An unconference experience

What happens when we connect and discuss our challenges and opportunities in a place where there’s safety, freedom and no judgement.

A bit of a different post for me today. Sharing my summary from co-hosting an Unconference in Leicester just over a week ago for LnDConnect.

The Curve Theatre, Leicester with clear blue sky background
Image by Mark Gilroy

It was a beautiful sunny day at the Unconference last week and the Curve was a brilliant venue for us! Thank you to Mark Gilroy for his amazing photography beginning with this gorgeous one of the venue. read more

If how to’s were enough…

Have you ever met someone who knows what needs to change in their work or life and yet they stay stuck in it? Maybe you’ve given them advice knowing full well they’re not hearing a word of it. Even if they’re nodding and making all the right noises? So what’s going on here?

From Brian Klemmer’s book of the same title

I’ve not read Brian’s book but I entirely agree with the sentiment of the title. read more

Street Wisdom Leicester

img_1195Last Thursday, on a lovely sunny day, Phil Willcox and I met up with an eager group of Street Wisdom’ers in Leicester for Learn > Connect > Do.  Some had experience of Street Wisdom before, while for most it was their first time.  I’m not going to write about the way these awesome sessions run, you can read more about that here, img_1197but I wanted to share some photos of a great afternoon, including the post-event debrief which was at Dolce & Verde – great coffee if you’re ever in Leicester or Rothley.  After drinks and cakes, the Wisdomer’s went on their ways with thoughts and plans in their heads about how to keep a hold of their learning and put different actions in place for the questions they were asking.

And if you’re interested in future Learn > Connect > Do events, send your email address to me at and I’ll get you on the mailing list.  We’re a group of people professionals who care about work being better and we meet quarterly at Meridian, Leicester.  The point of the events is to: LEARN > leave with something you didn’t have when you came in; new insights or knowledge on the topic, and a new facilitation tool or approach.  CONNECT > meet others who also care about making work better and who bring a different perspective or experience to you, broadening your possibilities.  DO > make a commitment to do something tangible in your work – things will only be different if we take different action.

The next event is 3-6pm on 1st December with Dan Pilling who’ll be using Pecha Kucha to get us all talking about our workplaces and whether we still even need offices.  You can book here. (Jo Stephenson’s session using Thinking Environment (a la Nancy Kline) will now be on 9th March 2017)  We’d love to see you at both of these!  #LearnConnectDo

Religion – a new way

This is a post I’ve been going to write for a while – in fact nearly two years! I’ve delayed writing it for fear of offending people but after a bit of tweet chat a while back I decided to step into the #ldbravery space and share my thoughts.  Plus it’s nearly Christmas so it seems relevant!!

Having feared writing this, what I discovered was that my fear was coming from my non-religious upbringing and my concern that I would write this with a mindset of ‘we don’t need religion, we’re just fine thanks’. What I’ve discovered through writing this is that much of the great stuff we do and seek today has origins in religion and so what I’ve learnt instead is that we might just do well to look to those who practice for more inspiration. And with my daughter now deciding to be a Christian I may well be learning more over the coming months!

I believe everyone is entitled to live their life and believe in what they want to believe* without judgement from others – because what works for me may be different to what works for you. This is therefore not about judgement of religion or non-religion, this is just about things I see taking the place of religion today and I’m really curious to learn what this means to others.

My religious background? I wasn’t christened or anything. I had a Church of England mum and a lapsed Catholic dad, the latter of whom resented his religious upbringing and didn’t want to enforce anything on his own kids. Plus they couldn’t have decided what to make us! I dabbled with religion around 16 when a couple of Christian girls at school made a good effort to convert me but it just wasn’t really me. Plus I was then starting to get into a phase that didn’t sit so well with the other young people in the circles where we were meant to share our experiences of keeping away from the evil of alcohol and certain movies. I didn’t feel I was on the same wavelength.

The other time I had my interest piqued into religion was at my sister’s wedding – I loved the symbolism of the Hindu ceremony and the spiritual nature of it. The joining of two families and the welcome for my sister into her new one.

I’m now finding that spiritualism… Buddhism…. I’m not sure what exactly, holds interest for me and it’s a wonder I’m just letting sit there for a while to see what emerges – like this fascinating movie The Shift. Thank you Amanda Sterling for sharing.

So please read this with full awareness that I’m not an expert in religion in any way and that these are a layperson’s observations.

In recent years religious participation – at least Christian participation in the UK – has decreased and we’ve sought out other things to take its place. These are some of the things I think we’ve found….



A couple of months back, I heard on the Radio about an event by Action for Happiness with the Dalai Lama in London to mark World Peace Day. Action for Happiness provide opportunities for people to connect and meet on subjects such as family & friends, the world, bouncing back, and more. Something which would have previously been achieved through prayer groups, or just talking to trusted friends and family at the regular routine of weekly church.


In work, the place where we no longer loyally follow one organisation for our whole career, we look for purpose – a meaning beyond just a job. Something beyond profit that has us feel we’re making a difference in the world. Something to suggest that our life on this earth matters. Needs which I’d offer were traditionally met through serving God, through believing that in meeting His expectations we’d be fulfilling our purpose on earth.

Praying and Signs from God

Friends of ours a few years back moved city to establish a new church. They talked of praying to God and being guided by Him to the place where their church should be. In that moment I had a sense that praying and coaching have similarities – speaking our thoughts, possibly out loud but not always, to enable us to make sense of a situation. Those thoughts ‘spoken’ in the presence of someone who believes in you and who listens to you without interruption to enable you to do your best thinking. Sometimes clients will talk to me after a session about the idea I gave them, when all I’d done was listen and ask questions. They had the idea in themselves all along. How much of this is what praying offers?

Street Wisdom has similar parallels to the situations where people talk of God having spoken to them, or being given a sign. Street Wisdom is all about spotting the signs around us to answer questions that we’ve been grappling with. Again, accessing our fantastic subconscious that so often gets drowned out by our conscious mind (read Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis if you’d like to learn more about this). Given our subconscious works better with images it makes sense that visual signs in our surroundings are able to connect with it and give us these messages.

Human Connection

In the past: Every Sunday, 10am, best clothes on, meet and connect with familiar and friendly faces at church to look for inspiration in the teachings of the bible.

Now: Every Saturday, 10am, best clothes on, meet and connect with familiar and friendly faces in town, at the shops to look for inspiration in the latest clothes and shoes.

Although this particular modern form of inspiration has (IMHO) taken a drop in meaning, connection is essential to us.  To thrive we need to make sure it’s part of how we spend our time – whether that’s shopping, going out for meals, cups of tea at home, or indeed going to our preferred religious centre.

And now there’s this new option for not just human connection but singing, appreciation, gratitude, inspirational talks but minus religion – the Sunday Assembly.  Thanks Phil Wilcox for telling me about this one. 
Given there are so many aspects of life today which appear to have originally been instilled in religious rituals and which are now being met in ‘new’ ways – perhaps there’s more to learn by looking to religion for inspiration.

What do you think?  Leave a comment!


Photo credit –

*I don’t extend this to those that believe causing harm – of any kind – to others is justified.

This is me………

WFS Tree


#CIPD14 #streetwisdom

I was really gutted I missed out on the Sheffield Street Wisdom a few weeks back so I was delighted that David D’Souza was bringing it to #CIPD14.

All I knew about it was that you came with a question
You walked around
You tried to find answers.

I believe in mindfulness, I know the power of our subconscious mind and I even know the difference a good walk can make to my own creativity and problem solving.

And yet I still wasn’t convinced that Street Wisdom would really answer my question.

But it did. I slowed down, I stopped and observed, I allowed those things to show a meaning.


I’m not religious but this stuff echoes the times when people say their God has given them a sign to take a certain path.

And maybe Street Wisdom is the modern day version of connecting with others, connecting with your environment and finding your way – something which the majority of people used to do in their church/temple/mosque….

What I do know is that it makes a difference – different differences depending on your starting point, your question, your mindset – but it makes a difference.

If this stuff can help us take one step towards better workplaces, one step towards greater innovation, one step towards feeling more balanced, grounded and clear – then it’s really worth it.

Want to experience it too? Give me a shout and I can help make it happen.



I believe in people being the key to success in a business and that success is unlocked by great bosses. I’m an Executive Coach for SME leaders to help create success for you, for your team, for your business.

Get in touch for a chat if you believe in this stuff too and you want your business to be even better –
or take a look at my website to find out more