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.

Why are you here?

I like the simplicity of the slides used here, some simple but provocative questions to get going and made me think about what I wanted beyond ‘I’ve got an invite to hear Julie Starr speak, it’s bound to be good’.

A simple pyramid helped coaches think about their own journey:






A key learning from this is we are always learning and to adopt a ‘novice mindset’ is a good thing, even for those adept or at mastery.  You want to seek the Novice. Coaching is bigger than us, we should bow to it and accept it

Within this there was also a useful distinction that may help ILM students distinguish between coaching and mentoring. Julie pushed against the idea of defining these two distinct practices behaviourally but rather, explore the differences in the relationship, Mentoring being defined by Benevolence (Mentor) and Respect (Mentee).


What Goals do you have for your Coaching?

Julie then used Dilts model of change, you may recall this as Neurological Levels from the iLM Course:

Sense of Purpose






As we explore on the ILM Programme you are always encouraging the client to step up one level.  This led to thoughts about the lower levels and the effort exerted by the coach in helping the client find a solution.  As Julie pointed out, at novice level we are working too hard to do this, ‘efforting’ is now a word in my own vocabulary for this.  Efforting means we are encountering resistance – I think both our own and in the client. We need to be mindful that change can only come about through Inquiry.

Julie used Miles Downey’s analogy of those sprung loaded plate dispensers you see in hotels; the coach lifting each plate (a thought) and that somewhere in the stack is a realisation of something that leads to change.

Be willing to ask Questions you don’t know the answer to.  A question is an offering.

The lesson here is in the coach being prepared to ask those types of questions rather than a Question to which the coach already has an answer, in other words avoid using (another new term for me),  a ‘Strategised Question’

Can we pause? … I’m wondering what the real problem here is

In being brave and asking questions we ourselves don’t know the answer to, we are likely to create change.


How can we be successful at what we do?

 Julie talked extensively on 3 ways we can achieve greater success.

  1. Professionalise your approach – highlighting the difference between winning a new assignment and not, this was all about the practice and process of your coaching programmes, helping the client to understand what’s involved and how it works. Let them know your ‘formula’ to help them.
  2. Self-Development is at the heart of everything you do. Enough said!
  3. Maintain a foundation of Self Care; as it sounds looking after yourself

This last point led to thoughts on the Ego and our own tendency to:




In working with clients these should be met with compassion and care.  In terms of ourselves we should notice our own internal dialogue.

We don’t speak to others the way we speak to ourselves. If your friend spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, they wouldn’t be your find.


Directive to Non-Directive

Again, similar to our Interventions model we use on our ILM Programme Julie made the point that coaching was not just about Questions, that we have a range of options from:








The sweet spot is the coach operating between Summary and Silence but (and this is helpful) when ready you can move to Observation, Opinion and even beyond.  This allows you to be ‘clean’ about it publish “can I offer an opinion on this’ …  rather than use a Strategised Question to nudge someone in your direction of thought.

In summary the session was very well received, it had enough relevant content for coaches at all levels, novice to mastery and I highly recommend you access some of Julie’s work for your own coaching practice and ILM assignments, please see the recommended reading below.

I hope this short summary encourages you, I found lots to be reassured about and also it offered enough new aspects to take away and develop.

Finally, many thanks to Kathy Ashton and the People Development Team at Leeds Beckett University for inviting me to attend.

John Drysdale

March 2019

The Coaching Manual

The Mentoring Manual

Brilliant Coaching

Posted by John Drysdale
10th March 2019
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  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…)