What’s the first story you can remember?
The first book I read alone was called The Kingdom of Punch. A couple of kids are drawn into a fantasy kingdom in which Punch and Judy are tyrannical despots (think Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos). Our heroes Geoffrey and Alison get out by the skin of their teeth. It’s left me with an abiding fear of puppets and puppetry.
I developed a taste for the macabre when my mum brought home the entire Pan Book of Horror short stories from work. It probably wasn’t the healthiest reading for an over imaginative twelve year old and all eighteen books were taken away when my teachers reported that I was beginning to ‘behave strangely’.
These days I’m a big crime fan and thriller fan, and particularly enjoy Stephen King, Christopher Fowler, James Lee Burke and Patricia Highsmith. I often incorporate the structure of crime novels and movies when running seminars.
Why did you become a story trainer and coach?
The long answer is I left university with a philosophy degree. As there wasn’t much of a call for philosophers, I ended up selling ad space for a small B2B publisher in Soho.
After a year I was put in charge of a team of eight salespeople and realised that what I enjoyed most was helping people sell more effectively, not least of all as it meant I made my commission each month. When the business became a plc, I was given the opportunity to become the Training & Development director, and a few years later became an independent trainer and coach specialising in storytelling.
The short answer is It’s a buzz working with people who want to tell better business stories. And I add more value to my life when I’m adding value to other peoples.
What are your passions?
Writing is one of them – I’m the author of three crime novels published by Thomas & Mercer. Soho Dead won the CWA Debut Dagger and was long-listed for the John Creasy Award.
Being able to link this element of my life to my work around training and coaching helps one passion fuel another. Sometimes I’m running seminars with a dozen or more people in which the emphasis is on excitement and passion; on other occasions I’m coaching individuals to make career and personal breakthroughs.
Which organisations do you work with?
I have a background in media, which means that agencies and publishers often employ me, but that’s by no means the entire story. I’ve also trained utility companies, education and training providers, not for profit organisations, and representative bodies. Here are a few of them.
Mediacom, Attraqt, The Law Society, The Association of Colleges, Exterion, The Daily Mail Group, UBM, Anglian Water, Incisive Media, The Carbon Trust, News International, The AAR, Ebiquity, Hall & Partners, e-teach, Havas Media, The 7 Stars, Air Miles, JC Decaux, Linguaphone, The Independent, Clarins, Centaur Media, SJP Publishing, Hachette, Christie Digital, The IPM, Pan Macmillan.
One thing they all have in common is a need for activity-based training and coaching that focuses more on discovery than it does instruction. If you want to start a conversation, then please contact me.