Across the great divide


Let’s be kinder to each other in 2017

There is a striking memorial in a park in Indianapolis.  It marks the spot where in April 1968, Robert Kennedy told a waiting crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed, before speaking from the heart and his own personal experience, that violence is never an answer to our grievances.  His calming words quelled the rioting that other cities endured in the days after Dr King’s death and, arguably, saved some lives that night.


The memorial itself is an arresting work of art.  Made from corten steel and bronze it depicts Kennedy and King, on either side of a path, as figures reaching out towards each other in a gesture of solidarity.  Each man appears to break free from the steel slabs that would otherwise seem to constrain them, tearing themselves from the fabric to reach across the dividing pathway.  In doing so, each leaves behind a perfect silhouette that reaches down to greet the viewer, in either direction, as you walk towards them.


My favourite photo shows a group of young people, of mixed race, looking up towards those two giant figures of the 20th century, with faces full of wonder, and hope.  It is that hope and wonder we must carry forward into our communities, our networks and our relationships in 2017.


The passing year has presented us with enormous challenges and many people feel bewildered by recent events, wondering what the future holds.  We appear as polarised as we have ever been.  The social-political events of this last year have shown us how easy it is to turn the clock back, to seemingly return to a less enlightened age; an age of intolerance, anger, fear, cynicism and division.  I wonder what Senator Kennedy and Dr King, two men whose backgrounds could not have been more different, would make of this today, some 38 years after each was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet.


It is an easy thing to remain welded to the steel slab of our own self-righteousness.  It is comforting to shout into the echo chamber of our own belief systems.  It is convenient to turn our backs or withhold the hand of conciliation.


Yet none of this will help us in our current predicament.


My fervent hope for 2017 is we display more ‘grace’ as a society, that we become more tolerant and exercise much more restraint in how we communicate with each other, in whatever form that may be.  And yes … be just a bit kinder.


How do we do that?


Well, we can start by exercising critical reasoning and resume acceptable levels of discourse.  We can choose not to accept things as fact simply because they concur with our own beliefs.  We can think and speak with fairness and humility.  We can listen to others fully and seek to understand before we respond.  We can, and this may stretch us, countenance the notion that we may not have all the answers and that others may indeed have a point.  We can and must however, seek the truth and hold others to account in doing so.


I return to those giant figures, both heroes of mine.  I recall the time I stood at the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr King was shot, and the feeling of loss I felt as I listened to the voice of Mahalia Jackson soar through the air.  I remember too, as a young boy, witnessing the righteous anger of my late father as he read the morning paper carrying the news that Bobby Kennedy lay fatally wounded.


Yet, I look at the photo of that memorial in Indianapolis and think not so much about what might have been but what can still be.


If we choose to make it so.


I wish you all the best for the coming year and leave you with the words of the good doctor and the fine young senator who had the courage to reach out across those things that might divide us.


‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ 

Martin Luther King


‘Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.’

Robert F Kennedy


A happier, gentler, kinder New Year  to you all.

John Drysdale


A bit about the blogger:

I am a trainer, facilitator, speaker and coach, a sometimes runner, writer and musician.  I feel very fortunate in what I do as I get to work with great people from all walks of life, it’s a continual inspiration and I’m happy to play even a small part in the success of others.  You can find out more about my company at  or view our suite of online courses at .   I am also one of the Asentiv Merseyside team, dedicated to helping others lead a spectacular life and amazing businesses through the quality of their relationships.  Contact me at 



Posted by John Drysdale
3rd January 2017
John's Blog


The ILM Qualified Coach

Your guide to choosing a qualification

In the last 12 months we’ve seen an upsurge in the number of people looking to gain one of our ILM Coaching & Mentoring Qualifications, which is fantastic.

One of the early discussions I have with candidates is to answer questions around: ‘what will it give me?’ or ‘what level of qualification should I go for?’ and ‘should I do a Certificate or Diploma?’.

I’m always very happy to have those conversations but I thought I might attempt to bring a bit of clarity to people considering an ILM Qualification in Coaching & Mentoring to progress their career.


An ILM Coaching Qualification; how will it help me?

I recommend that anyone in a coaching role considers getting a recognised qualification. It makes sense as Coaching is coming under increasing scrutiny as a profession with much debate about the quality of provision. Clients want to know their coach has received adequate training and people commissioning coaching will consider competence before contracting a coach.  I have been involved in tenders for contracts where commissioners specified the qualification level of coaches required within the framework.

For the individual, we have seen how our ILM programmes have opened up new opportunities, both for people working within an organisation and consultants or freelancers who now have an additional and credible tool or service that can add value to their client base.

In summary it makes you credible and attractive to anyone commissioning you and gives you the confidence to believe you are now ‘the coach’.


What Level of Coaching Qualification should I go for?

Levels of qualifications are set according to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) in England.  A decent explanation of academic levels can be found here :

For coaching and mentoring I usually ask about the context you will be coaching and how you want to apply these new skills:


Coaching Executives, CEOs and Directors

This would suggest a Level 7 Certificate or Diploma may be right for you. Academically it suggests something at masters degree or post grad and requires a greater understanding of coaching in a strategic arena. We take particular care that people registering for this level are able to practice their coaching at a strategic level and can in some cases support them in finding ‘clients’ for the practical elements.  Freelance Executive Coaches need this one.


Coaching Managers and Leaders

The Level 5 Certificate or Diploma would be ideal for this target audience. This is also a substantial undertaking requiring in depth knowledge and demonstrating practice.  It is broadly equivalent to a foundation degree or some other types of degrees. I always recommend this to people working in large organisations going through change or growth and where there is an opportunity to introduce coaching as a development tool in the organisation. It is really useful to consider this within HR or Training functions and clients have asked us to deliver programmes to entire teams.

Level 5 may also be useful for those starting out as a business coach at the smaller end of the SME market and we know from experience that many people want to get involved with start ups or helping people transition from employee to self-employed business owner.


Coaching Front Line Staff or Team Leaders

Level 3 provides a foundation and is useful for people in a training role or coaching front line staff or team leaders. It provides a route into a training or development type role for those in an operational role and can open up some great career opportunities. The ILM Level 3 is highly work contextualised and suits larger work places e.g. large contact or service centres are ideal.


Your prior academic experience, continuous professional development and experience at the various levels is fairly important in choosing your path and we always discuss this prior to registering you with ILM.

For the coaching suite it comes back to:

Why do you want to do this qualification?

What context will you be coaching in?

Who will you be working with?


Certificate or Diploma?

Both our Level 5 and Level 7 qualifications have the option of achieving a Certificate or Diploma.  The difference between the Certificate and the Diploma is around the practical element and the ‘extended’ period of coaching for the Diploma. This carries additional credits (a measure of your learning).

This table shows how many hours coaching you need to provide evidence for each level at Certificate and Diploma.

Level Certificate Diploma
Level 5 12 hours 100 hours
Level 7 20 hours 100 hours


There are some other requirements around how you access supervision under the extended period but this is the main difference. The Diploma should be undertaken if coaching is a significant focus of your role.  We often get asked how many people (clients) you need.  Just as a rough guide we would normally expect you to work with a particular client somewhere between 6 and 12 hours in total for coaching (though mentoring relationships may be longer).


How long will it take me?

We believe the Certificate at both L5 and L7 can be achieved in a 9-12-month time frame but it varies according to the individual. The Diploma is harder to quantify, and we generally meet with those candidates to identify a realistic timeline.

Making good progress early in the programme generally means candidates complete in excellent time.


How can you help?

This article is simply to help guide your thinking. I will always have a call or a meeting with a prospective ILM candidate to identify what is the right qualification for you at this time and how we can help you progress.  I want all my candidates to succeed.  After all many of them are self-funded and it’s important to me that they not only enjoy the classroom sessions and engagement with the wonderful people we have on our cohorts but that they come away with a recognised Qualification to further their goals and aspirations.

One thing we do know is there is a direct correlation between attending our (now monthly) tutorial sessions and achieving the qualification. These are provided as part of our programme and follow the 6 classroom dates.  I really enjoy these sessions because I can see people remove the fear of assignments and become inspired to go out and develop their coaching practice and ultimately their ILM Qualification.

If you are thinking about a Qualification in coaching & mentoring I would be happy to have that call or cup of coffee and a chat.

Our next programme starts on February 23rd 2018 in Liverpool click here for more details

You can contact me on:

0844 873 1226

Or email:


ILM Approved Centre



Liverpool based training company, No Guru is ‘leading in learning’ as the ILM city region hub

North West employers now have access to professional development qualifications for management, team leaders and supervisory staff as Cotton Exchange based training company, No Guru becomes the Liverpool City Region hub for ILM accreditation.


University Contract extended for 2 Years

Leeds Beckett University relationship extended

We are delighted to announce our current contract to provide Staff Training and Team Building to Leeds Beckett University has been extended a further 2 years.

During the next academic year we will be running new programmes around:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Leading Change
  • Leading & Empowering People
  • Working to Strengths
  • Designing and Delivering Presentations

Additionally we will continue to work with Teams to deliver on the University Strategic Framework as well as completing our first ILM Level 5 Coaching & Mentoring programme for internal ‘Coaching Champions’.

We would like to thank People Development and everyone at Leeds Beckett for making it a great place to work.



John's Blog

Image Triage – be careful what you post

How to avoid public ‘shaming’

If you’ve ever read Jon Ronson’s book ‘Shamed’, you will know the devastating effect social media can have on people who have posted something stupid on the internet.

Ronson highlights the case of Justine Sacco (a director of corporate communications) who, before boarding an 11-hour flight from Heathrow to Cape Town, Tweeted to her 170 followers what she thought was a series of lighthearted, acerbic comments about her journey. (more…)

Across the great divide

Let’s be kinder to each other in 2017

There is a striking memorial in a park in Indianapolis.  It marks the spot where in April 1968, Robert Kennedy told a waiting crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed, before speaking from the heart and his own personal experience, that violence is never an answer to our grievances.  His calming words quelled the rioting that other cities endured in the days after Dr King’s death and, arguably, saved some lives that night.


The memorial itself is an arresting work of art.  (more…)

Thinking In A World That Doesn’t Think

Arsene Wenger and that letter

A recent item appeared on LinkedIn that made me curious.  You may have seen it.

It purports to show a resignation letter written by a disillusioned employee of Arsenal Football Club, citing his reason for leaving: (more…)