As a global citizen, I travel frequently and love Asia. When I am working, most of my time is dedicated to coaching and mentoring people, both in the business world and outside of it too. I publish regular articles in my blog and am sometimes invited to speak about my life experiences to different interest groups. Whenever I can, I like to contribute my time and energy to fundraising and other worthwhile community projects.
Throughout my life and career, some really gifted, wise and challenging people have given me their help and guidance. This has been a significant factor in me realising my own vision, first as a business leader, and now as a mentor and coach. Many people around the world tell me that they want to become the “best version” of themselves they can imagine. I am here to make sure that you receive the same kind of empowering support that will enable you to realise your own vision.
If you stop and think about it, no two people will walk the path of their life journey in the same way. Let me use my own life challenges to illustrate this. Like many people I work with, the early part of my life was very focused on being successful in my career. By 2000, most of my financial goals were achieved. My biggest desire was for public recognition that the business I had built was exceptional in terms of performance and culture. That came a couple of years later when, at 42 years of age, the prestigious Daily Telegraph “Business Leader of the Year” Award was given to me, for establishing and growing an innovative and successful consulting company that was a model of excellence in the UK.
On the surface, my life appeared to be great. However, several personal life shocks in 2004-5 made me feel deeply unhappy. At the age of 45, I was asking myself some profound questions about what I really wanted and how I could live my life in a way that felt right and true for me. Exploring these questions with a brilliant coach, I decided to swap my successful and materially comfortable London lifestyle for a life of nomadic anonymity. By doing this, I hoped to re-discover first hand the joy and energy that would come from creating a new life, learn how to cope with new and different challenges, live with uncertainty and find a new purpose and direction for myself. Having sold my business, my house, all of my accumulated possessions and re-engineered my life financially, I left the UK with just a bag of clothes and a laptop, determined to explore the world for a while and fulfill some of the personal dreams that I had been holding in my heart for many years. Travelling gave me the opportunity to join the community of online bloggers, launching an early version of The Daily Explorer to capture stories about the interesting places I discovered and the people I was meeting.
In the years that have passed since then, I have called over 25 different countries ‘home’ and have discovered what true happiness and personal freedom is for me. No two days have been the same. In fact, I think I have slept in well over 1,000 different beds during that time! It has not been easy and meeting the challenge has helped me grow, as well as being a source of great joy, happiness and empathy towards others. I am currently writing a book about my own journey, called “Life Without A Tie”.
You may not want to or need to do what I did. My journey has been my teacher and I have returned to something I love doing, which is working with people who want to fulfill their own potential, their way. I am grateful for the privilege and it is something that I accept with great joy and excitement.
When I was young and starting out in my career, I never thought or imagined that I would like to be a coach. In fact, the concept didn’t really exist, outside of the world of sports. Initially, my ambition was to be a great performer in business. Later in my career, I really wanted to become an inspiring leader of my own organisation and this motivated me to invest every waking moment of my life in how to become that person. During the last decade, as well as studying many of the great business minds, I have travelled around the world to learn from teachers of great spiritual traditions, meditated with Buddhist Monks and explored deeply my inner world in a quest for greater emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Inadvertently, I have an extra-ordinary combination of practical business leadership know-how as well as deep insight into what makes our lives feel rich with meaning. I have understood for myself how to meet both my need for material success and those of my heart. My own journey of self-discovery has been my greatest teacher and I would like to share that with you if you decide to work with me as your coach.
Despite having 35 years of business experience, with nearly half of those in leadership roles, I am still learning. Whilst I enjoy life in the business world, I have numerous interests beyond it which include travelling, fundraising, health and wellness, spirituality, geo-politics and current affairs. All of these require and demand time and energy from me which means I am constantly challenged to find new ways to live my own life in balance and in such a way that resources my own creativity.
After the sale of my consulting business in 2008, I took part in a formal coach training programme with one of the leading coaching schools and studied with a variety of experienced practitioners. In the last five years, I have coached many executives and individuals in multi-national companies such as Unilever, Mars, Intercontinental Hotels, Kraft, HSBC, Mead-Johnson and The Toll Group. With the advent and widespread use of video technologies across the Internet, my clients are now spread geographically in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, UAE, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, the UK and Poland. To see what some of these people said about their coaching with me, you can click here.
I have a naturally collaborative style and like to work with clients in partnership. We pool our knowledge and resources to look at each situation so that we can jointly determine the best way to take every step positively and effectively. As many of your greatest challenges will occur between coaching sessions, a shift towards using these opportunities to experiment in applying new approaches will help you make rapid progress. It will also facilitate a letting go of patterns of behaviour that no longer serve you.
I am a member of The Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches (APAC) and I undertake engagements with corporate clients on behalf of these executive coaching/leadership development companies:
TeamUp Triad Coaching
I have been a facilitator for TeamUp since January 2015. In groups of three at a time, people who are seeking to apply greater mindfulness in their lives undertake a nine week, modular programme, supported by me and the colleagues in their group. The experience is designed to raise awareness and create lasting change. Each member of the group is guided and encouraged to develop a personal ‘practice’ that will enable them to prototype the life they want to create, as well as identify what is or has been limiting their possibilities. When the coaching ‘triad’ is complete, they have everything they need to make the changes permanent and often experience a transformation as their life shifts towards the vision they have created for themselves.
Based in Hong Kong and Shanghai, I have been a member of the team since 2010, working as a coach and facilitator for clients across the Asia region. In 2011, Progress-U announced the launch of the Institute of Innovative Corporate Coaching (PIICC). Their Professional Corporate Coach Certification Program (PCCCP), one of the most extensive professional coach training programs presently existing in Asia, is now fully accredited by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC).
Raf Adams and Company
Raf Adams has written an outstanding book called The Suited Monk, which I am very proud to have been involved with.
I met him in 2010 in Shanghai and was very inspired by his vision of helping people through his books and workshops. According to Raf, we live in a society in which a multiplicity of external experiences, pressures, stresses, choices and distractions constantly pull us away from our inner wisdom – our intuition. Our limited notion of time and resources is the ‘suit’ we wear as we try to negotiate the fast-paced world around us. Yet we fail to realise that this notion has hijacked our our ability to listen to our inner self – our ‘monk’ – and find lasting peace and happiness. Raf’s book brings together two worlds: the inner world of happiness, love, purpose and meaning and the external world of success and achievement. Or the world of the heart and the world of the ego/mind.
Raf’s book also includes his fascinating Life Journey Model® which is a visual representation of the journey we all make and is designed to help people integrate both their external and internal worlds, whilst giving people some very simple and helpful tools they can use. It helps me as a coach to pass on the knowledge I have gained from my own life exploration since I left England in 2005. Raf invited me to join his team of facilitators and trainers who lead workshops using the material in the book and I have co-facilitated a couple with him in Shanghai.
In 2002, I was the recipient of the Daily Telegraph Business Leader of The Year Award in the UK. This was largely in recognition for co-founding and growing a successful coaching, training and consulting business called First Place. Within three years, it had become firmly established as a Top 100 UK Management Consultancy* and I had been through my own unique crash course in developing an inspirational leadership approach.
Launching the company in 1997 was in response to my observation (at the time) of a huge shift taking place in the corporate agenda to raise performance to the next level. Far from being a nice-to-have, the motivation, retention and development of people became mission critical. At First Place, we were determined to find new approaches to harnessing the forces of human creativity and motivation and created a set of tools, collectively known as Heart and Soul Management principles and practices. They still exist today.
Developed through years of research, observation and experimentation into the daily life of managing people and serving clients, these tools offer an approach to managing people that is not mechanical or process driven, relying more on the development of self-awareness, intuitive skill and the application of wisdom and sound judgement. The principles and practices provide information about how to set up the conditions to ensure people give of their very best – to give their ‘heart and soul’. I continue to be guided by these fundamental principles which, when implemented correctly by an individual or management team, enable anyone to coach, develop, manage and motivate people exceptionally. This proven methodology was successfully adopted by a number of leading companies in Energy and Financial Services (in the UK) between 1997-2004. First Place was eventually acquired in 2008.
*Based on data compiled for the Management Consultancy Magazine Annual League Table
The idea of starting my own fundraising programme came to me in 2004. I took part in a huge fundraising event called “Enduro India” in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Whilst there, I saw widespread poverty for the first time in my life. In 2008, I had been travelling throughout Asia for over three years and had come across a few inspiring people who were trying to help improve the quality of life for others in or around their communities. Some of these people really touched my own heart and I started looking for ways that I could help support them financially.
I had no experience of working in the voluntary sector and did not want to build a costly organisation. Initially, my vision was simply to communicate widely about these people in need to everyone I knew who could potentially donate. Later, I discovered that if I offered to undertake a tough personal challenge, it might help to raise more money. So in 2009, I entered the ballot for a place to run in the New York Marathon and was successful. With no experience of running at all, it took me six months to prepare for the ordeal and much to my surprise, I completed the race in just over four hours. With the generous support of all my campaign sponsors, we were able to raise over $15,000 for an orphanage in Nepal, an Elephant sanctuary in Thailand and a global cancer research charity. Running the marathon was so enjoyable, I knew I had found the catalyst to launch my Calling All Angels Foundation and have been committed to running marathons ever since. To date, over $50,000 has been raised. For more information about the people who benefit, take a look at my Calling All Angels Foundation page on this site.
Life Without A Tie – A Ten Year Nomadic Quest to find True Love
In November 2005, I left England to experiment with living life to a completely different rhythm. I had been a driven and successful award winning businessman, yet had reached a point where, deep down in my heart, I was at the end of that particular path. It was scary to admit as I had no idea of what to replace it with.
Selling my business, my home and all of my possessions, I left myself with just a bag of clothes and a laptop and set off to explore and discover new parts of the world. I was hoping to meet people who would inspire me and become my teachers for the next phase of growth in my life. And after the end of my marriage, I was on a quest to find out if true love really did exist. To make this all possible, some complex financial re-engineering was required to sustain my journey without the level of income I was used to. I had no experience as a budget traveller and at 45 years of age, I may have become one of the oldest back-packers in Asia!
After nearly ten years, it is time to share what I have seen, heard, felt, learned and understood with others. I know it is possible to live in anonymity, without possessions or status, without attachment to goals, without a fixed identity or routine and be as happy (or even happier) as I was when I was living more of a “conventional” life in England, pursuing a career and enjoying a busy social lifestyle. The temporary has become the permanent. The unknown has become knowable. For the first time, I am used to living simply to enjoy each moment and being present to opportunities. My security is coming deep from within me and is no longer dependent on the approval of others or external events, circumstances or even relationships. I realise that there really is no ‘going back’ to the conventional life I knew before. Many books declare that material wealth is not the source of true happiness. After several years of modest living, with one bag of clothes and a laptop, I know the truth of that assertion deeply within myself.
My intention is that my book will be one way that I can share these experiences, and the knowledge and insight that came from them, with people who are on a similar journey and who want to know the truth for themselves. To me, curiosity is a grossly under-rated quality. Exploring does not need to apply just to physical places. It is just as desirable and rewarding to be curious about language, agriculture, history, music, the arts, the mystical, physical well-being, the financial world, the nature of power, tyranny, community, humanity and spirituality.
Life Without A Tie is due for publication in 2016.
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