Thinking In A World That Doesn’t Think

Globe with binary code in a human head, 3d render

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:

‘My decision for leaving is due to Mr Arsene Wenger’s comments about staff after the recent draw against Leicester City.  To blame having to pay the 600 people working at Arsenal Football Club for not buying a player is a disgrace’

At last count this post received something like 9,000 “likes” and attracted 500+ comments, many of them supporting the sentiments of the letter and agreeing how shocking it was for Wenger to say such a thing.

Do you want to read the words Mr Wenger actually used?

‘I’d spend £300 million if I find the player and I had £300 million.  Do not forget we are a club who has 600 employees who we have to have a responsibility to as well.  It’s a bit surprising you come out of games and don’t speak about football. You have to speak about money’

And to give it context, this was in response to a journalist asking him if he would pay £300m for a player.

What do you think?

Is he “blaming” having to pay for those staff or is he saying something else?

There is also the question of the veracity of material presented as “fact” and I wondered why so many assumed the letter to be genuine.   Remember the meme about the feckless MPs packing the commons to vote on their pay rise?  That meme just wasn’t true and I’m sceptical about the Arsenal one too.

But that doesn’t stop human beings from believing it to be true or even wanting to believe it to be true.

Such is the problem in an age where a staggering amount of information is freely available.  Our problem today is not a lack of information.  It is a deficiency in thinking that is our problem.  We are merely skimming across a vast pond, deleting, distorting and generalising as we go, in order to create our models of the world.

We see this in our political debates both here and in the states.  I heard one commentator refer to the “post truth age” recently which was just as disturbing as Newt Gingrich arguing that “feelings” were more relevant than “facts” when talking about US national crime statistics.

So what does this mean for business leaders, managers and professionals?

Well I think it is incumbent on us to at least try harder, to achieve what the Critical Thinking Foundation describes as a “higher order of thinking”.  In doing so we make better decisions, it’s less costly financially and emotionally and leads to a better quality of life.  All of this by simply practicing our thinking.

I recently gave a talk at Liverpool John Moore’s University introducing some thinking models from the foundation into the decision making process of leaders, stuff we can all apply:

  • How clear are we on this issue?
  • How accurate and precise are we in our thinking?
  • How logical is this?
  • What depth and breadth have I gone to in considering it?
  • What are the big significant questions I should be addressing?
  • How fair am I being on this issue?

We know this works and have directly helped SME business owners to use these and other tools to make key business decisions.

Coupled with some excellence thinking traits around courage, humility, empathy, integrity and fairmindedness; these seem reasonable questions for any leader to tackle most business problems and opportunities.

Of course, in a world that doesn’t think, this requires time and space to fully practice.  Yet you can do it each and every day:

  1. By questioning news stories you see and hear – what’s really happening?
  2. In self censoring how you engage with social media
  3. Through monitoring how you listen and respond to colleagues and customers.

Worth it I think, even if just to give Arsene Wenger a break from such nonsense.



No Guru provide a range of courses and seminars on decision making an problem solving for leaders and managers.

Click here to access downloads of course outlines 

I am a trainer, facilitator, coach and speaker who loves working with people and teams to help them become more effective in their jobs.  I write, run, play guitar and saxophone and listen to music (I am a huge Van Morrison fan and our company name comes from a lyric of his).  I have  also made it to the bottom of Mount Everest (without oxygen) and once persuaded Sir Chris Bonnington to praise this huge effort when speaking to one of my cohorts about climbing to the top.  

John Drysdale


Posted by John Drysdale
16th September 2016
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

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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…)