Resisting the charm of finding a scapegoat

As a coach I have worked with many clients who have been caught in blame games. For instance there was the clinician given responsibility for reforming services that had been appallingly neglected for more than a decade. When she failed to produce the ‘proof’ that these services had magically improved after only a year in … Read the rest >>

Job seekers be aware: nothing so quaint as the recent past

In my local Oxfam shop I picked up a copy of David Lodge’s entertaining novel Therapy. It was published in 1995 so probably written in 1994, not so long ago, surely? But actually it feels as bizarrely other-worldly and strangely unfamiliar as any novel from much earlier eras. In the novel people write letters, they … Read the rest >>

Women and Harrassment

The Lord Rennard issue grinds on. The man is now telling us of his ‘distress’ at the accusations of harassment but refusing to do more than a generalised and meaningless apology, and the women are still talking determinedly of their own upset, anger and sense of betrayal, so how are we to respond?

My guess … Read the rest >>

Stage Fright Can Happen To Anyone

Michael Bay, the movie director, has just proved that even the most apparently sophisticated of us can fall prey to stage fright. When the autocue broke down at the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas, he panicked and walked off the stage. YouTube instantly made his scrambled exit as public as it was possible for … Read the rest >>

Making Friends is Hard to Do

One of my coaching clients is newly single after an unexpected and bitter divorce. Wisely, she has discharged most of the anger but now she has a new problem: her social circle has revealed its weaknesses since it turns out to have consisted almost entirely of superficial relationships with colleagues or else deeper ones with … Read the rest >>

Speaking Up is Hard to Do

When we want to justify decisions that later prove to be immoral, unpopular or unwise, we almost always rely on the rules-is-rules approach. ‘I was only doing what the contract said’; ‘Everyone else was doing it’, or ‘My boss told me it was OK’. Some famous 20thc experiments show how far this can go. In … Read the rest >>

Faking Rapport

I am in that hallowed temple of white goods, John Lewis. My quest is to replace a leaking, hopelessly inefficient American-style fridge-freezer that has clearly had its day. I have no idea why one model is more than double the price of another or what features I should be looking for, since the world of … Read the rest >>

What makes a workshop work?


Nodding off recently in a hot, stuffy room while the presenter droned through 70 slides has got me thinking yet again about what makes a workshop work. So many times something billed as a ‘workshop’ is actually just a series of lectures with a few feeble activities sprinkled in as a nod to interaction. … Read the rest >>