Across the great divide

Reworking of an earlier blog of mine, marking the 50th Anniversaries of the deaths of Martin Luther King (4/4/68) and Robert F Kennedy (6/6/68)

Let’s be kinder to each other 

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 constrain them, tearing themselves from the fabric to reach out to each other across the dividing pathway.  In doing so, each leaves behind a perfect silhouette that reaches down to greet the viewer, from either direction.


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 today.


The last couple of years have presented us with enormous challenges. Many of us feel bewildered by recent events, wondering what the future holds.  We appear as polarised as we have ever been.  Social-political events have shown us how easy it is to turn the clock back, to 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, 50 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 continues; that we display more ‘grace’ as a society, that we become more tolerant and exercise much more restraint in how we communicate with each other.  And … 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 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



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


Direct Claim status for No Guru ILM Coaching Courses

We are delighted to announce that following a recent virtual visit by ILM we have been awarded Direct Claim Status for our Level 3, 5 and 7 Coaching Programmes.

This means that we can claim certificates for our learners without requiring further verification (more…)

Stay Connected, Keep Learning

With the current Corona Virus crisis I wanted to be able to reach out to my clients and our target audiences, to offer them something which helps them stay connected with others and secondly helps to sharpen the skills during this difficult period.

Many of you will be working from home for an extended period and for many of you this is a new experience.  So it’s really important that we use this time and immerse ourselves in some development time as well as focusing on key projects and those important but non urgent things that often get pushed to one side in the busy organisation. (more…)

Can I Coach the Team?

20 Questions to enhance Teams

‘Can you do something with my team?’

‘What seems to be the problem?’

‘Well morale is really terrible, nobody seems to care about working here and we have lots of conflict’

‘So can I ask, what have you done to them?’

A not untypical conversation whenever I get asked to facilitate a Team Day, sometimes called an ‘away day’ or ‘teambuilding’ event.  Whilst I may be a bit harsh on the leader in this scenario, I do think that this kind of ‘state’ within the team is not a natural one. Something must have happened (or not happened), to create it. (more…)


John's Blog

Why be a coach or mentor?

… your business community needs you

I am a little biased but I love both coaching and mentoring. I used to enjoy being the ‘trainer’ which satisfied the performer in me but as I get older there is something that I find deeply satisfying in being a coach or mentor.

More than that, I find it a privilege to work with people.  People that trust you enough to share their greatest challenges, dearest hopes, deepest fears and core beliefs about life. I can think of few professions in business that afford you such intimacy. I feel lucky and grateful each and every session I get to spend with my clients.

We provide opportunities for people to learn how to coach/mentor others through our ILM Programmes and I am always struck by the qualities of the people who go on that journey with us. I believe the topic of ‘coaching and mentoring’ attracts people who genuinely want to do good things; to help others and to make a difference. Over the years our learners have told stories of how their coaching/mentoring has made a real difference to the lives of others through:

  • Supporting people starting new businesses and ventures
  • Enabling Leaders to make difficult decisions
  • Helping people address deeply set and unhelpful beliefs about themselves
  • Changing people’s perspectives of situations in life and work
  • Addressing huge challenges and opportunities head on
  • Understanding and dealing with emotions
  • Listening to them (do not underestimate the power of giving someone a good listening to!)
  • Exploring options and possibilities in life and work
  • Creating a vision for themselves or their business
  • Identifying their ‘why?’ and what’s important to them

I really enjoy hearing their success stories and seeing their excitement in creating some form of breakthrough that has made a profound difference to someone. It is wonderful to see, hear and feel… And people need these sort of breakthroughs right now. With the pandemic and the uncertain economic and social outlook, people need your help.

So, what do you have to offer?  Can you be a coach or mentor? How could you make a difference?

Try answering the following questions:

  1. Why do you do what you do and what is your core purpose?
  2. What would be important to you in coaching or mentoring another individual?
  3. What sort of people would be in your ‘Target Audience’ i.e. Who would you really like to work with? Who could you most bring value to?
  4. What life/work/business skills and knowledge do you have and how could this best be shared?

These are key questions and you may need time to process them. But these are the kinds of questions we pose to our trainee coaches and mentors on our ILM Programmes. The course itself helps you to develop the skills and attributes to be an effective coach/mentor. And we show you best practice so that you too achieve the sort of breakthroughs described above.

I’m guessing if you are reading this that you have an interest in coaching or mentoring and perhaps asking the question, ‘Is it something I can do?’.  We have programmes starting in January 2021 and I would be delighted to talk to any aspiring coaches or mentors who want to take that next step but are perhaps a little unsure if they are ready.

The old army recruitment poster boldly stated, ‘Your country needs you’. I know there are many, many people in your network, workplace or business community right now; who are stuck, in need of inspiration, lacking motivation, facing dilemmas and unsure which way to turn. You could very well be the person who can make a profound change to all of that. If you are up for it, your business community needs you right now.

Are you the future professional coach or mentor?

John Drysdale

Tel: 07810 550746

MD No Guru ltd

Our 2021 Programme starts Online on January 8th 2020. Get in touch to find out how you can join the class of 2021.


Speaking Truth to Power

For those afraid of speaking …

(But) TED is a tough, pressured, hugely stressful gig, even for experienced public speakers, and I’m not that. Standing in the wings waiting to go on, I told the stage manager that my heart was racing uncontrollably and in an act of great kindness, she grasped both my hands and made me take breath after breath. And what you don’t see in the video – deftly edited out – is the awful, heart-stopping moment when I forgot a line, followed by another act of collective kindness, a spontaneous empathic cheer as I composed myself and found my cue. “That’s when the audience came onside,” an attendee told me. “You were human. That’s when you won them over.”  Guardian April 2019


This from Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist at the Guardian who has in this last year investigated the role of tech corporations and their platforms in influencing the workings of our democracy.  What makes her TED talk so compelling is because here she is facing those very same technology giants on their turf.  And speaking truth to power.


Coaching: Deep Impact

This week I had the chance to attend a seminar at the Leeds Coaching Network featuring renowned coach, writer and speaker Julie Starr.  You may be familiar with some of Julie’s work including; ‘The Coaching Manual’, ‘The Mentoring Manual’ and ‘Brilliant Coaching’ and the session was everything you expected it to be. (more…)