Seven years ago I was a Board Director and Head of Tours & Projects at Harrison Parrott, one of the world’s leading music agencies. It was a privilege to work with wonderful colleagues, some of the world’s greatest orchestras, artists and performing arts companies and I was proud to lead one of the most successful orchestral touring departments in the industry. But after 25 years of intensive international travel I felt a compelling need to radically re-structure my working life. It was a daunting prospect to leave something I loved doing for something else I might love doing, but my desire to create more family time outweighed the concerns. The role I’ve created for myself combines two of my passions – people and music. It’s deeply rewarding and I truly believe that this is how I can contribute most to our industry. Here’s the story of how I got there and how my previous role helped to influence and inspire the way I work now:
In 2012 I began to research the business of personal/professional development coaching – initially with some scepticism, I must confess – but the more I read about the subject and experienced how the coaching process works, the more I became convinced about its potential and benefits. I hired a coach for myself and soon started to see some tangible results, including a greater understanding of what was really important for me.
At the same time I undertook 18 months of rigorous training in Co-Active Coaching (at the Co-Active Training Institute, one of the first and the largest in-person coach training schools in the world) including their 6 month Certification programme. This was followed by a 6 month training programme as an Organisation & Relationship Systems Coach which focuses specifically on systemic coaching (partnerships and teams). Today I work as a professional and personal development coach to musicians, leaders and emerging leaders across the music industry. I devise and deliver workshops for conferences and teams and I’m an Associate Coach at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and one of the co-leaders of its external coaching skills training programmes.
I have over 30 years experience of working with artists, orchestras and performing arts organisations throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. I built a network of connections across the globe and have hundreds of thousands of air miles under my belt. More than anything though, it’s the countless cross-cultural experiences I’ve had and the human connections I’ve made which have been my greatest teachers and inspiration; touring the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy to an island off the south coast of South Korea to perform to the hugely appreciative and emotional audience made up of people living with Hansen’s disease and their medical carers; experiencing the special spirit and magical impact of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie’s and Paavo Järvi’s musical chemistry on tour in the USA, Europe and Asia; being in New York on 9/11 in advance of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s arrival for a residency at the Lincoln Center and then, as the horrific events at the Twin Towers unfolded, collaborating with a local community-in-crisis to dismantle it; visiting my then client, the Kodo drummers, at their home on Sado Island, Japan, and taking part in a drumming workshop. And, quite simply, working in collaboration with colleagues and friends across the world, sometimes in challenging circumstances, but always in pursuit of bringing the best live performances to their audiences. There are so many more examples…. and it is this extensive international experience and cross-cultural understanding which informs all my work, both as a coach and a consultant.
Collaboration - Communication - Compassion