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


NEW: Heriott Watt University

We are delighted to announce we are now working with Heriott-Watt University to deliver the Welcome to Leadership programmes for their managers. The university has a large international presence with an ambitious strategy and we are looking forward to working with their Professional and Organisational Development team. Heriott-Watt is the latest University to join our growing list of valued customers within Higher Education and we are grateful for this amazing opportunity.

New ILM Coaching & Mentoring Programme – May 2022

Due to the ongoing success of our ILM Coaching & Mentoring Programmes, we have now scheduled in a second cohort for 2022.

The programme is already receiving plaudits and as a result we are growing our community of ILM Coaches and Mentors progressing towards an internationally recognised qualification.

Watch out also for our special preview events ‘Take Your Coaching To The Next Level’ running throughout March, April and May.

Information on the programme can be found here.

ILM Coaching & Mentoring May 2022

Contact us on:   or call 0844 873 1226


ILM Coaching & Mentoring September 2021

We are looking forward to starting our new cohort joining The Coaching Programme, leading to qualifications in Coaching & Mentoring from ILM at Level 5 and Level 7.

The programme begins on Friday 17th September 2021 with our ‘Coaching Foundations’ session.  All learning is done remotely, making our programme accessible wherever you are.



John's Blog

Why be a coach or mentor?

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. (more…)

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…)