struggle to see the wood for the trees. 

Our speaker Louise Gordon helped us look back at some of our resourceful discoveries from 2020 (amazing since we spent it mainly in lockdown!) as well as looking forward to where we want to be by the end of 2021. This was a really interactive session with triads in zoom break-out rooms where we had time to chat about our own businesses and identify our priorities for the next 90 days. Louise gave us some great ways in which we can hold ourselves accountable and track our progress. What a great session to start the year!

Speaker’s Bio: Louise Gordon

Louise Gordon set up her business, Louise Gordon Consultancy Limited, in 2013 and during this time has supported a number of large corporate acquisition and transformation programmes.  Louise decided to change the focus of her business in 2020 to move to more of a portfolio business model and offers a bespoke range of consultancy, change support, coaching and workshops with a common thread of people and change. 

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October’s Meeting: Systems in your Business

How efficient is your coaching business?

October’s session was content-rich in terms of tools and systems you can use in your coaching business to make things work more efficiently. Led by our guest speaker, Natalie-Claire Luwisha, we looked at our calendars, social media, client management and time management.

Natalie-Claire had loads of hints and tips about how to create systems that really work. She also helped us to understand how to create frameworks for your own systems: 1) plan the process 2) schedule the steps into your calendar 3) track how long it takes to complete. If you track an activity, it helps you to schedule the right amount of time for it next time – rather than assuming you might need an hour or two (which often leads to procrastination!)

“What gets scheduled gets done”

Speaker’s Bio: Natalie-Claire Luwisha

Engineer to Entrepreneur 

Natalie-Claire’s professional career began in the STEM industry as a Civil and Structural Engineer.

She now brings the analytical elements of her engineering experience to her coaching business and in her speaking sessions.

In her coaching, Natalie helps women manage their time and gain the confidence to build their businesses. She empowers and encourages her clients to achieve their goals by helping them gain the clarity, confidence and courage to change their lives.


Her specialist areas are:

Time Management – Scheduling, planning, creating habits & routines

Goal Setting – Life & Business goals, long & short term goals

Courage & Confidence – Having the confidence to take action

Health & Happiness – Self-Care, health & fitness

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July’s Coaching Central

Staying the Course: what coaches can do in the time of Covid-19

July’s meeting gave us an opportunity to look at the role of coaches during the Covid-19 pandemic. Regardless of our coaching niche or experience, Covid-19 has presented us all with challenges. Some of us are business owners, others are employed as coaches, and for some of us it’s somewhere in between. Our coaching businesses may be well established, in their infancy or still a germ of an idea.  

Led by one of our amazing coaches, June Hogan from Wildwood Coaching, in October’s session we looked at what’s currently happening for both people and organisations, and how as coaches we are in a position to help. We explored themes around our coaching niches and what we can do to be visible, available and valuable to our clients.

This session was based around themes from an ICF recorded webinar which you can find here.

Speaker’s Bio: June Hogan – Wildwood Coaching

June is an ICF accredited coach and Director of Wildwood Coaching.

Wildwood Coaching provides outplacement services to values led businesses who want to support their employees after redundancy. Prior to establishing her business, June enjoyed a 20 year career in corporate HR working in a variety of roles in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

During her career June managed many redundancy programmes and she also has personal experience of redundancy. June brings her personal and professional experience along with her coaching skills to help individuals build new futures after redundancy.

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June 2020: Transformational Coaching: adding value by connecting with our values

We had a very engaging and informative session in June on “Transformational Coaching”, led by Fiona Anderson from valuingYou Ltd. Fiona helped us to identify our own core values and understand how these affect our lives and how we can live more in line with them. 

Here are some of her insightful questions:

·      Can you describe what makes you who you are?
·      When you are uncomfortable about something or someone, do you understand why?
·      Have you ever wondered why your reactions to daily and life events differ from others’?
·      Have you offended someone when your intention was the opposite?
·      Have you been deeply upset by someone you think should have known you better?
·      Have you made decisions that you really were not comfortable with?

The answers to these questions helped us all to explore our core values. For more information, check out Fiona’s blog on values.

In the session, Fiona helped us to explore the role of values in our life and at work and also to reflect on the impact that lockdown/Covid-19 may have had on our personal values. The results were very interesting and varied! We also looked at how we can incorporate our values more into our lives and into our coaching practices. 

I for one learnt lots and I found Fiona’s passion for the topic very infectious indeed. It’s given me lots of food for reflection about my own values, how they show up and what happens when one of my values is being ‘wobbled’. 

I’d like to say a very big THANK YOU! to Fiona Anderson for delivering such a valuable and informative talk!

Speaker’s Bio

Fiona is a Change Consultant, Facilitator,  Trainer and Executive & Team Coach.

Fiona established valuingYOU in 2004 and in 2019 introduced My Change Expert. Fiona has lead and successfully delivered substantial change programmes. 
Her expertise is proven across a variety of sectors from micro SMEs to Global Corporations, Voluntary and NGO including: IT; Legal Firms, Recycling; Precision Engineering, PR, Sub Post Masters; Logistics, Universities.

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May 2020: Positive Psychology – grey area or blue sky thinking?

May’s session was prompted by Ray Charlton reading an article entitled ‘Toxic Positivity’ in the Style section of the Sunday Times. Aware of the profound challenges of the COVID 19 crisis, Ray explored what positive psychology can offer for coaches and our clients. We looked at:

  • what advocates of positive psychology claim for it
  • what critics say about it
  • evidence
  • how it relates to resilience, mindfulness and happiness
  • when and how Ray uses it – being present, noticing, empathy, example, congruence, challenge

Ray talked about how we get on with ourselves and with others and noted how our thoughts and feelings influence our mood, motivation and outcomes. We looked at Martin Seligman’s work and PERMA : Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment as well as Emotional Intelligence and Covey’s Circle of Influence and Concern.

This session was hugely informative and full of content. Thank you Ray for inspiring and challenging us and for giving us a huge reading list for further exploration! Here’s the reading list, if you want to follow up yourself:

  • Are you suffering from toxic positivity? Sunday Times – Style Wellness
  • Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman – see also Learned Optimismo
  • Brilliant Positive Psychology, Charlotte Style
  • Coaching – Evoking Excellence in Others, James Flaherty
  • Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us, Daniel H. Pink
  • Flow – the Psychology of Happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • I’m OK, You’re OK, Thomas Harris
  • Mindful Coaching, Liz Hall
  • Negaholics, Cherie Carter-Scott
  • Neuroscience for Coaches, Amy Brann
  • Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice, ed. Suzy Green and Stephen Palmer
  • Positive Psychology, Ilona Boniwell and Aneta D. Tunariu
  • The Art of the Good Life, Rolf Dobelli 
  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt
  • The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, Julie K. Norem
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
Ray is an Association for Coaching (AC) Master Executive Coach, a coaching supervisor and trainer, an AC accreditation assessor, and a member of ICF. He is an action learning facilitator, a certified NLP trainer and recently qualified as a practitioner of Generative Coaching.

He is an organisation development consultant, and teaches, tutors and mentors in motivation, leadership development, systems thinking, quality, innovation and collaboration.
Ray is the founder and director of Creativity and Commitment at Work Limited; was a founder of and consultant with Transition Partnerships; and is a founder director of Alchemy of Coaching Limited. Alchemy of Coaching publishes Base Metal, a monthly discussion paper on coaching.  ray@alchemyofcoaching.com

Ray’s work reflects his values of partnership, inquiry, curiosity, creativity, enjoyment, personal and corporate responsibility, and life-long learning.